By Omobayo Azeez
Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, has cautioned Nigerians to be ‘extra vigilant’ to avoid being victims of prowling cybercriminals who currently exploit the Coronavirus situation.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly transformed how the citizens interact among themselves, Pantami said this has led to appreciable migration of several meetings, lectures and other form of interactions to online platforms.
“This, no doubt, is a positive development that will support our implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria”.
“However, this migration to home-based unsecure digital platforms often with outdated security systems can make users more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
“Our cybersecurity teams have intercepted following cases, amongst others: phishing attacks aimed at infecting systems or extracting sensitive information; campaigns that defraud citizens by offering essential products and services at suspicious prices; fake news and misinformation aimed at spreading panic, creating instability and promoting distrust; and Video-teleconferencing (VTC) hijacking also called Zoom-bombing,” he said.
While Pantami further emphasized that the implicit requirement of social distancing has increased the adoption of online platforms and e-payment systems, he cautioned sternly that everyone be extra-cautious and reinforce security measures while interacting online, especially when banking online.
He said, it is important to observe basic cyberspace rules such as ignoring suspicious online offers; being circumspect in sharing VTC details; using complex passwords; keeping software up to date; and refraining from sharing unverified information.
“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to keeping Nigerians safe online. To this end, the Ministry and its parastatals will issue regular cybersecurity advisories,” he said Friday in a statement signed by Femi Adeluyi, technical assistant (information technology) to the minister.