The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Isa Ali-Pantami, on Monday, notified the populace over the likelihood of cyber attacks this year.
The Agency’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), in collaboration with other industry stakeholders have intercepted some signals of potential cyber-attacks targeting key sectors like banking, health, power and transportation systems, as well as other very important national infrastructure.
Sequel to the alert, Mr Pantami has issued words of caution to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, other government establishments, the organised private sector and the general public to take heed of the precautionary measures.
Head, Corporate Affairs & External Relations Unit of the agency, Hadiza Umar, through a signed statement made a call for all to be watchful and proactive as far as cyber security is concerned.
According to the statement Umar said, “The Agency’s 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 and other systems, power and transportation systems, as well as other critical national infrastructure.
“We therefore recommend the following precautionary measures:
“Efforts should be intensified at ensuring that any data is encrypted, particularly any sensitive or personal data;
“Ensure that networks are fully secure through the use of 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 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;
“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 email attachments. Also, all security software should be adjusted to scan compressed or archived files;
“Ensure that appropriate guidelines are in place for connecting personal devices into the organisation’s network;
“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; and
“Ensure that there is an organisation-wide enlightenment campaign, awareness and measures put in place to deal with cyber security threats as well as the procedures they must always follow when using their workstations,” the statement said.
Also the agency disclosed that it is working with all essential stakeholders to come up with effective ways of holistically shielding the Nigerian cyberspace.
“We therefore call on all Nigerians to support the Agency by doing their best at protecting themselves as well as the information and systems under their care,” Mrs Umar said.
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