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Experts Highlight Cybersecurity Risks, Call For Robust Regulation

TECH DIGEST – Cybersecurity experts have identified the associated cyber risks in the financial service space, even as they stressed the need for a regulatory agency to implement the country’s Cybercrime Law that was passed in 2015.

The experts who spoke at a webinar organised by the Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria (ISSAN), an advocacy group on cybersecurity awareness and data handling, called on financial service providers and other organisations that handle large data of customers, to consider putting the right measures in place in order to safeguard their operations.

Speaking on the theme: “Cyberthreat Landscape: Financial Services 2021 and Beyond,” Cybersecurity Lawyer, Basil Udotai said Nigeria’s Cybercrime Law remained the only civil law in Nigeria that did not follow the pattern of legislative proceedings for enactment of laws.

According to him, “Nigeria does not have an agency on cybercrime that is vested with authority to enforce the country’s Cybercrime Act that was signed into law in 2015. What Nigeria has is a distributive law enforcement framework, which allows other law enforcement agents like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Police, and others to enforce their own cybercrime rules.

“The risk in this is that each law enforcement agency will be working to implement its own laws like Anti-Money Laundry Act, Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, among others, while deviating from the implementation of the real cybercrime law of the country.”

He said there was need for the establishment of an agency of government whose role would be focused on implementation of the country’s Cybercrime Law, in order to address the current challenges of cybercrime and insecurity in the country.

Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, who was represented by the Director of Information Technology (IT) at CBN, Mrs. Rakiya Mohammed, said cyber-attacks, data theft and other digital-related threats have been systemic risk concern for stakeholders across multiple sectors.

The risks, she said, have consistently featured in the global risk report that is usually published annually by the World Economic Forum.

According to her, “The emergence of new technologies like Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), have further amplified the risk exposures, especially through the rapid increase in broadband access. Online criminals have continued to prey on citizens through online scams and cyber-attacks, malware, among others.

“The financial sector is particularly susceptibility to cybercrime, given its crucial roles in financial intermediation in a highly connected financial system. CBN is committed to strengthening its regulatory and supervisory framework for cyber risk and vulnerability testing for the banking sector.”

A cybersecurity expert, based in the United States of America, Dr. Austin Ohwobete, who presented a paper, listed the different cyber-attacks such as web-based attack, third party attack, insider threats attacks, and advised organisations to put resilient structures in place in order to understand the nature of attacks and when attacks are about to happen.

Managing Director/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, in his presentation, said: “As cyber-attacks continue to grow in intensity and frequency, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a game changer. Indeed, the manual and semi-automated techniques of monitoring and responding to systems issues of the past are grossly inadequate to take care of the risk of the future. Organisations therefore must seek ways to introduce AI into their processes.”