Ecobank Nigeria canvasses artificial intelligence to check cybercrimes

Ecobank Nigeria has advocated the use of artificial intelligence to predict security threats and proffer solutions. Patrick Akinwuntan, managing director, made this assertion at a webinar themed, “Cyber threat Landscape: Financial services, 2021 and beyond,” organised by the Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria (ISSAN) recently.

He said as cyber-attacks continue to grow in intensity and frequency, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a game-changer, stressing that the manual and semi-automated techniques of monitoring and responding to systems issues of the past are grossly inadequate to take care of the risk of the future.

He regretted the renewed cyber-attacks on businesses globally occasioned by new technology and COVID-19 pandemic, “Technology has evolved and has changed the way we operate. COVID-19 only further accelerated the adoption of technology. Artificial intelligence, automation, internet have all created opportunities for business to unlock more values, but cyber threats have also increased both in complexity and volume,” adding that “The new normal of working from home has further exposed institutions to cyber-attacks and data breaches. Endpoints for remote access must be secured or else institutions are exposed to attack by a mismanaged endpoint. There is also the aspect of insider threat and exposure of password.” Further, Akinwuntan identified other threats faced by financial institutions and organisations across the world to include cloud security threats and supply chain attack, stressing that a breach on one vendor could have ripple effects on the organizations.

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Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aishah Ahmad, who was represented by the director of Information Technology (IT) at CBN, Rakiya Mohammed said the conversation around cyber threat could not be more important than now, stressing that the apex bank was committed to strengthening the security framework of financial institutions to prevent the proliferation of such threats. She noted that “The financial sector is particularly susceptible to cybercrime, given its crucial roles in financial intermediation in a highly connected financial system. CBN is committed to strengthening its regulatory and supervisory framework for cyber risk and vulnerability testing for the banking sector.”

In his presentation, USbased cybersecurity expert, Austen Ohwobote advised that as the pace of digital disruption accelerates and innovative new technology reach the market, organizations should put measures in place to check cyber-crimes. He listed the different cyber-attacks such as web-based attack, third party attack, insider threats attacks, and advised organisations to put resilient structures in place to understand the nature of attacks and when attacks are about to happen.

For financial institutions to adequately check cybercrimes, he called on organisations to adapt and implement cybersecurity as a guide, recognise cybersecurity as a big issue, appoint cybersecurity ambassadors, raise customer awareness, emphasize strong password and Multi-factor Authorization (MFA), adding that cybersecurity expert should be a member of decision making and reemphasize third-party vendor management.

ISSAN President, David Isiavwe, called on financial service providers and other organisations that handle large data of customers, to consider putting the right measures in place to safeguard their operations. He stated that the advocacy group will continue to create cybersecurity awareness and data handling.

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