3639581934?profile=RESIZE_710xRear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, stated recently that Nigeria and 15 other countries in the Gulf of Guinea waters are losing approximately $2 billion to pirate attacks.  This announcement comes on the heels of an International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report that explained Nigeria was rated tops in Gulf of Guinea pirate attacks.  Nigerian additionally loses several millions of dollars to illegal fishing and poaching on its coastal and territorial waters.  This announcement was presented at a recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria (MASPAN), in Lagos Nigeria.[1] 

The Nigerian Navy said that apart from the piracy issues, which has been a long problem in the Gulf of Guinea, there are other emerging security threats such as sabotage of oil and gas infrastructure and marine resource theft, as well as other international organized crimes that are being tracked and analyzed.  He also emphasized that the security threats keep evolving from traditional to conventional warfare.  Cyber threats also rank high, as the Nigerian cybercriminal network has become quite proficient in their trade.

Admiral Ibas stated, “The maritime domain has been under threat by piracy, sea robbery, illicit trafficking, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and marine pollution.  Now we have emerging security threats within the Nigerian maritime domain that stem largely from non-military causes such as socio-economic agitations and a large army of unemployed and under-employed youths in the coastal communities, whose activities manifest through attacks on shipping.

There are estimates that the annual cost of piracy to the Gulf of Guinea region is over $2 billion especially in the maritime domain of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.  The frequent attacks by quite diverse interests, across the vast maritime domain, has continued to give cause for concerns.  The IMB ranks the Gulf of Guinea as one of the most dangerous global waterways, after the Gulf of Aden.  In 2018, Nigeria were hit with 48 actual and attempted piracy attacks, up from 33 from 2017.  Nigeria is again ranked highest Gulf of Guinea country for reported incidents, with about 21 attacks out of 77 reported globally.[2]

Ibas noted that its maritime space has tremendous economic potentials due to its rich hydrocarbon deposit, fishery, natural resources, and several port facilities.  He believes, if well harnessed, these resources can improve the livelihood of the nation’s population.  Nigeria has long struggled with internal corruption and exploitation of its natural resources.    

Nigeria is losing $600 million annually to illegal and unreported fishing by foreign vessels.  These analysts believe is a direct result of lack of basic maritime equipment such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).  These are basic technology required for an effective maritime domain awareness and patrol programs. 

Wapack Labs has long tracked Nigerian hackers under a program titled, the “Daily Show.”  We are currently tracking a Nigerian hacker using the handle: UnknownCrypter.  This individual is the author of WSH RAT, a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) which is a JavaScript rewrite of the Visual Basic Script (VBS) RAT utilized by FudCrypt malware.  WSH RAT’s website wshsoftware.site and FudCrypt.com both display the same registrant in their WHOIS records and has a listed owner of a second individual, UnknownCrypt.  UnknownCrypt is likely a separate individual, who borrowed FudCrypt’s hacking tools, business model and started to sell the tool after changing a code comment crediting the author to himself and calling it WSH RAT.[3]  These are just two recent examples of Nigerians working in tandem and applying their malicious cyber trade to attack unsuspecting victims, often in the sectors described above.    

Wapack Labs is located in New Boston, NH.  We are a Cyber Threat Analysis and Intelligence Service organization.  For questions, comments or assistance, please contact the lab directly at 1-844-492-7225, or feedback@wapacklabs.com

[1] https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2019/09/30/nigeria-others-lose-2bn-to-pirates-attacks-annually-says-naval-chief/

[2] https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1129132/Piracy-problem-is-a-threat-to-Nigerias-maritime-economy

[3] Wapack Labs report: IR-19-273-001

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