As cybercrime activists continue to unleash terror on Nigeria, and other parts of Africa, the Federal Government has been asked to ratify the Malabo Convention to unify the implementations of cybersecurity and data protection regulations across the continent.
To do this, the government would need to set up a dedicated agency focused on dealing with cyber related crimes; alternatively, there should be cyber policing within the police force.
These suggestions formed parts of the communiqué issued at the end of a seminar organised by the Nigeria Internet Governors Forum (NIGF).
At the virtual forum, with about 200 participants, NIGF urged the government to invest more in getting state-of-the-art and technology-driven systems as well as building capacity for their use to enable cybercrime management and resolution.
To combat the menace, the body said all stakeholders, including the government should ensure compliance with national and international standard security standards and certificates, adding that the government should provide the full support required to enable full functionality of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
NIGF observed that the rise in cyber criminalities was due to high usage of the Internet in Nigeria; lack of effective policies and Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) in the West African Region and lack of collaborations between countries in the same region.
Furthermore, it noted the lack of enforcement of legal and regulatory frameworks; lack of well-equipped and sophisticated hardware to track cyber criminals in Nigeria. It added that citizen orientation and reorientation is paramount in curbing the menace.
NIGF said there is a need to strengthen international and mutual cooperation in combating cybercrime to reduce the level of dependence on the developed world, adding that there is a need to broaden the scope of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) initiated by NCC.
The NIGF observed that common avenues for cybercrime or cybersecurity breaches online stem from password leaks and sharing of sensitive personal information, with about 66 per cent of cybersecurity breaches caused by weak passwords.
While the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, gave the keynote address, and the opening remarks was given by the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the forum noted that oversharing on social media may lead to leak of personal information such as location, date of birth, mother’s maiden names.
NIGF observed that in the past, questionable organisations/individuals have developed a business out of compromising the networks or systems using phishing emails.
It, however, noted that biometric identity creates a higher level of security compared to passwords regulations such as the 2019 Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), will provide guidelines to support the use of biometric identity for security in Nigeria.
“Things posted on social media should remain private and very generic. Cherish your social media share. Tips for creating a good password: Use alphanumeric passwords, make use of sentences, use uppercase and lowercase characters, and change passwords often,” the 15-page communiqué reads.