The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr.Isa Pantami has described cyber security awareness as one of the key priorities of the agency.
The DG who addressed the media at Startup Nigeria held in Lagos recently, decried the manner cybercriminal retrieve information from Nigerians with ease, adding that awareness will reduce cyber related losses by 70%.
He said the agency is also irked by the level of cyber threats on individuals, financial institutions, government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as their affiliates, as reports show the Country losses N78 billion yearly to cybercrimes (Ministry of Communications).
Mr. Remi Afon, president, Cyber Security Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), had earlier indicated that cyber-crime originating from Nigeria costs about $9.3 billion annually across the globe.
However, the NITDA DG said the Agency is working on proactive measures that will ensure MDAs and the general public are quickly notified during cases of cyber attacks while contacting relevant authorities to tackle post-incidence challenges.
Dr. Pantami said, “I have special interest in cyber security, because I always believe that as long as we are online, we are exposed to danger. Secondly, the rate at which cyber crime is spreading globally is much higher at the rate ICT is developing. As the experts would say ‘cyber crime is at the speed of light, while cyber security is at the speed of law’.
“This is very true, because if you move at the speed of law, you can start the process of an Act, which you can spend years without achieving the purpose. Law takes time: you would need to approach the National Assembly with drafts, plenary and public hearings and other processes. But cyber crime is at the speed of light.
“We have started looking critically at that aspect of the economy by establishing cyber security department. Prior to my time at NITDA there was no department. With that Department in Place, NITDA is now proactive with regards to cybercrime reportage like in the cases of ‘WannaCry’ and ‘Petrya’. During the WannaCry incident NITDA was the first Agency, not in Nigeria, but in Africa, to alert the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA), corporate bodies and the general public. During Petrya too NITDA was the first.