Cybersecurity: IT expert calls for investment in creative awareness

Dr John Alhassan, a Cyber Security expert on Tuesday in Abuja said the country needed to review its cyber laws and policies to mitigate the dynamics of cyber crime.

Alhassan, the Head, Cyber Security Science Department, Federal University Minna, Niger State said this at the ongoing 3rd annual conference and hackathon challenge of the Cyber Security Challenge Nigeria (CYSEC NG).

The conference is with the theme: “Forensics and Defense against Next Generation Cyber Frauds”.

Alhassan, who was represented by Mr Joseph Ojeniyi, a lecturer in the department, said that cyber attackers were highly skilled and their activities could crumble systems in the country if they were not positively engaged.

“Cyber fraud started from the first generation and now we are in the fifth generation. We cannot mitigate some of these cyber frauds without updating our policies.

“In doing so, we need to have experts that understand the dynamics of frauds because there are emerging trends in the cyber space,” he said.

Alhassan said that institutions of government and security agencies in the country needed to be digitally inclined to curb issues of cyber crimes.

According to him, when they are not digitally schooled on the dynamics of cyber crimes, they cannot effectively carry out their duties.

“Forensics means investigations and we really need to look at our investigators, and the compliant, can the police carry out digital policing, investigation, if the answer is no, then something urgent needs to be done.

“Our judges, lawyers need to be digitally compliant because some of these threats can be obscured to them and the fact remains that these threats are emerging.

“Cyber attacks are not threats perpetuated by novice, they are well skilled experts, so we need more manpower to handle them from policing to litigation,” he said.

Alhassan said that the next generation of cyber fraud would include the use of artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE) and Internet of Fraud (IoF).

He, however, charged institutions of government charged with the responsibility of regulating internet usage to be proactive in their duties.

Oluwafemi Osho, another lecturer from the same institution while speaking on Cyber State of Nigeria: Challenges and Recommendations said that the country had started exporting cyber criminals.

According to Osho, there will always be cyber fraud, cyber fraud does not disappear but is transformed and cyber fraud follows the path of least resistance.

He regretted that faulty regulations, flawed applications especially in the banking system, unbridled internet users and compromised security agents had contributed to the activities of cyber fraudsters.

“When you do policy documents, especially the first version, it is usually not perfect, so you need to update them.

“Unfortunately, the Cyber Crime Act 2015 has not been reviewed, a lot of things have changed, the nature and sophistication of cyber attacks have changed, and meanwhile the law is still the same.

“These documents need to be reviewed, they need to bring experts together involving the National Assembly and relevant agencies of government,” he said.

He, however, recommended that the country needed cyber security instructors, secured programmes, forensic analyst and software testers to mitigate incidences of cyber fraud.

Victor Idonor, the Director CYSEC NG said that the organisation carried out a study of Africa’s usage of the internet in 2016 and realised that Nigeria ranked high in cyber fraud.

Idonor reiterated that the country had skilled cyber experts which their skills could be channeled positively to curb internet fraud.

He said that the conference was creating the opportunity to identify cyber experts and accord them the training they needed for better job offers in the country.

Highlights of the event include hacking competition consisting of password cracking, code breaking, web security, reverse engineering, cryptography, penetration testing, binary exploitation, and forensics among others.