Stakeholders Want FG to Declare October Cybersecurity Month

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Emma Okonji

Following the increasing rate of insecurity in the cyberspace that has led to huge financial losses in the online space, stakeholders in Nigeria’s information communication (ICT) and broadcasting sectors have called on the federal government to adopt October as the national cybersecurity awareness month in line with global best practices.

This call was made at the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NASCAM) conference held in Lagos recently. The call was the consensus of Most speakers and participants at the one-day conference were in consensus on call, stressing 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.

Delivering a paper on “Internet Jurisdiction: A Catch-22 Situation and the Trajectory of Nigeria’s Judicial System,” Managing Partner M. A. Banire and Associates, Kunle Adegoke, said: “The evil effect of cybercrimes can be hardly exhaustively appreciated as same may seem to be limitless. According to a recent 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.”

According to the report, in 2012, Nigeria lost over N2 trillion 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 avenue 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.

According to him, “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,” Adegoke said.

The 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 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.

“Few years ago, the major headache 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,” Mba said.

According to him, for years the industry has been moving away from traditional, analogue audiovisual broadcasting technology towards digital and network-based infrastructure. 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,” Mba said.

President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association, (NIRA), 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.

Director General, Cyber Security Challenge Nigeria, Victor Phikparobo Idohor said that no one or organisation is immune to the real and present danger in the cyber space. He stressed that the emerging threats in the cyber space is beyond amateur hacks, and should be addressed as such.