By Tunde Adetunji, Abuja.
If Nigerian firms have lost a mind blowing N171 billion ($450 million) from thousands of cyber attacks, then its security and intelligence apparati should be on red alert, so the Senate thinks.
The Senate’s position is as banks and other financial institutions sent a red alert warning to staff about the notorious Ransomeware that has been wreaking havoc worldwide.
Copies of the alerts, especially from one of Nigeria”s foremost banks went viral on various social media platforms last week.
Over 75,000 computers in 99 countries, the Senate heard Tuesday, were downed by ‘ransomware’, affecting international firms, British hospitals, the Russian Government, and German railways.
Bothered by revelations by one of its members, Senator Buhari Abdulfatai representing Oyo North Senatorial District, the lawmakers asked the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to gird its loins and put on its thinking cap to stem the tide of attacks.
The Upper House also gave marching orders to its Committee on ICT and Cyber crime to promptly initiate a National Stakeholders Conference on Cyber Security to aggregate opinions on the way out for the country.
Said the Oyo Senator: “Cyber attacks are taking a dangerous dimension all over the world, for instance the Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays Bank of UK suffered 48-hour online attack from 11th to 13m of January this year, in which the criminals attempted to block about 20 million accounts, bombarded Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland with millions of fake requests designed to grind the groups’ systems to a halt and asked for a huge ransom in bit coins to end the attacks which were being prevented by the Denial of Access (DOS) system.
“On the 12th of May alone this year, at least 200,000 targets in over 150 countries were hit by cyber-attacks which the Internet Protocol suggested to have originated from the Middle East particularly from Syria and Iran, as well as from Kenya, supposedly using a malware known as Lazarus to compromise systems in banking and information networks, with no clear evidence yet as to how the act was perfected, and that the criminals are already targeting Nigeria.
“Alarmed about revelations from studies that over 70% of hacking attempts so far, i.e. about 3500 cyber-attacks on the Nigeria lCT space, have been successful resulting in loss of over $450 million and that government servers are currently under serious threat.”