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INEC Chairman grapples with cyber theft

INEC Chairman grapples with cyber theft



It is good that the website of the INEC was successfully reactivated hours after it was hacked on Saturday.
When the PUNCH navigated the site on the day of the incident, it was gathered that vital information on the on-going general elections remained intact restored.
But a section of social media users have berated
the Independent National Electoral Commission for failure to conduct due diligence on the hacking as required by digital security practice before reactivating it. They argued that the site oought to have been taken down to prevent further abuse.
Those who advised INEC to suspend the website
argued that the sensitive nature of the site at the
moment calls for a thorough scrutiny, which they
said the commission might have ignored as a
result of the pressure it has faced.
The website was hacked and defaced just three
hours into the Saturday presidential poll. The
hacking was carried out by an unknown group, called ‘Nigerian Cyber Army’ .
As of Sunday, INEC had not made a fresh public
statement on the hacking. It could, however, not
be confirmed whether it was restored by the
hackers or its administrator.
Chairman of the commission, Attahiru Jega,
said that important data were not affected by
the unlawful access. After taking over the crucial site, the hackers defaced the homepage with what appeared to be a scornful message, saying, “Feel some shame admin! Security is just an illusion.”
Those who expressed reservation about its
reactivation said the unlawful access might have
grave implications if it was motivated by a
terrorist intention. Supposing it was just to mock
the electoral umpire, a tweeter, commenting via
@gently_1, said, “It implied that INEC webpage
has no security anybody can rely on to secure
vital information.”
Taking to its Twitter page, INEC confirmed the
incident, saying it was investigating it.
Not a few people have expressed reservation
about the decision to keep the site functional
when the hackers have not been identified.
Those who shared the view called on the INEC to take it down immediately, as the content on the website may have been compromised.
One Uwem Uwemakpan who tweeted on the incident said it was embarrassing that “the site is active less than a day after it was hacked by unknown individuals.”
The fact is that experts advise that hacked
websites should be temporary taken down so as to make a proper assessment.
An expert in digital security, Don Cranford said
“You should temporarily shut down a hacked
while it is being assessed and fixed. Your
hosting control panel may have the ability to
temporarily turn off your site. You may need to
protect the main directory where your website
resides to block visitors from accessing your
site.”
Meanwhile, the INEC boss, Prof. Attahiru-Jega is also facing identity theft on Twitter. An account wrongly associated with him and which is actively
disseminating information on the presidential
election was on Sunday renounced by the
commission.
Operator of the parody account – @Attahirujega
– said in a series of tweets on Sunday, “Only the
Commission has the power to announce results,
anybody who does so before INEC will be liable
to an electoral offence.
“Dear Nigerians, keep calm, retweet if you are
waiting for me to announce the results of the
2015 presidential elections.”
The Twitter handle also noted that the database
of the INEC was not, a statement that mimicked Jega’s offline pronouncement on the issue.
The electoral body officially tweeted on Sunday,
warning against unauthorised announcement of
results. The warning came as conflicting results which was circulated on different social media channels.

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