Bank directors, security experts, and operators in the financial technology space have stressed the need for financial institutions to share information on cyber attacks to mitigate the effects of hackers.
Speaking at the 2019 Bank Directors' Association of Nigeria (BDAN) conference in Lagos, at the weekend, the Association noted that effective collaboration between banks and stakeholders would help to combat cybercrime, and improve security of funds in the financial industry.
The President of BDAN, Mrs Osaretin Demuren, who is also the chairman of the board of Guaranty Trust Bank, noted that sharing information would help the industry demystify the activities of hackers and cyber criminals, thereby making them less effective in the financial sector.
She described cyber security as one of the top risks faced by almost all the sectors of the economy, adding that the board is the first line of defence in corporate governance.
"Ignorance or lack of knowledge is not an excuse, so we need to be well-equipped. Gone are the days when you have to manage information; we need to share information so that we demystify what this is all about, because what they want is the financial benefit.
"Cyber security is one of the top risks that is being faced not just in the financial sector, but in all sectors. However the impact is more felt in the financial sector; because once you hack into one, all the others are open. So it is very important that people are aware of cyber risk and the damage it can do businesses.
"One of the objectives of BDAN is to have practitioners; bankers come round and hold seminars, because what is affecting you is affecting every other person. We have to learn from one another. If you don't speak out we would be dying in silence.
"We need them to share experiences and be aware of what is happening. Yes competition is there, but you can use the sharing to learn and improve your competition. Nobody is saying you should share your secret, but you take what is needed and give what is needed so your colleagues are protected, because one bank cannot serve a country."
Also, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Wema Bank, Ademola Adebise, called for more collaboration to ensure that all participants both the banks and customers are well boarded up against the activities of cyber criminals.
He noted that when information is shared with other banks by a particular bank that has been affected, other banks could trace the trend and avoid being victims of the same crime.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive, Computer Warehouse Group, Austin Okere, on his part decried the attitude of banks, which hide details of an attack whether it was successful or not, adding that this would only allow the same hackers to perpetrate similar attack on other banks, thereby creating an industry-wide issue.