Cybersecurity: Experts Warn against Nigeria’s Vulnerability


By Emma Okonji

Cyber-security experts in the country have warned against vulnerable websites of individuals and organisations across the country, saying it may lead to serious security breaches, loss of data and money.

The President of Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Mr. Remi Afon, who narrated how the recently held #EndSARS protest across Nigeria exposed the country’s vulnerability in the cyber space, called for early detection and patches that will make websites resilient at all times to avoid unnecessary downtime.

Afon gave the narrative in his opening remark during a free cyber-security awareness seminar, organised recently by the association, to create awareness as part of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month, held every October.

According to him, a lot of security hackers and other twitter users exploited the #EndSARS protest that lasted for about three weeks to steal sensitive information both from the government and private citizens.

He cited instances of many twitter users changing their handles to anonymous with the sole aim of increasing their activities and ultimately, get unauthorised access to data that can be used to cause havoc.

“Two significant events happened this year that have actually impacted cyber-security awareness. One is global, which is the COVID-19 pandemic and the other is local, which is the #EndSARS protest, where Nigerian youths were agitating against police brutality and for good governance on the part of government. These events clearly had serious cyber-security impacts,” Afon said.

While calling on the government and other institutions to step up their cyber resilience by collaborating with experts, Afon explained that the #EndSARS protest sparked a lot of upward trend in cybercrime, exposing the vulnerability of government and other institutions in the country.

He said cyber-security experts needed to go away from the conventional delivery methods that they were used to in creating cyber-security awareness and adopt a more reliable online delivery method, stressing that as experts, they need to think out of the box.

Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Mr. Adeboye Adegoke, also called on government institutions, especially the health sector to have what he tagged ‘Attitudinal Change’ in the area of data privacy.

Stressing that cybersecurity should be more of approach and attitude than technicality, Adegoke noted that the health sector in Nigeria was yet to grasp what it means to conceive data of healthcare users.

“It is a matter of culture and attitude. Healthcare practitioners must be made to understand that data of healthcare users should be kept private,” he said.

He also challenged associations like the Nigeria Security Experts Association of Nigeria to engage the health sector in creating awareness about cybersecurity.

He suggested that standards that are based on Nigeria and International laws should be created to serve as guide as to how to handle information of healthcare users in health institutions.

Key cybersecurity themes like digital rights, data privacy, child online safety, social engineering and computer security, among others, were discussed at the free cybersecurity awareness seminar.