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6.99m Cyber Attacks Foiled by Ministerial Committee on Presidential Elections Day – Pantami

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has revealed that there there were millions of attempts made to hack public servers and allied facilities.
According to a report made available to the media by the Minister’s spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman, the Ministry in pursuit of its mandate of protecting the country’s cyberspace set up Cyber security centres under its parastatals which have contributed hugely to the success of its efforts.

“In line with this mandate and in our efforts at supporting the initiatives of securing the Nigerian cyberspace, the parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry have established Cybersecurity Centres, namely, the National Information Technology (NITDA)’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), and Galaxy Backbone (GBB)’s Security Operations Centre (SOC)”, Pantami stated.
” These Centres were established between 2020 and 2022 in line with the Honourable Minister’s policy directives and have been monitoring Nigerian cyberspace for potential threats and taking appropriate actions to mitigate them, both individually and collectively as well as in collaboration with other stakeholders.
According to the Minister as the Presidential elections approached, threat intelligence revealed a heightened level of hackers’ activities which peaked on the D-Day with 6,997,277 threats.

“It is worth noting that in the run-up to the 2023 General Elections, threat intelligence revealed an astronomical increase in cyber threats to Nigerian cyberspace. Generally, threats to public websites and portals averaged around 1,550,000 daily. However, this skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on Presidential Election Day.
As part of the Ministry’s proactive moves, the Honourable Minister inaugurated the Ministerial Standing Committee on Advisory Role for the Protection of Nigerian Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure on February 24, 2023. The Committee, chaired by the Board Chairman of NCC and with the CEOs of NCC, NITDA and GBB as members, was charged with the following responsibilities, among others:
Monitoring of Telecommunication Infrastructure for the successful conduct of credible, free, fair, and transparent elections;
Developing and implementing plans to enhance the resilience of critical digital infrastructure against cyber threats;
Designing procedures and using technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber-attacks, as well as developing the ability to recover from any damage that is done quickly;
Developing a comprehensive risk assessment, analysing the nation’s current cybersecurity capabilities, and identifying gaps that need to be addressed; and
Providing professional advice to the Government on the effective utilization of digital technologies in the conduct of the 2023 General Elections.

“The Committee’s activity started on 24th February 2023 and ended on 28th February 2023. During this period, a series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and IPS attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing. A total of 12,988,978 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria. It is worth noting that the Centres successfully blocked these attacks and/or escalated them to the relevant institutions for appropriate action.

“The parastatals, under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, have played a crucial role in providing the enabling environment for the successful conduct of a credible, free, fair, and transparent election. The Honourable Minister commends all stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem for their support that resulted into this this unprecedented success.

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