CBN tasks financial institutions to prioritise defence against cyber attacks

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked operators in the financial services industry to place a premium on building a defense around their digital infrastructure to ward off cyber attackers.

This is in view of the rising spate of attacks and the new skills being acquired by cybercriminals. Many of these attacks are targeted at financial institutions.

In a webinar on Thursday organized by the information security society of Africa-Nigeria (ISSAN), Jimoh Musa, director of payment system management CBN, said financial institutions must ceaselessly prevent cyberattacks on their networks because the attackers would stop at nothing when launching online attacks.

“Cyberattacks can lead to economic dislocation and business disruptions, while disruption in business could lead to data compromise and organisational downtime,” Musa said.

He, however, advised on timely information sharing by affected banks among financial institutions, addressing insider compromise, as well as carrying out regular capacity-building programmes that will keep staff abreast of new trends in cyberattacks.

David Isiavwe, President of ISSAN, during his presentation said banks need to be more proactive and ensure full protection of cyberspace in order to mitigate the effects of cyber-attacks which he stated was on the rise.

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The ISSAN President in his open remarks asked that financial institutions should collaborate and share information among themselves, which he said, was key to securing the cyberspace that would enable emerging business realities.

The apex bank also spoke on the many benefits of CBN’s digital currency, also known as eNaira, and the security features surrounding it that would lead to safe and seamless digital currency transactions in today’s digital era.

Represented by Adiolu Fadele, The Director of Information Technology at CBN, Rakiya Mohammed, discussed the evolution of money, the emergence of digital currency, and the need to safeguard eNaira during online transactions.

Fadele told participants at the webinar that the eNaira is account-based, with a virtual wallet that gives users access to control their money.

“If a customer loses his or her mobile phone or the phone got compromised in any way, such customer has no need to panic since the digital money in the virtual wallet will remain secured through the banks’ protective measures,” Fadele concluded.

Robert Cameron, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, in his keynote address, highlighted the need for secured external communications between an organisation and software vendors, to avoid compromise of the software, years after purchase.

The Minneapolis district’s special agent also warned against underfunding of security networks, which he said could create network vulnerabilities that could weaken the network and expose it to cyber attacks.

“In an attempt to cut costs, most organisations may want to patronise software vendors whose software could cut down on operational cost, and at the same time, could be compromised in the long run to create more harm for the organisation,” Cameron said.

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