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NITDA raises the alarm on increasing risks of data breach

By Adeyemi Adepetun (Lagos) and Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze (Abuja)
10 September 2021   |   3:03 am
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has alerted Nigerians on the growing risks of a data breach through mobile applications (apps) downloaded on phones.

Director-General/CEO of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi

FG trains 6624 Nigerians on digital skills in 11 states

It said the trend has become more worrisome with current research revealing that large numbers of health applications encourage data theft, thereby infringing on privacy.

In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, said mobile health applications, mostly available on android platforms and downloaded through Google Play Store, handle increasingly sensitive data over unsecured Internet communications and third-party servers.

She said the sensitive data collected poses security threats to users, as most of the apps do not only access data but also share accessed data with third parties.

She said: “NITDA invites the general public to take the following precautions to prevent privacy and security risks while using mobile health applications: Users should avoid downloading apps from a third-party source. Users should examine apps before they download them, to understand the level of information the app requests. This can be done by evaluating reviews by other app users.

“Users should read apps permissions before and after installation to protect themselves from data exploitation. Ensure apps available for download in Nigeria have a privacy policy that is Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR)-compliant. Users can customise the settings, which will potentially restrict the amount of information disclosed to the apps.”

Meanwhile, NITDA has flagged off the training of 6,624 Nigerians through its Digital States Initiative in commemoration of International Literacy Day.

The 11 states where the training will take place are Katsina, Ekiti, Oyo, Kaduna, Borno, Bauchi, Imo, Bayelsa, Niger, Nasarawa, and the Abia States.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, while delivering his keynote address at the virtual opening ceremony of the Initiative, said the programme is aimed at equipping Nigerian youths with necessary digital literacy skills to facilitate the country’s transition to a digital economy.