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Online crimes and fortification of Nigeria’s cybersecurity architecture

Now, almost all Nigerians are living their lives with technology. We depend daily on technology. Even the national security is in many ways dependent on…

Now, almost all Nigerians are living their lives with technology. We depend daily on technology. Even the national security is in many ways dependent on the internet and technology. And the Internet is now known to almost everyone, but not everyone is aware of cybersecurity. And here lies the problem. 

The increasing new technologies are bringing with them unusual threats and Cybercrime is one such threats.  cybercrime is a crime or an attack like hacking, spamming, and so on that is committed via a phone/computer/Internet and other devices. In other words, it is an illegal activity which is carried out using technology. Every Internet user is a potential victim of one cyber crime or another, experts said. 

A report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) listed Nigeria as the 16th country worst affected by cybercrime, and the rising number of scammers in the country is worrisome, according a top government official who pleaded to remain anonymous.

 Experts said this may be due to the ubiquitous internet connectivity now being enjoyed in the country. Fast Internet supports cybercrime activities such as raiding bank accounts, identity theft, impersonation and stealing corporate information. Nearly two thirds of people who use online services (more than two billion individuals worldwide) have had their personal data stolen or compromised one way or the other. 

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Cybersecurity experts said the world of cybercrime is sophisticated and transnational, spanning across multiple jurisdictions. It now like a coordinated cartel infrastructure involving actors across the world, though how they coordinate their work precisely remains a subject of investigation to security agents. Cybercrime, according to IT experts, appears attractive to many young guys partly because the probability of getting arrested is low. 

The Nigeria Cyber Security Outlook  published by Deloitte revealed that phishing schemes will possibly become bigger and bolder, in addition to government and public institutions facing data leaks and sensitive information breaches. These attacks could grow increasingly daring, creative and sophisticated to exploit weaknesses in controls around payment authentication, verification and authorisation. Dealing with the criminal enterprise sustainably means foiling attacks before they happen, and urgent action is needed.

A report by the Center for Strategic Studies revealed that cybercrime cost the global economy as much as $1 trillion in 2020 alone. It ranks third behind government corruption and narcotics as a global economic ‘scourge’, amounting to a 14% tax on growth. Online fraud and cybercrime account for half of all the crimes in the United Kingdom (5.5 million offenses annually). The United Arab Emirates is said to be the second most targeted country in the world, where the cost of cybercrime is estimated at $1.4 billion per year.

 FG’s cybersecurity efforts

While the Nigerian Cybercrime Prevention and Provision law has been a useful deterrent, it has been largely inadequate in preventing the vulnerability of major institutions like banks. Real-time coordination has been a challenge and made early detection and prevention difficult and insufficient.

A robust and comprehensive risk management and cyber security measure is therefore urgent. While the National Cyber Security Policy adopted in 2014 outlined strategies for private sector partnership, multi-stakeholder partnership and international cooperation, recent events call for stronger synergies, regular stakeholder feedback and periodic reviews every five years, as the policy agreed. The government must be seen to be more stringent on cyber security measures with targeted enforcement, and organisations must pay more attention to cyber security and surveillance through multi-factor authentication mechanisms.

But there is also an opportunity: increased international collaboration to support information sharing and public awareness programmes on cyber security is key. 

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said Nigeria is increasing cybersecurity awareness among its citizens because it is the main antidote to online crimes and identity theft.  

NITDA, in a statement, said the federal government’s main priory now is safety of every Nigerian online. 

To this end, the statement said, the government had dedicated October as a cybersecurity awareness month. 

“This campaign focuses on informing individuals and organizations about relevant cyber security trends, threats, and proactive steps to increase security”, it said.  

It added that NITDA would organise a national Cyber security awareness summit on how Nigerians can stay safe and more secured online

The summit will promote cybersecurity awareness and educate individuals and organizations about the importance of cybersecurity, NITDA said.

Other measures that internet can take to prevent cyber crimes are: 

Maintaining strong different password and username combinations for each of the accounts and withstand the desire to write them down. Weak passwords can be easily broken. 

Keep social media private: 

Be sure that your social networking profiles (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) are set to be private. Once be sure to check your security settings. Be careful with the information that you post online. 

Protect your storage data: 

Protect your data by using encryption for your important diplomatic files such as related to financial and taxes

Protecting your identity online: 

We have to be very alert when we are providing personal information online. You must be cautious when giving out personal identities such as your name, address, phone number, and financial information on the Internet. Be sure to make that websites are secure when you are making online purchases, etc. This includes allowing your privacy settings when you are using social networking sites.

Keep changing passwords frequently:

When it comes to password, don’t stick to one password. You can change your password frequently so that it may be difficult for the hackers to access the password and the stored data.

Securing your phones:

Many people are not knowing that their mobile devices are also unsafe for malicious software, such as computer viruses and hackers. Make sure that you download applications only from trusted sources. Don’t download the software /applications from unknown sources. It is also pivotal that you should keep your operating system up-to-date. Be sure to install the anti-virus software and to use a secure lock screen as well. Otherwise, anybody can retrieve all your personal information on your phone if you lost it. Hackers can track your every movement by installing malicious software through your GPS.

Call the right person for help: 

Try not to be nervous if you are a victim. If you come across illegal online content such as child exploitation or if you think it’s a cyber-crime or identity theft or a commercial scam, just like any other crime report this to your local police.

 There are so many websites to get help on cyber-crime.

Protect your computer with security software: There are many types of security software that are necessary for basic online security. Security software includes firewall and antivirus software. A firewall is normally your computer’s first line of security. It controls that who, what and where is the communication is going on the internet.

 

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