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Danbatta in Lagos, renews caution on ‘WannaCry’ Virus to operators, subscribers

The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has renewed the official caution sent out to telecoms operators on the wake of the weekend’s merciless global Ransomware Virus attacks code-named “WannaCry”.

Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday during an interactive media meeting with select editors and publishers, he stressed that the caution has become necessary to give notices so that Nigerian companies, telecoms operators and even subscribers will be at alert.

Continuing, he added that it is in fulfilment of NCC’s statutory mandate to assure the security and integrity of the national telecommunications network that the renewed alert to all operators and their respective subscribers on the recent outbreak of a Ransomware Virus known as “WannaCry” has become imperative.

According to him, “The Ransomware is capable of infecting and encrypting all files on a system or any smart device until an amount is paid for a decryption key, or other means of retrieval (which may lead to data loss) are used to recover the system as an alternative. This situation demands that proactive measures be taken by all players in the telecommunication eco-system to forestall the hazards of critical data loss, financial losses and ultimately network/business disruption”.

“The NCC therefore wishes to advise that the following protective measures be taken, amongst others: To obtain software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017 to fix the Ransomware Virus; To plan scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times; Subscribers who use their smartphones as substitutes to computers for internet access should protect themselves and their devices by among others, not opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources, not clicking pop-ups and applets on unknown websites, and installing effective antivirus software for their mobile devices.

Danbatta added further that “The NCC has taken the following proactive measures in fulfilling its statutory mandate: The Commission has advised Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to initiate regular assessment and audit of their cybersecurity readiness. All operators should continue to ensure that their backup/ disaster recovery strategies are in place and up to date.

  1. The Commission has further advised all operators to ensure continued deployment of effective firewalls, login passwords and antivirus management regime.
  2. The Commission is working towards creating a link with the Cybersecurity Alert System on its website so that current information on global cyber threats/incidents could be immediately communicated to stakeholders.
  3. The Commission will continue to provide more cybersecurity training for its staff.