BusinessDay

Nigeria builds first privately-owned cyber security centre

Digital Encode Limited, an information security management consulting firm has officially launched in Lagos, the first privately owned cyber security operation centre in Nigeria. A commendable feat, which industry stakeholders described as a bold move aimed at effectively detecting, motoring, and fast tracking any cyber criminals from any part of the world.

Government’s rather indifferent position to the new cyber warfare brewing amongst nations and multinationals has been stirring apprehension amongst industry stakeholders. Market observers have continued to express their dissatisfaction with the nation’s laid-back approach towards equipping itself for the on-going war on a virtual battle field.

According to them, the country could be in dire straits in the nearest future if it continues to be indecisive in the area of national Cybersecurity. The private sector however is on a mission to fill the gap. Speaking at the launch in Lagos, weekend, Chris Uwaje, immediate past president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), said the establishment of a cyber security centre in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is something that need not be questioned, describing it as huge step in ensuring that the high risk of cyber crimes in Nigeria are curbed and effectively combated.

Read also: ‘Nigerian government needs to draw up realistic cyber security policies’

He pointed out that Nigeria is a strategic area of investment which has attracted a lot of investors over the years, emphasising that on the long run there has been an exponential multiplicity of data which call for adequate protection.

“If investors are coming, then it means that we are recording a quantum of data that need to be effectively managed, secured, and protected. He warned that it is pertinent that the government should take into cognisance the threats posed by cyber criminals and borrow a leaf from the exemplary innovation by Digital Encode Limited.

Between year 2000 and 2013, Nigerian banks have lost an estimated N159 billion to cyber crimes, says the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlements Systems (NIBSS). Ernst & Young has estimated that the Nigerian economy loses $200m annually to cyber crime. In his words, Seyi Akindeinde, chief technology officer, Digital Encode Limited, he said most organisations are usually vulnerable to the threats and attacks posed by cyber criminals due to negligence and ignorance.

“The cyber criminals get the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of companies, organisations, and various institutions which will serve as a pave way to gaining access and entry into confidential information which could lead to a colossal loss of revenue in most cases,” he said.

According to Akindeinde, data and analyses show that the educational sector, high-tech institutions and government agencies remain the most vulnerable threat areas in Nigeria as far as cybercrime rate is concerned.

However, he said with the establishment of the first cyber security operation centre coupled with its high level of infrastructural deployment, any attack from anywhere in the world will be detected, traced, and fast tracked, at any point in time, he said.

Continuing, Akindeinde said the purpose of establishing the cyber security centre is not only restricted to the protection of data, but to also train and nurture people into professionals.

“It is appalling that the gap in the ICT industry in terms of skill and expertise needs to be bridged. That is why it is important we train young talents so as to be able to handle technicalities in cyber crime detection”, he said. Akindeinde added that Digital Encode Limited has been in talks with the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Ben Uzor & Okamgba Justice Godfrey

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