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Cybercriminal Associations Exist on the Internet – Dr Adewale Obadare

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In the Continuation of Our TOP 20 CEO’s exclusive interviews we bring you Dr. Obadare Adewale, Chief Visionary Officer, Digital Encode, talked about cyber security trends and warned why you desist from sharing internet data with strangers. Excerpt.   

Have the cybersecurity trends moved in a different direction in 2023? 

Let us break it down first. What is cybersecurity? This would be a guide. Cybersecurity is the state of well-being of any digital asset. Digital assets could be your laptop, personal computer, mobile phone, or game console. When I say the state of well-being to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of that digital asset and some other factors like authenticity, non-repudiation, and other factors that ensure that state of well-being. 

Could you put this in context?

Ok. Confidentiality ensures there is no unauthorized access or disclosure of information. The integrity frowns against unauthorised modification of that information within that digital asset. The availability ensures that the particular information within that digital asset is available, but only authorized people can access it. You know, if the information gets to the wrong people, it would be a different story – the cyber criminals, digital thieves. There is a confederacy of cyber criminals on the internet and that is what people do not know. There is a confederacy of digital thieves all over the place.

Now let us return to cybersecurity trends

This is 2023 but what we have seen in the last 5 years it is like old wine in a new bottle. Therefore, when I said old wine in a new bottle, what we have had in the last 5 years is almost similar to what is happening now. The sophistication of the attack has changed because ransomware has grown in sophistication, but it is the same ransomware from 2017 to 2019. We are still experiencing many viruses because the ransomware was targeting regular users but it is targeting corporations’ entire systems. When you are talking about ransomware, it is digital kidnapping.

Ransomware is synonymous with digital kidnapping. What does it mean?

It means that cybercriminals or digital thieves hijack your digital assets, server, systems, and everything. Ransomware could attack the cloud because many people have moved to the cloud. Due to that movement, you would have noticed many cloud attacks. In the cloud attack, specific credentials are been stolen because most of the administrators and users connect to the cloud to access their information. Within that space, the administrators are phished. They are socially engineered.

 What does that mean?

It means that when somebody sends you an unsolicited link, to say your password to the cloud server has changed, you must know what to do. For instance, Microsoft Office is in the cloud. Now most users – because they are not that sophisticated – would receive an email to say, “Oh, you need to change your cloud access to your Microsoft Office or your email from your Outlook Word access. Unsuspectingly, the users would click. In that process, it is a phishing email and then the email is compromised. Therefore, because of the interconnectedness, you talk about the Internet of Things, you know, many of those things are happening and then the introduction of artificial intelligence.

AI is enhancing the rate of cyber-attack. You must have noticed, some weeks back, the images of the former U.S.A president, Donald Trump. In those images, Trump was being rough-handled. The reality is that most of the images were unreal. The images were AI-generated. This is scary. That means with AI anyone can get your voice to confess to any wrongdoing. I am talking about those kinds of sophistication.

The picture you painted is scary. Against AI sophistication, what do we do? 

We need to increase our cybersecurity intelligence quotient. We have talked about financial and emotional intelligence quotient. You are a professional driver. It is the same way everybody needs cybersecurity literacy.

What does that mean?

We need to know what can go wrong with the use of all of these technologies. Everybody uses mobile banking. If you are using an Android, iPhone or any other phone, you download banking online. The reality is when you use these digital channels, especially mobile banking, you create a password for your phone. However, most users do not enable the protection on the SIM card. That is why it is easy for cyber thieves to steal funds via the mobile app. If you protect your SIM, it is difficult for cybercriminals to get into your mobile app and spend your money on your behalf.

That is on mobile banking. How do you do online transfers? Many people use public Wi-Fi and when you connect to a public Wi-Fi, look at the name “public.” It is like using a public toilet. In such an environment, you can contract germs. It is the same way you can be infected when you use public Wi-Fi in hotels, eateries, airports etc. It is easy for cyber thieves to hijack your email and when that is done, they can read your emails. For instance, I was in a bank some weeks ago. A customer was travelling and his email was hijacked. Those who read his mandate sent it to the bank. They changed everything and were able to transfer his money. This was because he connected to public Wi-Fi. You can connect to public Wi-Fi but you need to make sure you have a personal VPN.

There is another trend. There was a woman in a restaurant. A stranger walked up to her and said, “Oh madam, we’re very sorry our internet is not going. Can you please help with your internet?” Of course, because we are all good-natured people. She shared her mobile data with the strangers and then within some minutes those strangers said, “Oh thank you, we’re done.” Guess what, the next day she received security men in her house. She was arrested. This is what happened. While she shared her mobile data with those strangers, they used her mobile data to attack a bank and commit fraud. Her internet protocol (IP) address was used for the crime. She was complicit without knowing. Therefore, we need internet etiquette. We need to learn about cyber security. It does not mean you are not a nice person. Do not share your mobile data with strangers. 

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