Experts chart path to cyber security in Nigeria
Experts converged at the second edition of Insight Cyber Security Conference in Lagos recently and deliberated on ways of addressing cyber security issues in Nigeria. With the theme: ‘Cyber security, The Constitution, and The Path Forward,’ the speakers expressed serious concern over cyber threats in Nigeria, insisting that the imperative of finding a lasting solution to this issue cannot be over emphasised.
The Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, who was the guest speaker, said: “cyber security has become a priority around the world. Government, private sector and citizens all recognise the need for action to increase cyber security. Governments worldwide are struggling with questions around how to do this while balancing privacy, civil liberties and cost.”
Shittu, who spoke on: “Promoting Cyber security, a leadership approach”, further noted that “over the past decade, our government has been developing strategies to address emerging security issues associated with rapidly expanding use of information and communication technology (ICT). These “cyber security” issues have developed into significant national-level problems that require government consideration, including the protection of assets, systems, and networks vital to the operation and stability of a nation and the livelihood of its people. Threats against these vital assets target corporation and citizens, and include: fraud, data leakage, intrusions, economic and military espionage. Nigeria’s Cyber Security Act was signed into law in 2015, and is aimed at protecting private and organisation information and preventing online fraud.
“To address emerging cyber threats, the government has set up computer emergency response teams through the office of the NSA NITDA. Additionally, to further improve the nation’s preparedness to secure cyberspace, the Cyber crime Advisor Council has also been inaugurated,” he stated.
Similarly, Ibraheem Shehu-Gusau, another guest speaker who also championed the bill on cyber security at the seventh session of the national assembly, noted that “Nigeria lost an equivalent of $13.6 billion to cyber crime as at 2012 but that figure has since skyrocketed to an annual amount of N127 billion, which represents 0.08 per cent of the country’s (GDP) adding that we are all living and breathing proof of the advanced-free-fraud popularly referred to as ‘419’, its sister ‘yahoo-yahoo’ and other cyber crimes.
Speaking on, “identifying and tackling cybercrime and threats in Nigeria’, he also advocated a collaboration among all stakeholders in the cyber domain which comprise public, private industry organisations academia professional bodies and expert individuals whose activities are in the area of ICT should urgently be developed and sustained.
He further said the government should establish a stable structure that would breed harmony and cooperation; it is essential that the personnel in charge of our critical cyber security infrastructure are tech-savvy and experienced so they could be ahead of the cyber criminals they are pursuing.
Similarly, Ayei Ibor, lecturer and cyber security researcher Cross University of Technology, stressed the importance of national readiness in addressing cybersecurity issues
Speaking on, Zero-Day exploits and the un readiness of a nation, Ibor noted that the nations security framework must protect critical national infrastructure against threat, collaboration between government and private sector, training and awareness programme must be free and compulsory for all level of education, effective risk management, forensic analysis must be a necessity for enforcing integrity and early detection of cyber incidents and prompt response.
The guests also stressed the importance of effective regulatory system in addressing cybercrime. According to Shehu-Gusau, it is good to develop such an impeccable cyber security strategy especially as it relates to the comprehensive list of cyber offences and the adequate compliance and enforcement and appropriate prosecution of cyber criminals.
Speaking further, he said ‘On the other hand it is of great importance for the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to promptly do the needful by bringing offenders to book as this will serve as deterrent to others who could be willing to commit similar atrocities or related crimes in violation of the cybercrime law. It is therefore expected that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), shall be very active by playing a leading role in this campaign. He further stated that the administration of justice regarding the offenders in the cyber domain shall be swift, adequate and accurate and in accordance with the provision of the cybercrime law; international cooperation is important to ensuring adherence to universal standards, which in turn would enhance seamlessness, portability and interoperability among various types of systems.
On his part, Chris Nwanosike, Founder Wanoster UK/Nigeria, identified challenges facing cybersecurity act in Nigeria as enforcement, coordination, centralised enforcement nature, non technologically specific, among others.
Conclusively, he however noted that “some of the acts component require constant review to keep pace with dynamic landscape of cyber crime adding that the act is truly ground breaking with potential to positively impact legal development, governance, commercial activities, law enforcement, national security, foreign investment and economic growth.