By TOM CHIAHEMEN, Abuja –
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it is committed to making sure that the Internet has less cyber criminals in the country.
Executive Vice Chairman /CEO of the NCC, Engr. Prof. U.G. Danbatta, who made this known in Abuja on Thursday, said the Commission planned to achieve this through educating members of the public on the negative impacts of cyber-crime, and the need to limit these impacts by putting in place a number of initiatives.
Danbatta, who spoke at the 2020 Annual Cyber Security Conference event organized organized by the Commission, outlined some of the initiatives to include: Collaborating with relevant stakeholders to embark on a nationwide Cyber security awareness campaign starting with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and later extending to all thirty six (36) states of the federation, targeting at young (vulnerable) school children, to enlightening them on Internet Etiquettes, Cyber Crime and its Penalties in line with the Nigerian Cyber Crime Act 2015, and protection against Cyber Criminals.
Others are: Establishment of a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) Centre to help serve as the single national point of contact for international coordination of Cyber security incidents in Nigeria; Collaboration with relevant security agencies in the development of the National Cyber Security Policy, the National Cyber Security Strategy, and the Cybercrimes ACT, 2015 and; Development of “Technical Framework for the Use of Social Media Network in Nigeria with the objective of providing the baseline for Social Media governance, policy, and procedures to guide individuals, businesses or the government on the use of social media.
The initiatives also include: “Written advisories sent to some operators on Short and long term recommendations to secure their networks; Development of contents for consumer awareness; these are circulated during the consumer outreach programmes to sensitize consumers on Cyber security related issues and Law and; Collaboration with stakeholders on the development of Data Privacy and Protection Act; in addition to creating an e-fraud desk to serve as a platform for reporting cases of e-fraud to the security agencies for further investigations and prosecutions.
He explained that Thursday’s event – the maiden Annual Cyber security Conference tagged “Strengthening the Security and Resilience of the Nation’s Communications Infrastructure,’’ was organized by the NCC in recognition of the importance, and the need for collaborative efforts in the advancement of Cyber Security to provide precautions and protection of critical Communications Infrastructure.
According to Professor Danbatta, “the event is designed to provide a platform for discussion on developing a joint coordination for incidence response for the communication industry, introducing cyber insurance, bridging the cyber workforce gap, strengthening national cooperation, exchange of information, and development of comprehensive strategies that will address the cyber security challenges confronting the communications industry in Nigeria.”
“The Internet, as we all know, provides a vast array of prospects to individuals irrespective of age group, from social networking to businesses, to research & development, and so much more, and at the same time can be exploited by cyber criminals to carryout crimes over the medium,” he added.
He noted that with the growing volume of adoption of these technologies and distributed nature of the internet, comes the sophistication of cyber-attacks, allowing cyber criminals to attack people outside their geographical location (making policing the Internet difficult), and the increasing returns (money) are some factors driving the increasing growth of cyber criminality. “Hence, both technical measures and appropriate legal instruments must be put in place to enhance the resilience and integrity of ICT infrastructure and also to safeguard cyberspace users.”
He quoted a study themed “the Ninth Annual Cost of Cyber Crime” carried out in 2019 by Accenture and Ponemon Institute, United States of America, which gathered responses from more than 2600 senior security professionals across 355 Organizations, indicate that the average number of data breaches rose by 11% to 145%.
Describing the data as a massive increase, Danbatta agreed with the paper that “information theft is the most expensive and fastest rising consequence of cybercrime.”
He disclosed that the commission was currently carrying out a comprehensive risk and vulnerability assessment of the Communications Infrastructure/Industry, adding that a preliminary risk assessment was done with some industry stakeholders which resulted in a need to have a comprehensive assessment.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, observed that no digital economy can be successful without first securing the cyber space.
Lamenting the speed with which cyber-crime was committed, the minister noted that people develop systems with which they use at any given opportunity to exploit other innocent people in order to make money.
Pantami, who described awareness as the key to the growing wave of cyber-crime, advised Nigerian internet users to ensure regular updating of their devices, including smart phones and computers so as to leverage the different applications that are being developed on constant basis to frustrate cyber criminals.