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FG to amend Cybercrime Act to reflect emerging technologies’ trend – NSA

THE National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, says the Federal Government is currently putting measures in place to amend the 2015 Cybercrimes Act .

Ribadu disclosed this at a two-day conference by the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) in Abuja, under the theme “Cybersecurity: A Digital Transformative Tool in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals’’.

Represented by Dr Bala Fakandu, Manager, Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), Ribadu recognised the existence of emerging technologies which bad state actors are already leveraging to perpetrate cybercrimes.

The NSA said,” it is worthy to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of critical information systems because cybersecurity is an enabler for a better and more sustainable future.

“As we embrace the rapid evolution of technology, we must be mindful of new and exciting areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain technologies that will continue to affect the future.

“This is bearing in mind that criminal elements are already exploiting new technologies to progress their illicit activities.

“Consequently, the FG is currently making efforts to amend the Cybercrimes Act 2015 and the issue of AI and virtual assets are amongst several critical inputs from stakeholders being considered.”

‘Ribadu further said that the Federal Government considered cybersecurity incident management and protection of Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) as a vital component for national development.

According to him, the Presidential Order on the designation and protection of CNII currently awaiting President Bola Tinubu’s assent will enhance Nigeria’s current efforts for progressive economic prosperity, national development and attainment of national security objectives.

He added: “This underscores the need for continuous cybersecurity awareness in the wake of increased cyber threats from both states and non-state actors.’’

The NSA said that Nigeria had recorded remarkable strides in cybersecurity by fostering international cooperation and collaborations to combat cyber threats, thereby making her a trusted player in the global digital space.

President of CSEAN, Ade Shoyinka, said that the continued perpetration of cybercrime by non-state actors without adequate proactive measures would jeopardise Nigeria’s chances of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2030.

With 17 goals and 169 targets, Shoyinka said the world cannot attain the SDGs without considering the role of technology and cyber security.

He decried that the activities of cyber criminals has become rampant and crippling economies, while some services of cyber crime are being distributed in the public domain.

Shoynika said: “The availability of cryptocurrency has also made it easier to conduct transactions anonymously, further fuelling the growth of Ransomware as a service.

“One of such is Genesis Marketplace, available both on the dark web and the public internet; this is like selling a banned substance in a supermarket.

“This service provides an avenue for attackers to buy digital fingerprints, making it possible for entry-level cybercriminals to purchase malware, malware deployment services and sell stolen credentials and other data in bulk.

“The bad actors will continue to undermine our ability to achieve the SDGs, considering the significance of cybercrime in relation to achieving the SDGs, the greater our chances of countering the efforts of bad actors who seek to hinder our progress.’’

The CSEAN president called on governments, private sector, and civil society groups to unite to combat cyber threats.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, said they have always engaged with Nigeria constructively to promote global growth and security.

Represented by Ms Magdalene Lagu, Head of Governance and Stability, he said they were committed to continuing capacity building work in Nigeria through funding some of its programmes.

“We work hard to see a wide range of cyber stakeholders’ engagement across the private sector, civil society to retain a true understanding of Nigeria’s cyber ecosystem and ensure to support Nigeria against cybercrime,’’ he said.

The conference featured technical sessions, hackathon and the presentation of a research report on cyber threats to Nigeria in 2022,among other activities. (NAN)

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