Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has observed that the implicit requirement of social distancing as a means of avoiding contact with COVID-19 pandemic has increased the adoption of online platforms and e-payment systems.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly transformed how we interact as individuals. In particular, there has been an appreciable migration of several meetings, lectures and other forms of interactions to online platforms,” the minister said.
Pantami, who sees this as a positive development, admitted that it will support his ministry’s implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.
He, however, warned that this migration to home-based insecure digital platforms, often with outdated security systems, can make users more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The minister disclosed that the ministry’s cybersecurity teams have intercepted such cases as Phishing attacks aimed at infecting systems or extracting sensitive information; and Campaigns that defraud citizens by offering essential products and services at suspicious prices.
The teams have also intercepted Fake news and misinformation aimed at spreading panic, creating instability and promoting distrust; and Video-teleconferencing (VTC) hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”).
Pantami, who urged everyone to be extra-cautious and reinforce security measures while interacting online, especially when banking online, stated that it is important to observe basic cyberspace rules such as: Ignoring suspicious online offers; and Being circumspect in sharing VTC details.
Others include: Using complex passwords; Keeping software up to date; and refraining from sharing unverified information.
“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to keeping Nigerians safe online. To this end, the Ministry and its parastatals will issue regular cybersecurity advisories,” the minister pledged.