An Israeli cyber security expert based in Nigeria, Ran Feit, has revealed that the cyber space is now the new warfront for Boko Haram and other insurgents all over the world.
Feit, however, urged the Nigerian government to begin to set aside budget to protect it Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) against such attacks.
Speaking with newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, when the Federal University of Technology Minna sent 70 students led by Dr. Idris Ismaila, Head of Department Cyber Security Science, to CyberDome’s Security Operation Center to see in real time how CyberDome Professionals respond to and handle cyber-incidents, Feit who is the head of firm said his organisation has collaborated with Federal University of Technology, Minna to ensure a bridge in the academia-industry gap in the area of cybersecurity.
“The terrorist today are using cyber; the future wars won’t be with weapons but through the cyber. You can see all around the world, energy, water pumps and power plants shutdown suddenly; think about it! If you don’t have water you don’t have energy and you don’t need to fire a bullet to finish a country.
“When we wanted to do something about cyber security in Nigeria a few years ago but they said there was no budget for such or we should do something cheap but we are coming from Israel although most of our employees are brilliant young Nigerian guys and all the time I am amazed at how clever they are.
“In Israel cyber security is something that is deep in our budget and we have invested Billions of dollars to defend ourselves and we thought as Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa and one of the biggest or maybe the biggest in Africa we thought maybe this is something we need to be here.
“More than two years ago when no one talked about cyber in Nigeria, we went to different organizations, we explained to them what is the difference between security and cyber and everybody thinks antivirus and firewall is enough.
“Those tools for security are old and not relevant anymore and new tools have been introduced to the market used for fighting cyber. So we established this centre which we also have academy classes; we saw organisations and explained why we need to let them know the threat and I can tell you in the last year the awareness for cyber is much higher than two years ago here in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the need to raise budget against cyber attack, Feit said: “In Switzerland it is the main yearly economic summit which put cyber as the fifth threat in the world after climate and other things; cyber today is the fifth threats in the world, think about it! Everybody is talking with us but the problem is there is lack of budget which is not prioritized.
“We believe that a small percentage needs to be allocated to what the world and not us said this is one of the major threats.”
When asked to explain how terrorists could possibly attack a Nation through Cyber, Feit said: “This is not my field, we are providing defence but we believe we have seen other places in the world terrorists using social media like ISIS, using the social media in a clever way and they also have smart guys also working for them who know how to do cyberattacks and don’t think that they are not using it.
“It will be unwise to think they are not using it but 90 percent of the threats are economic and I believe everyone sometime suffer some kind of cyberattack through some leakage or through some fishing email to get his/her information from the bank into his/her account or through the cellular or leaks of some sort of private information.
“If you have more than 2,000 details of people in your database you need to carry out some actions to protect those details which you don’t want them to leak and there are so many leaks in Nigeria’s details outside including finance and so on. There is a lot of things to be done.”
Also speaking, a cyber security activist, Ayobami Akanji, urged the government to act act swiftly on cyber security in the country.
“As a matter policy and urgency the government is looking towards digital economy. We have a ministry of digital economy and communications, so it has to be a policy trust of the federal government to ensure that all critical agencies that are holding the pillars of national security infrastructures need to double up on the cyber security investment because the world economic forum noted that cyber security is the fifth most important global threat in the world and Nigeria is fighting insurgency and the insurgents are also very smart.
“The insurgents are using technology to advance their causes, so government as a matter of priority for national security should invest seriously into these sub-sectors.
“I think last year the federal government launched national security strategy and amongst the infrastructures we have someone from cyber security and as minister of digital communication who is very committed in the person of Dr. Ali Isa Pantami. We expect him to double his effort and ensure that the government and critical sub unit of government will invest into this sector.”