By Omobayo Azeez
The Nigerian government has stepped up its war against cyber attacks in the country by instituting Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) centre.
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), federal government’s agency tasked to connect and protect people online, among others responsibilities established the CSIRT to further curb cyber attacks and respond appropriately to cyber breach incidents.
Speaking at the maiden edition of Annual Cyber Security Conference organized by the commission in Abuja, Umaru Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC, said technical measures and appropriate legal instruments are key in addressing cybercrimes and boosting cyber security.
He stressed that these will raise the integrity of ICT infrastructure and also to safeguard activities in the cyberspace.
The conference with the theme, “Strengthening the Security and Resilience of the Nation’s Communications Infrastructure” was attended by representatives from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, telecom companies and other stakeholders such as security arms of the government.
While restating the commission’s efforts towards ensuring that the Internet is safer to use, Danbatta emphasized the role of education to mitigate the negative impacts of cybercrime as he highlighted measures being taken by the commission.
According to him, “The measures include: collaboration with relevant stakeholders to embark on nationwide cyber security awareness; establishment of a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) Centre; collaboration with relevant security agencies in the development of the national cyber security policy; and development of technical framework for the use of social media network in Nigeria.
“Others are development of contents for consumer awareness and collaboration with stakeholders on the development of Data Privacy and Protection Act; and carrying out a comprehensive risk and vulnerability assessment of the communications infrastructure and the industry.”
Danbatta also informed audience at the conference that NCC will soon commence a multi-stakeholder process for the development of an Industry Wide Obligation of Minimum Cyber Security Provisions which will apply to all operators.
The NCC boss said the maiden annual cyber security summit is in recognition speaks to the importance and centrality of collaborative efforts in the advancement of cyber security measures to provide precautions and protection of critical communications Infrastructure.
According to him, “the event was designed to provide a platform for discussion on developing a joint coordination for incidence response for the communication industry, introducing cyber insurance, bridging the cyber workforce gap, strengthening national cooperation, exchange of information, and development of comprehensive strategies that will address the cyber security challenges confronting the communications industry in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, who also spoke at the conference, restated re-stated that the Federal Government is irrevocably committed to strengthening cyber security in the country.
According to the Minister, the volume of money being lost to cyber criminals globally explained the government’s commitment to securing the country’s national telecommunications infrastructure through necessary technical, legal and policy initiatives.
Pantami affirmed that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) unveiled by President Buhari on November 28, 2019, is aimed at deepening access to digital services for a more efficiently and effectively run economy.
Accordingly, the minister said the sixth of the eight pillars of the NDEPS, which thematically focused on ‘Soft Infrastructure’, is conceptualized to improve the cyber security architecture in the country.
“This Conference by the NCC is, therefore, fitting, as it aligns with the digital economy agenda of the government. So, as we deepen access to digital services in the country, I have to say that people need to know that once they are online, they are exposed to risks.
“For instance, just opening an email that you are not sure of the sender exposes your system and data to risks. Also, using pirated software should be avoided and we must update our software regularly to avoid being target of cyber criminals,” Pantami said.