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The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Office of the National Security Adviser step up efforts towards working in collaboration with all stakeholders to check the alarming rate of cybercrimes in the banking sector.

By Pita Ochai

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is worried by the unrelenting attack on the financial sector by cyber crooks. According to CBN, the banking sector lost N40 billion to cyber-assisted crimes in 2013. Taiwo Longe, the chief information security officer of CBN said the economic cost of cyber crimes now surpass that of illicit trade in narcotics. According to him, the global cost of cybercrimes has risen to about $288 billion, which far exceeds that of illicit drugs.

Longe spoke recently at a session of National Cyber Security Forum (NCSF 2014) organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in Lagos, with the theme: “Towards Multi-Stakeholders Partnership for National Cyber Security Engagement.”

Longe explained that the criminals perpetrate their trade using web phishing, network intrusion, emails and other methods. He advised every organisation to take the issue of security seriously, stressing the need for proper information security management to reduce ‘vulnerability and risk’ of attack.

With the growing threat of cybercriminals, he said, the need for policy framework to address the menace has become more imperative now than ever before. According to him, creating more awareness is imperative in fighting cybercrimes because people must be aware of the potential risk they face if they are to take precautionary measures.

Longe urged the banks not to relent in securing their information as the cyber criminals are always working ahead to beat them.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, decried the increasing rate of cybercrimes in the country and its negative effect on the economy. According to him, proactive step is needed to arrest the trend.  He said that government could not afford to be apathetic because of the cutting edge technology being used by cyber criminals, thus the need to prioritise securing Nigeria’s cyberspace. “Realising the importance of cyberspace, the Federal Government has designated cyber security as a national security priority with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) stepping up efforts towards meeting the challenge by working in close collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure a safer and more secure cyberspace,” he said.   Experiences from other countries, he noted, had shown that national cyber security initiatives could best be achieved by adopting a coordinated and integrated approach encompassing law; technology; institutional capacity building; private sector partnership (PPP) and international law enforcement cooperation.

He agreed that computers and the Internet represent modern tools used by criminals, and that the trend would continue in the foreseeable future because cybercrimes are particularly lucrative. “They are generally non-violent crimes, yield high profits and have relatively low risk of capture. Incidents of cybercrime have caused extensive loss to the national economies and pose challenging threats of cyber terrorism among nations,” he said.

Giving an overview of the Draft National Cyber Security Strategy in Nigeria, Ambassador Haruna Wando, Director of Communication, Office of the National Security Adviser, said that the growth of computer technology in businesses and personal life, had led to increase in the incidence of cybercrimes in Nigeria.

“The telecommunication and banking industry have been the worst hit by this menace due to its high dependence on the internet and its many online tools. Traditionally, Nigerian cyber-crime activities appear to be only limited to money fraud Internet-based crimes. The recent trend of web defacement or hijacking and e-mail scams have now changed this perception. Web bullying instances are on the rise in the country, especially with the coming of social networking websites like facebook and twitter,” he said.

For Nigeria to reflect a more cogent approach towards a more secure cyberspace in line with international baseline standard and global best practice, he said the government has been pursuing some initiatives including the development of a National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy for Nigeria. “It also drafts and proposes relevant laws required to be enacted by the National Assembly for the security of computer systems and networks in Nigeria pursuant to national strategies on cyber security. The office has also established National Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Mechanism with Early Warning System (EWS) and Alerts for all cyber related emergencies in the country (ngCERT); National Computer Forensic Laboratory and coordinating the training and utilization of the facility by all law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, ” Wando said.


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