The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has raised alarm over a rampaging ransomeware attack; also releasing a helpline to assist those under the siege.
In a statement from the agency at the weekend, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, director-general/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), said the Agency, in keeping to its mandate brought to the attention of Nigerians on the recent cyber-attack that is affecting computers across the world – the ransomeware attack.
This attack, known as “WannaCry” or “WannaCrypt”, spreads by itself between computers and does not require human interaction.
It restricts access to the affected system as well as demanding for the payment of ransom. This attack, according to reports, has so far affected over 150 countries, including Nigeria.
The ransomware attack exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows Operating System, especially those not currently supported such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March and machines that were updated with the patch would have been automatically protected.
Dr. Isa Pantami, advised, “should your system be infected by ransomware, isolate the system from your network to prevent the threat from further spreading. In addition, the following actions can be taken immediately: remove the system from Network; do not use flash/pen drive, external drives on the System to copy files to other systems; Format the System completely and get fresh OS copy installed; and Contact NITDA Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) for assistance. They can be reached via telephone on +2348023275039 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As a general precautionary measure and as the security of systems is our collective responsibility, we would like to recommend that Individuals and organisations should: regularly update their operating systems with the latest patches; regularly update their software applications with latest patches; avoid downloading and opening unsolicited files and attachments; adjust security software to scan compressed or archived files; and avoid indiscriminate use wireless connections, such as Bluetooth or infrared ports.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is an Agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications.
The Agency was created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and co-ordinate general IT development and regulation in the country.
“In addition, to advising government on how to enhance the security of the nation. NITDA is working with critical stakeholders to come up with ways in which the Nigerian cyberspace can be adequately protected. We therefore call on all Nigerians to support the Agency by doing their best at protecting themselves as well as the information and systems under their care”, he said.