NCC Raises Alarm Over Cyber Attacks Through USB Drives

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has alerted members of the public that a cybercrime group has perfected a scheme to deliver ransomware to targeted organizational networks. The Commission in a statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde urged the public to be vigilant to avoid falling victims of cyber attacks.

The NCC said the new ransomware uncovered by security experts has been categorised, by the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team’s (ngCERT), as high-risk and critical. It noted that according to the ngCERT advisory, the criminal group is said to have been mailing out USB thumb drives to many organisations in the hope that recipients will plug them into their PCs and install the ransomware on their networks.


While businesses are being targeted, criminals could soon begin sending infected USB drives to individuals, the Commission explained further. Describing how the cybercrime group runs the ransomeware, the NCC noted that the ngCERT advisory says the USB drives contain so-called ‘BadUSB’ attacks.

The Commission said: “The BadUSB exploits the USB standards versatility and allows an attacker to reprogram a USB drive to emulate a keyboard to create keystrokes and commands on a computer. It then installs malware prior to the operating system booting, or spoofs a network card to redirect traffic.”

According to ngCERT, “The attack has been seen in the US where the USB drives were sent in the mail through the Postal Service and Parcel Service. One type contained a message impersonating the US Department of Health and Human Services and claimed to be a COVID-19 warning. Other malicious USBs were sent in the post with a gift card claiming to be from Amazon.”

However, ngCERT has offered recommendations that will enable corporate and individual networks to mitigate the impact of this new cyber attack and be protected from the ransomware. These recommendations include a call on individuals and organisations not to insert USB drives from unknown sources, even if they’re addressed to you or your organization.

In addition, if the USB drive comes from a company or a person one is not familiar with and trusts, it is recommended that one contacts the source to confirm they actually sent the USB drive.

Finally, ngCERT has advised Information and Communication Technology as well as other Internet users to report any incident of system compromises to ngCERT via, for technical assistance.

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