This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Fight Against Cybercrime, Legislation As Rescue

Lagos — A computer crime as well as cyber survey conducted recently indicated that Nigeria is the most internet fraudulent country in Africa. Besides, the same report further stated that the giant of Africa is ranked third among others identified with cyber fraud and computer crime in the world.

The report contained in a global computer crime and security survey brought stakeholders in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria together at Heinrich Boll Foundation (HBF) Conference Hall to discuss how to facilitate information security, reduce security breaches, and steps to contain cyber crime in Africa.

Dr. Martins Ikpehai, chief executive officer, Computer Audit and Security Associates Ltd, Lagos heightened tension of the participants when he disclosed that the third world war might be fought on the computer considering how different attacks were being launched through internet.

Ikpehai, expressing concerns on how terrorists have been distorting information on internet, said internet facility has recently become an instrument of terrorism. He reiterated that the third world war might be fought on computers as terrorist groups like Al Queada have been taking advantages of internet facilities to launch attacks and invectives.

This development, he stressed, has called for concerted efforts among stakeholders, civil society groups, corporate bodies and government institutions to join forces together to rid the continent of the imminent terrorist attacks through the use of information technology.

"Law enforcement agencies such as Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences Commission (ICPC), State Security Service (SSS), the Nigeria Police among others play prominent roles in the fight against the new trend of social vice.

"Computer security and cyber crime awareness should be created with a view to sensitising all users of the internet facility with the emerging indicators of crime and fraud being committed through computer.

"Need now arises to the surviving mega banks, oil multinationals, business conglomerates and communication firms from untold sorrow which the cyber criminals have resolved to inflict on most businesses" he said.

All participants at the three-day conference agreed in various papers presented that the law enforcement agencies and judiciary in the continent have roles to play in devising ways of curbing internet fraud and enhancing their skills in computer security and risk management.

Participants at the conference, upholding the standpoint of the internet group's president, unanimously stated that the diplomats, international legal practitioners and international institutions have roles to play in ensuring that legal provisions at the international level.

Sensitising them with the effort by the internet group to outlaw the practice, Ajayi said the group had sponsored Computer Security and Cybercrime Bill in the National Assembly, and that its passage would mark the beginning of the war against internet crime in the country.

He explained that "it is not enough to ensure that the bill is passed. But there is also need to create a centre where the victims of security breaches can lodge complaints. The Nigeria Internet Group has set up Cybercrime and Security Support Centre mainly to serve this purpose."

Messer Bankole Olubamise, the executive director, Development Information Network (DevNet) said the security breaches has become so rife and frequent that it required concerted efforts of stakeholders in the industry to bring an end to computer crime in the country.

He said: "variants of cybercrime include unauthorised access, theft of proprietary info, denial of service, inside net abuse, financial fraud, misuse of public web application system penetration, laptop theft, and abuse of wireless network, sabotage telecom fraud and web site defacement.

"There is need to devise means to stop perpetrators of internet crime. There is need to secure the present global village, mega businesses and the posterity from the protracted evil of cyber crime without delay," he said.

Olubamise, drawing inferences from the 2005 Computer Crime and Security Survey conducted by the CSI and FBI, said it was necessary for information stakeholders to conduct survey and research with a view to containing cyber-related crimes and computer security breaches.

Worried by challenges that face African countries, Mr. Jide Awe, who presented paper on Building Global Competitiveness through Computer Security Education, Awareness, Training and Certification, said lack of understanding, education, training, unclear policies of government, insufficient information security and low confidence exhibited in Africa's e-business.

He charged the information security expertise in the continent to identify threats to computer security, protect both internal and external threats, and human error has been a major threat to cyber security which need be addressed with care and skill acquisition and enhancement.

Giving more insights on how such crimes can contained, Awe said since survey indicated that human action contributed more to security failure than technological weaknesses, more people need be educated to understand security threats, vulnerabilities and other breaches.

Participants from different African countries resolved to establish African Information Security Association (AISA) at the end of the conference with a view to promoting knowledge and creating awareness about computer security and cybercrime on the continent.

It was resolved in a communiqué that AISA would serve to promote global best practices in information, computer and internet security, campaign against cybercrime, conduct annual survey on information security, promote legislation and regulations and create linkages and networks in Africa.

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