Expert Urges Govts, Firms to Guard against Cyber Attacks


By Emma Okonji

Following the increasing rate of global cyberattacks, the President, Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Mr. Remi Afon, has advised companies in Nigeria to take preventive measures.

According to him, in September 2019, an internationally coordinated law enforcement operations spanning the United States, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, France, Italy, Japan, Turkey, and Malaysia, resulted in 281 global arrests of cybercriminals of which 167 were Nigerians.

Approximately $3.7 million was seized, and the disruption of approximately $118 million in fraudulent wire transfers was achieved, he said.

“As we do businesses in 2020, cybersecurity will continue to gain traction globally and should be at the top of the mind of the Nigerian government, individuals and top executives of Nigerian organisations. As we are receiving various cybersecurity predictions across the globe, CSEAN is taking a dip dive into specific cybersecurity threats Nigeria should expect to face in 2020 and beyond taking into consideration recent trends and inputs from experts in the industry,” Afon said.

“The cybersecurity threat landscape is continuously changing, as we begin a new decade, Nigeria and the world at large will be faced with the combination of the old and new cyber threats. Emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Technology, and Smart Phones are having a great impact on our daily lives and equally offering new vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to exploit.
“At the end of 2018, the number of devices connected to the internet has reached 22 billion worldwide, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics,” Afon added.

The report predicted that 38.6 billion devices would be connected by 2025, and 50 billion by 2030. This year, millions of devices will be connected to the internet in Nigeria. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as of October 2019, the total number of active telephone subscribers in Nigeria was over 180 million while the number of active internet subscribers was approximately 123.5 million. Every device connected to the internet presents a new target for attackers and each new social media post creates new risks for social engineering.

Afon said: “Over the next year, we can expect an increase in targeted cyberattacks that will affect individuals, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), Telecommunication Companies and Banks. The attacks to watch out for in Nigeria are Business Email Compromise (BEC), Social Engineering in form of PhishingCampaign, Ransomware, Supply Chain Attacks, Insider threats, and Attack on Free Public Wifi. Attacks that will continue to originate from Nigeria cybercrime gangs with their international collaborators in 2020 and beyond will continue to be wire fraud vis-à-vis BEC, identity theft, romance scams, fraudulent-check scams, gold-buying scams, advance-fee scams, and credit card scams.”

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of AXA Mansard, Funmilayo Runsewe, said the top two cybersecurity threats to watch out for in 2020 would be Supply Chain Attacks and Ransomware.