By Etuka Sunday
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta yesterday said that the cyberspace has become a blossoming haven for cybercriminals; therefore, there was need for sectoral protection against attack.
Prof. Danbatta spoke at the 88th Edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament (TOP) of the commission held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
He said, the commission is aware of the activities of cybercriminals as it deepen broadband availability, accessibility and affordability.
“As we deepen broadband availability, accessibility and affordability to further boost efficiency across board in the country through putting the Internet into positive use, the Commission is also conscious of the nefarious tendencies by some unscrupulous elements who deploy Internet to commit all sort of cybercriminal activities, leaving their victims with scars of psychological injuries and financial losses,” he said.
Danbatta said: “at the national level, we have the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team that is domicile in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). It was put in place in order to secure the Nigeria’s Cyber Space, by keeping cyber attacks at bay, preventing them from getting into the national networks, whether they are telecommunications, broadcast and other networks. This was deliberately put in place in order to ensure the wellbeing of the citizens.
“The same Act, establishing Cybercrime Act, has directed that all sectors of the economy should be protected. So, every sector supposed to have a sectoral protection against cyber attack.
“That is why the NCC is in the process of putting in place a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (CSAT), which is a version of the national SAT. The difference is that the NCC CSAT is intended to protect the telecommunications sector of the economy.
“We have taken other measures to ensure adequate protections on the network, including sensitization of Nigerians through this kind of event we are having today, on measures they can take to protect access to their privacy, access to classified information relating to where they deposit their money, their hard earned means of livelihood,” he said.
He said, NCC remains committed to protecting the industry from being viciously ravaged by cybercrimes. This drive has informed the ongoing efforts by the Commission to establish an Internet Industry Code of Practice in accordance with our mandate to regulate the communications sector in Nigeria, as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
The NCC boss said, the establishment of the Code, which is at its final stage, will, among others, outline the obligations of Internet Access Service Providers in relation to the protection of consumers’ personal data and security among others.
He said, the Code will also complement existing statutes and regulations against cybercriminal activities, especially the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015, in order to make the cyber space much safer for all.
It is important, therefore, to, once again, charge Telecoms Service Providers to strengthen their cyber-risk protection systems and architecture, just as we expect other non-teleo organisations but Which are clients to telecoms operators to begin to use next generation authentication as against the hitherto username-password authentication system. This is in line with a recommendation by the International telecommunications Union (ITU).
Beyond all these measures, the Commission believes that Mobile Network Operators need to educate their consumers on continuous process on how to keep themselves safe while online using data services provided by the mobile networks. This is very critical. In fact, while cybercrime has predicted to be more sophisticated as broadband access deepens, continuous enlightenment and education for Internet users has been recognised as a weapon that can be adroitly used to mitigate exposure to cybercrimes.
The TCP is one of the high-level consumer-centric engagements of the Commission. It brings together various stakeholders such as regulatory agencies of government, telecoms service providers, telecoms consumers and their advocacy groups as well as professionals from all walks of life for a robust dialogue on salient issues affecting the telecommunication industry.
As a quarterly programme, commission rotates this event between Lagos and Abuja to ensure inclusive and robust engagements between the Western and Northern hemispheres of the country.
At each edition of the forum, topical, emerging and contemporary issues in the industry as well as issues on concerns of the consumers, Te1ecom Service Providers and the industry, at large, are chosen for discussion. Identified problems are discussed and solutions are proffered for proper implementation.