The spate of online attacks, heightened by growing technology has become a major concern to the Ministry of Communications.
Speaking at a Cyber Security Conference at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu noted that Cybercrime and attacks are on the increase which makes the internet appear unsafe considering the emerging threats and the number of attacks being recorded daily.
“Today, we are being faced with a series of challenges such as Ransom-ware, Virus, Trojans, Phishing, Spyware, Mal-advertising, Man in the Middle, Man in the Browser, Hacking, Spoofing, Denial of Service, Distributed Denial of Service attacks, Website defacement, Cyber espionage, Pharming, Cyber-terrorism, Internet of Things (IoT) and many more,” the Minister said.
Citing a recent report from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which states that Nigeria lost about N159 billion in the last 13 years, to cybercrime, Barr. Shittu pointed out the need for other frameworks like cyber security awareness across business and members of the public; cooperative arrangements between law enforcement and communication service provider across the nation and a criminal justice system that facilitates the efficient prosecution of cases of cybercrime as very germane.
The Minister who noted that Nigeria currently loses about N78 billion annually to the activities of cyber criminals who target financial institutions, and government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as their affiliates, emphasized the need for the enactment and enforcement of policies to ensure cyber security within the ICT and financial institutions.
He said such policies should address the framework of cyber risk management, enforcing security through a ‘defence in-depth’ strategy as well as enforcing vigilance through early detection and signalling system.
Barr. Shittu said the Ministry is living up to expectation of sensitizing, raising awareness and impact skills on cyber protection by creating the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to handle computer security incidents and examining the implementation framework of the Cybersecurity Act with amendments where necessary in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Speaking further on the indispensability of the cyberspace to global development, the Minister said the internet and digital technologies are the biggest transformational forces in the world today with over five billion internet-connected devices globally generating over $ 10 billion to the global economy in 2015.
“The changing nature of economic and territorial threats has become a major concern. The growing role of cyberspace has opened up new threats as well as new opportunities as a country, we have to find ways to confront and overcome these threats if we are to remain functional as a sovereign entity in an increasingly competitive and globalized world”, he advised.
Barr. Shittu noted that in major African cities, such as Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi, the rate of cyber related offenses, such as fraudulent financial transactions and child kidnapping facilitated through Internet communications, has increased in recent years. The use of ICT in carrying out terrorist attacks throughout Africa is adding new dimensions to the cyber security issue.
He said in order to stem cybercrime explosion, African Leaders need to first understand the magnitude of cybercrime; its impact, emerging threats and how other countries of the developed world have responded. “Therefore, African countries need to urgently scale up efforts to combat cybercrimes through a multi-stakeholder approach involving government, industry and civil society organizations within the context of the African Union Convention on Cyberspace Security and Protection of Personal data. This is necessary to stem the threats posed by cybercrime and cybercriminals to national economic security. If African Leaders fail to address this threat, there will be negative impacts on economic growth, foreign investment and security.”