Cyber Crime in Nigeria; Where did we get it wrong?
In 1998, when internet services became available in Nigeria, very few people were really interested in knowing how it works.
We were all fixated on using the service to carry out activities (such as emailing and searching Google for information) that were available at that time.
Even people that tried to seek employment in the sector were not necessarily interested in the nitty gritty of the infrastructure.
That is why we have ISP (Internet Service Provider) employees and employers that cannot explain why a Torrent software still drains data after a user has completed a successful download.
That is why we have Web developers that can’t even relate to the concept of Cloud Computing.
Have you seen Cisco and Huawei Certified Individuals that have neither crimped a LAN Cable nor seen a live Router or Switch?
That is why we have bank employees that don’t understand how Online Payment Systems work.
The internet rides on a basic concept. That is, the connection of multiple computing devices for the purpose of sharing resources.
Truth be told.
The average Nigerian does not even know how the internet works.
A lot of them still think the data subscription that they use for browsing is one sort of quantity created and stored in their phones/sim cards. If exhausted, has to be renewed again.
People have walked up to me in the past to ask me funny questions like how they can create their own megabyte (data subscription) to browse with their phones.
Some even think that when you visit a website, MTN, Glo, Airtel pays the owner of the website for visiting your website. When you tell them that “the owner of the website has to passively/actively pay for his/her own internet subscription for you to be able to visit his/her website they will start arguing with you because they cannot comprehend it.
Sometime ago I attended a Computer Networking and Digital Communications lecture where the speaker said he wanted to give us an idea.
What was this idea?
“Create a website, so that when people visit it, MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile can pay you.”
Imagine this coming from a Computer Networking Professional.
Everyone has just created an image in their head of what the internet is all about.
Just a quick detour;
Lack of knowledge of how the internet works is not just a Nigerian problem though.
PCMag reported a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by HighSpeedInternet.com in which 83 percent of respondents said they knew how the internet works. But when asked to explain it, just 66 percent actually could.
The fact that people do not understand how the internet works is the primary reason Cybercrime has become a highly profitable venture.
Someone who claims to be a staff at your bank calls you on the phone to inform you that your account has been deactivated. Tells you your account balance, recent transactions, BVN and asks you to tell him/her the OTP (One-time password) or code that was just sent to you. And people still fall for that prank in 2020. If you even have a clue on how banking systems work you would have just laughed at the caller.
The way some Nigerians quickly end such calls and shout “blood of Jesus” just amuses me. Where is the connection?
Someone’s card details got stolen, he then destroys the ATM card instead of just blocking it. As if the ATM card is one data transmission device.
It is just funny the sort of actions people carry out to protect themselves on the internet.
It is for this reason I wrote a book; Decoding Cybercrime.
We are building a society where people really don’t know how the internet works. Yet they use it for almost all their daily activities.
We really need to go back to the basics of the internet to actually win the war against Cyber Crime.