CyberSafe Foundation, Africa’s leading non-Governmental organization in the Digital Development domain, on a mission to facilitate pockets of change that ensure inclusive and safe digital access in Africa, in collaboration with the Committee of Chief Information Security Officer of Nigerian Financial Institution (CCISONFI), has trained more than 30 journalists on the ICT beat.
The training is part of partners – Cybersafe Foundation and CCISONFI – NoGoFallMaga campaign which is a national movement of young people, working to combat preventable digital fraud with consumer-centred sensitization and education
NoGoFallMaga campaign also complements the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) efforts towards the cyber-safe financial industry.
During the #NoGoFallMaga training held in Lagos, speakers emphasised the need for collaboration with the media, particularly members of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), to curb the growing cybersecurity threats in society.
The trainers exposed members of NITRA to emerging cybersecurity trends, hazards of cyber threats and assaults, and how to avoid the phenomenon which could become the next pandemic.
In his opening speech, Igboa Abumere, the CCISONFI chairman, noted that awareness is key in combating cyber threats and relevant to complementing existing regulations.
Abumere who is also the chief information security Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said, “We are highly regulated but we still need to know how to protect ourselves.”
Favour Femi- Oyewole, the group chief information security officer, Access Bank Plc., warned that cyber-attacks would be the next global challenge post-Covid pandemic, stressing that it is critical for businesses and people to begin building resilience and backups for their systems, platforms, and apps.
She highlighted the dangers of public, private organisations and individuals’ lack of interest to build barriers and firewalls to protect their platforms, digital tools, and applications from cyber-attacks.
She urged organisations to check their ability to bounce back should they suffer an attack.
“If anything happens to you, how quickly can you bounce back? Have you checked your resilience, do you have a backup”, she asked.
According to Access Bank’s Group CISO, integrity, confidentiality, and availability triad of a good cyber security system must be put in place by organisations as part of their cybersecurity strategies.
Femi-Oyewole added; “You need to put necessary measures in place to quickly detect any breaches and remedy. Vulnerability is any flaw or weakness that can be exploited. There should be countermeasures in place to prevent, minimize or report any breaches on time so that corrective measures can be taken up immediately”.
Human beings, she believes, are the most essential and first line of defence against cyber-attacks, and they should guarantee that their systems and media platforms are not left unprotected
Bharat Soni, which is the chief information and security officer, GTCO Plc., emphasized that organizations should work to mitigate cyber security challenges such as insider fraud, business email compromises, ransomware, and phishing.
He explained that cyber threats and assaults have increased due to technological advancements, social-economic considerations, and insufficient criminal justice.
Soni listed the most recent cyber security breaches as Twitter compromise 2020, Colonial Ransomware Attack 2021, and Cyber Breach of an Undisclosed Nigerian Bank 2021.
According to him, social media has become a challenge to reporting cyber incidents as many people do not check the authenticity of the news posted on these social media platforms.
Soni noted that this is why media collaboration is critical to cybersecurity awareness.
Dr Peter Adewale Obadare, the chief visionary officer/ co-Founder, Digital Encode Limited, enjoined ICT journalists to equip themselves with relevant knowledge in the cybersecurity space.
Obadare said this will empower the journalists to inform the public with accurate and factual cybersecurity information in their reportage.
He reminded the participants that Journalism is an esteemed profession of shining light on the truth.
He cautioned that some major journalists and news reporters possess and convey extremely sensitive information that could create huge impacts across cyberspace, especially when they are unverified claims.
He said that journalists are also never safe from being attacked by malicious bodies looking to either steal their sensitive information.
According to Obadare, one of the most decorated cybersecurity practitioners to come from Africa, “ignoring online privacy and cybersecurity is a luxury and a risk that journalists cannot afford. Doing so threatens their lives, credibility, sources, and their entire careers. “Now, journalists must keep their operations airtight, their privacy locked down, and their data secure”, he said.
Confidence Staveley, the founder, Cybersafe Foundation, advised the media practitioners to protect themselves against cyberattacks by following best practices and taking all the necessary precautions before voyaging the vast extent of the internet. Staveley said that journalists can secure safe passage to their informational channels, without fearing the unexpected infiltration attack.
She also gave a list of tips and pointers to help journalists, anchors, newscasters, and reporters safely focus on their professions such as using strong Passwords; utilizing a VPN; the ability to identify phishing, smishing, vishing and other forms of attacks. Authentication is the most important aspect of privacy. Malicious people can do anything they can to get login credentials for important services like bank accounts, social media handles, website subscriptions, and emails. The Cybersafe Foundation boss warned that simple and weak passwords are getting incredibly easy to crack for cybercriminals, and since many people use the same passwords for multiple websites, the looming threat only intensifies.