NITDA continues nationwide cybersecurity awareness workshops

cyber security, cybersecurity The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), with the mandate of developing and regulating Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Nigeria, continues this year’s nationwide cybersecurity awareness workshops.

These sensitisation events are part of the agency’s continuous efforts aimed at equipping citizens with foundational knowledge as well as share best practices on staying safe in the cyberspace.

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of incidences where Nigerians have lost money and data through vulnerabilities arising from lack of knowledge on how to manage their online presence and personal details.

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The cybercriminals use social engineering, phishing mails, and probably specific to Nigeria, the use of text messages pretending to be sent from banks, requesting for PIN or revalidation of BVN numbers.  To the unaware, such are the sources where vital information needed for making unauthorised withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts occur.

A more worrisome and recent trend is the SIM Swap cases, where the victim’s SIM card is swapped; an operation that makes the victim’s phone inaccessible while funds are transferred.

Knowing that everyone that uses ICT devices is vulnerable, these workshops target executives of registered associations and groups, with the ultimate aim to reach their members. We have also deployed effective conventional channels and social media in conveying the stay-safe message.  The workshops use presentations and interactive demonstration of trending concepts like SMS, SIM swap, malware, phishing, social engineering and its manifestations, to disseminate the stay-safe tips.  To further ensure that attendees assimilate the message succinctly, the contents are translated into the most predominant language of the zone.

Cybersecurity has attracted the attention of governments, enterprises, groups and individuals owing to the myriads of potentials for business growth, damage, national security and sovereignty.  To nations, the negatives could cripple a nation’s economy should critical infrastructure be affected. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has evaluated nations in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), placing Nigeria on number 4 in Africa.  These programmes are also aimed at improving the country’s standing on the GCI.

NITDA has planned effective capacity building programmes that will culminate in organisational and individual certifications, while using Research and Development (R&D) results to feed these enlightenment programmes and aid relevant Agencies and Corporates in permanent mitigation strategy.  It has also utilised interagency collaborations for improved legal and institutional framework for a holistic improvement in the cybersecurity resilience of and profile of the country.

The first of the series of Workshops was held in Katsina, Katsina State for the North West Zone in March, 2018, followed by that of Bayelsa State on the 19 April, 2018. The current workshop held last week at Lokoja, Kogi State, for the North Central Zone.  The event attracted participants from government agencies, Military and Paramilitary organisations, the academia, registered cooperatives and associations and the private sector from the states of the zones.

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