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BusinessDay
Buhari legacy

Nigeria recorded a 174% increase in cybercrimes in six months, here’s why you should be bothered

The bourgeoning menace of cybercrimes is a growing cause of global concern as incidents of financial, intellectual property, and personal identity losses amongst individuals, corporate organisations, and governments have become commonplace.

A rapid digital business migration and dependency has enabled this surge in cybercrimes in recent years. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, the role of technology in keeping people and businesses connected through telecommuting, and remote learning, amongst others, received unprecedented adoption. The pandemic also propelled companies to digitise their products and services, move to e-commerce platforms, and operationalise an online business continuity strategy. As such, more people are online now than ever, as the World Economic Forum reported a 50% increase in internet traffic since April 2020, when the pandemic began to gain ground.

However, it has not all been smooth sailing. A trusted and safe cyberspace is critical for the digital age to realise its full potential. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as the flourishing cyberspace has become a fertile ground for cybercrimes to thrive. While the advantage of digital technology brings immense economic and societal benefits, cyberspace’s anonymity allows dark minds to lurk in digital shadows committing unsuspecting havoc and almost quickly eroding the benefits of digitalisation.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated that 600 billion US Dollars is lost to cybercrime each year, an increase from a 2014 study that put global losses at about 445 billion US Dollars.

In Africa, the peril of cybercrimes recorded a massive rise in the first six months of 2022, “with phishing and scams hitting 438 per cent and 174 per cent in Kenya and Nigeria, respectively”, the Guardian Newspapers. reported on August 3, 2022.

To truly understand the magnitude and far-reaching effects of this global menace, various experts have estimated the cost impact to reach 7 trillion US Dollars by the end of this year. Worse still, numerous studies have estimated a yearly 15 per cent per year increase in global cybercrime losses over the next five years, reaching 10.5 trillion US Dollars annually by 2025.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) warned that the cost of cybercrime to the global economy would eclipse the socio-economic damages that the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused.

In Nigeria, enacting the Cybercrime Act by the National Assembly in 2015 has done little to stem the record barrage of attacks. Realistically, this epidemic continues to thrive because the internet is fragile and flawed, while cybercriminals are invisible but lethal. You should be worried about this predicament for many reasons, and this edition attempts to share a few.

A single computer can bring down the entire system.

The world wide web is an intricate connection of computers to one another through an internet protocol that allows them to communicate with each other. Now, the downside to this networked system is that when attacked by cybercriminals, an impact on one computer device could bring down the entire system, portending huge losses to individuals, businesses, and organisations.

This dependability and interconnectivity pose more threat to internet users because an attack on other devices on your network could inadvertently harm you. In simple terms, if your work colleague gets attacked by cyber criminals, then chances are that you have been equally affected. It is even more worrying that this reality applies to almost all forms of cybercrimes, including identification theft, fraudulent online transfers, payment-card frauds, network assaults, denial-of-service attacks by malicious networks of computers (botnets), ransomware, and malware attacks, amongst others.

Consequently, business owners must ensure no weak link is found within their network by upskilling every employee on cyberspace safety.

2. You can move from profit-making to being non-existent in seconds

The enormous financial and information losses these attacks inflict upon businesses are so lethal that they move from profit-making to being insolvent in seconds.

This reality is particularly unfavourable for nano, small and medium-scale businesses whose operational scales are too weak to withstand the pernicious effects of financial damages inflicted by cybercrimes. Small businesses are desirable targets for cybercriminals because they lack the cybersecurity mitigations of larger organisations. Cybersecurity Ventures reported that forty-three per cent of all cyberattacks target small businesses, and 60% of small businesses that fall victim to cybercrimes permanently shut down operations within six months of the attack.

3. No one is entirely immune

We’ve established that cybercrimes can be fatal for small businesses, but are large corporations safe from them? Absolutely not! It would interest you to know that numerous multinational organisations, including some technology majors, have fallen victim to cybercrimes because these attacks have become so organised, coordinated, and highly sophisticated that they can infiltrate the most elaborate firewalls of any organisation. For instance, the 2017 WannaCry ransomware crippled healthcare institutions and many other organisations worldwide, leading to economic losses estimated at 8 billion US Dollars. Other notorious cybercrime incidents in recent years include attacks on the US Chipotle restaurant chain, the central Bangladesh Bank, Yahoo, Sony Pictures Entertainment, eBay, and Twitter, to mention a few.

These incidents indicate that nothing is safe on the internet – apart from criminals, it appears. It is challenging to protect computers, networks, and the internet from vandals, pranksters, criminals, and terrorists because networks are too widely used, complex, fragmented, and vulnerable to human mistakes. This is where cyber risk management becomes critical.

While we may not be assured of zero cybercrime, that doesn’t mean we are powerless. Organisations like the Leadway Assurance Company Limited have evolved a Cyber Risk Insurance Policy designed to protect organisations from the financial exposure that accompanies these attacks. The plan is fully optimised to provide first-party coverage, and third-party liability risk covers cyber-perils for organisations.

If you require more information on the Leadway Cyber Insurance offerings, please reach out to us at https://www.leadway.com/call-me/ to have one of our experts reach out to you or scan the QR Code at the top right or call us at 01-2700700or email insure@leadway.com for professional advice.