With Nigeria gradually transiting from cash to an electronic based economy, by virtue of the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) cashless policy, cyber criminals and hackers in the country who hitherto attacked businesses and individuals across the Atlantic, are re-directing their energies towards exploiting possible loopholes in the electronic payment system in order to perpetuate fraud.
Analysts have warned financial institutions and other stakeholders in the electronic payment industry to step up investments in security of electronic transactions, or risk been overwhelmed by the spate of sophisticated cyber attacks that would soon arise as a result of the sheer volume of financial transactions online.
A report from Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat, supports analysts fears, indicating that Nigeria has moved six positions up the ladder, to occupy the 59th position globally, amongst countries with greatest Internet Security threat. Industry analysts have expressed concerns about Nigeria’s rising cybercrime profile.
There is however little effort from the Federal Government to pass into law, pending cybercrime bills aimed at criminalising the acts. Analysts have identified this worrying situation as a major drawback to the development of electronic payments in Nigeria. The CBN had envisaged this security challenge when it began implementing the cashless policy.
Accordingly, the apex bank had directed all players in the banking and electronic payment sector to speedily attain Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) compliance.
This, according to the apex bank, is to ensure that card users in the country would continue to experience enhanced payment data security.
But up till now, out of the 21 banks currently operating in the country, only Access Bank Plc has achieved compliance, BusinesDay learnt. It was gathered that only Interswitch, ValuCard and E-Transact Plc among switching services providers, have achieved compliance.
Security experts told BusinessDay that PCIDSS certification represents a common set of security best practices that if strictly adhered to, would ensure the safe and secure handling of payment card data and transactions. Market watchers have warned that many Nigerians would lose confidence in the e-payment system if security concerns become a reality.