MTN Nigeria has reportedly lost over N700 million to the hacking of its server by cybercriminals at the weekend.
The incident took place within just two hours after subscribers accessed up to 120GB of free data per individual.
We cannot independently confirm the report but Daily Independent Nigeria reported that, as the biggest but most challenging market for the South African company, MTN Nigeria has over 60 million mobile phone subscribers.
The valuation of $7.3 billion makes it the second biggest company by revenue listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
According to reports, the newly listed company also notified the office of the Nigerian Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate a suspected cybercrime offence.
However, the operator was reported to have sent a text message to customers, saying: “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 was sent later: “Dear valid customers, your SIM will be temporarily barred within the next 24 hours due to the consistent use of unassigned data.”
Telecommunications analyst Dobek Pater at Africa Analysis said it is important for telcos to protect their infrastructure from unwarranted intrusion by cybercriminals.