• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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How Nigeria can leverage advanced technology, others to tackle insecurity – Dopamu

How Nigeria can leverage advanced technology, others to tackle insecurity – Dopamu

Oladipupo Dopamu is a cybersecurity expert who pioneered IT innovation advancements and supporting the digital infrastructure of a leading global corporation, actively involved in explorative research aimed at integrating advanced cybersecurity frameworks into financial institutions, particularly in the United States and Africa. In this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok , he assesses the insecurity situation in Nigeria, proffering solutions and also disclosing why bank fraud is prevalent in the country. Excerpts:

More than a decade now, Nigeria has been battling with insecurity and insurgency, with thousands of deaths recorded; what is your assessment of the insecurity situation in the country?

The insecurity situation in Nigeria remains a significant concern, as the country has been grappling with various security challenges, including terrorism, kidnapping, communal clashes, organised crimes, banditry and a host of others. These have led to deaths, destruction of property and heightened fear among the populace.

Despite efforts by the government and security agencies, the situation continues to escalate, posing serious threats to the safety and well-being of the people.

Factors contributing to the persistence of insecurity include socioeconomic inequalities, political instability, corruption, weak governance structures, porous borders, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

The rise of non-state actors, such as Boko Haram in the northeast and armed bandits in the northwest, further exacerbates the security landscape, challenging the authority of the state and undermining efforts to restore peace. Additionally, ethno-religious tensions and resource conflicts in various regions fuel communal violence, leading to further instability and loss of lives.

The impact of insecurity extends beyond loss of lives and property damage, affecting economic development, social cohesion, and international reputation. Insecurity hampers investments, disrupts livelihoods, and undermines confidence in the government ability to provide security and basic services.

What are we not doing right in the fight against insecurity and insurgency?

One area I feel Nigeria isn’t doing enough in the fight against insecurity and insurgency is investment in Intelligence gathering and Technology. Effective counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts require robust intelligence capabilities and the use of advanced technology for surveillance, reconnaissance, and communication.

Nigeria needs to invest more in these areas to improve situational awareness and response capabilities.

Having the opportunity to work with one of the best organisations in the world in the field of IT and Cybersecurity has given me the platform to see how the applications of Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) and Machine Learning into security frameworks, and apparatus of several organizations including a few countries could effectively improve security in the long-term. This is what Nigeria has to also focus on in the long-term.

It should also be noted that insecurity and insurgency often thrive in environments of poverty, unemployment, and social inequality. Addressing root causes such as economic marginalization, lack of access to education and healthcare, and youth unemployment is crucial for preventing the recruitment and radicalization of individuals into armed groups.

To combat insecurity, there is also a need for the government to tackle corruption and impunity within the security forces. There have been instances of collusion with criminal elements, embezzlement of funds earmarked for security, and lack of accountability for human rights abuses.

Addressing corruption and ensuring accountability are critical for building trust in security institutions and enhancing their effectiveness.

Additionally, there often appears to be a lack of coordination and synergy among various security agencies and government departments. This lack of coordination can lead to gaps in intelligence sharing, inefficient use of resources, and disjointed strategies in tackling insecurity.

I do believe that building trust and cooperation between security forces and local communities is essential for gathering actionable intelligence, countering violent extremism, and implementing effective community policing initiatives. Nigeria could improve its efforts in engaging with communities, addressing grievances, and involving local stakeholders in security planning and decision-making processes.

Upholding human rights principles and the rule of law is vital for winning the trust and support of the population, preventing radicalization, and addressing grievances that fuel insecurity. Nigeria should ensure that security operations are conducted in accordance with international legal standards, with accountability mechanisms in place for abuses committed by security personnel.

What do the western countries do differently that we are not doing to checkmate insecurity and insurgency?

Western countries take a distinct approach to addressing insecurity and insurgency compared to Nigeria. They employ an integrated strategy that combines military operations with diplomatic efforts, development assistance, advanced technology, and political engagement.

Prioritizing governance, they invest in technology, intelligence gathering, and international cooperation to combat threats while upholding human rights and civil liberties. In contrast, Nigeria grapples with challenges such as corruption and limited resources, hindering effective implementation of similar approaches. Addressing these issues requires greater political will, institutional reforms, and sustained commitment.

How best can Nigeria use technology to fight crime and insecurity?

As I noted in a recent publication, Nigeria can leverage technology in several ways to fight crime and insecurity. Implementing advanced surveillance systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with thermal imaging technology and satellite imagery can enhance real-time monitoring of vulnerable areas.

These systems enable security agencies to detect and deter criminal activities, track movements of criminal groups, and improve situational awareness.

Utilizing data analytics techniques such as machine learning and predictive modeling can help security agencies identify patterns and trends indicative of potential security threats. Analyzing historical crime data enables proactive intervention, resource allocation, and strategic planning to prevent criminal activities and respond effectively to security incidents.

Also, establishing secure communication networks with robust encryption protocols ensures the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information shared among security agencies. This facilitates seamless coordination, information sharing, and collaborative efforts in responding to security incidents, including armed attacks or hostage situations.

Furthermore, deploying drones equipped with advanced cameras and sensors provides up-to-date situational awareness in remote or inaccessible regions. Drones can be used for border patrol, criminal activity tracking, and aerial observations, providing valuable intelligence to law enforcement agencies for proactive intervention and prevention of crimes such as kidnapping and robbery.

Developing mobile applications that enable citizens to report emergencies or suspicious activities directly to law enforcement agencies can significantly improve response times and community involvement in crime prevention efforts. Additionally, implementing blockchain technology for record- keeping within the criminal justice system enhances accountability, transparency, and trust.

In recent years, there has been increasing online bank fraud in Nigeria. What is your take on the situation?

The increasing prevalence of online banking fraud in Nigeria is a concerning trend that underscores the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures and awareness among financial institutions and the general public. The rise of online banking fraud highlights the evolving nature of cybersecurity threats facing the financial sector. Sophisticated cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in banking systems, networks, and customer data to perpetrate fraudulent activities such as phishing scams, identity theft, and unauthorized transactions.

While technological advancements have facilitated greater convenience and accessibility in banking services, they have also introduced new risks and challenges. The increasing adoption of digital banking platforms, mobile payment solutions, and online transactions provides cybercriminals with more opportunities to target unsuspecting individuals and organizations.

Despite efforts by financial institutions to implement security measures such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and fraud detection systems, there are still vulnerabilities in the security infrastructure that cybercriminals exploit. Insufficient investment in cybersecurity infrastructure, inadequate staff training, and lack of cybersecurity awareness among customers contribute to these weaknesses.

Addressing the problem of online bank fraud requires collaborative efforts between financial institutions, government agencies, regulatory bodies, and cybersecurity experts. Cooperation in information sharing, threat intelligence sharing, and capacity-building initiatives is essential to strengthen the resilience of the financial sector against cyber threats.

Enhancing public awareness and education about online security risks, safe banking practices, and common fraud schemes is crucial for empowering consumers to protect themselves against online banking fraud. Financial institutions should invest in customer education programs, cybersecurity awareness campaigns, and fraud prevention tools to mitigate risks and build trust with customers.

Regulatory bodies play a vital role in overseeing the banking sector and enforcing cybersecurity regulations to protect consumers and maintain the integrity of financial systems. Strengthening regulatory oversight, imposing stricter cybersecurity standards, and imposing penalties for non- compliance can incentivize financial institutions to prioritize cybersecurity measures and invest in risk mitigation strategies.

After your recent research, how can Nigeria use cloud based- ransomware attack, AI and the latest methodologies in malware and ransomware detections to check bank fraud?

Nigeria as a country can utilize an effectively proven cloud-based ransomware attack detection, artificial intelligence (AI), and the latest methodologies in malware detection to combat bank fraud in several ways including a well-designed advanced security frameworks which specify multi-level steps to securing cloud-based operations. We must also remember that the winning formula to Nigeria’s current banking security predicament can be solved operating fully on the cloud.

By leveraging cloud-based ransomware attack detection, AI-driven fraud detection, and the latest methodologies in malware detection, Nigeria can enhance its capabilities to detect, prevent, and respond to bank fraud effectively.

These advanced technologies enable proactive threat mitigation, early detection of fraudulent activities, and rapid response to security incidents, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the banking sector and protecting the financial well-being of Nigerian citizens.

Could you explain your work around cybersecurity and what progress has been made?

Of course! In my work around cybersecurity, I have primarily focused on leveraging advanced technologies and innovative methodologies to enhance the security posture of financial institutions, particularly in the United States.

I have conducted extensive research on emerging cyber threats, including cloud-based ransomware attacks, AI-driven fraud schemes, and sophisticated malware variants targeting financial institutions. By analyzing the evolving threat landscape, I aim to identify vulnerabilities and develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks effectively.

Building upon my research findings, I have developed advanced security frameworks tailored to the unique challenges faced by financial institutions. These frameworks incorporate cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, threat intelligence, and behavioral analytics to detect, prevent, and respond to cyber threats in real-time.

Recognizing the importance of translating research into actionable solutions, I have established D-Plus Unique Technology LLC, a venture aimed at providing cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions to financial institutions, government, and non-governmental agencies. Beyond my professional endeavors, I am committed to supporting social welfare initiatives aimed at improving access to healthcare, education, and livelihood opportunities for underprivileged communities.

What is the brain behind the D-plus Unique technology LLC, and how does it help IT professionals not just in United States, but Africa as well?

The driving force behind D-Plus Unique Technology LLC lies in the ambition to bridge the gap between cutting-edge cybersecurity research and practical solutions for financial institutions. Through innovative technologies and entrepreneurial expertise, D-Plus Unique Technology LLC aims to empower IT professionals in the United States and Africa by developing tailored cybersecurity solutions.

Additionally, the company offers training programs and capacity-building initiatives, fosters collaborative research and knowledge sharing, provides entrepreneurial opportunities, and supports social impact initiatives, ultimately serving as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and empowerment within the cybersecurity industry professionals not only in the United States but also in Africa. Through its holistic approach to cybersecurity, capacity building, and social impact initiatives, D-Plus unique LLC contributes to a safer, more resilient digital ecosystem.