Shocking revelations yesterday emerged on the floor of the Senate, following a disclosure that Nigeria lost a whopping $450 million to cyber attacks on the country’s ICT space.
Accordingly, the Senate in two separate resolutions, urged the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Munguno (retd), to immediately alert all security agencies and financial institutions in the country about the current and threatening dimensions of cyber attacks.
It also mandated its committee on ICT and Cybercrime to immediately convoke a national stakeholders’ conference on cyber security, with a view to stimulating a collective reflection among relevant stakeholders and articulating a national and broad-based approach to keeping the country ahead of the challenge.
The resolutions were reached following consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Buhari Abulfatai (APC, Oyo North).
The lawmaker noted that ICT revolution was being dampened by the activities of criminal elements, “who have invaded the country’s cyberspace, thereby presenting risks to businesses, national economies and security through the use of malicious social media, identity theft, electric fraud, data damage or alteration, and espionage.”
Abdulfatai, further raised the alarm that these criminal elements have developed several hacking techniques, one of the most recent being Ransom ware known as WannaCry Worm or WannaCrypt which infests computer operating systems and networks, encrypt files and ask for ransom.
The lawmaker, who chairs the ICT and Cybercrime Committee, further warned that in view of voluntary and involuntary compromise, together with poor information technology standards in the country, “Nigeria’s security and financial system can be an easy prey to the heightened threatening ramifications of e-crime.”
Contributing, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), said: “Today, technology has gone beyond what we are thinking, and if we cannot protect ourselves from malicious and vexatious presentations from cyber operators, how can we then use our cyberspace to protect the security and integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, should there be a technological weapon to be used against this country?”
In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the plenary, said it had become imperative for Nigeria to protect itself in view of mounting warnings of a looming cyber war.
He said: “As you are aware, everyday they hack into our various e-mails; they set up different accounts in our names to defraud people. So, we are all victims of cybercrime, including myself. I think Senate’s position would help to deal with this matter.
“Also, I think this is not just about our emails, but this motion seeks to address concerns on the possible attack of our institutions. There are warnings that there might be a cyber war, as such we must get ready to prevent any attack on our institutions.”