Recall that a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2013 said he expects cyber threats to surpass the terrorism threat that nations will face in the years to come. Stronger than Boko Haram In 2012, it was reported that there was a 60% increase in the attacks on Nigerian government websites.
It should be recalled that in Nigeria, it was reported that the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was hacked on the day of the 2015 presidential election. And these forms of attacks range from simple probes, website defacement, denial of service and espionage, to wide-scale terrorism. Tope Aladenusi explains that we are seeing significant interest by terrorist organizations in leveraging cyber capabilities to further their cause.
The Boko Haram sect gets media attention by leveraging social media. He says: “In 2013, the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) hacked the Twitter account of a news agency and falsely claimed the White House had been bombed and President Barack Obama was injured. This led to a US$136.5 billion dip on the S&P 500 index that same day. If terrorists are choosing to dedicate so much resources into advancing their knowledge of cyber security, why then should our law-enforcement agents be caught unawares and keep playing catch up?”
Aladenusi notes that the same way many never saw Boko Haram coming 15 years ago, we may also be blindsided to the concept of cyber-terrorism on the Nigerian infrastructure. Cyber terrorism knows no borders According to the research, Cyber security has now become a key topic amongst government policy makers worldwide and from all indications, it will be a key topic till the end of time.
It reads: “The advent of cyber as a weapon of warfare is rapidly gaining momentum and Nigeria is not immune to such threats. It is only a matter of time before it becomes full blown.”
The new generation of terrorists have the possibility, for example, to hack into a plane’s control system via the in-flight Wi-Fi system, can use internet as a recruitment tool for terrorists worldwide as has been alleged of ISIS and an evolving weapon in the global distribution of chaos. Aladenusi continues: “As of today, it is unbelievable that only one tertiary institution in Nigeria currently administers cyber security as a course of study.
A large proportion of Nigerian PhD holders in Computer Science related courses are not Cyber Security experts. The US Government is pitching $14Billion in cyber security spending for fiscal year 2016 across all its agencies.
This budget keeps increasing year after year.” The expert adds: “In this war, the possibility for success is still a moving target as both heroes and villains are learning and seeking out new ways to defend and attack respectively. Today’s defence or better said; this second’s defence is the next second’s weakness.
How can we play in such a field where the weapons and the yardstick of success change on a per second basis? How do we fight a war that will not be limited to a section of the country but has the potential to undermine even the high and mighty in every nook and cranny?”
How to fight against “Cyberharam”
1. To identify Nigeria’s critical infrastructure and assess the risks to these systems so as to identify threats and vulnerabilities.
– financial and telecommunication systems; – systems hosting classified national security information
2. To invest massively in cyber-capacity development with emphasis on law enforcement agencies, policy framework developers, the judiciary and both the state and federal legislative arms of government.
– the establishment of a joint task force for cyber security; – building of a National Cyber Command Center that will be the go-to center for cyber security in Nigeria and will facilitate Cyber intelligence integration for all governmental parastatals and other institutions in Nigeria
– collaboration among stakeholders and cyber-intelligence sharing is key to having a united front against cyber terrorism.
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