The Federal Government of Nigeria has reacted after Russian hackers, reportedly hacked a popular sports betting site known as Bet9ja.
The Government has condemned the cyber-attacks on the betting operators as contained in a statement issued by the management of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC in Abuja on Friday.
The NLRC in the statement assured that it was working with Bet9ja to ensure that no one suffers any loss due to this situation.
The statement read; “The management of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission is using this medium to inform the general public that it is aware that KC Gaming Networks Limited (Bet9ja), one of the leading Sports Betting operators in Nigeria, recently suffered cyber-attacks on its
“As the apex regulator of lotteries and gaming in Nigeria, we entirely condemn such a nefarious act that has adversely affected the company’s operations, howbeit temporarily.
“Furthermore, the NLRC is not unmindful of the challenges posed by this ugly situation to the Nigerian gaming public.
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“However, we gladly state that Bet9ja is already on top of the matter, and normalcy will return to their business operations.
“Therefore, the gaming public should rest assured that the commission is working with Bet9ja to ensure that no one suffers any loss due to this situation.
“Consequently, we entreat your patience and understanding while the company restores its normal operations soon.”
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The Russian Blackcat Group took over the site slowly from Wednesday, 6th and completely on Thursday, 7th.
Sports pundits who frequently use the betting platform said the hack was noticed in the earlier hours of Wednesday as they could not access the site.
According to an operator, Michael Okoro he worked in his shop late on Tuesday and noticed the abnormalities early Wednesday morning.
He also alleged that the hackers have contacted the betting company and demanded a ransom of N5bn.
“I have not worked since Wednesday morning due to the attack on the bet9ja site.
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“The site has been down for almost 48 hours. They company I heard said the hackers demanded a ransom of N5bn to allow them control over the site.”
He also said that the situation has kept him out of work and prays that it be solved before next week Monday.
The management of Bet9ja have also confirmed the hack. A statement by the management reads;
“Just like so many market-leading global organizations, Bet9ja recently became a victim of a sophisticated criminal cyber-attack, which is restricting your access to our platform.
“We take this matter extremely seriously. Our priority is protecting our customers and you have our assurances that your accounts and all your funds are safe.
“We appreciate your patience and understanding at this difficult time.
“We will be back stronger as soon as is technically possible, rewarding you with a truly sensational bonanza of promotions.”
Chairman of KC Gaming Networks Limited, owners of Bet9ja, Kunle Soname, after confirming the attack and that the hackers have demanded a staggering amount of money to be paid in bitcoin as ransom, while assuring that the website would be back online (today) Friday, March 8; also debunked claims that the company absconded to avoid paying large winnings to customers who won recently, stating that all winnings will be paid once services are fully restored.
The company stated that its IT team was working tirelessly to restore normal services of the Bet9ja website and further assured customers that their funds are safe despite Bet9ja website hacked trending.
The statement reads thus; “It is important to keep you all updated on the actual position of things as it has been very challenging in the last 24 hours. We have seen some posts in different groups that we are carrying out a maintenance, that is obviously not the case. We will not choose an important UCL day to do such.
”The entire Bet9ja system has been under attack by the Russian Blackcat group who are famous for several attacks to huge companies in the world. It is a huge hacker attack by this Russian group but our people are working from yesterday without stopping for a minute to restore all the services but it is not easy.”
”Please do not be discouraged, we will surely restore things as soon as possible and provide update on the progress.
“They are asking for ransom already but we will never accept their conditions. it is important to let you know this so that we are all on the same page. They have hit us hard but of course they cannot kill us. We will stand our ground and come back even much more stronger,” the statement read.
Bet9ja is an online bookmaker company that offers betting on major sporting events operating in Nigeria.
Traded under KC Gaming Networks Limited and run by a series of shareholders of multiple nationalities, the website is licensed by the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) with permission to operate in other parts of Nigeria.
Bet9ja.com is the third most-visited website in Nigeria after Google.com and Youtube.com in late April 2020, according to Alexa – a global internet traffic ranking firm. It is also the first most-visited local site in Nigeria and the only Nigerian website in the top 500 most-visited websites globally as of April 2020, according to a recent listing by IABC Africa.
It was co-founded by Ayo Ojuroye and Kunle Soname who are its CEO and chairman respectively.
Its reported that hackers using a strain of ransomware known as “Black Cat” infected computers at Mabanaft GmbH and Oiltanking GmbH Group.
BlackCat (also known as ALPHV) is a relatively new ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation, which has been aggressively recruiting affiliates from other ransomware groups and targeting organisations worldwide.