How Hackers Attack Lagos Bank ATMs

Reports say that large number of Automated Teller Machines ATM located in some upper-class areas of Lagos like Victoria Island, Lekki Peninsula Phase I and II, and Ikoyi have been attacked by hackers and electronic fraudsters.


The hackers are said to be fixing small fraud tools on the ATMs in order to harvest the passwords of cardholders who come to collect cash or do some other transactions on the machines.

Top bank officials privy to the development said a number of banks had deployed detectives to monitor their ATMs in those locations, especially in the Victoria Island and Lekki axis.

A banker told our correspondent, “A number of the ATMs in Victoria Island and Lekki axis have been compromised by hackers. Some of these fraudsters visit those ATMs very late in the night or very early in the morning to fix some fraud devices on them, which are capable of collecting cardholders’ information, including their passwords.

“They come back later to remove those devices. The information collected is then used to commit fraud against those customers later.

“Most of us (banks) are aware of the development and we are very vigilant now. What some of us have done is to get a patrol team of security men to start combing the affected areas and the ATMs from time to time. We will get those guys soon.”

While some of the cardholders’ information collected by the fraudsters were being used to commit online-related frauds locally, a large number was used to clone ATM cards and used to shop in malls abroad, especially in the United States of America, bankers told our correspondent.

The Vice-Chairman, Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads, Mr. Dele Adeyinka, confirmed the fraudsters’ activities.

He, however, said that following the banks’compliance with the CBN directive asking them to install anti-skimming devices on their ATMs, it would be difficult for the fraudters’ devices to work.

He said, “Yes, it is true that hackers are carrying out those activities. It is not only in Victoria Island axis, they are doing it everywhere. But all the banks have complied with the CBN directive on anti-fraud tools. So, it will be difficult for those fraud devices to work.”

Rising cases of electronic frauds, especially ATM-related scams, which have made Nigerian banks to lose billions of naira in recent times, have forced some lenders to prevent their payments cards from working in the US, China and a few other countries.

According to Central Bank of Nigeria statistics, the banks lost N40bn to electronic frauds in 2013 alone.

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