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Capacity Building for Cyber Security in Nigeria




One of the biggest challenges on the internet today is cyber crime. This is because, hackers are becoming more sophisticated by the day. In order to ensure that the internet is much safer, there is the need to train more experts in this emerging field of Cyber Security.

I recently had a chat with Remi Afon, the President of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria, CSEAN, and he shared his views on capacity building for the Cyber Security industry, especially, in Nigeria.

Remi said that, presently, we have a shortage of Cyber Security professionals in Nigeria as well as a global shortage in that field. He stated that the global shortage is, in fact, going to hit about 1.8 million in the next 5 years, from research conducted.

He went further to state that Nigeria is not doing anything to breach the gap, unlike in the UK, for instance, where some young talents are being trained. These trainees, he said, will form a sort of cyber army for the UK in future.

Expanding on what the UK is currently doing about getting more Cyber Security professionals, Remi said that the UK just created a Cyber Security Academy that will develop the talents of people between the ages of 16 and 19, to protect the UK’s cyber space.

He stated that, according to a research by Security Intelligence in America, there are about 30 countries building security capabilities.

It is, therefore, not only the UK that is building its Cyber Security capabilities, but other countries like Russia, North Korea, etc., are also developing talents that will be able to defend their cyber space. He reiterated that some countries are even developing  professionals for offensive capabilities in the cyber space and these are known as rouge nations.

On who is funding the Cyber Security Academy in the UK, Remi said that some NGO’s are funding it with the backing of the British government.

On what is missing that makes Nigeria not to have enough Cyber Security professionals, Remi is of the view that Nigeria started on a faulty foundation. He stated that we do not have these courses offered in our universities and institutes, therefore, the need for awareness campaign.

Remi opined that, Nigeria can start training Cyber Security professionals that will even service part of the shortfall in Cyber Security professionals expected worldwide in the next 5 years. This, according to him, is because one can operate from anywhere in the world. “All you need to do is to have a security operative centre in Nigeria, being manned by Nigerians and you will be servicing a lot of multinational organisations”, Remi said.

Responding to the question as to what Nigeria should be doing at this time to up our ante in the cyber security space because the cyber space is fast becoming unsafe on daily basis, Remi stated that there is need for collaborative efforts to fight cyber crime.

He opined that government needs to take the leadership role in this mobilisation for collaboration and the Private sector and NGO’s too should come together, so they will have a common front to fight the menace.

In Remi’s view, the private sector is not yet doing enough because, presently, there is no leadership. “If the government provides leadership, the private sector will fall in line without coercion.

Examples abound all over the world”, Remi said. “All that the government needs to do is to provide us the platform and not money as everything is not about money. All it needs to provide is the leadership and every other sector will fall in place and support the efforts of government”, he stressed.

Stating some of the risks we face in the future if nothing is done to check cyber crimes, Remi stated that we face risks, now and in the future. These include the country being hacked, national elections can be influenced by foreign countries, etc. As the 2019 elections is fast approaching, Remi said that Nigeria should be ready for hackers, hence, there is the need for the government, politicians, etc., to find means of protecting their data. ” Everybody needs to be cyber security conscious “, Remi emphasised.

Stating the requirements for becoming a Cyber Security professional, Remi stated that the first step is to join the CSEAN, a platform where they can be trained in the field of Cyber Security, through the needed guidance and leadership.

They can also specialise in training to become ethical hackers, etc, according to him. He also stated that there are also other resources they can tap from online. They can then sit for and pass their exams to earn certification. Remi said that they are also taught the ethics of the profession too as everything is not all about hacking. He stated that having a degree to join up in the cyber security space is no longer relevant as there is no need to put a barrier because it has been found out that most hackers are not even educated, while some are teenagers still in secondary schools.

Remi commended the efforts of the CFA team in posting video clips of Online Security segment of the Tech Trends on Channels Television show on YouTube in order to educate people about the risks involved while online and how to circumvent them. He also assured that his Association also assists by re-posting and sharing the posts on social media, so that it can reach more online users.

In his final submission, Remi stated that people should take cyber security seriously. “We should not allow it to happen to us before we start looking for remedies”, he advised. He stated that, in line with his Association’s initiative called “Stop, Think On It”, he is now advising people to key into it and be careful with what they share online. ” When you see any information, email or attachment, think twice and be sure it is coming from a legitimate source and verify first before you click on it”, he concluded.


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Visa Launches ID Intelligence for Smarter Customer Authentication



Visa has launched Visa ID Intelligence, a platform that lets issuers, acquirers and merchants quickly adopt emerging authentication technologies, according to a press release.

Available through Visa Developer Platform, Visa ID Intelligence offers a curated selection of third-party authentication technologies that feature simple integration with Visa APIs and SDKs. This allows clients to create, test and adopt new authentication solutions.

This ultimately helps financial institutions and merchants to adopt effective and secure solutions and accelerate time-to-market with streamlined on boarding and implementation through Visa as a single trusted source, the company said.

Visa ID Intelligence features include: Identity Documents— the platform evaluates identification documents and matches selfies to photo IDs, while extracting document information and converting it into digital form.

Uses include creating new accounts, and performing password reset and lost or stolen card replacement.

-Biometrics — Visa ID Intelligence allows clients to use eye, face, fingerprint and voice to meet consumer needs for convenience, security and speed in authentication.

Uses include app login, payments, step-up authentication, and more.

“Traditional methods for authenticating a customer can create frustration or are simply not designed for the new ways people are shopping and paying. We built Visa ID Intelligence to help accelerate smarter and easy-to-use authentication solutions for any commerce environment — to better protect against fraud and to move closer to a world without passwords,” Mark Nelson, Visa senior vice president of risk and authentication products, said in the release.

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ESET Works With Google To Protect Chrome Against Dangerous Malware



By peter oluka

ESET, a leading global cybersecurity company, on Thursday launches Chrome Cleanup, a new scanner and cleaner for Google Chrome designed to help users browse the web safely and without interruption.

Chrome Cleanup will be available for all Google Chrome users running on Windows.

As cyber-attacks become more complex and difficult to spot, browsing the web can lead users to dangerous sites which can install malicious software onto devices.

Chrome Cleanup will alert Google Chrome users to potential threats when it detects unwanted software.

Google Chrome will then give users the option to remove the software. Chrome Cleanup operates in the background, without visibility or interruptions to the user. It deletes the software and notifies the user once the cleanup has been successfully completed.

“Using the internet should always be a smooth and safe experience for everyone,” said Juraj Malcho, chief technology officer at ESET. “For three decades, ESET has developed a number of security solutions that allow users to safely enjoy their technology and to mitigate a variety of cyber threats. Chrome Cleanup addresses unwanted software that can negatively influence a users’ experience on the internet.”

Chrome Cleanup is included in the latest version of Google Chrome. For more information about these tools, read Google’s blog post, here.

For 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services for businesses and consumers worldwide.

With solutions ranging from endpoint and mobile security, to encryption and two-factor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use products give consumers and businesses the peace of mind to enjoy the full potential of their technology.

ESET unobtrusively protects and monitors 24/7, updating defenses in real-time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company.

Backed by R&D centers worldwide, ESET becomes the first IT security company to earn 100 Virus Bulletin VB100awards, identifying every single “in-the-wild” malware without interruption since 2003.

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A Buyer’s Market in the Global Economics of DDoS Attacks



It’s a buyer’s market in the local property arena at the moment, according to certain industry experts.


This is largely as a result of the slower economy, which has seen a rise in the number of properties for sale.


But did you know that globally, it’s a buyer’s market as well when we look at the economics of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks? The second, of course, is an underground market, largely regarded as a criminal one.


So said Bryan Hamman, Arbor Network’s territory manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.


Referring to recently released information from Arbor Networks, he said, “It is interesting to analyse the current economics in global DDoS attacks, which are attempts to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. Most people who are aware of DDoS attacks understand that there will be a perpetrator and a target.


“However, we’re now seeing a growing number of third-party providers of DDoS attacks as a service, who advertise their abilities online in order to either sell would-be attackers access to the tools needed to conduct a DDoS attack, or who perform the attack themselves on the customer’s behalf and provide reports afterwards.”


Hamman noted  that the fees of these underworld providers are lessening, due to rapidly expanding competition and the supply of readily available attack resources such as botnets. As a result, he says, the DDoS business is currently a buyer’s market.


Arbor reported that the prices for attack services, sometimes called “stressers” or “booters” vary widely, as do estimates of the total cost of an attack to the victim. But the economics are simple: DDoS attacks are becoming cheaper than ever for the perpetrator; are extremely lucrative for the attack service provider, and potentially financially devastating for the target.


Arbor noted that an increasing number of operators resemble legitimate service provider infrastructures with significant computing power, typically running their own botnet armies to unleash DDoS attacks. Perpetrators can essentially rent the providers’ botnets by the hour, day or week, or in some cases can buy a specific number of bots outright. The mechanics of transactions follow a classic web service model, meaning the perpetrator and the provider need never come in contact.


Providers that conduct attacks-as-a-service even post their services online, with tiered pricing reflecting the different types of attack that they offer. Prices are based on several factors. They can include the duration of the attack, the perceived value of the target, the country in which the attack takes place and/or the different methodologies employed.


In Arbor Networks 12th annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report, 59 percent of respondents estimated their downtime costs as being more than USD500/ minute in lost revenue (some ZAR6,700 per minute with the rand/dollar exchange rate on around ZAR13.50 to the dollar), with some indicating even higher losses. This also does not factor in the costs of repairing the damage, potential legal costs of settling with customers denied service, or reputational damage to the company’s brand.


Hamman concluded, “Here in South Africa, we may not yet face the overtness of DDoS operators advertising their services, as can be seen in the US. However, this does not mean that local companies shouldn’t be vigilant against DDoS attacks – protection is more vital than ever. A hybrid solution that combines on-premises and cloud-based protection is the industry best practice in DDoS defence. When you accept that DDoS attacks aren’t going away, and in fact are projected to escalate, it makes the best economic sense of all to make sure that you are adequately prepared against a DDoS attack.”


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