A telecommunications expert has warned security agencies and users on risks of cybercrime as more people do business online on account of COVID-19. In an exclusive interview with Daily Times, President of the Association Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr Olusola Teniola, said: “It is of a concern that systems around the world built for good are also opportunities presented to criminals to attack and to commit Cybercrime. As there are no systems in the world that are fool-proof, it is actually the new normal to protect the vulnerable from the many flaws that are present in the World Wide Web (WWW).
“And alongside this is the recognition that security enforcement agents and users of the WWW must be on the alert when accessing the Internet via the WWW or via other means to carry out their daily lives. In the case of the surge in virtual use cases and instances; it is through public awareness and through education that the incidents involving Cybercrime via Social Engineering can be addressed.” Asked how telcos can work with security agencies without violating the rights of the citizenry, he said: “Every citizen is obliged to work with the Nigerian security apparatus when backed by appropriate court orders.
As law-abiding citizens, our members are not only obliged to but as a condition of their operating licence have to retain information as part of their operations for a certain period of time. The security agencies in Nigeria work alongside our regulator (NCC) in collaboration with our members to address security issues. Lawful interception of messages and addressing malicious calls are functions that are available to mobile network operators and various other technologies can be used and switched on to aid the tracking down of perpetrators of crime.”
Reacting to the Nigerian Communications Commission’s recent declaration that telcos submit their financial statements in line with the Accounting Separation Framework, Teniola noted: “It was expected and alongside the Telecoms mandatory Corporate Governance guidelines and the recognition that Accounting Separation will someday be introduced by NCC to govern revenue assurance, the Nigerian Broadband Plan 2020-25 (NBP) had noted this as an intervention that would be made by NCC as part of the recommendations made by the NBP committee. So, with the worrying spate of insecurity in Nigeria, it is only expected that telcos will cooperate with security agents to check the activities of criminals. “But accusing fingers are being pointed at telcos for aiding and abetting the abuse of the fundamental human rights of citizens by security agents. For example, a Twitter user was reportedly arrested on the instructions of former President Jonathan for creating a parody account of the former President. It was learnt that he got traced through the personal in
By Ladesope Ladelokun, Abuja