Cybersecurity | Cyberattacks & hacking crimes | Stealing of Personal Identity Number
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Education
Buhari led the Nigerian Government-mandated Nigerians to enroll for NIN to enhance transparency, aacountability and curb crime
NCC warned of planned cyber-attacks across Africa in November 2021
How the hacker broke into NIMC server to steal the NINs
The dangers of having the sensitive personal data of Nigerians in the hands of cybercriminals
A hacker, identified as Sam, breaks into National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) server, stealing over three million National Identity Numbers (NINs) of Nigerians.
This should be one of the biggest data breaches Nigeria suffer in the history of its cybersecurity. The hacking of the NIMC server has not only exposed Nigeria’s weak cybersecurity but also underlined the dilemma of the already-registered country’s citizens in terms of privacy breach and exposure of personal data to prying eyes with terror intent.
Nigerian Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, had mandated Nigerians to enroll for National Identification Number (NIN) claiming that it was going to stop crimes in the country including those perpetrated via the Internet, and Nigerians were stopped from procuring new Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) from telecommunication companies for a few months beginning in late 2020 when the mandate came in full force.
President Mohammed Buhari said that the NIN will cover one of the weaknesses in our security structure since we would be able to easily identify and know the personality of Nigerians during the launch of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in Nigerian Telecommunications Sector and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Cards registration in May 2021.
Ever since late 2020 when the mandate came in full force, just before the expiration of the deadline given by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), telecommunication companies have been threatening to disconnect any customer who hasn’t registered for NIN even though the NCC has continued to extend the deadline.
Assuring Nigerians of how vital the new system would be to crime-fighting in the country, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, in June 2021, claimed that terrorism such as banditry and kidnapping in the country had significantly reduced as a result of the insistence by the government for persons in Nigeria to register for NIN and that the improved database will protect Nigerians more than ever before.
The latest cyber attack comes less than two months after the Nigerian Communications Commission in November 2021 issued a warning that an Iranian hacking group was planning to carry out cyber espionage across Africa.
A statement from the agency had further disclosed that the hackers were targeting telecoms, Internet Service Providers, and Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria and other African countries.
The hacking of the NIMC server has not only exposed Nigeria’s weak cyber security but also highlighted the danger the country’s residents and investments were currently under.
But despite those assurances, the latest attack has exposed the failure of the President Buhari administration to protect Nigerians from cybercriminals.
Over 60 million Nigerians had so far been captured on the national identity database, according to the NIMC, according to the Saharareporter report.
The hacker said he simply got access to their (Nigeria) data of internal files, users, and everything they have via one more output for s3 bucket. He described the s3 bucket as ‘full of juice’ and said he casually tried to access it without hope but got it with ease.
“I wanted to look at more files but as we have to follow bug bounty rules I stopped doing more. He revealed. “I’ve got one more s3 bucket with nuclei and it also contained about 4G to 5G of data. “I’ve rewarded 5250$ for only one report and 0$ for the second one even it contained so much sensitive data,” the hacker wrote in the article that has continued to generate reactions from some Nigerians on Twitter especially tech enthusiasts, he continued.
Revealing that he could download everything, even the whole bucket and how easy it was for him to breach the NIMC server and access the personal information of millions of Nigerians in an article he shared on infosecwriteups.com, the hacker boasted that he got access to “s3 juice” on the Nigerian Government agency’s server and that he could go-ahead to do whatever he desired with other sensitive data at his disposal.
There is no limit to what he could do with the personal data of Nigerians. Extremely, he could sell the information to third parties for millions of dollars for the act of terrorism and insurgency, politics, blackmail, and target highly placed individuals and companies for the gainful purpose.
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