Nigeria sleepwalking on cybersecurity, threats to rise in 2018 – CSEAN

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The Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) has decried that the nation just sleepwalked into 2018, predicting that cybersecurity threats actors will increase this year.

The National President of CSEAN, Mr. Remi Afon made this prediction in the 2018 forecast made available saying that Nigeria sleepwalked into 2018 in spite of inadequate cybersecurity strategy and safeguards.

He also said that in 2017, for instance, CSEAN had advocated for the implementation of the existing national cybersecurity strategy, unfortunately till date, nothing has been done.

Noting that in April 2016, the Federal Government (FG) inaugurated a 31-man cybercrime advisory council, “nothing has really changed as we are yet to feel any impact of the council, and therefore one can safely conclude that it was another tick box exercise by the government.” Decrying that while Nigerian government and organisations were asleep, “the bad guys are having a field day in cybercrime escapades.”

The year 2017, he said, went down as a year of unprecedented cyber-attacks globally; “From wannacry ransomware to Equifax breach, 2017 undoubtedly had its fair share of cyber-attacks.”

Afon maintained that given the scope of cyber threats Nigeria faces as a nation, it becomes imperative to highlights the most prominent cyber security threats to expect in 2018.

“Phishing attack has become the most prominent cyber threats in Nigeria and will continue to remain so. Cyber criminals will continue to target unsuspecting internet users. The 419 criminal gangs in Nigeria have advanced in tactics and skills with the use of internet to perpetrate their crime. Today, these groups of Nigerian hackers, popularly known as  “yahoo boys,” “waya waya” or “G-work” are now using clever spear-phishing emails to trick victims into installing keyloggers and Remote  Access  Trojans (RAT). It is a mockery of our society that some popular artists even released albums to the praise of these cyber criminals with impunity.

Nigeria’s growth in tech adoption and rising economy make it a target for cyber-threats from within and outside the country. In 2018, Nigeria will emerge as a new focus area for cyber threats – both targeting organisations based in the country and attacks originating from within. This would lead to billions of Naira in lost revenue for businesses as well as affected individuals put together.  The above factors coupled with Nigeria’s increasing number of local residents’ threat actors; makes it one of the countries with   the largest potential for net-new impactful cyber events in 2018.

“In 2017, we have seen ransomware wreak havoc across the globe with both WannaCry and NotPetya hitting the headlines. Although Nigeria was not badly hit in 2017, it is unlikely we will be able to say the same thing in 2018. Ransomware will continue to plague organisations, with old attacks refreshed and reused, the treat of ransomware will continue to grow exponentially in 2018. Threats of this type and scale will be a common feature of the next 12 months.

“Fake news became a major issue in 2017 and will get worse in 2018. With CGI, photoshop and voice-over technology,. It is almost impossible to tell if a photo or video is real or fake. The social media has empowered people and turned them into journalist of sort. Forwarded messages are being considered as genuine without proper investigation. Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and tweets are now being considered as authoritative source of news. With the 2019 election around  the corner, unemployed youths will continue to be used as tools by politicians to spread fake news in 2018.

CSEAN president further said that the rising value of cryptocurrencies is generating attention from so many Nigerians.

“Hackers and bad actors are also not left out. In 2018 we will see more fraud, hacks and money laundering take place across the cryptocurrency marketplaces,” Afon declared.

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