The Senate, yesterday, said Nigeria has lost about $450 million to 3,500 cyber attacks on its Information and Communication Technology, ICT, space.
According to the Senate, this represents over 70 per cent of hacking attempts on technology in the country.
Against this backdrop, the Senate asked the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major-General Mohammed Babagana Monguno (retd), to, as a matter of urgency, alert all security agencies and financial institutions in the country about the current and threatening dimensions of cyber attacks.
The Senate also asked its Committee on ICT and Cybercrime to immediately convoke a national stakeholders’ conference on cyber security that would help stimulate what it described as a collective reflection among relevant stakeholders and articulate a national and broad-based approach to keep the country ahead of the challenges.
The Senate, which noted that the figures were arrived at by revelations from studies, expressed concern that government servers were currently under serious threat.
The upper chamber, however, lamented that the ICT shortfall in Nigeria was enormous, while its cyberspace had become very porous, adding that the system lacked a well-structured and effective approach to cyber-crime control, according to the oversight findings of the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime.
Yesterday’s resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Abdulfatai Buhari (APC Oyo North), entitled: “Worrisome dimension of cyber-crime and insecurity, urgent need for concerted efforts to secure Nigeria’s cyberspace.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over yesterday’s plenary, however, called for concerted efforts at confronting the cyber war currently threatening the world.
Ekweremadu noted that criminals had on a daily basis been hacking into the e-mails and other accounts of very important people on social media.
He said: “It is worrisome that cyber war is coming and we all need to be prepared to fight it. It is expected that all stakeholders will rise and deal with it.”
Earlier in his presentation, Senator Abdulfatai said the Senate noted that the positive posture of ICT revolution was being dampened by malicious activities of criminal elements in society who invade cyberspace, presenting risks to businesses, national economies and security, such as malicious use of the social media, identity theft, electronic fraud, data damage or alteration, espionage, etc;
He said the Senate was aware that these elements have developed several hacking technics, one of the most recent being Ransomeware known as WannaCry Worm or WannaCrypt, which infected computer operating systems and networks, encrypted files and asked for ransom.
According to him, cyber attacks are taking a dangerous dimension all over the world, as Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays Bank of UK, for instance, suffered 48-hour online attack from 11th to 13m of January this year, in which the criminals attempted to block about 20 million accounts.
He also noted that Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland were bombarded with millions of fake requests designed to grind the groups’ systems to a halt and asked for a huge ransom in bitcoins to end the attacks which were being prevented by the Denial of Access (DOS) system;
“The Senate is further Worried that on the 12th of May alone, at least 200,000 targets in over 150 countries were hit by cyber attacks which the Internet Protocol suggested to have originated from the Middle East, particularly from Syria and Iran, as well as Kenya, supposedly using a malware, known as Lazarus, to compromise systems in banking and information networks, with no clear evidence yet as to how the act was perfected, and that the criminals are already targeting Nigeria;
“It is also alarmed about revelations from studies that over 70% of hacking attempts so far, i.e. about 3500 cyber-attacks on the Nigeria lCT space, have been successful resulting in loss of over $450 million and that government servers are currently under serious threat.’’
In their separate contributions, Senators Olugbenga Ashafa, APC-Lagos East, and Dino Melaye, APC-Kogi West, claimed that they have been victims of cyber crime in the past, even as they stressed the need for all arms of government to ensure that the crime was eliminated in the society.
The senators, however called for laws that would end misuse of cyberspace in the country and ensure that cyberspace operators function in accordance with the extant laws, adding that erring ones must be dealt with to serve as deterrent to others.