COVID-19 REALITY; WHY NIGERIA MUST INVEST HEAVILY IN CYBERSECURITY
Cyber space is the synonym for internet, it is the interconnection of several computer networks that uses the internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting servers, computers,mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, programs and data from malicious digital attacks. It is a subset of Information security.
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered the way business is conducted and has led to the coining of the phrase; New Normal. One of the impacts of this new normal is the spike in the deployment of technology for executing tasks that were hitherto done manually.
Cyberspace has come to the rescue of many organisations especially in the implementation of business continuity plans by way of helping a great deal in mitigating the potential financial loss businesses would have suffered if these technologies were not in place.
A recent survey of the information security infrastructures of companies in Nigeria has revealed that a large number are now jettisoning the traditional practice of having a server room with servers, routers, switches, antiviruses and a host of other gadgets that are resident on-site, preferring instead to patronise cloud computing service providers for their data storage and back-ups.
Apart from this being a much more reliable and cost effective option, organisations are saving themselves the space, routine management and additional personnel they were hitherto required to manage their data centres.
Videoconferencing/Teleconferencing platforms have caught the fancy of government, business and the social community (Weddings, Naming ceremonies and Reunion Parties have been held on Zoom). In Nigeria, the Judiciary of Borno, Lagos and Ogun states have been forced to implement virtual court-hearings in order to dispense with matters that are time-bound. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, a body of the 36 states governors have also settled for online interactive sessions to keep one another up to speed on Covid-19 developments in the states. Virtual sessions of the popular weekly Federal Executive Council Meetings have also taken place.
While these technologies help facilitate easier, faster and cost effective ways of working and doing business, they also introduce the threat of cybercrime related activities from individuals, organisations as well as nation states who can gain access to these systems with the intention of compromising their confidentiality, integrity and availability.
Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network. It is a perennial threat to the Nigerian Cyber space as some unscrupulous persons have for either pecuniary gains or just for their fun of making mischief now ‘bomb’ i.e. intrude these platforms to disturb the sessions with graphic contents and hate statements. This is without forgetting that these technologies are not locally made and pose a threat to the nations overall national security posture if they gain access to Nigeria’s sensitive data. The problem of internet fraud by some Nigerian Youths seeking to make quick wealth is still very much with us despite the efforts made by the Obasanjo’s administration to stem the tide in 2003 through the creation of the National Cybersecurity Initiative with the mandate of the National Cybercrime working Group to drive its objectives.
The points made above form part of the cogent reasons why the Nigerian government must invest heavily in Cybersecurity by increasing their efforts in supporting initiative for the training of Cybersecurity experts and the deployment of up to date and state of the art information security infrastructures for E-Government to work seamlessly. Similar efforts must also be done to ensure capacity building of Nigerian software developers to assist in the creation of sophisticated cybersecurity tools as well as technical authors who can develop standards that are of international standard to be adhered to for the maintenance of integrity authenticity and non-repudiation.
Enhanced cybersecurity will in no small measure help reduce threats to Nigerian citizens’ data, increase the confidence of conservative citizens in deploying technologies for their activities, and assist in the creation of new industries leading to job opportunities such as Cybersecurity professionals, Data scientists, Data Analysts and more.