CYBER ATTACKS: Banks, health sector, MDAs major target in 2018

CYBER ATTACKS: Banks, health sector, MDAs major target in 2018

By Emmanuel Elebeke

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has raised alarm over impending cyber attacks in 2018 that many Nigerian companies are at risk unless they begin to put proper protection measures in place.

File: Global hunt for Nigerian cyber criminal spreading malware globally to steal money. Illustration by Cyber Crime Watch

The agency is warning all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other government establishments as well as the private sector, to be wary of the potential attacks in 2018.

The agency said its Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), in conjunction with other industry stakeholders, in their efforts at ensuring a safe and secure cyberspace, have intercepted some signals of potential cyber-attacks targeting banking, health, power and transportation systems, as well as other critical national infrastructure.

Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, however said that his agency has worked tirelessly to discover some of the measures which could forestall such potential attack and is pleased to release them to the public.

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Pantami said the precautionary measures include: ensuring that that all data are encrypted, particularly ones containing sensitive or personal details.

Others are to ensure that networks are fully secure through the use of wired network thereby protecting them from possible hackers who may easily capitalise on Wi-Fi security lapses to remotely break into computer systems.

He also advised that where Wi-Fi network is used, people should ensure that an up to date encryption standard is in use and turn off the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router if it is not needed. Others are to:

  • Ensure that free Wi-Fi connections as well as other wireless connections such as Bluetooth or infrared ports are not used unless where necessary;
  • Ensure that operating systems and other software applications are regularly updated with the latest patches;
  • Install anti-malware protection on all IT systems as this will help in protecting your organisation’s network from potential attacks through virus-laden software and email attachments.
  • Put appropriate guidelines in place for connecting personal devices into the organisation’s network;
  • Use credential vaults and multi-factor authentication instead of user passwords;
  • Regularly back up organisation’s data and critical files.
  • Carry out organisation-wide enlightenment campaign and awareness on measures to deal with cyber security threats as well as the procedures to always follow when using workstations.

Pantami said, the agency is working with all critical stakeholders to come up with effective ways of adequately protecting the Nigerian cyberspace.

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