Cyber security stakeholders in Nigeria have urged the Federal Government to declare October the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NASCAM) in line with global best practices.
This call was made at the recent National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NASCAM) conference held in Lagos, which had in attendance representatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Department of State Security, civil society groups, Lagos State government, students, developers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, banks, insurance companies, and ICT media and agencies.
The stakeholders described this call as a national priority, adding that cyber security should be given additional attention by the federal government of Nigeria going by the exponential growth of Internet-related activities in the country and the growing vulnerability of the government, corporate and individual citizens to the threats of cybercriminals.
In his presentation on Internet Jurisdiction: A Catch-22 Situation and the Trajectory of Nigeria’s Judicial System, Kunle Adegoke, Managing Partner M. A. Banire and Associates said, “The evil effect of cyber crimes can be hardly exhaustively appreciated as same may seem to be limitless.”
According to a report, “Cybercrime costs the global economy about $445 billion every year, with the damage to business from the theft of intellectual property exceeding the $160 billion loss to individuals from hacking.”
A 2012 report says that Nigeria lost over N2 trillion to cyber crimes in 2012 and $200 million per annum. The amount of loss annually occasioned now can be better imagined as youths today see cyber crime as an open sesame to sudden riches.”
Adegoke commended the Nigerian government for enacting the enabling law to deal with cyber criminality but called for the strengthening of the existing laws.
Said he: “The computer has created a different world of cyber existence, where a man can live without
the laws of the ancient regime.
The benefits of the burden of human relations have occasioned cyber-crime as well. It is not good for technology to run faster than law.
Whenever technology moves faster than law, what you will have is a legal vacuum. Nigeria suffered this legal vacuum for a long while.”
The immediate past Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Emeka Mba, called for increased citizens and government’s participation in awareness creation and pragmatic interventions in
the cyber security issues and challenges.
Mba revealed that even the broadcast industry that used to have a sense of immunity against cyber-attacks is now more vulnerable like other IT entities because of the convergence of technology which has allowed for the integration of Internet Protocols in the broadcasting industry and the emergence of Smart television sets.
He cited the incident that occurred on April 8, 2015, where hackers penetrated the French broadcaster TV5Monde, crippling email and production facilities, hijacking social media accounts and disrupting the transmission of 11 channels for three hours.
Mba added: “A few years ago, the major headache for a pay Tv service was smart card hacking and piracy. Today, it’s much worse.
“A new report on Digital TV Europe showed that Cybercriminals target broadcasters up to 1,000 times a day.”
For years the industry has been moving away from traditional, analogue audiovisual broadcasting technology towards digital-only, network-based infrastructures.
According to him, this is a logical and necessary process for broadcast companies to keep pace with technological development, and to benefit from the efficiencies of digital media network distribution, but lamented that any system based on delivering digital media over the internet is potentially
vulnerable to cyber-attack from outside.
“Broadcast signal intrusion is the hijacking of broadcast signals of radio, television stations, cable television broadcast feeds or satellite signals. Hijacking incidents have involved local TV and radio stations as well as cable and national networks,” he added.
Reverend Sunday Afolayan, president, Nigeria Internet Registration Association, who spoke on Internet governance, underscored some of the issues that have made it pertinent for the Nigerian government to speedily consider the presidential proclamation of October as the national cyber security awareness month.
He pointed out that the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) has led to breaches and surveillance by the Government or Individuals “because most of our data are online.” He added that broadband penetration is also narrowing digital, physical, economic and educational divides, due to global Gross Domestic Product growth.
Afolayan disclosed that the cyberspace is now a veritable channel for the dissemination of “… propaganda to promote violence, including radicalization, recruitment, and financing organized crimes using the Internet; Online child sexual exploitation; the internet as both tool and object of militant protest either for liberation or for domination.”
Shina Badaru, the publisher of Technology Times, appealed for a presidential amnesty for cyber criminals in order to allow government access the potentials of the IT savvy individuals for positive trajectories in building a wall of defence in the nation’s electronic boundaries across the board.
The nation’s conventional security forces, he said, might have been over-stretched and ill-equipped to tackle the dynamic tactics and strategies of the cyber goons, stressing that those granted the amnesty could be converted to the nation’s strategic ‘army’ to combat the looming threats from the new frontiers to national security.
Victor Phikparobo Idohor, director-general of Cyber Security Challenge Nigeria, warned that no one or organization is immune to the real and present danger in the cyberspace.
He agreed with the submission of Badaru on the establishment of dedicated law enforcement agency particularly for cyber security in Nigeria, stressing that the emerging threats in the cyberspace are beyond amateur hacks to the looming attacks on corporate entities and businesses.
The attacks on infrastructure, he noted, presents a picture of the threats to the nation at large.
Brandish Publisher, Collins Onuegbu, who spoke on the break away from the silos of expert discussion on cyber security to a more inclusive citizens’ participation at all levels, highlighted that cyber security challenge has gone beyond the experts’ enclave and should now be broken down in the common man’s language in order to have a comprehensive frontal defeat of the menace.