NITDA: 14% Internet Users in Nigeria Suffer Cyber Attacks

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Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Ibrahim Pantami, has said that 14 percent of the 90 million Internet users in the country suffer one form of cyber attacks or the other.

The CEO in a statement signed by the Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, said the staggering statistics of cyber attacks necessitated the setting up of the National Cyber Implementation Committee, which is being overseen by his office.

According to Pantami, in 2013, global payment giant, paypal.com disclosed that Nigerians lost about N159 billion to cyber security threats.

He said it is becoming more worrisome that since 2014, the country has lost approximately N90 billion to cybercrimes.

Pantami said: “In December 2015, Nigeria was the 17th most attacked nation in the world.” This information, he averred was obtained from Check Point Software Technologies cyber threat intelligence report.

The Office of the National Security adviser (ONSA), the CEO said recently that 2,175 Nigerian websites were hacked in 2015, with 585 being government parastatals and agencies.

He said: “The inter-ministerial Technical Committee on the implementation of the national cyber security strategy held its inaugural meeting at the headquarters of the National Information Technology Development Agency.”

While reiterating the advantages derived from ICT, he said government is proactively putting measures in place to be ahead of hackers with the aim of preventing them from abusing or encroaching on users websites.

Pantami, said: “Information Technological tools that have become vital in our critical activities are also avenues adopted by individuals and groups to carry out a range of malicious activities.”

He noted that these threats on cyber space could be targeted at national critical infrastructures, government/private institutions or individuals.

“Today, information assets are very valuable and various sectors of the Nigerian government have come to rely on technological tools to carry out their processes both critical and non-critical.

“Financial services, telecommunications, navigational systems, manufacturing sector, oil and gas, power and energy, food and agriculture, emergency services and healthcare systems.” he stressed.

The CEO said the scale and dimension of the threats have compelled the agency to develop and implement a new cyber security strategy for the public service as approved by the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu.

He called on every stakeholder in the committee for continuous collaborative effort, stressing that information security is not a one-off programme, as the threat landscape keeps changing.

The committee, he said consists of representatives from the ministry, ONSA, Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Nigeria Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT).

On the committee’s terms of reference, he said: “The Technical Committee is aimed at countering an increasing number of threats and develop a strategy through greater inter-agency coordination, cooperation and information sharing.