17 April 2019

Nigeria: Experts Urge Govt to Establish Cyber Security Centre

Experts have called on the government to partner and engage industry and cyber security organisations collective efforts to adequately tackle cybercrime in Nigeria.

Although, most data breaches in Nigeria go unreported, they said that increasing amount of well-publicised breaches globally suggests that security breaches are increasing in severity. The experts disclosed this at the 5th Cyber Secure Nigeria 2019 Conference with the theme "Implementing Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practices in Nigeria Cyber Security."

To build a resilient defence, President, Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Remi Afo, said the federal government urgently need to establish a national cyber security centre that will be saddled with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing the National cyber security policy and strategy.

"Cybercriminals are stepping up their game and data breaches are increasingly common and devastating, and that is why we need to act together. While cybercriminals are collaborating, sharing information and providing 24/7 support services in the dark web on various cybercrime activities ranging from malware creation, compromised passwords sale, zero-day vulnerabilities, the government and private sectors in Nigeria are working in silos.

"The data mining episodes is just the beginning of series of data misuse, our failure to enact data protection law leaves citizens of Nigeria exposed to data breaches," Afo stressed.

According to the recently released Global Risks Report 2019 by The World Economic Forum (WEF), massive data theft and cyberattacks ranked among the top five risks facing the society today.

In February 2019, a collection of 2.7 billion identity records, consisting of 774 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords, was posted on the web for sale as reported by Troy Hunt, an Australian web security expert, and administrator of Have I Been owned (HIBP) website. It is estimated that the average cost of a data breach will be over $150 million by 2020, with the global yearly cost forecast to be $2.1 trillion.

The CSEAN President noted that rapid technological advances in cloud adoption, blockchain implementation, artificial intelligence and data science, has increased the potential for cyber-attacks and data breaches in today's digital landscape.

"No single organisation is immune to cyber threats. The massive amount of information popping out of various social and mobile platforms continues to add to organisations' vulnerabilities, making them attractive targets for complex cybercrimes.

"Although there is growing global awareness of the threats and risks in cyberspace, there is still limited understanding of the nuances of the debate in Nigeria. Research and investment in cyber security are essential to meeting and responding to cyber security threats in a timely fashion and to nurturing human resource capabilities, unfortunately cyber security is currently under-resourced and lacks the appropriate long-term funding in both the public and private sector in Nigeria," he noted.

It is estimated that Africa's e-commerce industry will be worth $75 billion by 2025 with Nigeria in the lead according to a 2016 report by the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.

The number of active mobile phone lines in Nigeria rose to 174 million in January 2019 based on Nigerian Communications Commission's (NCC) report.

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