By Dr. Nathaniel Atansuyi
Bank Verification Number (BVN) is a biometric authentication system that was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to help identify and authenticate bank customers. The system is aimed at reducing fraudulent activities in the banking sector by providing a unique identification number for each bank customer.
The BVN is expected to expire after every ten years, and it is the responsibility of the government and financial institutions to ensure smooth re-enrollment. However, there have been some cybersecurity issues with the BVN system in Nigeria, and this article will examine these issues and the role of the government and financial institutions in ensuring a smooth re-enrollment process.
Cybersecurity Issues with BVN in Nigeria
The BVN system in Nigeria has faced some cybersecurity challenges since its inception. Some of these challenges include:
One of the major cybersecurity issues with BVN in Nigeria is identity theft, hackers have found ways of stealing the bank customers’ identities through phishing and social engineering by using it to create fake BVN numbers. This scenario has led to unauthorized access to bank accounts and other fraudulent activities.
Data breaches usually occur whenever the BVN database experiences a compromise, this Iften results in unauthorized access to personal information, including biometric data.
Also Read: Only 57.4 Million Nigerians Have BVN – CBN
Hackers can then use this information to commit identity theft or other fraudulent activities.
Malware attacks is another mean of gaining unauthorized access to the BVN system. Malware is used to infect computers and mobile devices, allowing hackers to steal data or install other malicious software
Social engineering attacks are a trick designed to make bank customers divulge sensitive information. Hackers use this means through phishing emails or phone calls to trick customers into revealing their BVN numbers or other personal information.
Role of Government in Ensuring Smooth Re-enrollment of BVN
The Nigerian government has a crucial role to play in ensuring the smooth re-enrollment of bank customers for the BVN system. Some of the steps that the government can take include:
The government should as a matter of urgency embark on educating the bank customers on the importance of the BVN system and the need to re-enroll every ten years in order to sustain their registration. This can be done through public awareness campaigns, town hall meetings, and other forms of communication.
The government can enact regulations that require financial institutions to ensure that their customers re-enroll for the BVN system every ten years. This will help to ensure compliance and reduce the risk of fraud.
The government should collaborate with financial institutions to develop a seamless re-enrollment process.
This can involve sharing information and resources to ensure the process is efficient and effective and independent of financial institutions and locations.
Role of Financial Institutions in Ensuring Smooth Re-enrollment
Financial institutions also have a role to play in ensuring the smooth re-enrollment of their
customers for the BVN system. Some of the steps that financial institutions can take include:
Financial institutions can communicate with their customers through various channels, including email, SMS, and social media. They can inform customers of the need to re-enroll for the BVN system and provide guidance on how to do so.
Financial institutions can leverage technology to streamline the re-enrollment process. This can involve the use of mobile apps or online portals that allow customers to update their information easily.
Financial institutions can train their staff on how to assist customers with the re-enrollment process. This will help to ensure that customers receive the necessary support and guidance.
The BVN system in Nigeria is a crucial tool in the fight against fraud in the banking sector. However, the system has faced some cybersecurity challenges that need to be addressed. The government and financial institutions have a role to play in ensuring a smooth re-enrollment process for bank customers. This can be achieved through education, regulation, and collaboration.
Of utmost importance is that the re-enrollment exercise should actually commence six months before the first batch due dates to afford the usual inconveniences and rush hour syndrome used to systems implementations in Nigeria.
Dr. Nathaniel Atansuyi, FIIM, MNCS, MCPN (C.itp), Cybersecurity Analyst of Safe Mode Data Technologies [SMDT] Limited.