The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has emphasized the need to secure Nigeria’s cyberspace as it is key to achieving Digital Economic Policy objectives.
The Director-General NITDA, Mr Kashifu Abdullahi Inuwa stated this at the webinar organised by the agency in collaboration with Spire Solutions on ‘Cyber Hygiene During and After COVID-19.’
He said this has become imperative as cybercriminals use COVID-19 as an opportunity to defraud suspecting Nigerians.
Inuwa, who was represented by the Director, Information Technology Infrastructure Solution, Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi, said that due to the pandemic and the quest for survival people and entities have been forced to adopt new possibilities especially internet for their daily activities.
He explained that data collected by Google reflected a spike in phishing emails from the commencement of the lockdown.
Inuwa said in January, Google recorded approximately 149,000 phishing websites, which has increased to 552,000 recently, an increase of about 350% since January.
“The boom in the use of virtual platforms and increase in online activities by individuals, government and businesses led to an exponential increase in cybercrime incidences”
“To survive the antics of cybercriminals during and post COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need for strategy. We need to strategize. One of these strategies is to acquire knowledge on how to stay safe in the cyberspace,” he said.
He gave assurances that the Agency will be engaging security experts from both private and public institutions to rob minds on effective ways of securing Nigeria cyberspace.
Inuwa also reiterated that NITDA, as an agency of Government with the responsibility of ensuring safe and secure cyberspace, will live up to expectations by providing Nigerians with advisory notes on these incidences.
“We carry out periodic awareness programs to enlighten Nigerians on the dos and don’ts in the cyberspace,” the DG added.
Dr Mohammed Ahmed, the Lead, Computer Response Team, explained in a presentation on the Dos and Don’ts to fight COVID-19 related cybercrimes in Nigeria that criminals are taking advantage of the demand for protective materials like gloves, masks and sanitizers to get people to click on a link under the guise of getting them free of charge or qualifying for palliatives that don’t exist.
He advised members of the public not to be quick to click links, visit websites or give out personal information without confirming its source and authenticity.