TECHNOLOGY

How Digital Economy Ministry Monitored Nigeria’s Cyberspace During 2023 General Elections

 

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, has disclosed the Ministry’s activities before, during, and after the 2023 Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.

Recently, in line with the Ministry’s mandate as well as efforts aimed at supporting the initiatives of securing the Nigerian cyberspace, Pantami directed the Ministerial Standing Committee on Advisory Role for the Protection of Nigerian Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure to further enhance the cyberspace surveillance activities of the three cybersecurity Centres of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB).

Some of the mandates of the Committee include; Monitoring of Telecommunication Infrastructure for the successful conduct of the 2023 General 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 quickly recover from any damage that is done; 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 utilisation of digital technologies in the conduct of the 2023 General Elections.

The Committee provided close oversight on the activities of the cybersecurity Centres, from Friday 17th March, 2023 to Monday 20th March, 2023.

” During this period and as previously reported, a series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and Internet Protocol Spoofing (IPS) attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing.

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” A total of 3,834,244 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria. Daily breakdown of these attacks are: Friday 17th March, 2023:  1,046,896; Saturday 18th March, 2023:  1,481,847; Sunday 19th March, 2023:    327,718 and Monday 20th March, 2023:    977,783

” It is interesting to note that the activities of cyber threat actors on the Nigerian cyberspace during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections were much lower than those during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

” This is neither surprising nor unexpected as, Nigeria being Africa’s largest democracy, the Presidential and National Assembly elections are bound to attract much attention of everyone, including cyber threat actors, than during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections”, said the Senior Technical Assistant to Pantami, Femi Adeluyi in a statement issued on Thursday.

The Minister said that he was confident the implementation of some recommendations as well as measures taken to fortify the cyber defense mechanisms might have helped.

Pantami stated that these attainments would not have been possible without the continued support of President Muhammadu Buhari towards ensuring Nigeria’s successful transition into the digital economy.

“The digital economy sector has enjoyed Mr. President’s unprecedented support and it is highly appreciated.”,  said Pantami.

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