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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Members of the Nigerian Information Technology (IT) Professionals in diaspora have challenged the United States government via the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to help Nigeria in curbing the increasing online crime.
The group said America can commence the crack down on online crime from the closure of a US-based fraudulent site called t35.com.
Making this appeal at the weekend, some members of Naija IT Professional at Yahoogroup, claimed that the site, t35.com has been replicating information purportedly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and electronic payment institutions like Interswitch.
According to them, the Whois report on t35.com indicated that the registrant actually is based in the US, as one of the contributors urged those Nigerians residing in the States to take the issue up with the authorities, especially the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to act quickly.
“Can people in the US please take this up with either t35.com or FBI to disable the site or is t35 an accomplishment in this crime against people and government of Nigeria?” asked a contributor.
Citing a public announcement from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fraud allegedly perpetrated by one Alex Melen of United States, they noted that few years ago, one of their members had registered on a purported CBN website, http://www.cenbank.org/IntOps/chipnpin,while giving a feedback.
Part of the announcement read: “Please note that Your Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Card would be suspended due to the emergence of the new Interswitch (Verve) Chip and Pin card. In order for your ATM Card to remain active, you would have to upgrade your ATM Card to the new Chip and Pin ATM, please use the button below.
“Activate the New Chip and pin programme to get unlimited access on your ATM Card. Click http://www.cenbank.org/IntOps/chipnpin.”
The announcement also warned “Failure to adhere to this warning would cause your ATM access to be suspended within 48 hours.”
Although there were questions on why should a Central Bank conduct its business through this way and should it not have been better if CBN had taken this type of transaction via the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
Secure Sockets Layer is usually cryptographic protocols which provide secure communications on the Internet. It has also been described by experts at ssl.com as a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, even as it was created by Netscape to ensure secure transactions between web servers and browsers by using a third party, a Certificate Authority (CA), to identify one end or both end of the transactions.
But investigations showed that if the above link is copied and pasted into a browser, the page is unavailable but when clicked upon the hyperlink; http://www.cenbank.org/IntOps/chipnpin, the address will go http://www.interswitchslines.t35.com/.
Further investigations revealed that the Whois information on t35.com, showed it was a US-based fraud site and does not even have a relationship with a Nigerian or originating from this part of the world.
Wisegeek.com defined Whois as the Internet function that allows one to query remote WHOIS databases for domain registration information.
This was corroborated by Open Source free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which stated that it is a query or response protocol that is a type of Internet query-based protocol that assists in locating the legal owner of a given web address.
According to WHOIS information for t35.com:“Visit AboutUs.org for more information about t35.comRegistration Service Provided By:NameCheap.com Contact: support@NameCheap.comVisit:http://www.namecheap.comDomain name: t35.comRegistrant Contact:T35 Hosting, Alex Melen, 42-09 Naugle Drive, Fair Lawn, State 07410, US.”
Also revealed was that the administrative contact was “T35 Hosting, Melen (firstname.lastname@example.org), +1.2018197618 of the same above address.
While the technical contact showed that it was being hosted by Mr. Alex Melen at T35.
The IT pros therefore, called on US authorities through FBI to expedient actions regarding Mr. Alex Melen and his cohorts, mostly, by FBI to take urgent measures as far as this matter is concerned.
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