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Spotlight Stories

How hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to avoid them

Never make payment, or give out a loan to any contact based on a WhatsApp message.

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How hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to avoid them

Have you ever received a message from any of your contacts that reads something like this; “Hello, I’m having trouble and asked WhatsApp to send you my sms code”?

Well, if you have received such from a friend, his/her line had most likely been hacked, and the hackers were trying to do same to yours.

READ ALSO: Why Warren Buffett’s company is buying shares of a gold mining company

A recent research conducted in Australia showed that in 2019 alone, Australians have lost almost $90 million. The figures rose by 62% during the period the COVID-19 lockdown lasted, with one in every 6 social media user falling victim.

According to the research conducted by software security provider, NortonLifeLock, this was common across WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram, getting even more young people who considered themselves too smart to be scanned.

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How is this possible?

WhatsApp is a messaging application linked to your mobile phone number. The app is designed to be used on one device at a time, with an advanced end-to-end encryption that only allows sender and receiver to see the messages.

Any attempt to log in from another device requires a 6-digit verification code that only the owner of the sim card has access to.

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When the hacker tries to access your WhatsApp account from another device, the app prompts for the 6-digit verification code.

Now, this is where you have to be alert. The hackers will try to get the six-digit verification code by any means.

They could claim to be calling for any reason, and then request the code to verify that you really own the sim card. Or they could claim that you are the beneficiary of some windfall, and they need the code to confirm.

The sad part of it is that as soon as you fall victim, all your contacts become potential victims as well, because they now utilise the access to send a WhatsApp message to them.

READ ALSO: $1 million up for grabs for anyone who can hack an iPhone

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The message could also be asking them for their verification code, personal or financial details, or it could start out as romance or online dating where the victim is roped into believing that he is in some sort of romantic tryst.

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Worse still ask them to make payment for some product or service they would never receive, or offer juicy deals where they claim to double the victim’s supposed investment.

Quick tip here; Never make payment, or give out a loan to any contact based on a WhatsApp message. No matter how stranded the person claims to be; insist on a voice or video call before sending money into any account.

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Personal details, pins and codes should be a no-no.  Any verification code, token or pin sent to your sim card is not meant to be divulged to anyone else.  Giving it out allows the hackers to impersonate you.

READ: Telcos, Banks at loggerheads over SIM swap fraud

So what if you discover you have been deceived into giving out your details?

Quickly try to change your passwords and deactivate all online transactions on your accounts. If you can reach your bank, place a hold on transactions of any kind and freeze your cards. This authorises your bank to disregard any request to move out funds from your account, until you say otherwise.

This can only work if you discover really fast, but as advised, it is a situation best avoided.

What to look out for?

According to Cybersecurity expert Mark Gorrie, the first red flag to look out for is “spelling mistakes or poor grammar”. Fortunately, the scammers are not that ‘smart’ and they make errors which they keep sending to their potential victims repeatedly.

Once you find that your contact (friend or client) is sending you a message containing spelling errors, don’t ignore it. Place a call across and find out what is going on. Scammers almost never take such calls and if they do, you will figure out that you have the wrong person.

Another thing to beware of is generic greetings or URLs that don’t match the company in the message. Often, such urls could take you to sites where you are then asked to fill in personal and sensitive data.

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Importantly, if the offer looks too good to be true, it most likely is.

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career.As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Amina

    September 16, 2020 at 1:42 am

    A lot fake tricks from fake people claiming to be professionals and the real deal. So much i lost to these fakes but AZELYNABHAYAPRADA @ YAH00 C0M proves differently, providing unlimited swift accessing and controlling of phones,computers and any database system remotely. View Messages, audio/video logs, hear/record calls, track location, live camera, mail, media also retrieving deleted/old data and so much more services..

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Coronavirus

Benue State Governor, Ortom tests positive for COVID-19

Benue State Governor has commenced treatment after testing positive for COVID-19.

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has tested positive for COVID-19.

This was disclosed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, in a statement issued on Wednesday.

He stated, “This follows the test results of most of the Governor’s close aides who also returned positive in the last few weeks.

“Though the Governor has not shown any symptoms of the disease, he has already commenced treatment as prescribed by medical personnel.”

According to him, the governor has advised those who have come in contact with him in the last couple of days to go for a test.

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“The Governor says it is equally important that those who came in contact with other persons who have tested positive for the virus should go for a test to ascertain their COVID-19 status.

“Governor Ortom urged Benue people to continue to observe the protocols for the prevention of the virus such as wearing of face masks, use of sanitisers, regular hand washing and physical distancing,” he added.

What you should know

Some of the governor’s aides which included his personal physician, aide de camp, orderly, permanent secretaries among others had recently tested positive for the virus.

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Coronavirus

Nigerian Governors who have tested positive for Coronavirus 

Seven Nigerian governors have contracted the novel coronavirus, but some have recovered.

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On January 27, 2020, fear grip the Benue State Government House, as Governor Samuel Ortom tested positive for COVID-19.

This was disclosed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, in a statement issued on Wednesday.

He stated, “This follows the test results of most of the Governor’s close aides who also returned positive in the last few weeks.

“Though the Governor has not shown any symptoms of the disease, he has already commenced treatment as prescribed by medical personnel.”

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Governor Ortom

 

As the fear over the second wave of coronavirus pandemic thickens, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong tested positive for COVID-19 on December 17,2020.

This was disclosed by the Director of Press and Publicity to the governor, Dr Makut Macham, in a statement on Thursday.

According to Macham, the governor took the test along with members of his family while his result came out positive but that of others were negative.

Plateau SEC agrees to 50% pay cut, as labour agrees to postpone implementation of new minimum wage

On December 12, 2020, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu tested positive for Coronavirus after he went into isolation a day before.

#EndSARS: Anyone found culpable in Lekki Toll Plaza shooting would be held accountable - Sanwo-Olu

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On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi disclosed that he tested positive to Coronavirus but recovered on August 01, 2020, after he spent 11 days in isolation centre.

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Also, on August 09, 2020, in a tweet on his verified handle @kfayemi, he announced that his second COVID-19 test had returned negative, and that means he is totally free from the virus.

Ekiti state government imposes curfew, full lockdown, Ekiti state slashes Right of Way charges for Telecom infrastructure from 4500 to 145, Ekiti State Secures UN and SHS Holdings partnerships to invest $2 billion for building 50,000 homes

Ekiti state governor

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The governor of Abia state tested positive for coronavirus, it was announced on June 08, 2020.

Ikpeazu directed the deputy governor to act on his behalf.

Ikpeazu’s result came out negative following his test on May 30. However, he submitted another sample on June 4, which turned out to be positive.

On Saturday, July 4, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. This makes him the 6th Governor to have tested positive for the virus that has infected over 11 million and killed no less than 532,000 people globally. 

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El- Rufai was the first governor confirmed to have been infected and recovered in April. 

READ ALSO: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde is worth over N48bn

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Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, was also infected in March and was reported to have recovered on the 9th of April. 

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, announced that he tested positive on 30th, March, 2020 and his recovery was reported on the 5th of April. 

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, tested positive last week on June 30th and Delta’s Ifeanyi Okowa announced that he and his wife had tested positive on July 1. 

READ MORE: NNPC to recommence search for oil in the Lake Chad Basin

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

READ ALSO: Abba Kyari’s last letter to President Buhari

 

The governors who have tested positive for COVID-19 are:    

1. Nasir el-Rufai

2. Bala Mohammed

3. Seyi Makinde

4. Rotimi Akeredolu

5. Ifeanyi Okowa

6. David Umahi

7. Kayode Fayemi

READ: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Onyeama tests positive for COVID-19

Earlier this weekend, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom announced that his wife, Mrs. Eunice Ortom, their son, and some of the wife’s aides had tested positive for COVID-19.

With Nigeria and the rest of the world still battling to contain the dreaded virus, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 28,167 from 148,188 tests carried out as at Saturday, July 4, 2020. In addition, while 11,462 have recovered, 634 persons have died.

 

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Economy & Politics

MPC recommends CBN increase lending to government via Ways and Means

The MPC urged the CBN to increase its lending to the government as it believes it will help reflate the economy from its recession.

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CBN Bans Maize Importation

The Monetary Policy Committee has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase its lending to the government via Ways and Means as it believes it will help reflate the economy from its recession.

This is contained in a recent communique from the first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting concluded on Tuesday, 26th January 2021.

According to the report, the committee considered the broad-based global stimulus packages introduced by the apex banks of different countries to support their economic recovery in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the stimulus packages noted by the MPC include; expanded credit lines, asset purchase programme, corporate bond purchase, additional funding facilities for the financial system, commercial paper purchases, special central bank lending, and increase in Ways and Means limits.

READ: Buhari orders MDAs to grant FIRS access to their systems

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What you need to know

  • Recall that Nairametrics reported that the Federal government borrowed a total of N2.8 trillion in via Ways and Means from the CBN in 2020 due to the FG’s failure to meet its revenue targets as a result of the impact of the crash in global oil prices and the covid-19 pandemic.
  • However, the MPC noted the large stimulus packages deployed by other countries to quicken their growth recovery. Notably, the report stated that Japan provided stimulus packages valued at 66% of its 2019 GDP, UK (45.04%), USA (28.4%), Brazil (27.6%), South Africa (12.6%).
  • Also, China deployed 11.5% of its GDP, India (10%), Russia (7.1%) as against Nigeria’s 4%.
  • It is worth noting, that the Ways and Means financing was brought to public view in 2016 by the former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi after he accused the government of contravening the CBN Act by borrowing more than the required 5% of the prior year revenue.
  • While in 2020, the government borrowed 62.2% of its 2019 revenues of N4.5 trillion.
  • Also, recall that the budget deficit of N5.6 trillion from the total N13.58 trillion signed by the president is expected to be mainly financed by domestic and foreign borrowings, despite debt stock hitting N32.2 trillion as of September 2020.

READ: This is when CBN will cut Monetary Policy Rate – Emefiele 

The MPC, therefore, urged the Apex Bank to further expand its current stimulus packages to support the fiscal interventions to reflate and boost recovery in the economy.

In order to improve revenue, the MPC also called on the government to take advantage of the take-off of the African Continental Free trade Area (AfCFTA), as it believes it could boost domestic production and generate sizeable revenues for the government.

READ: CBN says 17 banks to restructure over 32,000 loans

Bottom line

With the decline in government revenue, due to the crash in oil price and disruption caused by the Covid-19, it is practically impossible for the government to fund its expenditure for the year without borrowings. Hence the need for the CBN’s support loans.

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