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Over 12m Cyber Attacks on FG during Election

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By Abiodun Okunloye

1,550,000 threats made against public websites and channels on a daily basis.

During the course of the Nigeria presidential election, a total of 12,988,978 cyberattacks, originating from within as well as outside the country, were recorded. The Nigerian government disclosed this information through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. Minister Isa Pantami, explained that there were a total of 1,550,000 threats made against public websites and channels on a daily basis. However, that number surged to 6,997,277 on the day of the elections for the Presidency and the National Assembly.

Uwa Sulaiman, the spokesman for the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, released a statement on Tuesday detailing the various hacking attempts that were logged during this period. These included email and IPS attacks, attempts to log in via Secure Shell (SSH), attempts to inject malicious code using brute force, path traversal, distributed denial of service attacks, detection evasion, and forceful browsing. From February 24th through February 27th, 2023, the minister, according to the statement, instructed all parastatals to enhance network and traffic monitoring in preparation for possible attacks.

A standing committee was established to ensure a free and fair election.

On February 24th, 2023, Minister Pantami also established the Ministerial Standing Committee on Advisory Role for the Protection of Nigerian Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure. To ensure reputable, free, fair, and honest elections, the NCC Board Chairman and the heads of the NITDA and the GBB formed a committee charged with keeping an eye on the telecommunications infrastructure necessary for the process, as well as coming up with and enacting plans to strengthen the vital digital infrastructure vulnerable to cyberattacks.

In addition to this, they will develop strategies and protocols for preventing, detecting, and responding to cyberattacks, as well as the NCC’s cyber security strategy. The committee was given the responsibility of providing a robust risk assessment and conducting an analysis of the nation’s current capabilities regarding cybersecurity, identifying problems that need to be fixed while simultaneously providing expert counsel to the government on how to make efficient use of digital technologies in the operation of government agencies and departments.

Digital services that citizens can trust will be created.

As a component of its mission, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is anticipated to guarantee adequate security of Nigeria’s cyberspace to the point where citizens will have a sense of trust in digital services, according to the statement. This is one of the responsibilities that the ministry has been given. This mandate is in accordance with the goals and expectations of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a digital Nigeria (NDEPS).

More so, in compliance with this mandate and as part of their efforts to support the various initiatives aimed at securing the country’s cyberspace, the parastatals that fall under the oversight of the ministry have developed Cybersecurity Centers. These centres include the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Security Operations Centre (SOC) at Galaxy Backbone (GBB).

Nigeria’s cyberspace experienced a rapid rise in cyber threats.

Following the minister’s policy directives, these centers were set up, and since then, they’ve been keeping an eye on cyberspace in Nigeria and working to prevent and respond to any threats they find, either independently or in conjunction with other organisations. More importantly, In the run-up to the General Elections in 2023, threat intelligence uncovered a rapid rise in the number of cyber threats directed at the cyberspace of Nigeria.

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