By Etuka Sunday
Federal Government has been advised to strengthen the existing Cybersecurity law for the growth of Nigerian digital economy.
Cybersecurity Expert, Dr. Kenneth Okereafor gave the advice at an Information Assurance Workshop organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in collaboration with the Office of the
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) in Abuja.
The workshop was organised to bring together efforts of all Government organisations to combat one of the growing threats to economies, personal and national security globally.
The workshop was to make sure that whatever data generated and made available in public service is kept safe from hackers.
Speaking, Dr. Okereafor said, “this programme is a proposal to government to implement to make our cyber space more secure. The reason is because in other climes, it is very easy to detect when attacks are coming in. We are looking at a situation where Nigeria as a country has a framework in place to detect cyber security breaches. Beyond that, to also respond proactively.
“One of the ways to do that is to have a single coordinating unit. Though, we may be having an agency regulating IT and Cybersecurity, it is also important to have people we can hold accountable,” he said.
Okereafor said, there was need for agencies of government to take cybersecurity education and awareness more seriously because of the complexity of the data space that country operate in.
He said, “we also as a country need to look into legislation to legitimize all the regulations that need to be applied in cybersecurity.
“To that extent, it is necessary for government to consider having more legal frameworks to backup other areas of cybersecurity.
“For information in transit and data in storage, data being processed. Each need adequate protection,” he said.
Earlier in his Opening Remarks, the Director General/CEO, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi said, the Nigerian digital economy is known to account for up to 13.8% of the nation’s GDP. The digital economy leverages on cyberspace,characterized with evolving cyber threats. Thus, cybersecurity is key to enable the growth and progress of the digital economy .
He said, security privacy and trust are critical issues for a thriving digital economy, therefore, Government and industries need to employ measures of enlist the trust and confidence of all stakeholders: the government, private sector and Individuals.
Speaking on what NITDA has been doing to help instill trust and confidence, he said, “to address the growing cybersecurity threat, the Agency is using amulti-faceted approach: implementing new regulations, inspecting and examining regulated entities, providing support to its Constituents, collaboration with relevant stakeholders, sensitizing and educating both the industry and the public, conducting research and leveraging on collaborations to issue guidance on trending cybersecurity matters and mitigation strategies.
“In specific terms, on education and awareness, NITDA has conducted cybersecurity trainings for Network Administrators in MDAs and Security Agencies. NITDA’s conduct of cybersecurity Sensitization Awareness Campaigns in the six Geopolitical zones which started in 2018 is continuous and scheduled through 2020.
This campaign includes broadcasting jingles on specific issues ad into most prominent local languages on TV and radio.
“Further, awareness is being Carried Out by publication distribution of cybersecurity awareness booklets and dissemination of cybersecurity related tips on social media platforms; for the digital citizens. NITDA furnishes its constituents with advisories and guidance on cybersecurity issues, roles and obligations to individuals and corporates.
“NITDA has also established a multi-stakeholder platform (Nigeria Cybersecurity Alliance) for coordinating cybersecurity activities for the private and public sector activities in Nigeria. This platform is aimed at educating, sensitizing, and mobilizing everyone on cybersecurity.
“In terms of collaboration, NITDA has established MOUs with national and international stakeholders including; Seoul National University and Cybersecurity Malaysia, cSEAN, KPMG and British High Commission, to mention a few. Also, a multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative for the implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy, Plan and Act in MDAS is being embarked upon, at the instance of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
“Primarily, on our regulatory efforts, the Agency has nad regulation addressing cybersecurity ror years. But to ensure that the regulatory framework KeepS pace with the rapidly evolving technological trends, the Agency has introduced new regulations the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation and the NationalInformation systems and Network Security Standards is currentlybeing reviewed, in line with the Agency’s Rulemaking Process.
“To highlight the importance of good cyber security hygiene in government establishments, The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) issued a circular on the implementation of one of these regulations by MDAS; the National Information Systems and Network Security Standards, all in a bid to ensure the security of data and technology systems in line with global best practices, to ensure a thriving digital economy that all stakeholders would have confidence and trust on,” he said.