The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has raised the alarm over potential cyber-attacks targeting banking, health and other systems, power and transportation systems, as well as other critical national infrastructure in the country. A statement signed by the agency and made available to journalists said its 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.
The statement signed by the director-general of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), other government establishments, the organised private sector and the general public to be vigilant and proactive as far as security is concerned, saying the need for extra precautionary measures to guard against cyber-attacks cannot be overemphasized.
The statement read in part: “We therefore recommend the following precautionary measures, 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; where WiFi network is used, ensure 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.
“Ensure that free Wi-Fi connections as well as other wireless connections such as Bluetooth or infrared ports are not used unless where necessary; 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 dealwith 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.” It further called on all Nigerians to support the agency by doing their best at protecting themselves as well as the information and systems under their care.