Phishing Attack: Financial experts advocate increased public awareness

Financial experts on Wednesday in Lagos urged financial institutions in the country to regularly educate the public on phishing attack and how to protect themselves from falling victim to the act.

The experts spoke at a Finnovex West Africa summit on Financial Services Innovation and Excellence, organised by EXHIBEX, United Arab Emirates, at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island.

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit cards.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit gave insights on how financial institutions could utilise technology to champion innovations in areas such as customer experience, cyber security and seamless digital channels.

The Group Chief Information Security Officer, Access Bank, Mrs Favour Femi-Oyewole, said that many bank customers were still falling victim of identity theft because of knowledge gap.

“With regards to taking awareness to all the end users, consumers need to know how to guard their identity, because many are still falling victim of identity theft because of knowledge gap. That is why user awareness is very key.

“All banks are already doing this, but there is need for financial institutions to come together and do something that will ensure that we take awareness to the nooks and crannies of the nation.

“It is our duty to ensure that everybody understands the situation of things; starting from the woman selling pepper to the tailor,’’ she said.

Femi-Oyewole said that many fell victim to the fraudsters because they didn’t know how to protect themselves and their funds.

According to her, such people don’t even know how to detect legitimate text messages from banks and the ones from fraudsters.

She said that by the time there was increased awareness, people would be conscious of the devices of the hackers.

Femi-Oyewole said that service providers should also be mindful that people could be forgetful and needed to be reminded regularly on how to better equip themselves.

The Business Consultant Team Manager of OneSpan, a Cybersecurity technology company in Switzerland, Mr Gregory Hancell, urged financial institutions to protect and secure customers’ data.

“We are in the age of mobile banking which everyone is crazy about, but the thing is many institutions are not building security to what they are doing, neither are they working in synergy.

“ One of the easiest ways attackers use to exploit people is the vulnerability in the network,and we must ensure that security is embedded from the beginning.

“Customers’ secret should be regularly authenticated and monitored regularly to stop fraud, it should not be an afterthought thing,’’ he said.

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