Nigeria, target of Wannacry Ransomware – Pantami

In their collective effort to arrest the rising threat of  cyber crime and fraudulent activities in the country, the Federal Ministry of Justice and National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) in collaboration with organized private sector held the second annual conference on “Financial Fraud and Cyber Crime” in Abuja.

The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami (FBCS) while delivering his keynote address said, crimes are easily committed online; in other to curb such act, proactive measures have to be put in place by all concerned stakeholders.

He informed that Nigeria was specifically targeted by the recent “Wannacry Ransomware” attack, adding that Microsoft Corporation sent its latest patch, which NITDA promptly circulated to  various MDAs across the Country to aid curb the menace.

Pantami disclosed that the proactive measures taken by the Agency helped to diffuse the threat.  He however said that the few MDAs that failed to comply with the directives were affected.

He deduced that “advancement in technology and globalization has made it easier for Cyber criminals to penetrate into our systems and it is our collective responsibility to secure our Cyberspace.”

“Cyber crime is inevitable simply because the way you are trying to clear the cyber space, the same way the cyber criminals are creating free avenue to launch attacks,” he added.

Pantami said NITDA is working towards the establishment of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which will aid in curbing such acts. According to him, the Agency is building on the capacity of its staff to be able to checkmate the cybercrime adding that, ‘recently some staff of the agency were sent to India for cyber security training and they emerged the overall best’ which he described as a kudos to NITDA and Nigeria as a whole.

The DG said that the Agency was established to regulate and develop the Information Technology (IT) sector in the country, and also to serve as the clearing house for all IT projects in the country which all MDA’s need to seek approval from before embarking on any IT projects.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington stated that USA and Nigeria are thoroughly involved in the fight against cybercrime in order to create a conducive avenue for online businesses to boost the economy through the use of the Internet.

“No Nation indeed is kept secured day and night; years after years, there are more good people in the world than the bad ones . The biggest challenge in the world is indicating the benefits and potentials available to the country he said.

“Nigeria is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Talents are in abundance. Youths from Nigeria visited the Silicon Valley in US and solved some problems which the US experts could not find solutions to. This is a plus to the image of the country,’ he added.

The Ambassador expressed the desire of the United States to work with Nigeria to develop critical mass of her infrastructure especially in the area of ICT, maintaining that it is in the interest of US to achieve that.

Mr Jimoh Abdul Fatai, a member of Information Systems Audit and Control Association, (ISACA) emphasized the need to engage cyber criminals with the view of making them channel their talents to positively contribute to the growth and development of the country’s ICT sector.

He advised that people should constantly update their systems to avoid exposure to cyber attacks so as to curb menace of cyber crime. He maintained that full protection of our various activities while using the internet should be our culture.