Following the recent hack of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) by a popular decentralized international group of hackers by name Anonymous, and their further threat to spread their cyber attack to more government accounts, rumors soon went round on the internet that the official website of the Apex bank of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had similarly been hacked. And this has raised a lot of concerns from different quarters.
Note that the group, Anonymous had hacked the NBC twitter handle on the grounds of promoting the ongoing #EndSARS protest and had issued a 72- hours ultimatum to Nigeria's Federal Government to address the demands of the protesters.
The group showed their support for the protest by laughing cyber attacks on a series of government databases. This included one which contained names and contact information of operatives of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
They had even called for suggestions from Nigerians on government websites to be hacked and a lot of suggestions have sprang in following the call.
Mention can be made of the suggestion for hack of mobile operators like MTN and Globacom, schools' websites and the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
This of course led to the widespread rumor that the official website of the Central Bank of Nigeria has subsequently been hacked.
However, in a prompt response, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has faulted the viral claim and maintained that their official website remains intact, contrary to the rumor making rounds on the net.
This is contained in a statement by the CBN's acting director of coorperate affairs, Osita Nwamsobu, on Saturday, October 17, where he outrightly denied the report, and stated in clear terms that the apex financial institution's official website is secure and untrespassed.
The CBN in the statement, described the claim as false and gave assurance to Nigerians of no cause for panic or alarm.
The statement in part reads; " Contrary to claims in the social media alleging that the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been breached by malicious persons, we wish to state categorically that our website is secure. We also wish to advise the online community to desist from peddling fake news aimed at undermining the integrity of the CBN, which is our collective asset".
In a related news, Nigerians continue to show disapproval over the new foreign exchange restrictions imposed on bank customers by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
On August 24, the CBN issued a circular removing buying agents/companies or any third parties from assessing its inter-bank retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) forex window through Form M forex purchases.
The CBN's instruction in the circular reads, " authorized dealers are hereby directed to desist from the opening of Form M whose payment is routed through a buying company/agent or any other third parties".
The CBN noted that its decision was with the intent of ensuring prudent use of our foreign exchange resources and eliminate incidences of transfer pricing, over-invoicing, double handling charges, as well as avoidable costs which are ultimately passed to the average Nigerian consumers.
Under the new restrictions, majority of bank customers with domiciliary accounts are thus barred from effecting direct FX transfers to third parties and/or withdrawing their own dollars over the counter.
In her reaction to the new policy, founder of the financial advisory portal, The Money Africa, Oluwatosin Olaseinde, on Tuesday, September 22, took to Twitter to lament the policy.
She tweeted; "we have just been informed that customers can no longer effect FX transfers directly to third parties. Customers can only sell such funds to the bank. Consequently, FX transfers will be disabled on the internet banking".
Reacting to her tweet, many Nigerians have lashed at the CBN for constraining customers' use of their resources.
A twitter user, @Morris_Monye in his reaction, stated that the CBN would not allow Naira to fall to N500, adding that the bank would do what it could to strengthen Naira.
Other tweets contained expressions of displeasure by Nigerians to the CBN’s policy, even as some called for the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to resign with much of the blame directed at him.