The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, says Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya recorded over two million phishing (cyber) attacks in the first half of 2021.
Monguno disclosed this at a sensitisation workshop for the implementation of the “National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021’’ for the private sector and professional bodies on Tuesday, in Lagos.
Monguno, who was represented by the Director of Communications, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Brig.-Gen. Samad Akesode said that the figure was based on a survey recently conducted by a Bucharest-based “Kaspersky Laboratory’’ in Romania.
According to Monguno, over 393 cases of these cyber attacks were attributed to Nigeria, representing a 13 per cent decline as compared to the same period in 2020.
“This calls for more proactive measures to protect our exponentially growing internet users in Nigeria.
“It also demonstrates the criticality of the private sector and the need to enhance our defence mechanism and collaborate towards securing our cyberspace for improved productivity and efficiency.
“The key enablers here can be said to be the development of homegrown solutions, capacity building and more attention to research and development,’’ he said.
Monguno also said that a British security software and hardware company in a survey of 65 Nigerian companies revealed that 86 per cent of Nigerian companies fell prey to cyber attacks in 2020.
”This is second highest percentage recorded globally after India and much higher than in South Africa with 64 per cent.
“This means that about 56 out of 65 companies fell prey to various forms of cyber-attacks such as malware, ransomware and data leaks over the past year.’’
The NSA said the increasing dependence on cyberspace came with vulnerabilities, risks and challenges that threatened national security, cyberspace operations and impact negatively on critical infrastructure.
He said that Nigeria’s current digital transformation drive had transformed businesses, social and economic well-being with better service delivery, increase in turnovers as well as ease in communication and information sharing.
According to him, in spite of these gains, like several other countries across the globe, the growth and development of our cyberspace are accompanied by significant and inherent challenges.
“To this end, the private sector is not spared of the challenges the cyberspace presents due to the growing number of interconnected systems as a result of the geometric rise of internet users in Nigeria within the past years.
“It is, therefore, crucial to achieving a safe cyberspace for our economic prosperity, digital transformation of the economy and ultimately national objectives,’’ he said.
Mr Ide Udeagbala, the National President of the Nigerian Association for Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), lauded the initiative of the ONSA towards protecting the nation’s cyberspace.
Udeagbala was represented by Mr Lawrence Obetta, President, Aba Chamber Of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA).
He said that the implementation of the policy would promote a thriving and safe digital economy and digital ecosystem as well as fortify the nation’s cyber defence capability.
“As the voice of Nigerian business, NACCIMA is in support of the efforts of the Federal Government in curbing financial loss, data leak and reputational damage for the private sector and the country in general,’’ Udeagbala said.