By Ijeoma Ndubisi
Abuja – The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to protect their systems against cyber attacks.
Mr Isa Ibrahim, the Director-General of the agency said this in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja.
Ibrahim said the call had become imperative following a trending cyber-attack “Ransomeware”, that had crippled the functionality of computers globally.
According to Ibrahim, the Ransomeware attack which is generally known as “WannaCry” or “WannaCrypt” demands payment of ransome when it affects a system.
“The management of NITDA would like to bring to the attention of Nigerians on the recent cyber-attack that is affecting computers across the world – the ransomeware attack.
“This attack, known as “WannaCry” or “WannaCrypt”, spreads by itself between computers and does not require human interaction.
“ It restricts access to the affected system as well as demanding for the payment of ransom. This attack, according to reports, has so far affected over 99 countries and 100,000 machines.
“The ransomware attack exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows Operating System, especially those not currently supported such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003,” he said.
Ibrahim said that Microsoft, a technology company, had in March made available a patch, a device for the updating of systems, computers against the attack.
He also said that systems affected by `Ransomeware” attack should be isolated to ensure it does not spread to other computers around it.
“Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March and machines that were updated with the patch would have been automatically protected.
“Should your system be infected by ransomware, isolate the system from your network to prevent the threat from further spreading.
“In addition, remove the system from Network; do not use flash, pen drive, external drives on the system to copy files to other systems; format the system completely and get fresh operating system copy installed.
Ibrahim said that organisations could contact the Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team of the agency on 08023275039 or on their e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
He added that organisations should regularly update their operating systems, software applications with latest patches to avoid the attack.
Ibrahim cautioned organisations to avoid downloading, opening unsolicited files or attachments, adjust security software to scan compressed, or archived files.
The director-general said they should also avoid indiscriminate use of wireless connections, such as Bluetooth or infrared ports as a general precautionary measure.
According to him, the security of systems is the collective responsibility of individuals and organisations.
He, however, called on all Nigerians to support the agency by doing their best at protecting themselves, the information and systems under their care.
NITDA is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications and was created to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy, co-ordinate general Information Technology development and regulation in the country.
NITDA is working with critical stakeholders to come up with ways in which the Nigerian cyberspace can be adequately protected.