In our discourse last week, we did promise to explore some security issues relating to the use of ICT infrastructure in e-government and general service delivery. So, we shall be discussing one of such area that has gained some level of notoriety in the country.
In the wake of the policy decision of the federal government of Nigeria to remove the subsidy on petrol last year, not many took the decision lightly. The decision was greeted with varying forms of protest which was eventually fueled through the instrumentality of social media. Many of us might be familiar with the twitter hash tag, “#OccupyNigeria,” which started trending in no time. We’re not dwelling on that subject now but the fallout of the protest showed the expertise of certain elements in Nigeria at Cyber warfare.
Cyber warfare has been a global issue for some time now. According to a recent report, the United States has been experiencing increased attacks aimed at controlling some critical national infrastructure including power, water and military control systems. In Nigeria, it has been widely reported that the well-known Nigeria Cyber Hack-activists group has been behind some of the attacks on government websites including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s website, the National Assembly website and the massive bombardment of phone lines of government officials during the “Occupy Nigeria” protest.
While some Nigerians might have felt sympathetic to the raging cyber warfare at that time, it did not diminish the fact that a potential threat was in testing; maybe even worse. Huang, in his enlightening article, Emerging Cybercrime variants in the socio-technical spacegave an insight as to the possible motives for such attacks. According to him, such attacks can be categorized into instrumental and expressive cybercrime. For the purpose of our discourse we’ll quickly highlight the latter.
Expressive cybercrimes are engaged in for reasons ranging from political ideology, revenge or even based on a passion for social justice however misplaced. It is not difficult to see how such crimes might become notorious in the country. Talk about e-voting, e-examinations, e-transactions, e-learning, e-government and what have you. These areas are either already being targeted or are potential targets
Nigeria has been witnessing various forms of terrorism and cyber warfare must be nipped in the bud, and even more so, as we await the launch of the central portal for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government in this month of March. We should not only concentrate on the use of modern technology tools and infrastructure but we must back it up by the speedy passage of various IT bills before the National Assembly. This will equip relevant security agencies with the necessary reference point in addressing all forms of cyber intrusion in the nation’s cyberspace.
You’d definitely want to join me next week for another interesting discourse. Let’s make it a date.