NCC Warns Subscribers of Possible Hacking from Use Public Wifi

EVC, NCC Danbatta

Free wireless fidelity (WIFI) and free phone-charging ports, especially at airports and other public places could make it easier for criminals to hack phones.

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The Commission Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in his warning also said it has taken measures to protect consumers against financial frauds.

Speaking at the at the 2019 fourth quarter Open Forum of the NCC’s Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) in Abuja, the Nigerian capital city, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), NCC, Adeleke Adewolu said there has been growing concern over the rising trend of electronic frauds across key sectors of the Nigerian economy with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rating e-fraud as the biggest risk on the financial sector where the use of e-channels to conduct financial transactions has become the order of the day.

He said telecoms sector is not immune to the scourge of electronic-related frauds, as attackers now target telecoms networks with the intent to disrupt service delivery and infiltrate their data banks.

“Illegal subscriber identification module (SIM) swaps and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) e-payment frauds, are currently some of the most serious cyber threat in the telecoms industry. Fraudsters conduct illegal SIM swap of targeted individuals and then, conduct USSD-based transactions which cost the victims huge losses,” Adewolu said.

The Executive Commissioner said, while this has been the situation, the NCC, in dealing with the menace and in keeping with its regulatory responsibilities of protecting the interest of consumers, has been working closely with other stakeholders to implement technical and operational solutions to preventing financial fraud using telecoms platforms.

“Just as we have demonstrated through ICAF, the NCC has embraced a multi-sectoral synergy to harmonise the activities of critical stakeholders responsible for combating financial fraud committed through telecoms platforms and we will continue to strengthen this,” The ECSM added.

Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, who listed the various efforts the Commission had taken in protecting telecoms consumers, said it is NCC’s conviction that through adequate education, information sharing and provision of an array of channels of redress, “we can safeguard telecom consumers and innovatively promote the prospect for greater consumer experience.”

Head of Operations at the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Mr. Gbolahan Awonuga, in his presentation on why some consumers experience rapid data depletion on their phones advised smartphone users to check their phone settings to ensure that applications are not switched on when they are not in use as that is one of the factors responsible for rapid data depletion.

He said that another factor responsible for data depletion, according to him, is the rate of video sharing and viewing.

Lead paper presenter at the forum, Ben Anyalenkwe, and ICAF Chairman, Igho Majemite as well as other stakeholders came up with a communique that contains a list of action points to be implemented by the telcos, banks, regulators, consumer advocacy bodies, law enforcement agencies, consumers as well as other institutions that are connected to taking concrete steps at mitigating cases of financial frauds using telecoms networks in Nigeria.

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