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WannaCry: Nigeria Still Vulnerable To Attacks – Experts

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BY NKECHI ISAAC, Abuja

Experts in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have stressed that despite being largely spared from the recent monumental WannaCry or WannaCript Ransomware attacks, Nigeria is still vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Recall that the world was thrown into pandemonium with the recent monumental Ransomware attack, which was considered to be one of the biggest cyber security attacks in recent history, and affected computer networks in more than 150 countries and more than 200,000 people across the globe.

Though statistics show that Nigeria only recorded isolated cases as no major incident was reported, some experts have said the country is not entirely out of the woods in terms of cyber-attacks as experts in the sector have noted that individual practices tend to expose the nation to massive attacks if we fail to take corrective measures to protect our cyberspace.

Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP, the chairman, Nigeria Association of Information Technology Enabled Outsourcing Companies (NAITEOC), Mr David Onu, noted that Nigeria is technically vulnerable to cyber-attacks because it lacks proper cyber security housekeeping practices.

According to him, “We’re vulnerable because it is less of a technical answer but more of a good housekeeping answer. The truth of the matter is that Nigerians at the individual, institutional, government or private sector level are not fully aware of the threats posed by cyber security. We still find people downloading emails carelessly; you find out that some companies do not even have something as simple as password policy. You find people using others PC; you see the indiscriminate use of flash drive.

“Ransomware attacks and cyber-attacks can only happen on invitation. Somebody has to bring it into the network. So, it is typically a third party tool that brings it into the network. Today where people share flash drives left, right and centre of course it is prone to affect their network.

“Key sectors like the banking, financial sector, are also at risk because the issue of cyber-security many people think it is just a technology issue and most organisation would tell you they have the best intrusion detection, firewall, or the best antivirus but there are two parts that are also missing. In security it is not just the technology but the people and process; so, if you can have the best technology but with the wrong people or the right people with the wrong processes it is also a security bridge.”

The NAITEOC boss stressed that the nation cannot afford work on silos when it comes to cyber-security even as he called for a unified collaborative effort to properly educate and sensitise Nigerians on how to protect themselves in the cyberspace and ensure maximum security for themselves and the nation.

“The biggest thing is that this discussion of cyber-security should stop being a bedroom discussion, it should stop being another room discussion. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has working group, this is a national issue that should prompt a national dialogue and should involve every Tom, Dick and Harry because everyone has computers now. So, there needs to be a sustained campaign whereby there’s increased advocacy, there’s publications, radio, TV, media. This thing should no longer be an elitist discussion, I found out that the cyber-security discussion in Nigeria is very elitist, everybody is acting as if it is rocket science, it is not rocket science, it is common sense in most cases,” he added.

Speaking similarly on the recent attack during the commissioning of a Digital Capacity Building Centre (DCBC) donated to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in Abuja, the director-general of the agency, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, decried the trend of hosting of domains by MDAs and other stakeholders outside the shores of the country, saying such practices exposes the nation to cyber-attacks.




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