Cyber security has taken a front burner and has been among the biggest challenges facing the world today. It featured prominently in the recently concluded elections in the United States of Americas well as in the Gulf States brawl, where Qatar claimed that its server was hacked and an inappropriate content was then pushed out. Away from the way cyber security affects nations, businesses and individuals across the world are not left out as, every day, thousands of online accounts get compromised, one way or the other.
I was with Helen George, Cyber Security Awareness Trainer, a while ago and we had an interesting discussion on ways in which Nigeria can work towards keeping our cyber space safe.
Helen is definitely not satisfied with the current state of Nigeria’s cyber security. She thinks that we are in the 21st century and Nigeria is still behaving as if we are in the Stone Age as far as cyber security is concerned, so, we need to step it up. She stated that we do not know whether Nigeria was affected by the recent Wanacry cyber-attack because we do not have a good recording system. “If we had a good recording system, if we had a good incidence response system in the country, we will know whether we are affected or not”, she opined.
When asked to compare how cyber-attacks is dealt with in the USA and in Nigeria, Helen made it known that there was no basis for comparison. “In the US, once there is a kind of outbreak or compromise in an organization, you report that breach”, she stated. She also said that there is coordination for research into solutions to breaches, vulnerabilities and future possibilities, especially, on what to do to mitigate the breaches or to better address it or prevent these from happening.
Helen was, however, emphatic in saying that there is no privacy in Nigeria. She stated that, even, an ordinary man, walking down the street does not know the meaning of privacy. “You want to have a conversation that involves your banking details, which involves your personal life and you are there on the phone, shouting about it?” she retorted. She explained that, with you exposing your bank details, gives anyone around with an ulterior motive, to trail you until they hit you and steal from you. She stated that people’s data are also not secured with third parties that require such details, such as the banks. “I went to a bank and while I was filling out my form, I was looking at other people’s data on the table. I could easily bring out my phone and take pictures of those other people’s data. That is a huge vulnerability out there and these vulnerabilities can be exploited”, she opined. She stated that it is easy to assume other people’s identities that way and get away with it, e.g., using another person’s data to obtain a Driver’s License or even, taking a bank loan!
You can have as many privacy policies as possible, but if they are not enforced by the people who created them, it is useless she concluded.