DG NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami [Photo credit: nitda.gov.ng]

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) with the mandate of developing and regulating Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria, continues this year’s nationwide cybersecurity awareness workshops on Tuesday.

The workshops are part of the agency’s efforts of equipping citizens with foundational knowledge as well as share best practices on staying safe in cyberspace.

A statement from the agency said there has been a tremendous increase in the number of incidences where Nigerians have lost money and data through vulnerabilities arising from lack of knowledge on how to manage their online presence and personal details.

“The cybercriminals use social engineering, phishing mails, and probably specific to Nigeria, the use of text messages pretending to be sent from banks, requesting for PIN or revalidation of BVN numbers,” the statement said.

It said those were common sources where vital information needed for making unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts occur.

“A more worrisome and recent trend is the SIM Swap cases, where the victim’s SIM card is swapped; an operation that makes the victim’s phone inaccessible while funds are transferred.

“Knowing that everyone that uses ICT devices is vulnerable, these workshops target executives of registered associations and groups, with the ultimate aim to reach their members. We have also deployed effective conventional channels and social media in conveying the stay-safe message”.

The workshops use presentations and interactive demonstration of trending concepts like SMS, SIM swap, malware, phishing, social engineering and its manifestations, to disseminate the stay-safe tips.

To further ensure that attendees assimilate the message succinctly, the contents are translated into the most predominant language of the zone.

Cybersecurity has attracted the attention of governments, enterprises, groups and individuals owing to the myriads of potentials for business growth, damage, national security and sovereignty. To nations, the negatives could cripple a nation’s economy should critical infrastructure be affected.

NITDA said it has planned effective capacity building programmes that will culminate in organisational and individual certifications, while using Research and Development (R&D) results to feed these enlightenment programmes and aid relevant agencies and corporations in permanent mitigation strategy.

The agency said it has also utilised inter-agency collaborations for improved legal and institutional framework for a holistic improvement in the cybersecurity resilience of and profile of the country.

The first of the series of workshops was held in Katsina, Bayelsa and Gombe states in March, April and July, respectively.

The current workshop is holding on October 23 at Lokoja, Kogi State, for the North Central Zone.

The events attracted participants from government agencies, military and paramilitary organisations, the academia, registered cooperatives and associations and the private sector from the states of the zones.

Dates and venues for subsequent workshops will be made public in due course.

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