A University Don has warned of dire consequences if the Nigerian government and security agencies fail to put proactive measures in place to checkmate what he described as budding cyber terrorism in the country.
Boniface Kayode Alese, an associate professor of Computer Science, stated this while delivering the 2013/2014 First Bank Professorial chair in computer science lecture at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State.
He said in its quest for technological development, Nigeria should always consider cybercrime and cyber terrorism issues at all times if the country wants to properly secure its citizens and polity.
Alese described cyber terrorists as those who engage in conducts that constitute cybercrime for the purpose of effecting political change through the intimidation of a substantial portion of the civilian population. Alese, who spoke on the topic, “Security Issues in Nigeria: Getting Ready for the Digital Challenge,” said the digital solution must be factored into the ongoing efforts to tackle the current security challenges bedeviling the country. He said this is because Electronic Information systems are vital for maintaining the national security of any nation. He said the internet has become an invaluable means for terrorists to spread propaganda and recruit agents.
Alese affirmed that traces of such can already be seen in the activities of Boko Haram, a terrorist group operating in parts of Nigeria. “In providing solution to Cybercrime, three things are very important. These include the policy issues, the technical issues, and the legal issues. The policy issues bring about direction, the technical issues bring about practical solutions to prevention and detection while the legal issues are concerned with how to legally handle fall outs that may arise from the crime.”
Discussing the prevailing factors in Cybercrimes, Alese noted that among several factors, three are prevalent. The three are unemployment, economic influence and youth excessiveness because all go together as motives of Cybercrimes.
Alese observed in his lecture that the most prevalent Cybercrimes in Nigeria at the moment include, Advance Fee Fraud, Forgery, ATM related fraud, Phishing and Spamming. He said this suggests that there is a need for urgent solution to tackle them.
Speaking globally he said it has been observed that all over the world, physical wars are already giving way to Cyber wars and Africa needs to be involved in tackling it with Nigeria taking the lead. Citing the Nigerian example, he said the expertise needed in tackling Cybercrimes is to invest in research to tackle the menace.
He said if security agencies in the country can research appropriately, get necessary information and work in unity the security challenge facing the nation will be surmounted.
Part of the solution as enunciated by the don is a partnership approach to Cyber Security across all Nigerian government, the private Sector, academia and the border communities. He also called for a risk-based approach to assessing, prioritizing and resourcing Cyber Security activities.
In his address, FUTA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola said the lecture which is an annual event is to keep faith with the principle guiding the Endowed Chair and commended the symbiotic relationship of the University and First Bank of Nigeria. He added that the endowment is one legacy from which the University has continued to benefit.
Speaking on the personality of Alese, Professor Daramola said, “Dr. Alese has distinguished himself outstandingly in teaching, research and general conduct. Since he took up the First Bank of Nigeria Plc. Endowment Chair, he has been involved in extensive research in his chosen area of interest, which is Computer Network Security.”
The occasion attracted the presence of FUTA Principal Officers, Staff, Students, Management of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. represented by Mrs. Tolulope Akinbogun, security agencies and traditional rulers.