Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has urged the Information Systems Audit and Control Association to build Cyber Security ‘Army’ as security implications are growing exponentially and needs to be addressed to attract foreign direct investments (FDI).
The Minister made this remark at the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) 8th Annual International Conference, held in Abuja, saying that virtually all developmental moves in the world involve the application of Information and Communication Technology and the financial sector deserves protection from the cyber security professionals
He also said, the traditional banking was essentially paper-based and therefore void of cybercimes, “however, in the financial services world of today, banking transactions are fast leaving the four walls of brick & mortar branches to the clouds; increasing transactions are being done via ATM, POS, Internet banking, Mobile Money, and NEFT; account opening is now possible on Social Media platforms such as Facebook.
“Besides, the information of all registered citizens of Nigeria is stored in the cloud. The electoral process today also involves use of electronic card readers.
“The use of CCTV is very common in most organizations and even households today. Mobile communication and e-mailing and social media communication are now the order of the day. Use of computers and other office support systems are obvious in all offices today. Electronic commerce and online malls are very prevalent. Electricity and transportation had also gone digital, using prepaid. This developmental approach, as good as it is, is faced with war with cybercriminal elements”.
The recent data from NITDA shows that there were a total of about 3,500 cyberattacks in Nigeria, 70% of which were successful, which led to a loss of about $450 million.
“The question,” Shittu said “is, should we go back to the old days or move ahead with spears in our hands to conquer this cyberwar? Of course, we must move ahead; we must fight the war; and we must conquer but we MUST optimise our technology”.
The Minister said that maintaining cybersecurity does not come with the military guns and bullets, but with relevant professional skills and expertise. “I am convinced ISACA has those skills; you have the knowledge; you have the professionals; you have the approaches, techniques and strategies. Permit me to say that you sitting here are the professionals Nigeria is counting on to conquer the cyberwars and crimes in the country. If the country fails, then you have failed and ISACA has failed in Nigeria.
“Several certifications and trainings in cybersecurity are available today. I am aware that ISACA had recently introduced CyberSecurity Nexus (CSX) to equip professionals with expert skills and competencies to counter cyber terrorism.
“At this juncture, may I emphasize here that though these certifications are very important, but your practical involvement, the demonstration of your expert knowledge in facilitate a secured cyberspace in Nigeria is our utmost demand.
“I can assure you that if our cyberspace is safe, investors will come; e-commerce will be given much priority; and most transactions will be done without stress and above all, the quality of life will increase. This is what national development is.
“The share of telecommunications in total real GDP had declined throughout 2010 to 2014, but for the last five quarters, growth in telecommunications has been higher, meaning the trend has reversed.”
He said that government plans to unlock the potentials of local solutions and unplug the low hanging technology fruits, to make Nigeria IT capable country in the knowledge society,
“Government is also planning to constantly retool the curriculums in tertiary institutions. He further said that the State should retool all lecturers and civil servants to deliver digital dividend through inclusiveness in the emerging information society (IS). There are gaps in the ICT ecosystem that is inhibiting the kind of growth, sectoral connections and contribution to our economy that it is capable of,” Shittu said.
The Minister however admitted that the National Broadband Plan objective to attain 30% broadband penetration goal by 2018 is facing challenges; “The big question before us today is how we develop the requisite infrastructure to sustain and increase growth rates and increase broadband penetration levels? Is the environment enabling enough to allow for more infrastructure rollout? The answer rests in how we unlock the supply chain of our Digital Ecosystem”, the Minister added.