11th May, 2022
The prevalence of cybercrimes in Nigeria has become a major concern to citizens. This holds true especially as the country is fast becoming widely known as the center of internet fraud in most western nations.
The activities of bad actors and cybercriminals make this disreputable status worse, and this affects the integrity of innocent Nigerians in the cyberspace. Thus, there is no gainsaying that we need to tackle this ugly phenomenon.
Nigerian cybersecurity stakeholders keep trying to figure out ways of going about this war against cybercrime, but it’s been a slow process. The bulk of the blame falls on the lack of adequate infrastructure in most states.
This infrastructure deficit is evident in poor communication systems. Substandard network transmitters, underequipped government facilities, and zero access to a rich database also contribute to the rising statistics of cybercrime in Africa.
With these necessities lacking, the process of identifying potential threats becomes daunting because even after staging a successful counter-response against cyberattackers, identifying them becomes a burden. Mostly, this results from the lack of a form of ID or a record on the government’s database.
Another factor facilitating the prevalence of cybercrime in Nigeria is illiteracy and ignorance. Many Nigerians, especially those of more advanced ages, are not cyber-conscious. Sometimes, they lack adequate training and information to determine when they are being scammed. Hence, elder financial abuse in cyberspace has become rampant.
Nigerian cybersecurity stakeholders are now more determined to mitigate increasing cyber threats in recent times. In 2015, former Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan signed the cybercrime bill into law, thus attaching legal implications to any cyber-breach.
This makes the country rank among a few African nations that have approved laws aimed at enhancing cybersecurity. However, while this is a commendable approach to this menace, other necessary steps could be taken to successfully mitigate cyber threats.
Jay Abdallah, the Vice President of Cybersecurity Services, Schneider Electric once stressed the importance of training and retraining workers of new technology. In addition, he noted that identifying the right people with a security strategy was key to fighting crime.
A senior Manager, Risk Advisory at Deloitte and Touche Funimilolaa Odumuboni couldn’t agree more. She rightly tagged “the people,” as the weakest link in an organizations’ supply chain.
Hence, creating cybersecurity awareness among company employees would significantly minimize the risk of cyberattacks. Odumuboni also listed vulnerability assessment and visibility as surefire ways of mitigating cybercrimes, especially within an organization.
In addition to enlightening the people and enforcing zero-trust security in a company, some believe paying attention to the process and technology employed in running an organization would go a long way in the war against cybercrime.
However, most companies lack in this aspect due to sheer ignorance or the flawed belief that foreigners and individuals are the major targets of internet fraudsters. This false sense of safety has led to the demise of many great companies and startups.
Cyberthreats may come in various ways, from maliciously breaching a computer through malware to disabling the system completely. Whatever be the case, the intention is always to steal funds or sensitive data, both of which companies have in abundance. Naturally, this makes them desirable prey.
One should note that no industry or individual is immune to the activities of cybercriminals. In fact, top government agencies with top-of-the-art cyber defenses have experienced major attacks and breaches on occasions.
In such scenarios, early detection could save the day. Hence the need to encourage more companies to become more cyber security-conscious.
Obukohwo Obukonise, Senior Systems and Cybersecurity Engineer at Schneider Electric, listed the lack of cybersecurity awareness as a major cause of cyberattacks. Enforcing various layers of protection by design when storing sensitive data can help reduce cyber-risks.
According to him, for an organization to effectively mitigate increasing cyber threats, it needs to have a database of verified applications. This serves as a layer of protection that could be effectively harnessed to promote safety in cyberspace.
These methods, when employed effectively, could mitigate cyberattacks within organizations and the country at large. Also, the existence of the Nigerian Cybersecurity Advisory Council should make the implementation of these measures easier.
Yet, cyberattacks continue to prevail at the individual and corporate levels. This has led many Nigerians to question the readiness of the council to respond to future national cyber threats.
With numerous countries falling victim to this menace, there is no predicting when Nigeria would experience a significant national cyberattack. So, the big question remains: How prepared is the country and her national cybersecurity stakeholders to deal with the imminent danger? Time will tell.