By Perpetua Onuegbu
Abuja – The Inter-ministerial Technical Committee on the implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy has been inaugurated by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for effective management of cyber threats.
Mrs Hadiza Umar, the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of NITDA made this known in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja.
Dr Isa Pantami, the Director-General of NITDA at inauguration was quoted as stressing the advantages of technology in the effective management of security threats in the country.
He noted that there were numerous ills in the society arising from the misuse and abuse of access to the tools of Information Technology (IT).
He said that the scale and dimension of these threats had compelled the agency to develop and implement a new cyber security strategy for the public service sector with the approval of the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu.
He called for continuous collaborative efforts between agencies, saying that information security was not a one-off programme as the threat to the landscape kept changing.
The committee consists of representatives from the Ministry of Communications; the Office of the National Security Adviser; NITDA, Nigerian Postal Service; Nigerian Computer Society; Nigerian Communication Satellite, among others.
“These IT tools that have become vital in our critical activities are also avenues adopted by individuals and groups to carry out a range of malicious activities.
“These threats could be targeted at national critical infrastructures, government/private institutions or individuals.
“Today, information assets are very valuable and various sectors of the Nigerian government have come to rely on technological tools to carry out their processes.
“Financial services, telecommunications, navigation systems, manufacturing sector, oil and gas, power and energy, food and agriculture, emergency services, public healthcare, water and waste management systems, amongst others now strongly rely on digital systems networks,’’ he said.
Pantami said that it was the statistics of cyber crimes that necessitated the setting up of the committee, which showed that out of about 97 million internet users in Nigeria, 14 per cent suffer cyber attacks.
“ In 2013, global payment giant, paypal.com disclosed that Nigerians lost about N159 billion to cyber security threats and more worrisome is the fact that since 2014, the country has been losing approximately N90 billion to cybercrimes.
“In December 2015, Nigeria was the 17th most attacked nation in the world based on threat intelligence drawn from Check Point Software Technologies.
“The Office of the National Security Adviser recently disclosed that of the 2,175 Nigerian websites hacked in 2015, 585 were government owned.’’ Pantami said.
The objectives of the committees include fostering greater inter-agency coordination, cooperation and information sharing and maintaining a better and up-to date IT security management systems.
Others include raising awareness among the population on the need to protect against cyber threats, the use of encryption and human and institutional capacity building, among others.