31 July 2014

Nigeria: Absence of Cybercrime Law Worries Information Security Society

Photo: Vanguard
Biometric ATM

The Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria (ISSAN) and some stakeholders in the banking industry have decried the absence of cybercrime law to deal with e-fraud offenders in the country. They expressed their dissatisfaction over the situation at an event organised for chief internal auditors and chief information officers of banks by ISSAN, in collaboration with Digital Encode System.

The expression of their dissatisfaction is not unconnected with reports that the banking industry incurred huge losses of about N159 billion through cybercrime between 2000 and 2013. They identified the inability of the National Assembly to pass the Nigeria Cybercrime Act into law as a major drawback in curtailing cybercrime in the country.

ISSAN used the occasion to announce the establishment of a committee to act as the industry's pressure group to liaise with the National Assembly towards a speedy passage of the cybercrime law.

Members of the committee include: the Managing Directors of Interswitch, and Nigeria Interbank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS). Others are the representatives from the Bankers Committee, the National Security Adviser and the CBN. ISSAN members and the Chairman, Committee of Chief Internal Auditors of Banks in Nigeria (CCIABN) are equally members of the committee.

They are worried by the incessant attacks by cyber criminals on banks, and urged the committee to liaise with the committee of E-Banking Industry Heads (CeBIH) and to also engage MasterCard & Visa card on EMV cards frauds in the country.

The meeting had in attendance, key industry players from Interswitch, NIBBS, the CBN, and a wide variety of Information Technology professionals including the chief internal auditors and chief information officers of several Nigerian Banks. They discussed the incessant attacks by cyber criminals on banks, action plan for the protection of payment systems and the banking industry as a whole, the Central Bank's biometric project and its impact on banks and consumers alike, all from a security perspective.

ISSAN President, David Isiavwe described the meeting as a critical milestone "in the gamut of activities and efforts towards achieving total security of the banking environment in Nigeria." He observed that the proliferation of e-channels which has brought banking services closer to customers has further increased the risk of cybercrime hence, noting therefore that companies must find a more comprehensive approach to protecting their employees, core networks and IT infrastructure.

"Without any doubt, companies' assets are now increasingly becoming information-based and intangible. Indeed, most physical assets now rely heavily on information as technology now allows companies to offer more information/digital products than ever before," Isiavwe said.

According to him, the cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving and we expect new forms of threats and attacks, including zero day attacks to emerge with each passing day.

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