Nigerian Intelligence Agents' Information Posted Online
CREDIT: Gabrel Photography/Shutterstock.com
Nigeria's secret police were unable to detect a personnel data leak and were derelict in informing agents that their identifying information had been published online, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Nigeria's State Security Service's records were compromised in August by an individual or group who released names, addresses, phone numbers and bank details of more than 60 past and present employees. The stolen data was posted in the comments section of a news website and was accompanied by threats claiming to be from the radical Islamic group Boko Haram. The post threatened agents' lives and made public the details of service officials, including those of the director-general and his son.
The Islamic terrorist organization is responsible for the deaths of more than 650 Nigerians this year alone and is known to have targeted Security Service agents in the past.
The AP said that they used the leaked information to contact various agents who told them that their employer had not warned them about the security breach. In fact, it was the other way around. Agents had to discover the news on their own and then share it with each other. They later called the State Security Service to notify them that data had been stolen.
It's still unclear if the information theft is a result of an external online network breach or if it was stolen by an agency employee with access to the documents.
This latest security issue comes as the agency, which was created to track domestic dissent in Africa’s most populace state, struggles with a perception for being soft on religious radicals.
A freed prisoner went on to plan a car-bomb attack at U.N headquarters last August, the AP reported, and said that the Nigerian government almost let a man with known terrorist ties board an international flight, despite notices from Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, that he was to be arrested. Diplomatic cables show U.S. officials' uneasiness with Nigeria's policy of releasing suspects into the custody of Islamic leaders.
As with any data leak on the Internet, it’s still unclear whether the poster has ties to Boko Haram, but according to the AP, an anonymous senior intelligence official, the threat and leak of information embarrassed the agency.