- Nigeria at Risk of Attack, Experts Warn
Cyber experts in the country on Sunday said that the Federal Government and sectoral regulators must become more alert and fortify security in the cyberspace after last Friday’s wave of cyberattacks that hit 200,000 targets in at least 150 countries.
They said the cyberattacks, which had been on before now, could spread to Nigeria and urged banks to get more sophisticated.
The Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub, Chris Uwaje, said the attackers “are part of the invisible elements” attacking economies, adding, “There are some from Syria, Kenya and Iran that are launching attack on Nigeria’s cyberspace.”
He said Nigeria must build sophisticated software capability with human resource and called for the introduction of software army in the country and national software legislation that must be backed by law.
“In the United States, you can’t develop software without the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence and you can’t sell without being certified. There must be a cohesive Office of the Information Technology-General of the Federation so that we can monitor everything the IT and cybersecurity in Nigeria.
“The issue is critically serious and Nigeria must act fast by enthroning the National Software Board, the Establishment of National IT Bill and the Enactment of Software Deployment Act and an institutional framework to be controlled and managed by the Office of the Information Technology General of the Federation. It must be noted that most government servers are also under serious threats of hacking,” Uwaje stated.
The cyber experts warned that going by the porous nature of Nigeria’s cyberspace, voluntary or involuntary insider compromise and poor Information Technology standards, the country’s financial system might be headed for a face-off with North Korea’s cyber criminals.
According to them, while banks have not come out to lament any loss or attack, the success of the attacks on financial institutions has always been more of insider collusion.
Our correspondent gathered that there were conjectures that the North Korean hackers were aimed at mobilising funds for the cash-strapped country to develop its North nuclear programme.
A report has quoted the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okorafor, as saying, “We have not had anything like that in Nigeria and I am not aware of such attacks on any Nigerian bank.”
However, the Director of Banking and Payments System, CBN, as well as the Chairman, Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum, ‘Dipo Fatokun, said that hacking and cyberattack “are ongoing challenges across the world against banks.”
Admitting that the threats were real, he said that the regulator was on top of the situation with various policies and standards to ward off the attempts, saying there is no cause for fear.
He, however, said, “We have the IT standards for banks and we are monitoring compliance. But we continue to reiterate the need for data protection. It has only been the major route for cyber attack and hacking.”
The President of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association Nigeria, Tope Aladenusi, said no bank had confirmed any attack, adding that it was only a report.
Aladenusi said there was no evidence to suggest how it was done, but there were claims that the Internet Protocol address system of the attack was from North Korea.
He said the supposed malware called Lazarus was used to access people’s and organisations’ systems, saying, “The malware tries to compromise some vulnerable systems, whether in banks or organisations, and subsequently attacks other systems.”
Aladenusi, who also heads the cybersecurity arm of Delloitte Nigeria, advised that organisations must make it difficult for hackers to come near their systems by putting up measures including security tools and governance.