NITDA commences cybersecurity awareness

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The National Information Technology Development Agency, with the mandate of developing and regulating Information Technology in Nigeria, said it had started a nationwide cybersecurity awareness programme.

According to a statement from the agency, the sensitisation event is part of its continuous efforts aimed at equipping citizens with foundational knowledge as well as share best practices on staying safe in cyberspace.

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The agency noted that there had been a tremendous increase in the number of incidents where Nigerians had lost money and data through vulnerabilities arising from lack of knowledge on how to manage their online presence and personal details.

It stated that the cybercriminals used social engineering, phishing mails, and probably specific to Nigeria, the use of text messages pretending to be sent from banks, requesting for PIN or revalidation of the BVN numbers.

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It added, such are the sources where vital information needed for making unauthorised withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts occurred.

It noted that a more worrisome and recent trend was the SIM swap case, where the victim’s SIM card could be swapped, an operation that made the victim’s phone inaccessible while funds were transferred.

Knowing that everyone that used ICT devices was vulnerable, the NITDA stated that these workshops were targeting executives of registered associations and groups, with the ultimate aim to reach their members.

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“We have also deployed effective conventional channels and social media in conveying the stay-safe message. The workshops use presentations and interactive demonstration of trending concepts such as SMS, SIM swap, malware, phishing, social engineering and its manifestations to disseminate the stay-safe tips,” it stated.

It stated that cybersecurity had attracted the attention of governments, enterprises, groups and individuals owing to the potential for business growth, damage and national security and sovereignty.

The agency explained that the negative effects could cripple a nation’s economy should critical infrastructure be affected.

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According to the statement, the International Telecommunications Union has evaluated nations in the Global Cybersecurity Index, placing Nigeria on number 14, and that these programmes are aimed at improving the county’s standing on the GCI.

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“The NITDA has planned effective capacity building programmes that will culminate in organisational and individual certification, while using research and development results to feed these enlightenment programmes and aid relevant agencies and corporates in permanent mitigation strategy,” it stated.

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