Potential Cyber-attacks: NITDA issues guidance on ways to combat threats

Cyber security attacks and its challenges have become a great concern to governments and private agencies across the globe. It is on this premise that the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA issued a precautionary guideline to MDAs, ministries, organised private sector and the general public on combating cyber attacks.

NITDA Director general, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in a press release, said that the agency’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), in conjunction with other industry stakeholders, in their efforts at ensuring a safe and secure cyberspace, have intercepted some signals of potential cyber-attacks targeting banking, health and other systems, power and transportation systems, as well as other critical national infrastructure. In this regard, the need for all to be vigilant and proactive as far as security is concerned cannot be overemphasised.

The agency therefore recommend the following precautionary measures:

  • Efforts should be intensified at ensuring that any data is encrypted, particularly any sensitive or personal data;
  • Ensure that networks are fully secure through the use of wired network thereby protecting them from possible hackers’ attempt at using Wi-Fi security lapses to remotely break into computer systems;
  • Where Wi-Fi network is used, ensure that an up to date encryption standard is in use and turn off the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router if it is not needed;
  • Ensure that free Wi-Fi connections as well as other wireless connections such as Bluetooth or infrared ports are not used unless where necessary;
  • Ensure that operating systems and other software applications are regularly updated with the latest patches;
  • Ensure that anti-malware protection is installed on all IT systems as this will help in protecting your organisation’s network from potential attacks through virus-laden software and email attachments. Also, all security software should be adjusted to scan compressed or archived files;
  • Ensure that appropriate guidelines are in place for connecting personal devices into the organisation’s network;
  • Ensure the use of credential vaults and multi-factor authentication instead of user passwords;
  • Ensure that the organisation’s data and critical files are regularly backed up; and
  • Ensure that there is an organisation-wide enlightenment campaign, awareness and measures put in place to deal with cyber security threats as well as the procedures they must always follow when using their workstations.

He further said that NITDA is working with all critical stakeholders to come up with effective ways of adequately protecting the Nigerian cyberspace. And therefore called on all Nigerians to support the Agency by doing their best at protecting themselves as well as the information and systems under their care.

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