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Greater security needed online to tame attacks—US Consul General, NCC

In keeping with its cybersecurity awareness campaign across the world, the United State of America Mission in Nigeria has created a Cybersecurity campaign, tagged: ‘Stop.Think.Connect’.

Addressing participants during the event in Lagos, John Bray, Consul General of the US Mission in Nigeria said being alert at all times would help to reduce the menace of the cyber crime activities. Research has said the global cumulative costs of cyber attacks are projected to reach $2 Trillion by 2019.

In a paper presented by Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs on behalf of the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC said “The risks to national and economic security associated with the compromise or failure of these assets mean that their protection requires concerted public-private partnership efforts”.

Danbatta noted that as nations approach the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, the challenges of a secure Cyberspace are becoming more daunting as threat actors are becoming more resourceful (both in terms of skill sets, competencies and available technologies). He believes that cyber criminals are more brazen and determined to inflict maximal damage to their victims, who may be individuals, corporate organizations, enterprises, or even nations.

NCC posited that the advent of embedded and wearable technologies, internet of Things (IoT) and other advanced Information and Communication Technologies has made cyber incidents to have greater effects in our physical world, noting that it is no longer just about money and data, but it is also about the lives.

According to Bray, “All around the globe we have seen individuals, companies and governments become the victims of cyberattacks because people are spending more time online at home and at work more than ever before”.

At the event, graced by stakeholders from the public and private sector of the economy, Bray noted that the growing dependence on technology, coupled with the increasing threat of cyber-attacks and risks to privacy, demands greater security in the online world.

He said “We believe that by adopting and joining the Stop.Think.Connect campaign, people will better understand the risks that come with using the internet and the importance of practicing safe online behavior”.

Earlier in his analysis President of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Mr. Remi Afon, noted cybercrime has now surpassed illegal drug trafficking as a criminal money-maker.

He took his analogy from the recent report of Symantec, saying ‘somebody’s identity is stolen every 3 seconds as a result of cybercrime, while 89 percent of the breaches had a financial or espionage motive, with its expected damages to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021”.

“With N127 Million lost yearly to cyber crime in Nigeria and $9.3 Billion cost of cyber crime originating from Nigeria globally, there is a need to have a public private partnership in Nigeria to be able to tame the activity, where Nigeria lost N64bn as at 2014, according to the Attorney General of Nigeria,” says Afon in the presentation titled, ’Recognising and Combating Cyber Crime’.

It is believed that the current scale and growth of ICT applications is compelling Cybersecurity matters to be an essential component of human activity.

CSEAN president noted that “All spheres of human endeavour is today exposed to vulnerabilities of cyber attack, whether it is broadcasting, social networking, e-Commerce and e-Governance since the society in general are increasingly embracing these technologies”.

“Thus, what is required is action at different levels (both virtual and physical) and by different actors (governments, private sector, civil society, intergovernmental organizations).

He called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to put resilient communication infrastructures in place to combat the risks associated with cyber crime activities, adding that both technical measures and appropriate legal instruments must be put in place to enhance the resilience of cybersecurity infrastructure and safeguard cyberspace users.

Afon argued further that “It is also important to note that the vast majority of the nation’s communication infrastructure resides in private hands”.