…By Chukwuma Dike
The Internet is one of the fastest-growing areas of technical infrastructure development in Nigeria and the world at large. Cyberspace is a world that contains just about anything one is searching for. With the advent of these advancements in information accessibility and the advantages and applications of the internet comes an exponentially growing disadvantage- Cyber Crime. Cyber security has risen to become a national concern as threats concerning it now need to be taken more seriously.
Cyber-crime simply refers to as the series of organized crime attacking both cyber space and cyber security. While Cyber security is the collection of tools, policies, security concepts, security safeguards, guidelines, risk management approaches, actions, training, best practices, assurance and technologies that can be used to protect the cyber environment, organization and user’s assets. In other words Cyber-security is the body of rules put in place for the protection of the cyber space.
Cyber-crimes have gone beyond conventional crimes and now have threatening ramifications to the national security of all countries, even to technologically developed countries as the United States, Russia, UK, China, etc.
From business, industry, government to not-for-profit organizations, the internet has simplified business processes such as sorting, summarizing, coding, editing, customized and generic report generation in a real-time processing mode. However, it has also brought unintended consequences such as criminal activities, spamming, credit card frauds, ATM frauds, phishing, identity theft and a blossoming haven for cybercriminal miscreants to perpetrate their insidious acts.[
It has been established that Nigeria is an impressionable country. The advent of the internet to her was both welcome and full of disadvantages. The exceptional outbreak of cyber-crime in Nigeria in recent times was quite alarming, and the negative impact on the socio-economy of the country is highly disturbing.
Over the past twenty years, immoral cyberspace users have continued to use the internet to commit crimes, this has sprang mixed feelings of admiration and fear in the general populace along with a growing unease about the state of cyber and personal security. This phenomenon has seen sophisticated and extraordinary increase recently and has called for quick response in providing laws that would protect the cyber space and its users.
Statistically, all over the world, there has been a form of cyber-crime committed every day since 2006. Prior to the year 2001, the phenomenon of cyber-crime was not globally associated with Nigeria. This resonates with the fact that in Nigeria we came into realization of the full potential of the internet right about that time. Since then, however, the country has acquired a world-wide notoriety in criminal activities, especially financial scams, facilitated through the use of the Internet. The victims as well show increasing naivety and gullibility at the prospects incited by these fraudsters. Since the issue of cyber security is raising a number of questions in the minds of Nigerians, it is only fair that we answer these questions
Solutions to cybercrimes in Nigeria
October 24th 2014 marked a new dawn in the cyber environment in Nigeria when the upper chambers of the legislative arm of government passed into law the long awaited cybercrime bill. For the past 10 years, several bills on cybercrime had been pushed to the National Assembly by the Nigerian IT experts, but none scaled through the final reading on the floor of the Senate.
Many of the bills did not even get a mention, until this cybercrime bill was approved by Senate, a development that has drawn commendations from ICT professionals in the country.
Other solutions includes
- Education: Cybercrime in Nigeria is difficult to prove as it lacks the traditional paper audit trail, which requires the knowledge of specialists in computer technology and internet protocols; hence We need to educate citizens that if they are going to use the internet, they need to continually maintain and update the security on their system. We also need to educate corporations and organizations in the best practice for effective security management. For example, some large organizations now have a policy that all systems in their purview must meet strict security guidelines. Automated updates are sent to all computers and servers on the internal network, and no new system is allowed online until it conforms to the security policy.
- Establishment of Programs and IT Forums for Nigerian Youths: Since the level of unemployment in the country has contributed significantly to the spate of e-crime in Nigeria, the government should create employments for these youths and set up IT laboratories/forum where these youths could come together and display their skills. This can be used meaningfully towards developing IT in Nigeria at the same time they could be rewarded handsomely for such novelty.
- Address Verification System: Address Verification System (AVS) checks could be used to ensure that the address entered on your order form (for people that receive orders from countries like United States) matches the address where the cardholder’s billing statements are mailed.
- Cryptography: Cryptography is the science of encrypting and decrypting information. Encryption is like sending a postal mail to another party with a lock code on the envelope which is known only to the sender and the recipient. A number of cryptographic methods have been developed and some of them are still not cracked.
- Firewalls: A firewall protects a computer network from unauthorized access. Network firewalls may be hardware devices, software programs, or a combination of the two. A network firewall typically guards an internal computer network against malicious access from outside the network.