MTN Nigeria server breakdown on Saturday, a reliable source said may have cost the telecommunication giant within two hours an estimated N700 million.
It was also alleged that the new listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) contacted the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate cybercrime which promoted N50,000 deduction for 128GB from customers whose phone numbers are linked to their account numbers.
Another source told Nigerian NewsDirect that several MTN customers’ lines who obtained free data via *131*7*5*1*1# were blocked for 24 hours as the company continued to restore its failed data network.
The company in a text message to customers that was obtained by Nigerian NewsDirect read: “Dear customers, our electronic and VTU recharge channels may be unavailable from 12-8 am on Sunday, 16 June. Please recharge before 12 or use a voucher or dial *904#. If a minimum of 1000 is not recharged your SIM will be barred.”
Another text reads, “Dear valid customers, your SIM will be temporarily barred within the next 24 hours due to the consistent use of unassigned data.”
In his reaction, the Senior Manager, External Relations for Information Communication Technology (ICT) giant, MTN Nigeria, Funso Aina in a text message to Newsmen said, “The system glitch reported has been resolved and erroneous allocation of data reversed on all affected accounts.”
He explained further that, “Please note that no money or airtime was deducted from anyone’s account as it has been erroneously stated.”
He did not respond to how much was lost in terms of value and how many MTN customers benefited from the free data.
Meanwhile, The President of National Association of Telecom Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo said that it is a sad occurrence for MTN, although it could be considered as cybercrime.
According to him, “It is unfortunate that it happened to MTN and I think it can be classify as cybercrime.”
Responding to Newsmen question on the vulnerability of MTN server to cyber attacks and the possibility of leakage of subscribers data and privacy, the NATCOMS President noted that valuable information, confidentiality and privacy is now eroded.
Ogunbanjo agreed that the company’s server might have been compromised and maintained that “it is quite true that MTN server could have become vulnerable, if subscribers could use a code to get free 120GB then customers data and privacy is greatly at risk, at the brink of leakage. However, MTN should encrypt very well”, he pointed out.
Ogunbanjo frowned at subscribers action as an act of cybercrime and supported MTN move against offenders.
“Whatever actions the affected telco wants to take they are free to take but subscribers confidentiality and privacy must not be threatened. MTN must take the responsibility of convincing us that our data and privacy are adequately protected”, he said.
Meanwhile, social network was agog over the server glitch that becomes a trending issue most especially on Twitter.
A twitter user, with handle@realfrancisanam had sent a tweet to MTN Nigeria support that, “ Some customers are getting 128GB for free. Some are even doing it more than once. Please try and do something about this. I would have done it but I don’t have MTN SIM card. Just try and block all their SIM cards.”
MTN Nigeria support thus replied on twitter that, “ Y’ello, thank you for contacting us and bringing this to our attention. Please provide sample phone numbers for prompt investigation.”