NSA, Military Warn of Imminent Cyber Threat to Economy, National Security Auditor General calls for proactive measures

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Paul Obi in Abuja
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) and the military yesterday warned that recent rise in cyber crime portends great threat to Nigeria’s economy and national security.

They gave the warning at the ongoing workshop on cyber security taking place at the National Defence College (NDC) in Abuja with the theme: ‘Cyber Crime: Threats and Counter Measures.’

Speaking, Monguno represented by the Director of External Services, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Mr. Abba Ibrahim, said the growing cases of cyber crime around the world were capable of “affecting every aspect of our national life.”

He added that with “the number of Internet users which has grown from less than a million in 2003 to over 90 million at the end of March, 2017,” cyber crime carries along great threat to both the nation’s economy and national security.

The NSA argued that though “the utilisation of internet brings with it ubiquitous relevance to all sectors of the economy,” its capability to cause crisis also remains high.
NDC Commander, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, represented by Major Ede Ode, said: “The increasing threats and insecurity outcomes of cyber crimes across the globe have necessitated a global action by governments, business organisations, civil society organisations and private individuals in forming a synergy towards safeguarding the global cyber space.

“Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa where cyber crimes have constantly retarded growth and development in virtually every sector of our lives; and the level of youth involvement in this criminality is quite alarming.

“However, the advancement in technology and sophisticated software being deployed by cyber criminal elements call for a more robust and holistic counter measure,” he stated.
On the threat of cyber crime to national security, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, contended that given the imminent danger posed by cyber crime, “plans are already ongoing towards the formation of a cyber command at the Defence Headquarters level. This would be be followed by appropriate cyber units in the services.

“The efforts are due to the increasing realisation that a robust cyber defence is a veritable subset of national defence,” Ibas stated.
Also, the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, called for proactive measures that would checkmate the high cases of cyber crime in the country.

According to Ayine, given the capability of cyber crime “to downgrade systems, reputation of organisations will be affected as well, the result shows clearly the need to prepare adequately.
“Where there are no counter measures to prevent cyber attacks, it will be disastrous both to the government and the private sector,” Ayine added.

Major General Ademoh Salihu who represented the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, also made a presentation on the danger of cyber crime to national security.
Officials from the Ministry of Defence, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and Ministry of Finance attended the event.