Drug cartels, organized crime, international money launderers and computer hackers are unleashing themselves on the information highways, and they are becoming even more successful. There is also mounting concern about cyberterrorism through the use of computer sabotage – one of the fastest growing criminal activities on the planet. Organized criminals are using cyberspace more frequently to target credit card information and personal and financial details for computer fraud, to the profit of credit card counterfeit operations.
Recent evaluation by the Human Rights and Justice Group International “On the State of Cybercrime/Cyberterrorism in Nigeria” has shown that it has been drastically reduced in the last six (6) months. This can be attributed to the conscious stand of various law enforcement agencies in Nigeria such as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), INTERPOL-Nigeria, the Nigeria Police, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The Human Rights and Justice Group International has been actively involved in the campaign against Cybercrime/Cyberterrorism since December 2004, in collaboration with these agencies.
Recent events suggest that many of the perpetrators have been unable to bear the heat generated by President Olusegun Obasanjo’s anti-corruption fight, and may have relocated to other neighbouring countries to continue their nefarious deals. The world has yet to acknowledge that the activity of these Internet fraudsters will continue to thrive and expand if serious and directed measures are not take to combat it.
The Human Rights and Justice Group has been in the forefront and seriously involved in the campaign against Cybercrime/Cyberterrorism in Nigeria and West African sub region since 2004 and has recorded some success in this regard. For detailed information on the Cybercrime activities of the Justice Group, or to file a report, please contact the HRJGI secretariat in Surulere.
To date, the Human Rights and Justice Group has prevented fraudulent shipments to Nigeria of goods worth over US$500,000. In most cases, the illicit transactions have been intercepted online, thereby preventing shipment before the goods are in transit. Many other cases are still pending in which confidentiality prevents our disclosing details while investigations are underway. In the above-mentioned cases, the Internet has played a vital role in the arrest of the perpetrators.
The Human Rights and Justice Group International maintains communication with the various companies defrauded as well as the law enforcements agents of the various countries where these criminals are residing. HRGJI has demonstrated that the Internet is a vital tool for securing the fundamental rights of online business owners and as well as the rights of consumers. Technology donations from KITE (computer equipment and internet connectivity), Kabissa (technology training, web hosting and email), and individual US citizens have facilitated this research and benefitted a large sector of society both in Nigeria and the US.
Nevertheless, goods worth thousands of dollars are still being shipped to Africa on a daily basis to countries including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Cote D’ Ivoire, Senegal, and Cameroon. HRGJI has recently discovered yet another credit card generating web site at www.elfqrin.com (registered in Italy), and we are taking systematic measures to locate the owners of the site so that it can be shut down.
As Cybercrime is not constrained within national boundaries, it can only be properly and efficiently addressed by having some international understanding as to what it is and how it should be fought. Our experience has sown that national security issues have made the attempt to establish common standards a daunting task in Nigeria and abroad. Nevertheless, HRGJI continues our efforts as we firmly believe that there is no alternative but to succeed.
Despite recent inroads in the pursuit of international cybercriminals, much work still needs to be done. We encourage those who are victims of electronic theft, as well as any who may have information leading to the apprehension of these criminals to contact the Justice Group to file a report. All information provided to HRGJI will be held in strict confidence.