Cybersecurity experts and industry leaders have said the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology could serve as a pivotal measure in fortifying digital defenses against cyberthreats.
Speaking at FITC 2023 cybersecurity conference last Wednesday, Kelly Orjiude, cybersecurity manager at Ernst and Young Global Limited, said Nigeria had a staggering 12.9 million cyber-attacks during the past presidential election.
“To combat this, we need the integration of AI-driven technologies. These advanced systems can analyse vast amounts of data in real time, enabling the detection of intricate cyber threats while automating incident responses to mitigate potential damages swiftly.
“In our pursuit of technological advancement, ethical considerations must guide us. AI is a powerful tool; how we use it determines its impact on society. Responsible AI integration is not just a choice; it’s our moral obligation,” he said.
He cautioned about the responsible use of AI technology. While it strengthens cybersecurity defenses, there exists a risk of misuse for malicious purposes, as seen in instances of AI-driven fraud and misinformation.
According to Chizor Malize, chief executive officer of FITC, extensive research has shown that Africa is particularly vulnerable to cyberthreats due to various factors, including a lack of robust cybersecurity infrastructure, inadequate awareness and education, and the rapid pace of digital adoption without commensurate security measures.
“The consequences of a successful cyberattack can be devastating, leading to financial losses, erosion of trust, and even endangering lives through critical infrastructure vulnerabilities,” she said.
Experts in the digital industry say, the growing cyber security threats which can also be associated with fraud activities could ultimately hinder financial inclusion.
In 2022, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises received the most cyber-attacks as phishing attacks (a form of social engineering and scam) rose by 87 percent compared to 37 percent in 2021, according to the Cyber Security Expert Association of Nigeria.
Premier Oiwoh, managing director of Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems who was represented by Olusola Odediran, chief information security officer of NIBSS.
“There is the need for capacity building, public-private partnerships, and international cooperation. of strengthening Africa’s economic growth amidst cybersecurity challenges,” Premier Oiwoh, managing director of Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems who was represented by Olusola Odediran, chief information security officer of NIBSS, said.
He added that collaborative efforts were essential in developing homegrown solutions tailored to Africa’s unique needs, enhancing the region’s ability to respond effectively to cybersecurity threats.
Taiye Lambo, founder at Holistic Information Security Practitioner Institute reiterated the transformative potential of AI in reshaping Nigeria’s image globally.
Lambo envisioned a future where innovative solutions and advanced AI models would positively disrupt various societal aspects, urging participants to integrate AI safely and responsibly to address deep-rooted challenges hindering the nation’s progress.