BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI, ABUJA – The hacking of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) official Twitter handle has triggered off the panic button in some government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Competent sources in Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), confirmed that all MDAs have been directed to activate necessary safety measures to protect and prevent their official websites from being compromised by criminal elements.
It was gathered that with the directive, most MDAs were already making frantic efforts at activating the ‘two-factor’ authentication and other necessary codes as part of measures to ward off threats and keep the hackers in check.
Amid the ongoing #EndSARS protests across several cities in the country, Nigerians were shocked by a tweet in which the hackers described themselves as ‘#Anonymous’.
But temporary respite from the worries came from Special Assistant to President Muhammad Buhari, on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, who assured that; “Twitter has helped take control of the hacked NBC account.”
On Friday, October 16, 2020, posts on the official twitter account, @nbcgovng, were embarrassingly in support of #EndSARS campaigners. The posts indicated that the last official message was offloaded on October 15, 2020.
Findings confirmed that the hackers, had at about 12.00am, sent out an image sensitising people about the #EndSARS protests, with the official logo of NBC attached.
Threatening that their mission is to “expose the government’s secrets and dirty files”, the hackers posted their messages at about 12.00am, announcing: “#EndSARSBrutality; #EndPoliceBrutalityInNigeriaNow”
“We #Anonymous Group Of Hackers will continue supporting the citizens of Nigeria. Expect Us – #Hacked,” the tweet said
Upping their threat to cause more harm in the polity, the hackers teasingly requested Nigerians to suggest other government agencies’ official websites they would want compromised.
“Good morning, great Nigerians. TGIF and it’s also a good day to #ENDSARS and #EndSWAT. Which government website(s) would you want us to play with? #TwitterDown #NBChacked,” the ‘#Anonymous’ said.
Reports by Emergency Digest stated that; “Though the handle is yet to be verified by Twitter, it had been used for official communication by NBC.
“It was created in 2013 as the Official Twitter Account of the National Broadcasting Commission – Nigeria’s Broadcast Industry Regulator. NBC… Your Right to Quality Broadcasting.”
Currently, the account has over 17,200 followers and unconfirmed reports suggested that the ‘Anonymous’ may have also compromise the database of a security agency in Nigeria.
Twitter, which is used by hundreds #EndSARS protesters, went offline for almost two hours on Thursday, October 15, 2020.
However, the company said there was no evidence that its security had been breached. This ugly development marks a new setback for the firm, which late on Thursday altered its policies on hacked content after accusations of bias stemming from its decision to block a news report critical of Democratic White House candidate in the November 3 election, former Vice President, Joe Biden.
In July 2020, prominent Americans including former President Barack Obama; Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos; Microsoft founder, Bill Gates; and Tesla Chief Elon Musk, saw their Twitter accounts hacked.
Similarly, in September 2019, Twitter experienced a brief but embarrassing attack: the account of its founder Jack Dorsey was compromised, with erratic and offensive messages posted from it.
#Anonymous is a hackers’ group with suspected international links whose activities gained traction in the hear of the “#Black Lives Matter” campaigns – Additional reports from Emergency Digest