SCANDAL: ‘NBA’ SENDS SCAM ELECTION EMAIL

The controversies trailing the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Officers Elections inched up a notch higher at the weekend due to a phishing email to members allegedly emanating from the lawyers’ body.

This is coming against the backdrop of an exclusive report by CITY LAWYER http://citylawyermag.com/2018/07/12/nba-hires-usoros-co-directors-firm-as-ict-partner-for-elections/ which showed that Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, a major candidate in the elections, is a co-director at Access Bank Plc with Dr. (Mrs.) Ajoritsedere Josephine Awosika, the first female Chairman of CHAMS Plc. CHAMS has been selected by the NBA as the ICT Partner for the crucial elections.

The association had on July 11, 2018 sent an email to all members announcing the commencement of the verification exercise scheduled to hold between July 10 and 15, 2018. Signed by the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Agoro, the email urged members to visit the election update portal to participate in the exercise.

Another email was received by many NBA members on July 15 with the same content as the earlier one. Both emails were sent from the traditional NBA address, info1@nigerianbar.org.ng while the sender’s name was “NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION.”

However, it has been discovered that the July 15 email has a security warning indicating that it is a phishing email. The security warning read: “Be careful with this message. It contains content that’s generally used to steal personal information.” Phishing is defined as “the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.”

When the July 15 email was viewed with another computer system, a similar warning was generated as follows: “This message seems dangerous. Many people marked similar messages as phishing scams, so this might contain unsafe content. Avoid clicking links, downloading attachments, or replying with personal information.” It is noteworthy that the verification portal addresses provided in both emails remain unchanged at https://nbaelectionprofileupdate.com.ng/.

Again, when CITY LAWYER attempted to visit the verification portal link contained in the email, another security warning popped up: “Suspicious link – This link leads to an untrusted site. Are you sure you want to proceed to nbaelectionprofileupdate.com.ng?”

When CITY LAWYER compared the “security details” of the earlier NBA email with the July 15 email to authenticate whether the emails emanated from the same source, the following particulars were the same for both emails:

Mailed by: nigerianbar.org.ng
Signed by: nigerianbar.onmicrosoft.com
Security: Standard encryption (TLS)

It is noteworthy that when a computer cursor is placed on the name of the sender of a phishing email, the fake email is revealed. However, when this tool was applied on both emails, it still indicated that both emanated from the NBA and its regular email address.

This has raised serious concerns on whether the verification portal has been compromised. It also raises issues as to the source of the suspicious email and the capacity of CHAMS to secure the voting portal from hackers and deliver an election that is devoid of rancour.

Given the hiccups that have attended the verification exercise, there are strong indications that many lawyers may not be able to participate in the exercise.

It was unclear at press time whether the suspicious email actually emanated from NBA. When CITY LAWYER telephoned Agoro for clarification on the matter, it was indicated that “the number you’re calling cannot be reached.”

NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud SAN had severally promised to deliver free, fair and rancour-free elections come July 27 and 28, 2018. It is recalled that the 2016 NBA Elections was marred by controversies that threatened to tear the lawyers’ body apart.

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