• Sunday, June 16, 2024
businessday logo


Cyber threat concerns arise amid push for wider broadband coverage

Cyber threat concerns arise amid push  for wider broadband coverage

The possibilities and risks inherent in the dissemination of the internet across Nigeria continue to necessitate implementation of cyber security initiatives, particularly in economies with underdeveloped technology infrastructure.

With the federal government pushing for a deeper and wider national broadband penetration and coverage amid the presidency’s delay in signing off the Cybercrime Bill, major sectors of the economy, including oil and gas, telecommunications, banking, are being exposed to the exploits of cybercriminals prowling the digital landscape, with no form of restriction, industry observers have said.

The Nigerian government, through the “Wireless Broadband Infrastructure Upgrade and Expansion Phase 1,” which is under Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan 2013-2018, has revealed plans to connect over 50 percent of Nigerians to 3G broadband during the course of 2015.

Over the years, increased Internet access and advanced technological development have been correlated with an improvement in cyber security at the global level; however it has the opposite effect amongst countries with developing economies and lower levels of technological development according to reports by Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR).

According to the report, “countries with a developing level of ICT may be unprepared to secure their ICT infrastructure commensurate with the increase in citizen use of computer systems, which provides greater opportunity for malware to spread unchecked”.

The report further revealed that while increased Internet access and more mature technological development is correlated with improvement in cyber security at the global level, it has the opposite effect among countries with developing economies and lower levels of technological development.

Read also: Technology experts unravel growing cyber threats in corporate society

Reports by Cyber specialists McAfee Labs have also revealed that cyber security will no longer remain the domain of advanced economies, with small nation states and even terrorist groups expected to have a go at it more frequently in years to come.

Analysts in the country continue to call for the presidential endorsement of the cyber bill which was passed by the senate house last year in an attempt to safeguard the nation’s presence in cyberspace while ensuring protection of critical national information infrastructure.

The bill, among other things, stipulates a seven-year jail term for all kinds of computer-related frauds, computer-related forgery, and offences relating to pornography, cyber-stalking and cyber-squatting.

Cyber crimes also constitute a prime obstacle to the diffusion of e-commence and e-governments in developing economies, and governments have an important role in developing control mechanisms in the form of laws.

However, setting appropriate policies and complementary services, particularly those affecting the telecommunications sector and other infrastructure, human capital and the investment environment, severely constrains Internet access.

“Despite the fact that there was input from government agencies, there was not sufficient input from industry players, civil society and stakeholders that these bills would affect directly”, said James Nkum, programme manager, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), in a statement.

Cyber security has continued to garner fresh attention following a hack of Sony Corp. systems that paralyzed the company’s networks, disrupted the release of a satirical movie about North Korea and led to the distribution of embarrassing internal e-mails. 

Analysts estimate global losses to cyber crime to be over $400bn annually and recent cyber attacks on Sony, JP Morgan Chase and a handful of other U. S. Banks is an indication that cyber crime is here to stay.