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FG Moves To Protect MDAs’ Networks Against Cyber Attacks

Federal Government has taken some measures to protect the networks of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) against cybercrimes and attacks.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of CERTng Awareness Campaign and capacity building workshop organised by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in partnership with Malaysia Cyber security Agency in Abuja on Wednesday, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the Acting Director General of NITDA, underscored the need to strengthen cyber security within MDAs as Nigeria is facing challenges from network design, security and prevention as well as cyber-attack to cybercrimes.

Olatunji stressed the need for effective security measures within the networks of MDAs to create trust and confidence in various platforms.

He explained that capability and capacity building training has been organised for the staff of the MDAs, adding that the training had become a veritable platform for experts and professionals from various sectors to converge in order to share practical knowledge and technology that best work for the nation’s cyber safety at large.

The NITDA Acting D-G said the training had been carefully designed to include lectures, practical sessions and exercises to provide skills, encourage participation and exchange information, noting that topics such as network monitoring, web application, scanning and mitigation to ensure best practice and safety of the nation’s cyber space.

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He said Internet usage in Nigeria has increased remarkably to over 90 million regular Internet users while e-Commerce and online transactions run into billions of naira on a daily basis.

Also speaking, Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, an ICT Consultant, said in June 2014 report by the USA Centre for Strategic and International Studies and Information Security firm, McAfee, which is subsidiary of Intel, entitled, “Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime; Economic impact of cybercrime II,” shows that 0.80% of Nigeria’s GDP, equivalent to the cement sector, is lost to cybercrimes.

Ajijola said Nigeria loses annually an estimate of $450 million to cyber crimes.

He said: “As technology becomes increasingly pervasive and our dependency on it grows, our economic losses will grow exponentially unless pre-emptive measures are taken to mitigate and eliminate the capacity of cybercriminals to take advantage of our environment.

“This does not preclude major disruptions by cybercriminals to critical national infrastructure like, Oil & Gas; Telecommunications; Banking and Finance, National Security & Government. For example, in January 2016 the infamous “Anonymous hacker collective has started a cyber-campaign against the government of Nigeria, accusing it of corruption, greed and theft.”

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“According to a 2015 survey, by Kaspersky Lab, 45.3 per cent of the Internet users in Nigeria suffered attack in the third quarter of 2015v. By implication either you or the person next to you was hacked in some way.”

Ajijola said Cybercriminals operate at the speed of light while law enforcement moves at the speed of law.

In another development, Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, has lamented that Nigeria loses about N78 billion yearly to cybercrimes.

Shittu said that financial institutions, government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as their affiliates have become targets for people who engage in cybercrimes.

The minister made the remarks in Abuja recently at the opening ceremony of a five-day capacity enhancement and sustainability workshop for Africa centres of excellence organised by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

He said his ministry had submitted recommendations to the government on how to tackle cybercrimes.

“It is also noteworthy to mention here that Nigeria currently loses about 78 billion yearly to activities of cyber criminals whose major targets are the financial institutions, and the government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as their affiliates,” he said.

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Shittu said that President Muhammadu Buhari was planning to lay the foundation for sustainable growth of the education sector by improving upon the quality of education in Nigerian universities.

He said: “In line with the present government’s decision to build upon existing infrastructure, President Buhari is planning to lay the foundation for sustainable growth of the education sector and to improve upon the quality of education in Nigerian Universities.

“This is evident from the percentage that has been earmarked for education in the 2016 budget of change. This percentage for education in the 2016 budget proposal reveals the administration’s commitment to the improvement of the standard of education.”

On his part, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, said that the 10 Africa Centres of Excellence have boosted the image of Nigeria’s higher education.