‘Nigeria’s ICT hub potential threatened by cybercrimes’

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EXCEPT urgent measures are taken against the increasing menace of cybercrimes in Nigeria, the country’s goal of becoming major Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hub in the continent may be hampered.

This was the submission of the Lagos State Chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) at the weekend at the end of a-day conference programme, aimed at equipping its members with adequate knowledge on cybercrime prevention, detection and investigation.

At the conference, which was a Continuing Professional Education programme to device strategies to curb cybercrimes in Nigeria, the Vice President of the association, Mr. Peter Ineh said it was high time IT professionals get trained on strategies and ethical practices in detecting and preventing cybercrimes which he described as a cankerworm that has robbed us of our image as a nation and has ruined some businesses and organisation in the country.

In his highlight of the role of regulators, organisations and IT practitioners in preventing cybercrimes, the Chief Executive officer of Infotech Risks Security Limited, Mr. Salman Akorede said the reports of cybercrime in Nigeria was disheartening as the country ranked third in the world and reported by the American National Fraud Information Centre as the fastest growing online scam in the world.

The implication of this, according to the Infotech security expert, was that an average Nigerian is a target.

Akorede said the negative effect of this on both individual and corporate bodies was enormous as it has led to diminish consumer confidence, loss of productivity, loss of trade secrets and refusal by most merchants to include Nigeria in e-commerce transactions. He said we therefore must be cyber security conscious in order to protect our intellectual property, our image as individuals and as a nation and build trust relationship to business partners.

According to him, the Federal Government ought to establish agencies for specific cyber security promotions and regulatory agencies considering the amount of resources and funds that are lost to cybercriminals on a yearly basis. He also suggested the need for government bodies to promote awareness and partner with some organisations that are inclined to cyber security and to regularly conduct research into potential attacks methods, techniques in order to develop counter measures  for cyber attack.

On the part of organisations, Akorede advised that there must be established mechanisms to prevent, deter, detect and recover from attacks through effective application of cyber security standards. He said organisations must create an effective cyber security culture, align with government agencies in public private partnership initiatives and activities, achieve compliance with applicable laws and regulations and also leverage on compliances for competitive advantages by incorporating compliance into their day to day business operations.

Sharing with journalists on the steps being taken by the association to forestall cybercrimes in the country, the ISACA Vice President, Lagos Chapter, said the association is working with some government agency to push a bill called Personal Identification Information Bill.

Ineh explained that the purpose of the bill was to secure customer identity information. The bill was to regulate how organizations collect personal information from customers and their responsibility to protect such information.

The association vice president also said the agency was making efforts to increase awareness among the populace on how to manage personal information. He said the awareness project require concerted efforts on the part of government agencies and private organisations because if the populace is well educated on the tactics of cyber criminals, they will not fall for it.

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