How To Manage Increasing Digital Threats In Nigeria

The digital evolution and transformation across the world and most especially Nigeria, has brought both great opportunities amid the prevalent challenges coming from the change as to how people  work and live in the modern world.

It is incontrovertible that there are immense threats to this digital space and this must be mitigated before Nigeria’s digital ecosystem can have a guarantee protection and the cyberspace secured.

This was the focus of a paper delivered  by the Managing Director (MD) of Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Professor Mohammed Abubakar, at the 2022 Nigeria Engineering Conference (NSE) and Annual General Meeting (AGM) which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja recently.

According to the GBB boss, the NSE  has been  a great community of Professionals whose effect and contributions to the development of organisations and nations is sometimes less expressed.

“I must commend the NSE for creating a platform like this that brings together professionals from different walks of life to discuss a better future for our nation and chart best paths for personal, societal and national development,” he said.

Digital threats


Speaking on the topic “Managing Digital Threats In Nigeria”, Prof     Abubakar reiterated the imperative of protecting the digital space as it continues to deepen with the prevalence of new and more advanced technologies and opportunities amid the threats that come with it.

He explained  that Nigeria has a vibrant  and growing economy,  and there is every possibility that the attention that it is getting on the global stage will come with some challenges and therefore the need  to take measures  against such challenges.

“It is important to note also, that the speed of the changes in the digital landscape is such that organisations in both the private and public sector, need to protect their digital assets and manage their risks.

“Digital Threats refer to spiteful acts perpetrated online to either malign or steal data, which will generally negatively affect the lives of human beings and machines online. It can also be looked at as Cyberthreats. People who engage in acts like this, do this for various reasons. From committing financial fraud, Information theft, denying access to vital information, propaganda, destruction of digital assets and so on. The list is endless.

“Now, as our world continues to evolve digitally and as more and more interactions and transactions of individuals, organisations and machines continue to expand online, we will continue to be prone to these digital threats highlighted earlier on,” he said.

The GBB boss maintained that digitization has brought the world together under one stage where what happens in one part of the world, has the potential of taking place in another part of the world. He added that Nigeria is not left out from the gains of the Digital Economy nor the threats of the Digital world as the growing rate of Cyber-attacks in Nigeria seems to be on the rise as Sophos, a top Cybersecurity Company, reported recently that in 2021 about 71 percent of Nigerian organisations were hit by Ransomware in 2021.

Professor Abubakar also informed the audience that the Guardian reported in 2021 that 89% of SMEs were in one form or the other, hit by hackers and this has contributed to the adverse effects on the social and economic wellbeing of the Nigerian people.

He said “It will not be out of place to attribute the growing increase in cyberattacks to the reality that with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of businesses shifted online and continues to remain online or currently operate on a hybrid level because of the expansion of the Digital Economy. However, we believe that as a nation, we can come together to reduce the risks of this new Economy and position ourselves better to succeed more in this new dispensation.”

Following these huge threats, the GBB Managing Director proffered tangible solutions that would greatly help in managing these Digital Threats hovering around Nigeria and other parts of the world.

He said “Firstly, we must increase the awareness of the potential risks of working and interacting online. The awareness of these risks and ways to combat them have got to be increased and communicated in simple ways that most of us who are not tech people can be aware of and take the necessary precautions when transacting their business online.

“ The use of multiple platforms, i.e, online, print and electronic platforms must be adopted to ensure that people are kept well informed of the threats of the digital world. Organisations should increase this awareness through Cybersecurity Awareness training and motivations.”

Professor Abubakar also advised people to strengthen their security online by adopting multiple layers of Security around their network.  He charged organisations to engage the services of cybersecurity experts to help facilitate this process and in this way the most vulnerable areas of the network are well protected. This, he said, will also ensure that the necessary back-ups are put in place to prevent prolonged downtimes in the case of any incident.

“Furthermore, the use of Strong Passwords cannot be overemphasized. When we use the combination of words, numbers and characters, we reduce the risk of being attacked. People are advised to desist from using personal details to set their passwords as this makes you more gullible to these threats.

“Updating of Software is very critical as this ensures that you stay up to date with the latest applications that help support your network,” he said.

He again explained that despite some of these threats identified, the reality is that these are quite exciting times for not just Tech professionals, but also for users of these technologies.

“I am sure most of us are aware of the Internet of Things(IOT) which is one of the most exciting and innovative developments in technology which allows electrical appliances, our cars and other appliances to connect to the internet and interconnect with other devices. This is very exciting but it comes with its one threat as well. Currently, it is estimated by Fraudswatch, that there are about 31 billion IOT devices online. Most of these devices have been poorly secured. “So it is advised that these devices and the WIFI Networks in which they operate, are well secured to prevent possible attacks,” he said.

Speaking on the fundamental ways to curb these digital threats, he said public and private organisations must see themselves as part of the same team in ensuring people work smoothly online. He suggested that the way someone in government gets on the internet is not different from the way someone in a private sector organization gets on the Internet, and  that is why it is important that  public-private partnerships are needed to secure cyberspace and this would ultimately advance the combined economic prosperity.

Also speaking about the activities of Galaxy Backbone, Abubakar said “an aspect of our business that has been tested, tried and proven over the years most especially during the COVID -19 pandemic and in the face of some major threats, and that is our Cybersecurity business. At GBB, ensuring that the network and devices of our people, customers, stakeholders, processes and technology is secure has been sewn into the DNA of our organization.

“We have invested and continue to invest in people and technology to ensure that in spite of the deepening of digital transformation, we ensure that everything is put in place to make sure 99.99% uptime is consistently achieved. We encourage everyone here to not take the threats of the digital world lightly, but address it properly because that is what will guarantee a sustainable future for us and generations to come,” he added.


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