American Business Council confab to address risks in Nigeria’s cyberspace

The need to bring a lasting solution to the growing risks many Nigerians face with the use of cyberspace will be the central focus of experts that participate at the ABC Conference Conference 2021.

The conference which is taking place on 25 August 2021 seeks to advance knowledge and practice of cybersecurity across communities as well as address the challenges it poses for the digital economy leveraging Nigeria’s national cybersecurity framework.

“Cybersecurity has become pertinent in the post-Covid era as nations and corporate entities have been subjected to several attacks hence the need for the framework and the development of policies,” said Dipo Faulkner, President of the American Business Council. “The Conference will create a pathway to address critical concerns on capacity building that will increase the competitiveness of Nigeria’s workforce in the global tech market. It will also address Goal 8 of the UNs 2030 agenda for Sustainable development, data protection, and localisation, cross-border data flows, as well as incentives to boost the digital economy, and cybersecurity defence.”

The conference which is a collaboration between the America Business Council (ABC) and the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, USTDA, and private sector partners will serve as a platform for engagement with government and other stakeholders.

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African countries have generally fallen behind their peers in digital capacity and this has provided a favourable environment for cybercriminals who continue to terrorise businesses and individuals on the continent.

A recent independent survey by Sophos of 3,251 IT managers working with organizations using the public cloud across 26 countries with 65 respondents from Nigeria showed that 86 percent suffered cybersecurity incidents, 43 percent were hit by malware in the public cloud, 34 percent had been hit by ransomware, 57 percent had their organisations’ public cloud data exposed, the highest among all the survey respondents; 48 percent had their cloud account credentials stolen, and 64 percent had been compromised by misconfiguration and 36 percent by stolen credentials.

In recent times the government had attempted to mitigate these risks with the creation of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021. The policy aims to address the country’s cybersecurity challenges, boost readiness for global cybersecurity collaborations and enhance national digital economic competitiveness.

The policy also has a goal to improve indigenous technology development, safeguard our critical national infrastructure, and ensure the protection of our cyberspace from cyberattacks, online fraud, and other related illicit activities, including fake news and hate speech.

“The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the mode of doing business across the world. The same way we secured our brick-and-mortar offices with alarms, locks, cameras, and personnel is the same way we should secure our mode of transacting online. We need to create cybersecurity systems and structures that work,” said Margaret Olele, CEO Executive Secretary of the American Business Council.

Programs for the conference include a cybersecurity hackathon for innovators to develop solutions to cyber challenges. The hackathon will consist of 26 teams of 5 persons each and the winning team will be announced and awarded at the conference.