By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Experts and stakeholders in the financial services sector have urgently called on the federal government to put a strong national cybersecurity infrastructure in place.
They submitted that an effective cybersecurity strategy would address the ever-evolving cyber threats and critical infrastructure protection challenges plaguing the national economy.
The stakeholders spoke in support of this development at the launching of the Cybersecurity Consulting Operations Nigerian Cybersecurity by the Cyberechnologies Next Generation (CybertechNX).
The Managing Director of CybertechNX, Mr Austine Ohwobete, stated, “cybercriminals are on their digital revolution journey.
“Trends like work-from-home, Internet of Things (IoT), bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and cloud initiatives have given hackers new ways to infiltrate organisations by exponentially expanding the attack surface”.
“Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have now given hackers and bad actors, both state and nonstate, new tools to distribute malware, vector in on high-end targets, and reach bigger and more diverse audiences. And as these technologies evolve, cybercriminals are becoming increasingly stealthy, sophisticated and evasive,” he added at the event organised by the Committee of Chief Information Security Officers of the Nigerian Financial Institutions (CCISONFI).
The President of the Information Security Society of Africa (ISSAN) and Group Head, Operations and Technology, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr David Isiavwe, in his presentation, stated that evolving and sustaining premium cyber-security is very important because over $7 trillion is available to be stolen worldwide, including Nigeria, on the cyberspace.
According to him, “the first thing that the ISSAN is doing is advocacy. We are engaging all key stakeholders to ensure adequate constant collaboration. Everybody must work together because the entire cyberspace is as secure as its weakest link. We are also saying that every individual should be careful.”
“Once a message doesn’t look right, and it has a link, please do not touch the link until you have confirmed to know the person that sent that message. We want people to know how to protect themselves.
“Secondly, we are also taking steps to ensure that organisations put in place the rudiments and the basics required to ensure that they are protected.
“Thirdly, there must be management buy-in from the board level, which I call ‘the tone at the top.’ If the board and senior management do not support it, it will just be a joke, and there will be no security.
“Then we are building and focusing on human capacity development by engaging with experts to ensure that organisations remain secure and safe,” he added.
Mr Isiavwe further stressed “the urgent need to evolve a strengthened cyber-security system in Nigeria because of growing digitalisation of the country’s economic and social interactions as people now work from home and anyone with a smart cell phone could hop into the cyberspace from anywhere and attack nation-states, organisations, and individuals.
“All these mean that the threat landscape has expanded significantly across the borders of any organisation and country”.
On his part, the Chairman of CCISONFI, Mr Abumere Igboa, stated that there was a constant need to address the related challenges of ensuring continuous cybersecurity and data privacy through a strong national cyber-security infrastructure.
He added that the lack of a proper identity management framework is leading financial institutions to rely on other means for identifying information, such as BVN, stressing that only through concerted efforts by all industry stakeholders and the government can eliminate or reduce the activities of cybercriminals.
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