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Caution needed as banking moves from walls to the cloud—Minister

The Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu has called on experts to strive to always be ahead of cyber attackers in Nigeria considering the emerging migration of financial services and transactions from banking halls of brick and mortar branches to the clouds.

Speaking in his Keynote address Tuesday in Abuja at the eighth international conference of ISACA group, the minister disclosed that there has been a geometric increase in electronic transactions and the development calls for serious caution on the side of cyber-security as a hit will be too many for the economy and victims.

He said the growth of the electronic banking is very fast especially now several transactions are done via ATM, POS, Internet banking, Mobile Money, and NEFT. He added that today, account opening is now possible on Social Media platforms such as Facebook.

According to him, the information of all registered citizens of Nigeria is stored in the cloud. The electoral process today also involves use of electronic card readers and the use of CCTV is very common in most organizations and even households today.

Shittu said “Mobile communication and e-mailing and social media communication are now the order of the day. Use of computers and other office support systems are obvious in all offices today”.

“Electronic commerce and online malls are very prevalent. Electricity and transportation had also gone digital, using prepaid. This developmental approach, as good as it is, is faced with war with cybercriminal elements.

Drawing further analogy from the recent data from NITDA which he said showed “that there were a total of about 3,500 cyberattacks in Nigeria, 70% of which were successful, which led to a loss of about $450 million”.

But as way of encouraging the country to keep moving ahead, the minister stressed that “Maintaining cybersecurity does not come with the military guns and bullets, but with relevant professional skills and expertise”.

“I am convinced ISACA has those skills; you have the knowledge; you have the professionals; you have the approaches, techniques and strategies. Permit me to say that you sitting here are the professionals Nigeria is counting on to conquer the cyberwars and crimes in the country. If the country fails, then you have failed and ISACA has failed in Nigeria.

“Several certifications and trainings in cybersecurity are available today. I am aware that ISACA had recently introduced CyberSecurity Nexus (CSX) to equip professionals with expert skills and competencies to counter cyber terrorism.

“I can assure you that if our cyberspace is safe, investors will come; e-commerce will be given much priority; and most transactions will be done without stress and above all, the quality of life will increase. This is what national development is.

The share of telecommunications in total real GDP had declined throughout 2010 to 2014, but for the last five quarters, growth in telecommunications has been higher, meaning the trend has reversed.

Giving more telecoms related data to buttress his argument that electronic adaptation has hit the rooftop, Shittu said “The total number of subscribers as of the end of June 2016 stood at 149,803,714, and internet users for the same time stood at 92,181,978 – the biggest internet market in Africa”.

“In addition, Nigeria has one of the largest economies in Africa. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at 296billion USD. The 2016 2nd quarter report of the Nigerian National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) says the growth in our non-oil sector is driven by activities in Social infrastructure like Agriculture, Information & Communication Technology, Water supply, Arts entertainment and recreation, professional services and technical services.

“The ICT sector contributed 12.62% to the total nominal GDP in the 2nd quarter of 2016, up from its 12.25% contribution in the 1st quarter. We are redoubling efforts to increase ICT’s contribution to our GDP, as we consider it to be a veritable alternative to the oil sector whose contributions have dwindled over the past year.

The Government runs a free market economy that encourages and incentivizes investment in the country.