The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has begun to organise workshops, capacity building and inter-agency collaborations to consolidate on nationwide cyber security awareness. The Director-General of the agency, Dr Isa Pantami, made this disclosure in a statement he signed on Saturday in Abuja in which he explained that the workshops and awareness programmes are part of the agency’s efforts to equip citizens with foundational knowledge to share best practices on staying safe in the cyberspace.
He said that everyone using Information Communication Technology (ICT) devices was vulnerable to cyber attacks and it could as well affect the economy of any nation.
“Knowing that everyone that uses ICT devices is vulnerable, these workshops target executives of registered associations and groups with the ultimate aim to reach their members.
“We have also deployed effective conventional channels and social media in conveying the stay-safe message.
“The workshops use presentations and interactive demonstration of trending concepts as Short Message Service (SMS), Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) swap, malware, phishing, social engineering and its manifestations, to disseminate the stay-safe tips.
“NITDA has planned effective capacity building programmes that will culminate in organisational and individual certifications.
“The agency will be using research and development results to feed these enlightenment programmes and aid relevant agencies and corporate organisations in permanent mitigation strategy.
“It has also utilised inter-agency collaborations for improved legal and institutional framework for a holistic improvement in the cybersecurity resilience and profile of the country,” he said.
He said that the programmes were also aimed at improving on the country’s position on the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) as recommended by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Pantami stressed that Cybersecurity had attracted the attention of governments, enterprises, groups, individuals owing to a myriad of potential for business growth, damage, national security and sovereignty.
“The negatives on cyberspace could cripple a nation’s economy should critical infrastructure be affected”.
The director general said that the awareness was important owing to the fact that money and data had been lost to unsuspecting and ignorant victims.
“There has been a steady increase in the number of incidences, where Nigerians had lost money and data through vulnerabilities arising from lack of knowledge on how to manage their online presence and personal details.
“The cybercriminals use social engineering, phishing mails and probably specific to Nigeria, as well use text messages pretending to be sent from banks.
“They request for Personal Identification Numbers or revalidation of Bank Verification Numbers.
“Such are the sources where vital information needed for making unauthorised withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts occur,” he said.
Pantami said that the cybercriminals had advanced to swapping the SIM card of victims, thereby making the person’s phone inaccessible while funds were being transferred from his account.
The agency had already carried out the workshop in Katsina State for the North West zone and in Yenagoa, Bayelsa for the South South Zone.
He added that education on cybersecurity would continue in the future for other zones to ensure that the country is protected from cyber attacks.