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DDoS Mitigation Best Practice in an IoT world



The Internet of Things (IoT) is a conversation that has been gathering momentum in the public space for around the past five years or so, even though the concept has been around for a few decades. And yet, in this brand-new world of science fiction coming to life, threats lurk also.


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


He said, “Obviously, people are excited when they think about the possibilities brought about by a world in which objects can be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructures. Never mind smartphones – the biggest consumer electronic companies in the world are competing with each other to launch ‘smart fridges’ as just one of an array of connected devices in the home of the future.


“These connected home devices create opportunities for even more integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and the intention is that they will allow for improved efficiencies and a reduced need for human intervention – think of your smart fridge telling you when you need to throw away your expired milk, for example. At the same time, though, the IoT brings massive opportunities for criminals to use this increasingly connected world for their own commercial gain.”


Hamman noted that while the IoT brings the promise of efficiency and innovation to both homes and businesses, it also significantly expands the threat surface, allowing malware to turn IoT devices into being part of a botnet army – a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge.


He said, “A botnet army grows by continuing to spread its malware to new devices. When a botnet army reaches a certain size, it becomes a revenue-generating platform for its creators by launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on networks. The attacks will be turned off and the network allowed to function normally again, in return for a ransom paid in Bitcoin payments.”


IoT devices are vulnerable to DDoS botnets for a number of reasons. For example, attackers are able to exploit a manufacturer’s re-use of default passwords across device classes. In addition, most IoT devices have access to the Internet without any bandwidth limitations or filtering, while the pared-down operating systems and processing together leave less room for security features – which is why most security compromises go unnoticed.


Hamman says that Arbor advises enterprises, Internet service providers (ISPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs) to defend against DDoS attacks by implementing best current practices for DDoS defence, as follows:

  • Reducing the network’s surface of vulnerability.
  • Ensuring complete visibility over all network traffic to detect DDoS attacks.
  • Ensuring sufficient DDoS mitigation capacity and capabilities, both on-premise and in the cloud.
  • Having a DDoS defence response plan, which is kept updated and rehearsed on a regular basis.
  • ISP and MSSP network operators should actively participate in the global operational community, so that they can provide assistance when other network operators come under high-volume DDoS attacks, and in turn request mitigation assistance in need.
  • ISP and MSSP network operators should also take into account the baseline load of their normal Internet traffic. This is very important when determining which DDoS defence mechanisms and methodologies to use if under attack.


Hamman concluded, “Today, broadband Internet is become more widely available and more devices are being created with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built into them, while smartphones, at least in first world countries, are becoming the norm rather than the exception. This all means that the IoT phenomenon is simply gathering pace, day by day and hour by hour. It is more important than ever to remember that your connected devices are now a part of your network and as such, need the same security considerations to be applied.”


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FG to Use ICT to Curb Unemployment



Dr. Isa Pantami, Director General of NITDA

Federal government has said it is aware of difficulties in securing white-collar jobs by youths in the country and this has compelled it to look inward to build technology entrepreneurs.


This was revealed by Dr. Isa Pantami, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency ([NITDA), during the ninth edition of Startup Friday event for Akwa Ibom youths in Uyo, the state capital.


According to him, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become inevitable. The future of the country’s youths depends on ICT.


The Director General said the Startup Friday programme was created to encourage every Nigerian to look inward in tackling

Nigeria’s economic problems, stressing that, “ICT is the global driver of all aspects of the economy”.


“We are aware of the harsh condition in securing white-collar jobs in the country. So, it has become apparent for the government to focus more in building technology entrepreneurs. A developed indigenous ICT eco-system would help the country to diversify its economy from oil.


“Data is the new oil. With the two local content-related Presidential Orders, we need to focus on locally-produced innovations for our local markets. NITDA intends to encourage and support ICT entrepreneurship and promote it as an attractive career option for the teeming youths”, he said.


He said the startup was brought to Akwa Ibom to encourage the youths to eke a living through ICT, adding that plans had reached advance stage to establish a Digital Job Centre in the state.




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MRA Asks Buhari to Assent to Digital Rights and Freedom Bill



President Muhammadu Buhari

Media Rights Agenda (MRA), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill into law as soon as he receives it from the National Assembly, saying it is the most practical way for his Administration to demonstrate its support for Internet freedom for Nigerians.


In a statement in Lagos, MRA applauded the leadership of National Assembly for the speedy passage of the Bill by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and urged them to ensure that a clean copy reaches the President for signature in the shortest time possible in order to bring their efforts to fruition


The Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on December 19, 2017, was similarly passed by the Senate earlier this week, on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.


Mr. Edetaen Ojo, executive director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), described the proposed Law as “a strong piece of legislation that seeks to effectively protect the rights of Nigerians on the Internet and in the digital environment in accordance with the global norms and standards that Nigeria has helped to establish.”


Calling on President Buhari to assent to the Bill without delay and thereby demonstrate his willingness to protect the rights of all Nigerians online as they are protected offline, he said: “The Bill provides a comprehensive framework for the advancement, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet and in the digital environment, consistent with Nigeria’s regional and international obligations under various international human rights instruments, some of which Nigeria has led in bringing into being by co-sponsoring”.


For instance, Mr Ojo said, “Nigeria played a leading role on the global stage in 2012 when it led in co-sponsoring the landmark Resolution on the Promotion, Protection and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, alongside Sweden, the United States, Brazil, Turkey and Tunisia, wherein it was affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.”


Observing that the resolution has brought Nigeria tremendous respect and acclaim from around the world, he urged the President to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill “in keeping with the groundbreaking direction and guidance which this Resolution provided to the global community on human rights online.”


In addition, Mr. Ojo said, the Digital Rights and Freedom Act will help boost an innovative environment for Nigerians, as well as accelerate the country’s development in the digital age by allowing all Nigerians take maximum advantage of emerging opportunities, adding that this will be beneficial to the government and its efforts to ensure the economic growth of Nigeria including though its recent Enabling Business Environment initiative.


Mr. Ojo added that: “The Bill, when it becomes Law, will bring Nigeria’s domestic law, policy and practices with regards to the protection of human rights on the Internet into conformity with this international norm that we were central as a nation in developing and bequeathing to the global community.”


MRA also called on all other stakeholders, especially the media and civil society actors, to lend their voices to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by advocating for speedy presidential assent and subsequently, to monitor its implementation and ensure that its provisions are applied in practice.


Mr. Ojo said: “This piece of legislation will ultimately impact the personal and professional lives of every Nigerian who is connected to the Internet as well as those who will be connected in the future. It is therefore essential for all stakeholders to contribute to this process in every way possible including through advocacy, by writing about it, facilitating discussions and debates, playing their roles in ensuring its implementation and encouraging other members of society to do so as well.”


He also praised Paradigm Initiative for leading and coordinating the multi-stakeholder efforts that characterized the development and drafting of the Bill and resulted in its speedy passage by the National Assembly, saying it has once again demonstrated the power of civil society to positively affect the fortunes of Nigeria and Nigerians.

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Workers Seek Sack of NCC Boss over Alleged N406m Fraud



Afam Ezekude, DG, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)

Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has called for the removal of Afam Ezekude, director general, for alleged maladministration and misappropriations of funds totalling N406 million.


ASCSN, an affiliate of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), also demanded Ezekude’s immediate investigation and prosecution.


Ezekude in his reaction, dismissed the allegations, saying the claims were unsubstantiated and false.


Speaking with The Guardian on telephone, he said the allegations were previously investigated by the EFCC, DSS and ICPC but declared them unfounded.


But the association, which protested against the DG’s alleged maladministration and embezzlement of public funds on Monday, March 12, 2018, said Ezekude’s continued stay in the commission was affecting the growth of creative industry in the country.


Moses Ihuma, chairman of NCC chapter of the association, who spoke to The Guardian on the telephone, said staff members of the commission have lost confidence in Ezekude’s leadership.

He noted that the director general had reduced the NCC, which is an enforcement agency set up to protect and promote the creative industry, to an agency for looting of funds.


He also alleged that poor welfare scheme resulted in the death of 15 employees of the commission, stressing that they would continue their protests until their demands were met.


In a statement signed by Ihuma and Olatunji Kurile, the unit’s Secretary, the association said their grouse include lack of payment of staff allowances since 2011, lack of working tools and illegal renewal of Ezekude’s tenure, as well as the director general’s possession of two letters of tenure renewal from two different government offices.


They noted that the association had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) with evidences of corruption against Ezekude.




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