A report alleging that a Nigerian man named Abaeze Atuche, hacked into the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant himself, family and friends American citizenship, recently triggered mixed reactions from Nigerians.
According to the report which recently surfaced on social media, 29-year-old Atuche, gained access to the US, using a fake American passport in 2013, and by 2016, his family members had become permanent US citizens. The report also claimed that about 15 people benefited from Atuche’s cyber attack on the US Government website.
The report was first published by ‘ihlayanews.com’, a parody and fictional news website. The verification also revealed that the report was shared more than 10 thousand times on its Facebook page.
A screenshot of the report shared by Nigerian Twitter user, identified as ‘Postsubman’ gathered about three thousand likes and two thousand retweets from concerned Nigerians, most of whom were amazed by Atuche’s smartness.
However, in as much as most Nigerians praised the ‘hacker’ for being a genius, the level of technological advancement in the US has made the report doubtful to a large extent.
How can a Nigerian hack into the website of US Citizenship and Immigration services and successfully complete his mission without a trace? Did it really happen?
No official statement has been released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the US Department of Justice to attest to Atuche’s deeds and eventual arrest as reported in the article.
Also, a search of the supposed hacker’s name “Abaeze Atuche” on the US Justice Department and US Citizenship and Immigration Services website did not yield any helpful result.
Since the emergence of the report on social media, it has widely been circulated by blogs and news websites on social media platforms- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
A closer look at different blogs and news websites that published the report showed that the article was being duplicated by the publishers, as the websites all showed the same picture of US ‘Citizenship and Immigration Services’ logo munched beside the photograph of a black man held by an official of US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Investigating further, a Google reverse image search showed that the picture was used inside reports of the 77 Nigerians that were indicted by FBI for fraud and money laundering in August.
The site the news generated from is a satirical site and we can fully confirm that this news is FALSE. The public should be aware.
We apologise for publishing this earlier without adequate fact checking.