Preparations are in top gear for the establishment of a National Cyber Security Research Center by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which will serve the purpose of building capacity and coordinating incident management and contributing to knowledge generation in cyber security.
Speaking at a forum in Lagos, Director, Cyber Security at NITDA, Christopher Okeke noted that cyber warfare is a global scourge that needs to be addressed with global collaboration, which will be initiated by the proposed research center.
“It is imperative to note that this war cannot be fought in isolation. Nations collaborate, share strategies and highly classified information and skills.”
He pointed to NITDA is already working with the Cyber Security Malaysia and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center (CCIRC), among other in this regard.
Okeke, who was represented by the Deputy Director/Ag. National Coordinator, Office of National Content (ONC), Lazarus Ikoti however challenged private sector stakeholders to develop cyber security tools and Apps to educate and enlighten Nigerians. He assured that NITDA have special interest in collaborating the private sector in such developmental feats.
He however noted that as a regulatory agency, standardisation is uppermost in the NITDA’s function because it is only through effective compliance with extant standards and guidelines that the Agency can steer the direction of IT activities in the country.
He explained that NITDA is currently reviewing the standards and guidelines on development of government websites and minimum network security, to limit it to areas of that affect cyber security.
“There is no doubt in my mind that when these standards, when fully reviewed, publicized and operationalized; with mechanisms for compliance, would improve on our national cyber resilience.”
Okeke further highlighted the role of NITDA in national cyber security development as international capacity building and enlightenment; policy formulation and standardization; and internal and external collaborations.
He acknowledged that Nigeria’s current rating with ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), which rates countries on legal measures, technical, organizational, capacity building and collaborations, needs be to improve from the current global 14th position.
Currently NITDA’s Cyber Security Department (CSD), which is saddled with the responsibility of instituting incident handling and mitigation strategies for MDAs and private sector organisations, already has component units that address Business Continuity; Digital Security Professional Development; Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) and Public Key Infrastructure development.