Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United States Government has cautioned Nigerians on the use of free WiFi services in public places.
Public places which include hotels, restaurants and airports, according to the US, are easy avenues through which cybercrimes are perpetrated.
The Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the United States of America, Kathleen FitzGibbon, who spoke during a cybercrimes awareness event in Abuja, further cautioned Nigerians against giving out too much personal information on social media.
She recalled the number of Nigerians recently declared wanted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), noting that their prosecution and conviction had commenced.
FitzGibbon said: “There are already prosecutions in Nigeria, some of the people on the list. I believe in September there were actually prosecutions and convictions of a lot of those people.”
FitzGibbon said Nigeria was not alone in cybercrimes offences, adding that if such crimes were unearthed in other countries, more revelations will be made.
“You are only seeing the numbers from here because we are doing it here. But there are other people around the world. We are doing this in other countries as well,” FitzGibbon added.
While noting that the legal unit of the embassy is working closely with security agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), FitzGibbon said the United States was constantly taking down criminal networks operating on the internet.
“I think this public awareness is really important because each one of us is a user of internet and we are the ones that make internet a risky place or vulnerable place. We need to take care of ourselves, protect ourselves,” FitzGibbon added.
In his remarks, an FBI operative, Heather Armstrong, stated that Operations Security (OPSEC) is a process that is used to identify critical information outlines for potential threats and risks.
Armstrong advised people to guard against information that can be used against them like photos, hobbies, dislikes, names, hate speech, comments of daily activities and sharing exact location that can be taken advantage of by cybercrimes perpetrators.
“Using same password for all internet platforms can be risky and easy for hackers to get access,” Armstrong said, adding that “unprotected communication must be avoided like the use of public hotspot.”