An unknown threat actor has targeted the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry Content Joint Qualification System (nogicjqs.gov.ng) and posted its data on the hacker forum with sample images revealing lists of files, including backups and MySQL data.
Currently, the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry Content Joint Qualification System (NOGIC) JQS portal is inaccessible and “under maintenance”. The website (nogicjqs.gov.ng) states that the application is undergoing updates.
A threat actor posted screenshots of data on the hacker forum on January 2. The attackers behind this incident remain unidentified so far. No group has claimed responsibility for the supposed ransomware attack.
The Nigerian oil and gas industry has been in the news over the oil theft controversy, price increase, and discovery of oil slicks in the Escravos river. As per reports, Nigeria is Africa’s primary oil provider and adds 1.2 million barrels of oil daily.
The NOGIC JQS website
The NOGIC JQS website offers services such as registration of contractors in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, marine vessel registration, verification, databases for national skill development, categorization of marine support vendors, expatriate quota application management, tenders management, etc.
This points towards the severity of the hacking and leaking of sensitive and critical data.
Living conditions of Nigerians
According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Development Programme, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development initiative to measure multidimensional poverty, 63% of Nigerians were found to be multidimensionally poor.
Reports suggest that Nigeria has struggled in terms of creating a robust infrastructure, having adequate regulations and security, and the optimum utilization of its refining capabilities.
Moreover, Nigerian aging infrastructure has also failed to provide adequate safety measures and incident response, such as the incident in February where a storage and offloading vessel, caught fire. The exploded oil vessel near the coast is yet to be thoroughly investigated in terms of gauging its impact.
Amid such concerns, threat actors using the data from Nigerian websites pertaining to the oil and gas sector may lead to the disclosure of sensitive data.
The concerning situation arising due to the environmental hazard and ownership of the vast oil wealth has led to conflicts between various ethnic groups and the militarization of regions within the Niger Delta region.
The violence and tension have also impacted foreign investors from contributing to developing new power plants in Nigeria.