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Data hosted abroad most vulnerable to Ransomware attacks—NITDA boss, Pantami

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Another angle of fears is emerging from the recent global virus attack by the Wannacry Ransomware Virus.

In his additional insights to the recent global virus attack by the Wannacry Ransomware Virus, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said ‘It’s a threat and a lesson to Nigerians especially all MDAs and stakeholders to host their data in Nigeria with the use of .ng,” saying “By so doing our data will be protected from hackers”.

He averred that those MDAs that host their data outside the country are at risk of the Wannacry Ransomware Virus.

It would be recalled that the virus took the business world by surprise between Friday and Saturday last week, leading to the collapse over 300,000 computer systems powering several conglomerates and governments enterprises in some 200 nations.

Business Hilights recalls that NITDA was the first government agencies to raise the alarm vide a terse press statement sent out last weekend after the attacks, informing Nigerians and corporations to be vigilant and report any case as soon as possible.

Part of the statement said “NITDA noted that the ransomware attack exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows Operating System, especially those not currently supported such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March and machines that were updated with the patch would have been automatically protected”.

The agency advised Nigerians, saying “Should your system be infected by ransomware, isolate the system from your network to prevent the threat from further spreading”.

“In addition, the following actions can be taken immediately: Remove the system from Network; Do not use flash/pen drive, external drives on the System to copy files to other systems;          Format the System completely and get fresh OS copy installed.

Besides, in extreme cases, the NITDA Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) can be contacted for assistance. They can be reached via CERRT 0800998877665544, email=support@cerrt.ng, incident@cerrt.ng, help@cerrt.ng. Phone 08023275039

Continuing, NITDA DG advised that “As a general precautionary measure and as the security of systems is our collective responsibility, we would like to recommend that Individuals and organisations should among others; Regularly update their operating systems with the latest patches; Regularly update their software applications with latest patches; Avoid downloading and opening unsolicited files and attachments; Adjust security software to scan compressed or archived files; and Avoid indiscriminate use wireless connections, such as Bluetooth or infrared ports”.