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NCC alerts Nigerians: How hackers can unlock, steal your vehicles

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has warned Nigerians about the devices of hackers who unlock and steal vehicles.

The warning was sounded in a statement issued by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.

In the statement on Sunday, Adinde said unedited:

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) wishes to alert telecom consumers and members of the public on an ongoing cyber-vulnerability that allows a nearby hacker to unlock vehicles, start their engines wirelessly and make away with the cars.

The fact that car remotes are categorized short range devices that make use of radio frequency (RF) to lock and unlock cars informed the need for the Commission to alert the general public on this emergent danger, where hackers take advantage to unlock and start a compromised car.

According to the latest advisory released by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), the Cybersecurity Centre for the telecom sector established by the NCC, the vulnerability is a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack or, more specifically, a replay attack in which an attacker intercepts the RF signals normally sent from a remote key fob to the car, manipulates these signals, and re-sends them later to unlock the car at will.

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With this latest type of cyber-attack, it is also possible to manipulate the captured commands and re-transmit them to achieve a different outcome altogether. “Multiple researchers disclosed a vulnerability, which is said to be used by a nearby attacker to unlock some Honda and Acura car models and start their engines wirelessly. The attack consists of a threat actor capturing the radio frequency (RF) signals sent from your key fob to the car and resending these signals to take control of your car’s remote keyless entry system,” the advisory stated emphatically.

However, the NCC-CSIRT, in the advisory, has offer some precautionary measures or solutions that can be adopted by car owners to prevent falling victim to the attack.

According to the cyber-alert unit of the Commission, “When affected, the only mitigation is to reset your key fob at the dealership. Besides, the affected car manufacturer may provide a security mechanism that generate fresh codes for each authentication request, this makes it difficult for an attacker to ‘replay’ the codes thereafter. Additionally, vulnerable car users should store their key fobs in signal-blocking ’Faraday pouches’ when not in use.”

Importantly, car owners in the stated categories are advised to choose Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) as opposed to Remote Keyless Entry (RKE), which would make it harder for an attacker to read the signal due to the fact that criminals would need to be at close proximity to carry out their nefarious acts.

The PKE is an automotive security system that operates automatically when the user is in proximity to the vehicle, unlocking the door on approach or when the door handle is pulled, and also locking it when the user walks away or touches the car on exit. The RKE system, on the other hand, represents the standard solution for conveniently locking and unlocking a vehicle’s doors and luggage compartment by remote control.

Additionally, in a related advisory, the NCC, based on another detection by CSIRT, wishes to inform the general public about the resurgence of Joker Trojan-Infected Android Apps on Google Play Store. This arose due to the activities of criminals who intentionally download legitimate apps from the Play Store, modify them by embedding the Trojan malware and then uploading the app back to the Play Store with a new name.

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The malicious payload is only activated once the apps goes live on the Play Store, which enables the apps to scale through Google’s strict evaluation process. Once installed, these apps request for permissions that once granted, enable the apps to have access to critical functions such as text messages and notifications.

As a consequence, a compromised device will subscribe unwitting users to premium services, billing them for services that do not exist. A device like this can also be used to commit Short Messaging Service (SMS) fraud while the owner is unaware.

It can click on online ads automatically and even use SMS One Time password (OTPs) to secretly approve payments. Without checking bank statements, the user will be unaware that he or she has subscribed to an online service. Other actions, such as stealing text messages, contacts, and other device data, are also possible.

To avoid falling victim to the manipulation of hackers deploying Joker Trojan-Infected Android Apps, Android users have been advised to avoid downloading unnecessary apps or installing apps from unofficial sources. The NCC also wishes to advise telecom consumers to ensure that apps installed from the Google Play Store are heavily scrutinized by reading reviews, assessing the developers, perusing the terms of use and only granting the necessary permissions.

Conclusively, the NCC recommends that unauthorised transactions be checked against any installed app. Indeed, any apps not in use should be deleted while users are also advised to ensure that a device is always patched and updated to the latest software.

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Court orders arrest, imprisonment of COAS

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Chief of Army Staff, General Farouk Yahaya

A Federal High Court sitting in Minna, Niger State has ordered the arrest of the Chief of Army Staff, General Farouk Yahaya, for alleged contempt.

Justice Halima Abdulmalik, who issued the warrant and presided over the case, said the order followed notice brought before the court in pursuant of order forty two rule ten of the Niger State High Court Civil Procedure 2018

The judge ruled that the order is commuting Yahaya to be kept in Minna correctional custody for contentions of order of the court on October 12, 2022, adding that the COAS is to remain in custody till he has been “purged”of the contempt.

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The judge issued that the Commandant Training and Doctrine Command, Minna, Major General Olugbenga Olabanji, be arrested and imprisoned for a similar offense.

Justice Abdulmalik then adjourned the case to December 8 for continuation.

This is coming few days after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja sentenced the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to three months in prison for disobeying a court order.

The IGP’s committal followed a suit that was filed by a police officer, Patrick Okoli, who was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigerian Police Force.

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Aisha Buhari to testify against student over ‘poor people money’ tweet

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First Lady, Aisha Buhari

First Lady Aisha Buhari, is expected to testify against Aminu Mohammed, a student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa, who criticised her on Twitter.

Vanguard that Aisha is among the five witnesses listed by the prosecution to testify against Mohammed in court.

Meanwhile, the police alleged that the offence, bordering on defamation and cyberstalking, contravened Section 391 of the Penal Code.

“And wrote on it in Hausa language ‘Su mama anchi kudi talakawa ankoshi’ roughly translated to the English language to mean ‘mama has embezzled monies meant for the poor to satisfaction’ and posted same on your above Twitter handle for the members of the public to read, knowing same to be false and capable of affecting her reputation. You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 391 of the penal code.”

The defendant is to be remanded in Suleja Prison pending the hearing and determination of his bail application, as disclosed by his lawyer, Kinsley Anga.

Recall that the said student was remanded in prison after being arraigned at the FCT High Court No. 14 in Abuja on Tuesday for cyberstalking and defamation against the First Lady.

Although Mohammed pleaded not guilty, he was still sent to the Suleja correctional centre without an option of bail.

The 24-year-old who hails from Bauchi State was allegedly arrested on the orders of the First Lady a few days ago sparking outrage among Nigerians with many calling for his release.

He had tweeted back in June in the Hausa language that the First Lady was feeding fat on the poor people’s money.

The tweet read, “Su mama Anchi Kudin Talakawa an koshi,” meaning, “Mama has fed fat on poor people’s money.”

The 500-level student was picked up from his school two weeks ago and taken straight to the Presidential Villa where he was allegedly brutalised, beaten, maltreated and humiliated by the police suspected of men belonging to the Department of State Services.

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Aminu Mohammed detention: NANS to begin nationwide protest on Monday

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Aminu Adamu and Aisha Buhari

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