CYBER THREATS AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGERIA: CHALLENGES AND OPTIONS
Keywords:CYBER THREATS, NATIONAL SECURITY
Nigeria’s telecommunications sector has seen tremendous improvements since 1999 and this has impacted the nation’s economy positively. The use of ICT systems and networks connotes a major concentration of information resources. However, this consolidation also creates a major vulnerability to cyber threats and exploitations. The Internet Crime Complaints Centre (2012), ranks Nigeria third globally among computer crime perpetrators. Consequently, this study examined the impact of cyber threats on national security in Nigeria with a view to suggesting strategies to mitigate the menace. Field based survey method using qualitative data was adopted. Additionally, ofﬁcial documents and publications were used and both structured and unstructured interviews were conducted. The Copenhagen School’s theory of securitization was chosen to support the study. The study established that cybercrime is the most prominent of all the cyber threats in Nigeria and that Internet banking is the most targeted service by cyber criminals. It was discovered that lack of appropriate legal framework, national cyber security strategy and national cyber awareness education against cyber crimes, were among the identiﬁed challenges. Others included inefﬁcient collaboration and international cooperation in tackling cyber threats, and inadequate training/shortage of experienced cyber forensic experts. The strategies to overcome the challenges include; provision of cybersecurity legal framework, formulation of a national cyber security strategy and the implementation of national cyber awareness programme. Others were the increased collaboration/international cooperation and the establishment of more specialist training centres. It was then recommended that the Ofﬁce of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) should create the ﬁnal draft of the Harmonized Cyber Security Bill 2011 for onward transmission to the National Assembly for legislation. The ONSA in conjunction with the Nigerian Cyber Crime Working Group should draft the national cyber security strategy and organize frequent cyber security workshops and seminars across the country. Additionally, it was suggested that the Federal Government should assent to Budapest Convention, introduce Cybersecurity as a workload into the Nigerian tertiary institutions and establish Cyber Incident Response Team. DHQ should also formulate a cyber security response plan for the Armed Forces of Nigeria to mitigate cyber-related attacks.
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