As cyber criminals use COVID-19 as an opportunity to defraud suspecting Nigerians, the Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has said that securing Nigeria’s cyberspace is a prerequisite to achieving Digital Economy Policy.
Abdullahi stated this at the webinar organised by the agency in collaboration with Spire Solutions on ‘Cyber Hygiene During and After COVID-19.’
The DG, who was represented by Director, Information Technology Infrastructure Solution, Dr. Usman Gambo Abdullahi, said that due to the pandemic and the quest for survival people and entities have been forced to adapt new possibilities especially internet for their daily activities.
Reeling out statistics, Mr Abdullahi explained that data collected by Google reflected a spike in phishing emails from the commencement of the lockdown.
He said in January, Google recorded approximately 149,000 phishing websites, which has increased to 552,000 recently, an increasing of about 350% since January.
“The boom in the use of virtual platforms and increase in online activities by individuals, government and businesses led to an exponential increase in cyber crime incidences.
“To survive the antics of cyber criminals during and post COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for strategy. We need to strategize. One of these strategies is to acquire knowledge on how to stay safe in the cyberspace,” he said.
Abdullahi assured that his agency will be engaging security experts from both private and public institutions to rob minds on effective ways of securing Nigeria cyberspace.
He emphasised that NITDA, as an agency of Government with the responsibility of ensuring a safe and secure cyberspace, will live up to expectations by providing Nigerians with advisory notes on these incidences. “We carry out periodic awareness programs to enlighten Nigerians on the dos and don’ts in the cyber space,” he concluded.
The Lead, Computer Response Team, Dr Mohammed Lawan Ahmed, during his presentation on the “Dos and Don’ts” to fight COVID-19 related cyber crimes in Nigeria mentioned that criminals take advantage of the demand for protective materials like gloves, masks and sanitizers to get people to click on a link under the guise of getting them free of charge or qualifying for palliatives that doesn’t exist.
He advised members of the public not to be quick to click links, visit websites or give out personal information without confirming its source and authenticity.