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Minister says Nigeria ‘committed to cyber security’

Minister says Nigeria ‘committed to cyber security’

The Nigerian government is committed to securing the nation’s tech resources against cyber criminals under its broader cyber security plan, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy says.

The Minister says the volume of money being lost to cyber criminals globally explains government’s commitment to securing the country’s national telecoms infrastructure through necessary technical, legal and policy initiatives.

Pantami’s assurance comes just the nation’s telecoms regulator plans an industry-wide obligation of minimum cyber security provisions that will apply to all operators in Nigeria.

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
Technology Times file photo shows Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy

The Minister dropped this hint in a keynote address at the Annual Cyber Security Conference organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Abuja.

He says 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. 

The Minister says the sixth of the eight pillars of the NDEPS thematically focused on ‘Soft Infrastructure’ is hoped 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 says to attendees at the event.

Also speaking at the event, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, says 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 Danbatta, “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.”

The EVC stated that in addressing cybercrimes and boosting cyber security, technical measures and appropriate legal instruments must be put in place to enhance the resilience and integrity of ICT infrastructure and also to safeguard our activities in cyberspace.

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. The EVC highlighted the measures being taken by the Commission as follows:

  • Collaboration with relevant stakeholders to embark on a 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;
  • Development of Technical Framework for the Use of Social Media Network in Nigeria.
  • 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.
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