Experts Urge PMB To Proclaim October Nigeria’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s converged ICT and broadcasting sectors have asked the federal government of Nigeria to consider the adoption of October as the national cybersecurity awareness month in line with global best practices as a matter of urgent national priority.

This call was made at the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NASCAM) conference held at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos recently.

The call was the consensus of most speakers and participants at the one-day conference.

They stressed that cyber security should be given additional attention by the federal government of Nigeria going by the exponential growth of Internet related activities in the country and the growing vulnerability of the government, corporate and individual citizens to the threats of cyber criminals.

Delivering a paper on INTERNET JURISDICTION: A CATCH-22 SITUATION AND THE TRAJECTORY OF NIGERIA’S JUDICIAL SYSTEM, Kunle Adegoke, Managing Partner M. A. Banire and Associates said, “The evil effect of cybercrimes can be hardly exhaustively appreciated as same may seem to be limitless.

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According to a report, “Cyber-crime costs the global economy about $445 billion every year, with the damage to business from the theft of intellectual property exceeding the $160 billion loss to individuals from hacking”. A 2012 report says that Nigeria lost over 2 trillion naira to cybercrime in 2012 and $200 million per annum. The amount of loss annually occasioned now can be better imagined as youths today see cybercrime as an open sesame to sudden riches.”

While commending the Nigerian government for enacting the enabling law to deal with cyber criminality, he called for the strengthening of the existing laws as he said, “The computer has created a different world of cyber existence where man can live without laws of ancient regime. The benefits of burden of human relations have occasioned cyber-crime as well.”

He expressed concern that “it is not good for technology to run faster than law. Whenever, technology moves faster than law, what you will have is a legal vacuum”. Nigeria suffered this legal vacuum for a long while.”

Immediate past Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, Emeka Mba also expressed the need for increased citizens and government’s participation in awareness creating and pragmatic interventions in the cyber security issues and challenges.

He said that even the broadcast industry that used to have a sense of immunity against cyber-attacks is now more vulnerable like every other IT entities because of the convergence of technology which has allowed for the integration of Internet Protocols in the broadcasting industry and the emergence of Smart television sets.

He underscored in his concern when he cited the instance On April 8, 2015, hackers penetrated the French broadcaster TV5Monde, crippling email and production facilities, hijacking social media accounts and disrupting the transmission of 11 channels for three hours.

Putting it in context, Mba said “that Few years ago, the major head ache for a pay tv service was smart card hacking, and piracy, today its much worse. According to a new report in Digital TV Europe “Cybercriminals target broadcasters up to 1,000 times a day.”

Immediate past Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, Emeka Mba

According to him, for years the industry has been moving away from traditional, analog audiovisual broadcasting technology towards digital-only, network-based infrastructures. This is a logical and necessary process for broadcast companies to keep pace with technological development, and to benefit from the efficiencies of digital media network distribution. But any system based on delivering digital media over the internet is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attack from outside.

“Broadcast signal intrusion is the hijacking of broadcast signals of radio, television stations, cable television broadcast feeds or satellite signals. Hijacking incidents have involved local TV and radio stations as well as cable and national networks, he stated.

President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association, (NIRA), Reverend Sunday Afolayan, who spoke on Internet governance, highlighted some of the issues that have made it pertinent for the Nigerian government to speedily consider the presidential proclamation of October as the national cyber security awareness month.

According to him, the proliferation of the IoT has led to the issue of breaches and surveillance (by the Government or Individuals) because most of our data are online.

He said as well that broadband penetration is narrowing digital, physical, economic and educational divides. This according to him is resulting in global GDP growth.

Afolayan noted as well that the cyber space is now a veritable channel for the dissemination of “propaganda to promote violence.

These, according to him, include radicalization, recruitment and financing organized crimes using the Internet, online child sexual exploitation, the internet as both tool and object of militant protest either for liberation or for domination”.

Publisher and founder, Technology Times, Shina Badaru canvassed for a presidential amnesty for cyber criminals in order to allow government access the potentials of the IT savvy individuals for positive trajectories in building a wall of defence in the nation’s electronic boundaries across the board.

While saying that the nation’s conventional security forces might have been over stretched and ill-equipped to tackle the dynamic tactics and strategies of the cyber goons, he said that those granted the amnesty could be converted to the nation’s strategic ‘army’ to combat the looming threats from the new frontiers to national security.

Director-General, Cyber Security Challenge Nigeria, Victor Phikparobo Idohor said cautioned that no one or organisation is immune to the real and present danger in the cyber space.

He concurred with Badaru on the need for a dedicated law enforcement agency particularly for cyber security in Nigeria.

He stressed that the emerging threats in the cyber space is beyond amateur hacks to the looming attacks on corporate entities and businesses. According to him, the attacks on infrastructure presents gloomy picture of the threats to nation at large.

Brandish Publisher, Collins Onuegbu spoke on the break away from the silos of expert discussion on cyber security to a more inclusive citizens’ participation at all levels.

According to him, cyber security challenge has gone beyond the experts’ enclave and should now be broken down in the common man’s language in order to have a comprehensive frontal defeat of the menace.

The one-day conference was attended by representatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, EFCC, DSS, civil society group, Lagos State government, students, developers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, banks, insurance companies and ICTs fraternal agencies and the media.

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