A media stakeholder group has called on the federal government, through the office of the National Security Adviser to adopt October as the Nigerian National Cybersecurity Awareness month as being done globally. The group justified its position on the increasing threats of cyber-attacks to national security, economic crimes, political instability and social insecurity as a result of the vulnerability of national, corporate and private databases via identity theft.
In a statement released on Monday in Lagos, the group under the aegis of the Centre for Cyber Awareness and Development (CECAD), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), said it is set to work and collaborate with the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari in order to raise the bar on the multi-stakeholders awareness across government, corporate institutions and private citizens through the principles of the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The month-long series of activities would be delineated to accommodate sectorial weekly emphasises on every facets of the lives of the nation and its people. And this among others will include weekly awareness focus on government and its agencies, banks and financial institutions, education, health, tourism, transport, military/security communities. The central theme would be on how to enhance safer connections to the Internet without compromising corporate and individual safety. Families will also enjoy primary attention in the course of the awareness programme in order to ensure the safety of all and sundry, particularly children from dangers inherent in the uncontrolled access.
According to the media stakeholders, Criminals, terrorists, and countries with the intent to harm have found the information superhighway a veritable platform to execute their attacks. To this radicalized minds, attack online is often easier to execute because across the world, corporate and national and individualized information are being digitalized in conformity with transformation of the global community into information society (digital economy); which encompasses e-government, e-commerce, e-health, cashless society, e-learning, digital entertainment, and e-agriculture among other electronic engagements in all spheres of life. As more and more sensitive data is stored online, the consequences of those attacks grow more significant each year. And by this implication, the group stated that E-fraud is now the fastest growing crime in Nigeria.
As a consequent of this, the Nigerian nation and its citizens have been under increasing threat from cyber-attacks following the proliferation of digital platforms in the rapid integration of its social, political and economic facets into the digital economy. The reality of the threats in the Nigerian nation have been underscored by the reported unauthorised access to the database of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) resulting in the leak of the personal profile of the undercover personnel of the State Security Service. Similarly, the database of the National Assembly was recently hacked and the result was the unauthorised publication of the names and contact information of the elected officials in the legislative arm of government. More profound is the unreported humongous losses being daily recorded by the banks and other financial institutions through identity theft by cyber goons.
With this alarming threat to the corporate and financial health of the nation and its citizens, the media stakeholders have expressed the strong need for the Nigerian government to play in the global league of awareness community by adopting October as the cyber security awareness month as is the practice in the United States of America, South America, many European countries and other parts of the world. This has become very imperative, particularly in Nigeria because of the multilayers national databases spread across various agencies like the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS), banks, Police, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), which government has directed to be harmonised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). In addition, some state governments and embassies are also involved in the collection of biometric details of Nigerian citizens which could be subjected to further cyber-attacks if the awareness consciousness is not properly coordinated in the country.
The media group said that it would roll out its national network to facilitate a robust month-long awareness campaigns for the public and private institutions in order to mitigate the dangers lurking in the cyberspace with the activities of the cyber criminals.
As the largest economy on the continent, Nigeria must take the lead by showing the way for other African nations to emulate in the protection of its national assets and citizens from cyber vulnerability. Nigeria must lead for others to follow.