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Cybersecurity: Why you must be on the alert online

Oyetunji Oyelami

A cybersecurity expert, Mr. Oyetunji Oyelami, has advised Nigerians to be on the alert while on the internet, noting that cybercriminals are now getting ahead of security measures. According to him, the perpetrators of the act are on daily basis inventing new tricks to beat every security measure, hence, every individual is now required to be cyber-security-conscious.

“Cybersecurity threat has increased exponentially because many young lads desire to make money very quickly and engage in criminal activities, especially financial scams facilitated through the use of the Internet. Cybercriminals are daily inventing advanced ways of committing this form of crime and some methods of tracking these criminals are no longer suitable to deal with their new tricks,” said Oyelami, a certified data protection security engineer and IBM certified security intelligence analyst.

He said some of the raging crimes online now include phishing, a type of online identity theft that uses e-mail and fraudulent websites that are designed to steal personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. He added that this is mostly targeted at individuals.

He added that ransomware, which is one of the biggest security problems on the internet and one of the biggest forms of cybercrime that organisations face today in Nigeria is a form of malicious software – malware that encrypts files and documents on anything from a single PC up to an entire network, including servers. “Victims are often left with few choices; they can either regain access to their encrypted network by paying a ransom to the criminals behind the ransomware or restore from backups or hope that there is a decryption key freely available,” he said.

Highlighting some of the security measures to be observed by every internet user, the information security expert advised internet users not to use the same password for different accounts. “Use complex passwords or passphrases, and don't reuse the same password or variations of a simple phrase.

“Hover your mouse over any links embedded in the body of an email. If the link address looks weird, don’t click on it. Oftentimes the URL in a phishing message will appear to be perfectly valid. However, if you hover your mouse over the top of the URL, you should see the actual hyperlinked address. If the hyperlinked address is different from the address that is displayed, the message is probably fraudulent or malicious. Never use links in an email to connect to a website unless you are sure they are authentic, instead, open a new browser window and type the known URL directly into the address bar. Often a phishing website will look identical to the original - look at the address bar to make sure that this is the case,” he advised.

While noting that phishing emails often appear as real, Oyelami said, “just because an email has convincing brand logos, language, and a seemingly valid email address does not mean that it’s legitimate. Be skeptical when it comes to your email messages—if it looks even remotely suspicious, don’t open it.”


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