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NITDA warns MDAs on cyber security threats

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Babatunde Abiodun

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), other government establishments, the organised private sector and the general public of potential cyber-attacks likely to be experienced this year as well as the precautionary measures to be taken.

The Agency’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), in conjunction with other industry stakeholders, in their efforts at ensuring a safe and secure cyberspace, have intercepted some signals of potential cyber-attacks targeting banking, health and other systems, power and transportation systems, as well as other critical national infrastructure.

The Director General/ CEO of NITDA,  Dr. Isa Ali Pantami  said the need for all to be vigilant and proactive as far as security is concerned cannot be overemphasized.

As precautionary measures, the Agency recommend that ; efforts should be intensified at ensuring that any data is encrypted, particularly any sensitive or personal data; ensure that networks are fully secure through the use of wired network thereby protecting them from possible hackers’ attempt at using Wi-Fi security lapses to remotely break into computer systems.

Other measures include; ensuring that an up to date encryption standard is in use and turn off the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router if it is not needed where Wi- fi network is used;
ensuring that free Wi-Fi connections as well as other wireless connections such as Bluetooth or infrared ports are not used unless where necessary;

Dr. Pantami said other measures are to· “ensure that operating systems and other software applications are regularly updated with the latest patches; ensure that anti-malware protection is installed on all IT systems as this will help in protecting your organisation’s network from potential attacks through virus-laden software and email attachments. Also, all security software should be adjusted to scan compressed or archived files; ensure that appropriate guidelines are in place for connecting personal devices into the organisation’s network; ensure the use of credential vaults and multi-factor authentication instead of user passwords;· ensure that the organisation’s data and critical files are regularly backed up; and · ensure that there is an organisation-wide enlightenment campaign, awareness and measures put in place to deal with cyber security threats as well as the procedures they must always follow when using their workstations”.

NITDA is working with all critical stakeholders to come up with effective ways of adequately protecting the Nigerian cyberspace. We therefore call on all Nigerians to support the Agency by doing their best at protecting themselves as well as the information and systems under their care.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is an Agency under the Federal Government of Nigeria created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and co-ordinate general IT development and regulation in the country.

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