The management of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would like to bring to the attention of Nigerians that the recent WannaCry or WannaCript ransomware attack has been contained and Nigeria was largely spared from the attack due to the massive enlightenment campaign, awareness and proactive measures put in place to swiftly deal with any reported incidents. The efforts of all stakeholders in the IT industry are highly commendable and appreciated.
Reports have shown that computer networks in more than 150 countries and more than 200,000 people had been affected by this attack, considered to be one of the biggest cybersecurity attacks in recent history. Traces in Nigeria appeared to be isolated cases as no major incident is reported in the country.
As IT systems have now become part of our lives, the need for all to be vigilant and proactive as far security is concerned cannot be overemphasized. For users of Microsoft systems, the following steps are recommended:
• Old operating systems should be upgraded to the latest version ( of Windows 10). This will enable them get the latest protection from Microsoft;
• The recent security update released by Microsoft, MS17-010, should be installed as soon as possible; and
• Where necessary, Windows Defender Antivirus should be enabled as it helps in detecting this ransomware and similar attacks.
For systems that have been attacked, tools have been developed to unlock the files locked by this ransomware – the WannaDecrpyt or Wannakey. They have been found to have successfully decrypted systems infected with the ransomware.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is an Agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications. The Agency was created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and co-ordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(j) of the Act mandates NITDA to advise the Government on ways of promoting the development of Information Technology in Nigeria including introducing appropriate information technology legislations and ways of enhancing national security and the vibrancy of the industry.
We therefore call on all citizens, especially critical stakeholders in the IT industry, to support NITDA in this onerous task by always following best practices as well as being proactive in the way information and systems are handled. These will help in minimizing risks of attacks as well as possible loss of vital information.
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FBCS
National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
Corporate Headquarters, Abuja
21st May, 2017