As part of its mandate to enhance national security, develop human capital, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), held inaugural cybersecurity sensitisation workshop at Katsina, Katsina State, to mark the beginning of a series of sensitisation and awareness efforts scheduled to hold at all geo-political zones of the country. The ultimate objective is to deposit foundational knowledge in all Nigerians, to enable them stay safe in cyberspace.
This exercise was necessitated by the tremendous increase in the number of incidences where Nigerians are losing money and data through vulnerabilities arising from lack of knowledge on how to keep personal banking details secret. The cybercriminals use social engineering, phishing mails; and probably specific to Nigeria, the use of SMSes pretending to be sent from banks, requesting for pin numbers or revalidation of BVN numbers. To the unaware, such are the sources where vital information needed for making unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts occur.
In particular, a more worrisome and recent trend is the SIM swap cases, where the victim’s SIM card is swapped; an operation that makes the victim’s phone inaccessible while funds are transferred. In all, Nigerians are admonished to keep their personal banking details secret – not sharing with anyone or even bank officials or written in papers. We also advice the use of complex passwords to include special characters, upper and lowercase alphabets and numbers or ATM pins that are not birthdates or serial numbers such as 1234 or 0000 or 1111, etc. Where use of 2-factor authentication (use of hardware token) is possible, its use is more assuring for avoidance of falling victims to cybercrimes.
Knowing that everyone that uses mobile phones and computers is vulnerable, this exercise targets executives of registered associations and groups, with the ultimate aim to reach their members. The workshops will employ the use of presentations and interactive demonstration of trending concepts like SMS, SIMM swap, malware, phishing, social engineering and its manifestations, to disseminate the stay-safe tips.
Cybersecurity has attracted the attention of governments, enterprises, groups and individuals owing to the myriads of potentials for business growth and damage estimated at trillions of dollars. To nations, the negatives could cripple a nation’s economy should critical infrastructure be affected. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has evaluated nations in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), placing Nigeria on number 14. NITDA’s immediate short-term programmes target to improve Nigeria’s standing on that index.
NITDA has planned effective capacity building programmes that will culminate in organizational and individual certifications, while using research and development (R&D) results to feed these enlightenment programmes, and aiding relevant agencies and corporates in permanent mitigation strategy. It has also utilized interagency collaborations for improved legal and institutional framework for a holistic improvement in the cybersecurity resilience of and profile of the country.
To be part of the subsequent workshops (dates to be announced) and other capacity development offerings of NITDA’s Cybersecurity Department, please visit www.nitda.gov.ng or www.cerrt.ng or our social media handles: