NITDA’s boss cautions on staying safe online as agency holds cyber awareness summit

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has organised a national Cyber Security Awareness Virtual Summit 2020 with the theme ‘Cyber-Aware Citizenry: A Foundation of The Digital Economy.’ The event is designed to empower Nigerians on how to stay safe and more secure online as part of the overall strategies to stem the increasing rate of cyber-attacks,

Director General, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, cautioned Nigerians to stay safe online while making a welcome remark.

His words: “If we connect to the internet we have the responsibility to protect it which is why the objective of the summit is to empower Nigerians to own their role in protecting their own part of cyberspace”.

If we all do our part, implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable ones, or training employees our interconnected world will be safer and more resilient for all of us.”

According to him, “It is part of the Agency’s unprecedented effort to promote safe online behaviour and practices because more and more Nigerians are using new technologies and spending more time online.

Our growing dependence on technology, coupled with the increasing threat of cyber attacks, demands greater security in our online world. We are sharing simple, easy-to-understand resources and tips to help you ensure your safety and security online. The campaign involves sharing resources to help you with the skills you need to make more informed decisions when using the Internet.”

He added: “Cybercriminal activities are counterproductive to our efforts to create national economic prosperity through exploiting digital economy. Developing a digital economy hinges on trust and safer cyberspace, therefore, at NITDA we embarked on this annual campaign to build trust in our journey to a digital Nigeria.”

The summit is is also part of NITDA’s activities to commemorate the global CyberSecurity Awareness Month. It targets four strata of the society: public organisations, parents and children, youth, and corporate organisations. The contents are focused on sensitizing Nigerians to stay safe and avoid criminality while online.

The activities lined up for the purpose of this awareness are: October Month Cyber security campaign; Capacity Building on Cyber security for Legislative Officers; Cyber security Sensitization Summit; Nationwide Cyber security Awareness Campaign; and a Webinar Series.

The summit which is expected to run for four days will cater for the following sub themes for each day: Securing information assets in the digital economy; Cybersecurity Career Opportunities: Midwife of Youth Participation in Cyberspace; Child Online Protection: Creating a Cyber-secure Home for Children and Parents; and Protecting Your Online Presence while executing your mandate in the Digital Economy Era.

While presenting a paper on Cyber security response to COVID – 19 pandemic, Mr Hakeem Ajijola, a cybersecurity expert, advised that all users of online platforms, whether private or government, must practice exceptional cyber-hygiene, change passwords; encrypt all data set, monitor and backup websites periodically.

Rev. Sunday Folayan, who presented a paper on Industry Expectation of Government Action on Policy, Strategy and Enforcement advised on the importance of keeping records of cyber attacks to have better awareness of the situation and how to tackle it. He called on government to enforce standards as some government agencies continue to use yahoo and Gmail accounts.

In response, the NITDA’s boss explained that a secure cyberspace is a criterion for a robust digital economy and when there is a cyber attack, government websites are potential targets. He said that is why the Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) is assiduously working to forestall that since cyber security is more about risk management.

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