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Cybercrime threatens digital economy

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By Mercy Kelani

Tertiary institutions and national offices are affected by cyberattacks.

At a two-day cybersecurity stakeholder workshop in Abuja, Sheikh Pantami revealed the major challenge of Africa’s digital economy as the increasing rate of cyberattacks. A report released by the Africa Cybersecurity Report affirmed that there has been a 300 percent increase in cyberattacks in Africa over year 2022. This unhealthy trend is worrisome to Africa’s digital economy as the World Bank’s projection says it will be worth $180bn by 2025. Without necessary steps to prevent cyber threats by businesses and organizations, the growth of digital economy would be hindered.

President of the National Computer Society, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, in an interview, attested that Nigerian digital spaces have been suffering from cyberattacks for a while now. Many tertiary institutions in the country have experienced service denial, man-in-the-middle attacks and others. Therefore, the Nigerian government has been discussing more preparation and update of cyber infrastructure because these attacks would always be there. Cybersecurity ensures that websites guarantee legitimate access and legal use of resources as cybercriminals keep developing their threats, update on systems should not stop so as to counter attacks when they surface.

Website of faith-based institution got hacked.

On March 28, 2023, hackers broke the site firewall of Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, and posted pornographic materials. Few hours after the attack, more pornographic contents were being uploaded. The cybercriminals even asked that the website visitors click a link to live chat porn stars. As a private Christian co-educational university owned and controlled by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the hack and all that came with it dismayed the management. Later that day, a source within Babcock’s information technology department called to announce that the hackers have brought down the porn content. However, the kind of attack remains unsure.

A few years back, 2015 precisely, the website of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State was hacked by a syndicate referred to as the Nigerian Cyber Army; infamous for its illegal act of breach cybersecurity. Many websites were terrorized by several attacks like malware, SQL injection attacks and others, for many weeks. Later that day NCA was able to help the school retrieve the website through a term named “noob-trick” by experts — uploading a shell among other procedures for defacement of a website.

Come 2030, N6tn would be lost to cybercrime.

Another case of cybercrime occurred a few months after the National Population Commission (NPC) opened its portal for the purpose of recruitment and other necessities. Weeks before the slated date for National Census, the NPC server was invaded by hackers. Experts asserted that the hack was a means of frustrating the project in order to hinder it from achieving accurate figures for economic planning and others. A manager at the Commission, Dr. Inuwa Jalingo, however, assured that the situation has been addressed through “specialized workforce, Information and Communication Technologies classes and mop-up phase.”

Additionally, a report by Financial Institutions Training Centre in January showed that customers of Nigerian banks lost about N2.7 billion to fraud in the first and second quarters of last year. In 2018, about N15 billion was lost by Nigerian commercial banks to electronic fraud and cybercrime. According to a projection by Nigeria’s Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative, N6tn would be lost to cybercrime by 2030 locally, in Nigeria, and internationally. These attacks, on most occasions are carried out through phishing and identity theft.

FG established CPPA to ensure cybersecurity in the country.

As a medium of protecting the digital world from series of attacks, the federal government of Nigeria has entrenched Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (2015). According to a legal luminary publication in Olisa Agbakoba (SAN)’s website, “Cyberlaw acts as a shield over cyberspace, preventing cybercrime from occurring. The government is committed to developing and enforcing regulations to combat illicit online activities.” Through the law, there is establishment of a Cybercrime Advisory Council responsible for issues that deal with preventing and combating cybercrimes and threats while promoting cybersecurity in the country.

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