NCC Moves to Protect Telecoms Subscribers from Cyber Attacks

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Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta

By Emma Okonji

Worried about the increasing rate of cyber-attacks on telecoms services such as voice, data, internet and broadband, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has taken steps to address the situation.

Revealing the measures taken to address cyber-attacks on telecoms services during the 87th Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP), which held recently in Lagos recently, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Commission would soon go live with its National Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (C-SIRT), designed to provide full protection against cyber -attacks on all telecoms services.

According to Danbatta, “C-SIRT is not a team of human beings, but a network of computers assembled together to checkmate incidences of cybersecurity on the telecoms network.

“Although the C-SIRT network is yet to be fully configured but as soon as that is done, we will go live with it. The essence is to protect the telecoms network from cyber-attacks.”

“This is important because of the risk aspect of our current digital transformation and industrial revolution. NCC intends to be at the forefront in ensuring that our telecommunications networks are secure enough to protect Nigerians who subscribe to the telecommunications services, without any fear of compromising on their privacy,” Danbatta added.

Continuing, he said: “As the complexity of the network increases in terms of voice services, data services, broadband services and by extension, internet services, the burden on the network increases, and this calls for adequate protection of the available infrastructure that will provide the necessary speed required to enhance telecoms services.

“As the subscription to telecoms services increases, and as broadband penetration increases, we will double the number of our C-SIRT computers to mitigate the expected risk factors. So there is provision for the expansion of our C-SIRT network to contend with the increase in broadband access and the risk associated with the increase.”

Danbatta, who emphasised the positive trend in broadband demand and growth in the telecommunications industry, said the Commission would continue to stipulate rules of engagement that would make the cyberspace safe and ensure the confidence as well as the safety of the cyberspace.

Also, the Chairman, NCC Board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, said NCC would continue to protect telecoms subscribers from the harsh cyberspace, where many had been defrauded.

“As NCC is making progress in growing the broadband space, hackers are taking advantage to unleash attacks, but we must protect our subscribers,” Durojaiye said.

The Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau at NCC, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, said: “NCC TCP provides high-level engagement and interactions with consumers, service provider, the regulator and other stakeholders in the telecommunications industry, and various topical issues have been addressed over the years through the platform, which have yielded significant, positive and far-reaching impact on the growth of the industry.”