Cyber Attacks: NITDA wants MDAs, Private Sector to be Vigilant, Proactive

Cyber Attacks: NITDA wants MDAs, Private Sector to be Vigilant, Proactive

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), private sector and the public to be vigilant and proactive ahead of possible cyber-attacks in 2018.

The Director-General of the agency, Dr. Isa Pantami, made the call in a statement he issued to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Pantami said that the cyber-attacks would be targeted at the banking, health, power systems and critical national infrastructures.

“The agency’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), in conjunction with other industry stakeholders have intercepted some signals of potential cyber-attacks.

“This is in their efforts at ensuring a safe and secure cyberspace.

“These attacks are targeting banking, health and other systems, power and transportation systems as well as other critical national infrastructure.

“In this regard, the need for all to be vigilant and proactive as far as security is concerned cannot be over-emphasised,” Pantami said.

The director -general, however, said that efforts should be intensified at ensuring that any data was encrypted, particularly any sensitive or personal data.

He said that the public should ensure that networks were fully secure by using wired network thereby protecting them from possible hackers’ attempt at using Wi-Fi security lapses to remotely break into computer systems.

“Where Wi-Fi network is used, ensure that up to date encryption standard is in use and turn off the Service Set Identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router if not needed.

“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.

“Ensure that anti-malware protection is installed on all IT systems as this will help in protecting your organisation’s network from potential attacks through virus-laden software and e-mail attachments.

“All security software should be adjusted to scan compressed or archived files,” Pantami said.

He said that there should be appropriate guidelines in place for connecting personal devices into the organisation’s network.

According to him, the public should ensure the use of credential vaults and multi-factor authentication instead of user passwords.

“Ensure that the organisation’s data and critical files are regularly backed up.

“Above all, ensure that there is an organisation-wide enlightenment campaign, awareness and measures put in place to deal with cyber security threats,” he said.

Pantami stressed that the agency was working with all relevant stakeholders to come up with effective ways of adequately protecting the Nigerian cyberspace.

He, however, called on the citizens to support the agency by doing their best at protecting themselves as well as the information and systems under their care.

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