By Martin Ekpeke
Some cyber security experts and analysts have decried the absence of data protection law in Nigeria, emphasizing that as it stands today, it is not yet a crime for anybody to compromise other people’s data.
The experts, who gathered in Lagos at this year’s Cyber Secure Nigeria Conference, organized by the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) argued that the absence of the data protection law has paved ways for criminals and other organizations to freely compromise other people’s data without being held accountable.
According to the President of CSEAN, Mr. Remi Afon, the government’s resolve to address the issues of cyber security in Nigeria will continue to be questioned if the data protection law is not enacted into a law.
“It is quite unfortunate that the government is so slow about the data protection law. At the moment, they are not doing anything about it, it is the responsibility of government to have the law in place” he said.
Afon argues that there is a need for the data protection law as a matter of urgency. “We have cybercrime laws, but there is a need to make sure organizations are held accountable if data in their possession are compromised,” he added.
The President of CSEAN, whose responsibility is to sensitize the citizens, also noted that even the cybercrime law passed in 2015 is outdated, leaving Nigerians, including the government vulnerable to attack. He said as at 2015 when the cybercrime law was passed, there was no mention of cyptocurrency and a lot of cyber criminals were not in the dark web.
He advised that there is a need for cybercrime laws to keep changing to keep pace with the activities in cyberspace.
“Yes! Nigeria is vulnerable. A lot of our information is online these days. Even the government has started connecting their system online. The only way we can tackle this problem is to have a strong legislation, which will make organizations to be compelled to make sure their assets are secured, and whenever there is a breach, there also is a notification. Many cyber crime activities are taking place in Nigeria on a daily basis, but because they are not reported, nobody notices them,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has blamed the absence of comprehensive and reliable demographic and biometric database as part of the challenges bewildering the fight against cyber security.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta in a keynote address at the conference, also identified insufficient expertise in the area of cyber and information security as a setback.
“We believe that insufficient inter-agency, regional and international collaborations and lack of effective and functional forensic lab, technics and manpower to match the speed, anonymity and fleeting nature of evidence in cybercrime investigation,” Danbatta, who was represented by the Commission’s Zonal Controller, Mr. Henry Ojiokpota said.
The number of cyber attacks reported globally continues to rise, despite the constant flow of security updates and patches. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cost of cybercrime damage will hit $6 trillion annually by 2021 and cybercrime will become more profitable than the global trade in all major illegal drugs combined.
Also in a keynote address, the US Consul General, John Bray argues that the rise the cybercrime can be attributed to the embracement of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud and Mobility. He warned that it will be extremely difficult to contain the activities of cybercriminals who are daily refining their techniques.
“We cannot afford to play a catch-up. Businesses and government agencies need to evolve in order to cope with the ever changing threat landscape. The organization can no longer merely react to the threat, they need to create IT infrastructure that is agile and adaptive, where breaches are addressed before they happen,” he suggested.
He also advised security professionals to change as well, noting that cybersecurity must become an enabler of business, lifestyle, health to have a better society.
The Cyber Secure Nigeria Conference, which has become an annual event, and is in its fourth year provides an unparalleled gathering of cyber security Industry giants, government, academia, Information Security Professionals from Nigeria and International Community.
Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) is a non-profit organisation composed of Information Security Professionals in Nigeria and Diaspora, recognising the need for unified effort and framework across board to tackle Cyber Crime. Cyber Security Experts of Nigeria (CSEAN) was established as an advocacy group to galvanise the movement and development of Information Security in Nigeria.