The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it was developing a Risk Based Cyber Security Framework for banks and payment service providers to combat internet fraud in the country.
The central bank governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at the 2018 Nigeria-JP Morgan Chase Cyber Security Conference.
Emefiele, who was represented by the deputy-governor, Financial System Stability, Mrs Aisha Ahmad, said the framework would ensure appropriate cyber security of data in Nigeria’s banking system.
“A recent study by the IMF estimated global annual losses from cyber-attacks to be close to nine per cent of banks’ net income or around 100 billion dollars,” she said.
She also reiterated the CBN’s commitment to strengthening the regulatory and supervisory framework for cyber risk in the country.
Ahmad highlighted some of the complex security challenges cybercrime posed by modern technology despite its convenience to include identity and intellectual property theft, phishing, email spamming, virus dissemination, to sophisticated hacking and theft by digital crime syndicates.
“There is a significant rise in the global cost of cybercrime. McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International studies estimate this at over $600 billion in 2017, more than 20 per cent higher than 2014 record.
“The CBN is committed to strengthening the regulatory and supervisory framework for cyber risk and encouraging realistic vulnerability testing and contingency planning for regulated institutions,” Aishah said, adding that “In partnership with stakeholders in the financial industry we are developing a Risk Based Cyber Security Framework for deposit money banks and payment service providers and internally, we have relied on instruments of automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning to address the cyber threat landscape we face.”
The deputy governor encouraged the regulated institutions to build realistic vulnerability testing system and contingency planning.
Director, Information Technology Department at the CBN, John Ayo, said the bank was putting up strong measures to improve data protection in the banking industry. He noted that steps have to be taken to ensure that the CBN was not attacked by the cyber criminals. He acknowledged that an attack on the central bank would affect the stability of the financial system and would make CBN lose tremendous reputation in the marketplace. “People will start to wonder whether or not they can depend on the CBN.We have looked at the problem holistically and then figured out the best approach to take. We spoke to the American Reserve Bank and that of South Africa to understand what they are doing and gain from their experience.
“We also realised that we have a unique situation in Nigeria. Most importantly, there is a cyber-capability model – C2M2 that tells you what the gaps are. We looked into that and tried to benchmark ourselves with the best in financial services as far as cyber security. All the gaps we have are the ones we are trying to plug. Our plan is that by the end of 2018, we would have substantially addressed a lot of those gaps in three areas,” Ayo stated while speaking to journalists on the sideline of the event.
He said his department was also building internal capability to ensure that it’s able to detect when something goes wrong and respond as quickly as possible and protect the sector.
He said, “For our staff that use mobile devices that must access our information, we are ensuring that they do that in a controlled manner. And in manner that it’s also safe.”
developing a system to ensure that our fresh intelligence is strong. We are looking at forensic capabilities to help us in post incidents – to detect what exactly went wrong as far as technology is concerned. We are also building resilience in terms of governance and processes,” he added.
Based on the recent experience of Bangladesh, the director said the bank has “reviewed our entire payment system, particularly the swift operating environment to ensure there are no gaps so that what happened there cannot happen here.
“We have instituted a very comprehensive awareness programme internally. 5000 staffers have been trained. We are also extending that to the rest of the ecosystem and our partners in other areas as well.”
Managing director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Folashodun Shonubi, assured Nigerians of the safety of the electronic payment system in Nigeria.
“Looking at the likelihood of fraud, it is actually lower if you use electronic means for transactions and payments.
“lmagine you are in a bus and someone took your wallet, it’s almost impossible to identify the culprit.
“However, if it’s your ATM card, every transaction made with the card can be traced which can lead to the arrest of the culprit,” he said.
According to the 2017 Nigeria Cyber Security Report, the country was losing about N127 billion yearly due to cybercrimes.
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