How digital footprints exposed “Wendell Simlin” as Reno Omokri

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I got wind of talks of an email that was sent round containing an article on Word document attempting to pin the recent increased tempo of Boko Haram activities to the suspended CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. After downloading the document to my PC, I hovered the mouse pointer on it to see its properties, as hinted by Gbenga Sesan. Here is the screenshot of what came up:

Reno's digital footprint

That Word document was authored by Reno Omokri, Special Assistant to President Jonathan. It is nothing but a smear campaign, especially when you consider that he had to use a false identity in sending the document out. Here is the screenshot of the properties box on same document:
Reno Properties
This shows both who authored and who last saved the document.

Lessons for the rest of us

Let us forget Reno, Wendell and Sanusi for a moment. After all, this is a tech blog. What lessons can we learn as everyday computer users? Yes; your smartphone and tablet are computers too.

Every document, every file, that you create or edit on your PC has your stamp on it. If you send or upload it from your internet connection, your IP address becomes part of that stamp. The traces are always there. Of course, if you are a master spy, secret agent or some awesome hacker, you likely know how to hide those footprints. But I am betting a year’s income that most people reading this blog post are not. If you want to create a document under a pseudo name, go to a Cyber Cafe to do so. Reno, you hear? Ehen.


You also need to be careful who you give access of your devices to – laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones. Whatever they do on those devices will bear your digital footprint. It is not paranoia. You don’t want it to happen before you realise how terrible the consequences can be when someone uses your personal computing device to do something wrong or stupid.

Don’t forget, using ICT tools is like walking through a jungle or moist earth: you leave clear traceable footprints. Safeguard your tools. Back to Reno, at least now we all can be sure that if he reads this article, he won’t embarrass himself same way next time.

54 comments

  1. I don’t know Reno and I am not advocating for him but Any slightly intelligent techie can edit Word settings so those files show any name, secondly a lot of software exists to remove such metadata when ‘liberating’ documents. So what if its a reverse smear?

    In other news whats up with the MTN Invoice and Shoes?

  2. We should know that though the footprint is always there, let us also note that foot print can also be embedded. With the desperation of the opposition, they can go to any length..And Elrufai and his cronies could have done this given the recent faceoff on twitters within the two.

  3. I can’t believe you can easily get confused by a simple assumption! what about the IP address? was that embedded in each email sent out? c’mon! even when you re-program a software, it doesn’t completely take away the default, it only adjusts it, techie or no techie, it can’t be hidden all together, and can easily be detected, we’ve been in this profession for some time, don’t let anyone brainwash you with assumption.

  4. Hahahah nigeria man with talk, talk computer pass your assumption try modify it let’s see? Computer programming isn’t easy

  5. This is a cheap blackmail! Honestly, you don’t need to be a programmer to get anyone’s name in the footprint of your documents. Just reformat your computer using the persons name or simply create an account in your Computer with the person’s name and the name appears in all your documents. CHEAP BLACKMAIL, that’s what it is.

  6. Exactly my thoughts. Wipe out your computer, reinstall and put in whatever name at the username prompts. Make them try again, this blackmail is not gonna work

  7. Reno ko Reno ni……although I dont have trust in any politician, Nigerias are even worse, too many desperado at the top. Politicians? They are so wise that such document will not even be sent from their friends or relative system (although see them as fools)………my point; it is to easy to have any name there.

  8. You all defending reno, have you ever thought that if that document circulated by reno was genuine the government will allow such sensitive information to go public immediately when it’s suppose to be a top secret document for the sss to nail sanusi? Common, we are not fools. That doc was meant to embarrass sanusi more than to nail him for such heinous crime and no sensible govt who really wants to end the scourge of terrorism will go public with such without establishing a prima facie case first. This same people have accused almost every one in the north of sponsoring bh yet without any concrete proof or action. Be wise.

  9. @David @tlogbon @ebunma, why don’t you try reformatting Reno’s house so you can get his IP address 41.78.81.189. on the email? many of you have omitted the fact about the IP address, was that also forged? why do we like conspiracy theory in Nigeria when the facts look us in the eyes? give us another theory of forging an IP address within Nigeria, it is only in Nigeria that people will see an IP address of the source of an email and will still not believe the truth about the source of the email, even the police and law enforcement agencies around the world use it as the first point of investigation, many online crimes are solved using it, but in Nigeria we always find another theory to discredit it, why?

    I don’t understand why someone will format is computer altogether, put another person’s name, and circulate memo to hurt his own interest? don’t you think that is insane?
    But one thing for sure, if anyone can do the formatting, then the person must have to break into Reno’s house, break into his personal computer and send it from there, and as far as we are concerned, Reno has not reported to the police that anyone did that. there is no shortcut to this, it is straight forward, the memo and the email originated from Reno’s personal computer and his IP address 41.78.81.189.

  10. Why would the opposition send out such a damning article in the first place. I don’t think doing a reverse smear on Reno whatshisname is more important than preserving the integrity of Lamido Sanusi. WTF is reno on the scale of things? You sir, greatly overestimate his importance.

  11. I think we are missing the important Issue here, Mister Mobility how far with this MTN Invoice?

  12. The document was attached to an email sent to several media houses. The metadata bearing ‘Reno Omokri’ is seen in a fresh download of the mail.

    Not sure why you clowns are saying that APC somehow managed to edit a document on Yahoo’s servers 🙂

  13. LOL, I am not daft and so are a lot of Nigerians not daft also.
    Can I not register my computer as Reno Omokri and do any damage I want to, knowing anybody who traces the author would find out the document originated from a system owned by one ‘Reno Omokri’…..abi is that not a possibility aslo Mr Mobility?

  14. What does the writer hope to achieve with, “Lessons for the rest of us?” Job with Reno Omokri as his tech assistant?

  15. @Chris, am yet to see any report that traces the I.P directly to his house. Most reports claim the I.P was traced to Kubwa. In any case, I really doubt if you can trace an I.P address to a particular house without some serious spy gear which is I doubt very much is in the hands of ordinary citizens. So how did you come to the conclusion that the i.p points to his house?

  16. I agree with your take on the dynamic status of users on the system.. I can author a doc with reno’s name on my system… its all about who got the largest audience in these days media world…

    I know reno and he is a man of integrity….. he can not come down low with his experience in the tech world….

  17. @Efe, you don’t need to see the report if you are a recipient of the email and really cares about knowing where it came from.

    You doubt if i can trace a an IP address? what a sentence in this age and time!
    You also mentioned it requires a spy gear to do it, what a limited knowledge of society you live in!

    Well for your information, if something is perceived as a cyber crime, and you have IP address, the best thing to do is to contact the ISP of such network and require them to furnish you with details of the face behind it, you should know that the people in Reno’s caliber don’t do pay as you go billing, their bills are always paid by the govt, so there is always a footprint if you get what i mean.
    Due to data protection policy of many companies, you might have problems getting this information out easily, but that does not mean it does not exist and does not need a spy gear, it is human beings that works in those companies and there are always ways around it, there will always be a whistleblower. Good morning Efe.

  18. You can’t really trace an IP to a house. Especially since our internet service is not really setup that way in Nigeria. You can trace and IP to a Service Provider, the Service Provider can trace it to the person using it (mobile or otherwise). I learnt the IP was traced to Galaxy Backbone, the official Service Provider for the FG. But we can’t be sure the FG is the only customer Galaxy Backbone has.

    This could be Reno Omokri trying to smear Sanusi, or this could be the opposition trying to smear Reno. Someone said Reno Omokri is not that important, I say NO. We all know he’s close to the president, so smearing him is smearing the president. You say why would the opposition release something smearing Sanusi? Well, Sanusi is perceived to be under attack from FG, so everybody will swallow it fast. Even without this Reno thing, most people would still be suspicious and say, it’s FG trying to paint the man black. Or probably the opposition discovered the document is out and quickly created a counter.

    I think it would be very stupid for Reno to create the doc on his PC and send it with his PC, knowing he was trying to do a smear, though the intelligence of many of GEJ’s aides can be called to question really.

    The Doc’s author stamp and IP address trace are inconclusive, so this is just part of the political here-and-there going on. 2015 is next year you know. Enough said

  19. Sorry @Efe, forgot to mention this, i won’t click on the link you pasted, i am much clever than that, i have used such type of thing to trace people few years back when i was insulted online.

  20. @Tula, i totally disagree with your logic that Nigeria has not got to that level where the ISP address can be traced to computer through ISP’s customers account, are you seriously insinuating that internet connections in Nigeria are now done anonymously? even though you need to register a sim card to make a simple call, can you elaborate on it, as you seem to portray the Nigeria’s information systems as shambles.

    You also wrote ”I think it would be very stupid for Reno to create the doc on his PC and send it with his PC, knowing he was trying to do a smear, though the intelligence of many of GEJ’s aides can be called to question really”
    I am surprised you still think very high of people who have been letting us down and lying to us, changing stories often etc can anyone be more stupid? when a small group of people thinks over 150 million others are stupid, don’t you think such small group should be examined for stupidity?

  21. @Chris, and in your opinion, the ISP just released the info on the owner of the I.P. A file was sent yesterday, within a few hours, the person had gotten the i.p info of a top government official? Sorry too easy.

    First, he makes the mistake of leaving his name on the document. So easy that all you need to uncover the plot is to hover your mouse, and then in the short period between the time the file was sent and circulated, someone had been able to obtain ISP info about a top government official?

    For the sake of argument, let us agree that someone was able to obtain ISP info that quickly. Did it occur to you that in the process of registering a sim or modem, I could use the name Reno Omokri? I can quite easily choose whatever address I want too. So what makes you so sure that someone did not register a sim or modem using his name to set up this whole thing?

  22. @Chris, are you disagreeing with me or agreeing. I didn’t make any conclusions. I just analyzed the situation. IP tracing is not yet as effective as should be. SIMs are registered yes, but there’s a still a large number of unregistered SIMs. Most of the modems use dynamic IPs, and even for those who use static IPs, they still need to get to the ISP to trace you! Same thing we are saying bro. Without getting to the ISPs, you aint getting nothing. And you admitted yourself that you might hit a brickwall trying to get customers’ info from an ISP, except there is a criminal case involved or you’ve got insiders who can get you the info. Are you telling me someone just walked into Galaxy Backbone and got Reno Omokri’s IP Address information?

    And yes, Reno should NOT be that stupid. However, I said “though the intelligence of many of GEJ’s aides can be called to question really.”. Did you miss that?

    I’m not saying Reno didn’t do it. I’m just saying Ms Word Author information and the so-called “IP Tracing” they did isn’t convincing enough.

    We are all angry with this government, but if we start allowing the incoming government to play on our intelligence from now, we’ll just end up their “mumus” all over again.

  23. Mr. Mobility its sad how things turn out in this country. I honestly appreciates your exposing this, but I will also like to point out to a fact you may have not considered. The purported writer Reno Omokiri or what his name is may not have been the actual writer. Someone who may want to ridicule the government of the day can easily buy a new laptop and register it in Reno’s name write and send with another name. Hopping and planning someone discovers. I don’t trust any of these politicians.

  24. One of the evidence linking Reno Omokri to the Wendell Simli is a facebook account with the same name with only one picture – that of Reno Omokri. Who opens an anonymous account on facebook and uses his real picture? What is the point of using a false name if you are going to use your real picture?

  25. You don’t need to format a PC to change the user information or the footon the microsoft word, for the record how many people now adays installs office with their names? Plus the word must have been installed with user as the user informatio so most time u have to. Put the information there youself.

    As a rookie that I am I can change your startup button to ur. Name. So anything is actually possible.

  26. My only comment here is, this is a scary site for real people. For those who tweak, ping and whatever on other peoples cyber lives, I hope you are happy with yourselves. Real people want to live their lives trusting others. By the way, those Omokri apologists, if there were no name and IP issues in this case, how many of you would have doubted the authenticity of the document?

  27. @Mr Mobility i see your site is so busy because you are discussing Remo Omokri (leader of 40 Man GEJ Laptop Gang). My questions are:
    1.WHY HAS RENO NOT COME OUT TO DENY THIS IF HE IS NOT REALLY INVOLVED?
    2. How come on Wendell Simlin’s Facebook page, the ONLY available picture, was a picture of a group of people with RENO OMOKRI? the picture has been removed. But you could visit Saharareporters where they have a screen shot the Wendell Simlin’s Facebook page before the picture was removed.

    It saddens me that Nigerians can be fooled by this heartless and insincere Government. Should the government be dabbling into this kind of controversy in the wake of the gruesome killing of students in Yobe state by suspected Boko Haram Members? Should government be involved in a wasteful jamboree called centenary celebrations at this time when close to 60 secondary school students were sent to meet their creator on Monday?
    what is really the value of human life in Nigeria? To borrow from Idi Amin, Human life is worth less than toilet paper in Nigeria.

  28. @ Efe, the Wendell Simlin’s Facebook account has been active and liking Reno Omokri’s pages and commenting on Naijapundit(alleged to be owned by Reno) since 2010. So the opposition created the account since then because they knew Sanusi will be suspended in 2014 and they can use the account against Reno and the government? Please lets not stand Logic on its head.
    My question to members of the GEJ 40 man laptop gang and Reno’s supporters, have you ever heard of the word MISTAKE? or the popular saying everyday for the thief …
    Reno tried to portray Sanusi in bad light, but he made a grave mistake in the execution of the malicious setup.
    Am not a Fan of Sanusi or the Opposition(there is really no opposition party in Nigeria,only greedy people trying to take over the eating of the national cake), in all this Brouhaha and political “gagatun gaga” going on, where does it leave the common man?

  29. I wonder why people turnings around. Our politicians are not intelligient, all the know is how to embezzle, forgeting Nigeria are more intelligent than Nigeria of the 80’s. I have this app on my tab that has been advertising sanusi did this sanusi did that. Am 100% sure they continued with this. No plans for us just to finish everything and go.

  30. Then why are you making a big deal out of your finddings. Mr Reno ought to have known that the documents could easily be traced back to him, so why should he subject himself and the presidency to such ridicule. There must be more to the documents than meets the eye.

  31. You obviously have no idea what ure talking about. Youre just pretending you do. Reno Omokri is a bonafide criminal, end of!

  32. “Nigerians are not being fooled” as ur statement alleges. Rather, certain Nigerians, principally from the South Eastern part of Nigeria are intent on destroying the country from within and as such will turn a blind eye to the truth and make excuses for lies and evil.

    This, my friend, is the plain truth.

  33. only in Nigeria every one shows his talent, despite d MTN vce record, IP address, the fake name and lot more, pple stile still insist is a black mail, i believe for the tump print, some will say his hand was cut off and replace back just to blackmail him. Great 9ja, we no d loose, we d always win.

  34. First, let me say that my gut feel is that it actually was from Reno. He probably was/is naive to know about digital footprints. Let me even assume he’s one of the few intelligent government officials (that’s a big assumption), he probably let slip this time around. Even Sabu (of Lulzsec infamy) let slip just one time and was caught.

    Be that as it may, IP addresses can be spoofed. And it is possible to use a tool like Tor to send a mail thereby masking one’s true IP address. But then again, I doubt any government official is that tech savvy.

    My verdict: Reno is guilty as charged 🙂

  35. technology in advanced countries is true. They heavily relay on finger print because is unique and different from one another. Let’s the government stop chasing shadows and put Raymond on trial.

  36. 1.Go to this link http://www.osundefender.org/?p=152380
    2.Right click the group picture and save the image on your computer
    3.Next open the picture on your computer. and enlarge the picture
    4.Who is the 6th person from the left in the picture
    5.Next look at the top right hand corner of the picture you will see a time stamp of the facebook page that reads: “Wendell Simlin
    17 May 2011”
    CONCLUSION
    Unless you want us to believe that since way back in May 2011 Facebook has been working with the Nigerian opposition to some how orchestrate the whistle blowing of SLS, his sacking by Jonathan and the Boko Haram killings in February 2014, ALL in a bid to smear Reno Omokri, then only one conclusion can be reached which is: without an iota of doubt RENO OMOKRI is WENDLL SIMLIN and WENDEL SIMLIN is RENO OMOKRI

  37. The real question defenders of Reno have not answered is “If Reno was not connected to the smear campaign against Sanusi, why hasn’t he defended himself?” Not even a statement on the issue! People have tweeted it to his handle, he did not respond! Shouldn’t he lead his own defence? Or at least contribute? Until he make a statement on that, I suggest all his defenders should keep quiet! I hope Sanusi can sue him for $20B for tarnishing his image!

  38. yes, very correct, I think it’s a very cheap attempt to set up Reno Omokri, even primary sch pupils can do better than that, and to think that gullible adults both the educated and semi-educated one would fall for that. All the screenshot and logic does not say anything at all.

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