Cybersecurity: Defence Staff Moves to Secure National Infrastructure Ahead of 2019 Elections

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

In lieu of the electronic security challenges confronting the nation, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin has called for a secured national information infrastructure as the country prepares for the 2019 general elections.

Olonisakin made the call in Abuja at the 2018 Legislative Stakeholder Conference on Cybersecurity, with the theme; “The Implications of Disruptive Technologies on National Security and Economy”, organised by the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime.

Describing the theme of the conference as apt and well thought-out, Olonisakin said there was no better time to brainstorm on the implications of disruptive technologies on the country’s national security than now.
According to him, “In view of the diverse range of electronic security challenges that is currently confronting our nation, it compels the need for a secured critical national information infrastructure as the country prepares for a free and fair general elections in 2019.

Olonisakin explained that cyberspace had become the fifth domain of warfare after land, sea, air and space, stressing that it has no boundary hence it does not obey conventional rule in warfare.
According to him, cyberspace remained open to exploitation by state actors, organised syndicated criminals and terrorists.

“Disruptive technologies have changed our lives and this presupposes that the means of securing our lives have to change as well.
“The conference is therefore well-timed as it see
ks to mainstream the implications of disruptive technologies, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity on our national security and economy.

“With a conference like this, we are confident that a strategic focus would align to galvanise initiatives toward articulating a corresponding national response that would guaranty national security, Olonisakin said.
He added that as things became increasingly automated and interconnected as could be seen in the concept of Internet of Things (IoT) and other groundbreaking technology innovations, it appears technology is out-spacing government policy makers and the entire intelligence ecosystem.

Olonisakin stated that it was therefore necessary to work closely with the private sector to build an effective strategy to tackle future challenges, while also striving to make the country’s national security more resilient, inherently flexible and capable of shifting, to annul the effects of any constraints that would be imposed by new technological changes.

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, who also attended the cybersecurity conference, said his ministry would work with office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other private sector to remove terrorist contents from the internet, and provide lawful and reasonable access to information for national security purposes.
He noted that the law must apply equally with online as it does offline, saying that the federal government cannot allow cyber terrorists to use ungoverned spaces online.