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Cybersafety: Nigeria recorded 3,834,244 attacks at gubernatorial, assembly polls –Minister

Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FCIIS, FBCS, FNCS, Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy

*Pro. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) discloses how Nigeria recorded a total of 3,834,244 cyberattacks, before, during and after the last gubernatorial and state assembly elections,  originating from both within and outside the country’s digital ecosystem

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FCIIS, FBCS, FNCS, Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has updated the digital economy stakeholders and Nigerians in general on the Ministry’s activities before, during, and after the last 2023 Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.

The West African country held the state elections phase of this year’s General Elections Saturday, March 18, 2023.

It is also noted the Office of the Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy March 14 had issued a statement in regard to the activities of the Ministry and its parastatals before, during and after the Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections.

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Dr. Femi Adeluyi, Senior Technical Assistant (Research and Development) to the Minister, March 22 stated as a follow up to that and in line with the Ministry’s mandate in its efforts at supporting the initiatives of securing the Nigerian cyberspace, the Pantami had directed the Ministerial Standing Committee on Advisory Role for the Protection of Nigerian Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure to further enhance the cyberspace surveillance activities of the three cybersecurity Centres.

Adeluyi said these Cybersecurity Centres include those of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB).

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The statement also recalled that the Committee, which the Minister inaugurated on the eve of the Presidential and NASS elections, was charged with the following responsibilities, among others: Monitoring of Telecommunication Infrastructure for the successful conduct of the 2023 General Elections:

  1. Developing and implementing plans to enhance the resilience of critical digital infrastructure against cyberthreats;
  2. Designing procedures and using technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to cyberattacks, as well as developing the ability to quickly recover from any damage that is done;
  3. Developing a comprehensive risk assessment, analysing the nation’s current cybersecurity capabilities, and identifying gaps that need to be addressed; and
  4. Providing professional advice to the Government on the effective utilisation of digital technologies in the conduct of the 2023 General Elections.

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The Minister’s Senior Technical Assistant further said: “On the Honourable Minister’s directives, the Committee provided close oversight on the activities of the cybersecurity Centres, from Friday, 17th March, 2023 to Monday, 20th March, 2023.

“During this period, and as previously reported, a series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), e-mail and Internet Protocol Spoofing (IPS) attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing.”

The Ministry disclosed a total of 3,834,244 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria.

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It said the daily breakdown of these attacks are:

  1. Friday, 17th March, 2023: 1,046,896
  2. Saturday, 18th March, 2023: 1,481,847
  3. Sunday, 19th March, 2023: 327,718
  4. Monday, 20th March, 2023: 977,783

Dr. Adeluyi stressed the Ministry observed the activities of cyberthreat actors in the Nigerian cyberspace during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections are much lower than those during the Presidential and National Assembly elections held February 25.

The statement said: “This is neither surprising nor unexpected as, Nigeria being Africa’s largest democracy, the Presidential and National Assembly elections are bound to attract much attention of everyone, including cyberthreat actors, than during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.

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“Furthermore, the Honourable Minister is confident that the implementation of some recommendations as well as measures taken to fortify our cyber defence mechanisms might have helped in this.”

According to the Senior Technical Assistant, Pantami reiterated the attainments would not have been possible without the continued support of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in particular, and the administration in general, towards ensuring Nigeria’s successful transition into the digital economy.

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The statement said: “The digital economy sector has enjoyed Mr President’s unprecedented support, and it is highly appreciated.”

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