Organized by the Nigeria Computer Society, NCS, the Cybersecurity Forum and Workshop 2.0 recently took place at the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja.
The programme, which brought together stakeholders and experts from across various sectors, was designed to identify and analyze cyber-attacks in Nigeria’s ecosystem as well as provide reliable solutions to the Nation’s Cybersecurity challenges.
From security agencies to IT professionals, financial institutions, academia, and several other players, the stakeholders included Professor Olufemi Peters, the Chief Host and Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria; Professor Adesina Sodiya, (FNCS), the host and President of NCS; Dr Muhammad Sirajo Aliyu, (FNCS), the Deputy President; Mr. Ayoola Iyiola, (FNCS), Executive Secretary of NCS; Dr. Olusoji Okunoye, (FNCS), Chairman, Innovation, Research and Development; Mrs A. Ilebiyi, Chairman NCS Audit Committee; Alhaji Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, Chair, African Union Cyber Security Expert Group (AUCSEG) and many others.
The forum was followed by a two days’ hands-on workshop where modern cybersecurity tools were taught and demonstrated to the participants.
The topic of discussion, Cybersecurity, was treated from three perspectives, they were people — critical examination of challenges, level of awareness as well as the knowledge and skill levels — process and technology.
It was agreed that a lot of work has been done in policy formulation and standards and modern cybersecurity technologies and tools were of utter relevance as a major tool for addressing the nation’s cybersecurity challenges.
In line with the available facts presented and discussed, the forum, therefore, proffered the following resolutions:
- Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), governments, and private organizations should continue to collaborate to develop massive cybersecurity skill sets needed to bridge the gaps identified in the ecosystem.
- Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) strongly recommended that government institutions, and private, and public organizations should take the issue of cyber security very seriously.
- Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), in conjunction with governments and private organizations, should develop robust and efficient cybersecurity awareness programmes that will also focus on non-IT professionals and those in remote areas.
- Government should be more committed to the implementation of some of the cybersecurity policies and laws already enacted. NCS should provide the needed support for this.
- Government agencies, institutions, and private companies were advised to be more proactive by developing and implementing strategic cyber intelligence for the effective protection of digital assets.
- Government should establish a dedicated coordinating agency for cybersecurity activities in the country. The established cybersecurity agency should be capable of publishing cybercrime acts, coordinating, managing, and defending against attacks against our cyberspace.
- Nigeria’s military should establish a joint cybersecurity operation command centre to monitor, prevent, detect, investigate, and respond to cyber threats against the nation. This will complement the efforts of the office of the national security adviser and other national efforts.
- Government should develop a community incident database for cybercrimes which should be visible to all stakeholders with the appropriate clearance.
- Governments and private organisations should strive to reduce their dependencies on foreign software to reduce the level of vulnerability on digital infrastructure and the challenge with FX rates.
- Governments and regulatory bodies in education (such as UBE, NBTE, NCCE and NUC) should introduce basic cybersecurity skills in the educational curriculum at all levels.
- Government, through the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other relevant agencies, should develop a national intelligence database with biometric features and enabled cross-referencing by security agencies in cases of cyber and other attacks.
- Government should integrate the CERTs by different agencies of government (NITDA, NCC and ONSA) for improved performance. The managers of the different CERTs should also improve citizens’ awareness of the existence, relevance, access, and usage of CERT.
- Special regular and massive cybersecurity awareness programmes should be developed by NCS and other related organisations for children and the girl-child.
- IT professionals and cybersecurity experts should constantly develop themselves through massive open online courses and other learning platforms on cybersecurity.
- NCS, governments and private organisations should encourage and support Computer / IT Clubs in secondary schools. Cybersecurity education will be one of the major goals of the clubs to increase cybersecurity awareness.
- Nigerian government should enhance our relationship and partnership with international organisations on cybersecurity such as ITU, United Nations, EU, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, etc, for strategic and technical development expertise in cybersecurity.
- Nigeria should position itself to capitalize on the African and global cybersecurity solutions market, using its talented youth, to ensure that our economy uses cybersecurity for foreign exchange gain and not as a foreign exchange drain.