President of Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Remi Afon, has said that the recent #EndSARS protests exposed the country’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
In his opening remark during a free cybersecurity seminar organised by the association at the weekend, Afon said a lot of ‘hacktivists’ and other Twitter users exploited the protest that lasted for about three weeks to steal sensitive information from the government and private citizens.
He cited Twitter users who changed their handles to Anonymous to increase their activities and ultimately got access to data that could be used to cause havoc.
“Two significant events happened this year that have actually impacted cybersecurity awareness. One is global, which is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the other is local, which is the #EndSARS protests that ended last week in Nigeria. These events clearly have a serious cybersecurity impact,” he said.
The seminar was organised to create awareness as part of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is observed every October.
Calling on the government and other institutions to step up their cybersecurity resilience by collaborating with experts, he argued that the protests sparked an upward trend in cybercrime, exposing the vulnerability of government and other institutions in the country.
He urged cybersecurity experts to up their game and adopt a more reliable online delivery method, stressing the need for them to think out of the box.
Meanwhile, Senior Programme Manager at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Adeboye Adegoke, called on government institutions, especially the health sector, to have “attitudinal change” in the area of data privacy.
Stressing that cybersecurity should be more of an approach and attitude than a technicality, Adegoke noted that the country’s health sector had yet to grasp what it means to conceal data of healthcare users.
“It is a matter of culture and attitude. Healthcare practitioners must be made to understand data of healthcare users is kept private,” he said.
He also challenged associations like CSEAN to engage the health sector in creating awareness on cybersecurity.
The Chairman, Mobile Software Solution, Chris Uwaje, said the central focus of the seminar should be on National Software Ecosystem and Governance.
Uwaje observed that the nation’s investment profile in software research and digital innovation capabilities were very low.