Nigeria And The Challenges Of Cyber Crime-Part 1












In 1982 and 1983, the first desktop computers began to appear, many were equipped with operating system called Berkeley UNIX which includes Network Software – which allows relatively easy connection to the Internet. The personal computer revolution continued through the eighties, making access to computer resources and networked information increasingly available to the general public. 

The rapid growth of the Internet and other Telecommunications technologies are promoting advances in virtually every aspect of society and every corner of the globe. Most of these advances represent positive changes in our society.

Unfortunately, many of the attributes of this technology – low cost, ease of use, and anonymous nature, among others – make it an attractive medium for fraudulent scams, child sexual exploitation, and increasingly, a new concern known as “cyberstalking.”


 Cybertalking begins when 2 or more people communicate through emails or a chat room. You usually don’t know who is on the other side of the computer.


 Since people don’t usually know who that person is it encourages you to say things that you normally wouldn’t in person. The person or people you are corresponding with may be offended by your word or vice versa. The harassment may then start from that stranger you were chatting with.


Then the cyberstalking starts with the constant abusive emails, obscene or inappropriate pictures. Your life could be threatened or even your computer could be sabotaged.


 Identity theft occurs during some of these encounters. While some content of cybertalking maybe abusive, offensive and/or insulting, the content of cyber-crime e-mails are pretentiously camouflaged as friendly, business like and even loving – but the core trade is deceit and fraud. The resultant effects are “identity theft” in cyberspace and related crimes and socio-economic personal and/or corporate damages.


Can it be rightly said therefore that Man has become entrapped in its own techno-knowledge dynamics?  Some of the most critical cyber crimes are: Insiders, Hackers  (or “crackers”), “Hacktivism.” Or Political Hacking, Criminal Groups,  The Phonemasters’, Internet Fraud, Foreign intelligence services. Information Warfare, Virus Writers, Internet Fraud, Identity Theft, Child Pornography, Terrorists  Etc.

Recognizing this emerging problem, Vice President Al Gore asked the Attorney General on February 26, 1999, to study the problem and to report back with recommendations on how to protect people from this threat.

It is estimated that identity theft has become the fastest-growing financial crime in America and perhaps the fastest-growing crime of any kind in our society. Identity Theft: Is There Another You?: Joint hearing before the House Subcommittees. on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection, and on Finance and Hazardous Materials, of the Comm. on Commerce, 106th Cong. 16 (1999) (testimony of Rep. John B. Shadegg).


The illegal use of identity information has increased exponentially in recent years. In fiscal year 1999 alone, the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Fraud Hotline received approximately 62,000 allegations involving Social Security Number (SSN) misuse. The widespread use of SSNs as identifiers has reduced their security and increased the likelihood that they will be the object of identity theft.


The Internet has led to the emergence of the creative class. The expansion and popularity of the Internet to effect commercial transactions has increased the opportunities to commit crimes involving identity theft. The expansion and popularity of the Internet to post official information for the benefit of citizens and customers has also increased opportunities to obtain SSNs for illegal purposes.


1.0          INTRODUCTION


The Emergence of a Creative Class


The new economy’s demand for creativity has manifested itself in the emergence of what author Richard Florida has termed “the Creative Class.” He reports that some 58 million Americans, or 30 percent of the national work force, now belong to this class. Florida uses a broad definition of the Creative Class, considering a member anyone whose work function is to produce new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content. Hence, the Creative Class includes people in engineering and science, architecture and design, education, music, arts and entertainment. This class of creative individuals, Florida says, share a common creative ethos that emphasizes individuality, creativity, difference and THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY merit. As far as the members of the Creative Class are concerned, every aspect and manifestation of creativity, cultural, technological and economic, is inextricably linked” (Florida, Richard. The Rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic, 2002).


Historically, communication technologies have played a key role in societies. The exchange of information through different means of communication among nations – newspapers, radio, television, etc., – have influenced human development by drawing economic geographies, shaping national identities and rebalancing the distribution of power within societies and among nations. Nowhere is this influence more evident than in the current information revolution.

                         1.1   Cyberspace and Cyberplace

We must be aware that technology is not neutral but indeed represents the values of the society where it is developed. For this reason, we need to channel our efforts towards disabling those factors (such as technophobia) that are limiting the potential for Information technology knowledge acquisition to provide sustainable solutions to the needs of Nigerians In order to reach the broadest range of minds, ideas from every discipline should be presented in many different forms.


There is no single creative technique or imaginative skill that is adequate for all thinking requirements. Every idea can and should be transformed into numerous equivalent forms, each of which possesses a different formal expression and emphasizes a different group of thinking tools. The more ways students are able to imagine an idea, the greater their chances of insight, and the more ways in which they can express that insight, the greater the chances that others will be able to understand and appreciate it. 


Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein, co-authors of Sparks of Genius, conducted extensive research into the minds of inventive people and showed that creativity can be encouraged and enhanced through the exercise of thinking tools coupled with a desire for what they call “synosia” —a unified understanding linking mind and body, sense and sensibility.


In less than 10 years, between 1994 and 2003, the mammoth global network of computer systems collectively referred to as the Internet blossomed from an obscure tool used by government researchers and academics into a worldwide mass communications medium. As we enter 2003, the Internet is now recognized as the leading carrier of all communications and financial transactions – this will impact on almost all forms of life and work in the 21st century.


Presently, communities and nations around the globe, often without being directly conscious of it, are beginning to design the initial blueprints for the so-called “cyberplaces” of the 21st century. Singapore has implemented its Intelligent Island Plan”. Japan is working toward an electronic future known as “Technopolis” or “Teletopia”.  As early as 1976, the French launched an aggressive plan called “Telematique”, which sought to place computers on every desktop and in every residence in the country. In the United States in the mid-1990s, the Clinton Administration unveiled its ambitious “National Information Initiative”, or NII, with the goal of linking every school and school-age child to the Internet by the turn of the century.

Chris Uwaje
Chris Uwaje: Known as the Oracle of the Nigerian IT Industry, Pioneered the conceptualization Framework and content drafting strategy for the establishment of the National Information Technology Development Policy for Nigeria. He is the former Regional Director for D-link International - West Africa. In 2008 he was crowned the IT Personality of the year. He has presented many IT conference papers at home and abroad. He is a speaker of international repute. Uwaje, who is very passionate about youth empowerment through ICT, before now, was the Principal Consultant and Chief Executive Officer of Connect Technologies Limited, (Developers of E-Government Solutions, Enterprise Banker Enterprise, Enterprise Knowledge Intelligence Groupware & Enterprise Cooperative Financials Application). He is an expert in Software Design and Engineering Solutions; Research, Design and Development (RD&D). His special professional focus: National & Regional IT Strategy and Policy; Coordinating Chairman, Council for West Africa Information Technology Professionals (CWAITP). President Cybersecurity NGO Global Network for Cybersolution, Past President of Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and 1st Vice President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON). Member, National Inter-Ministerial Committee on Software Development, Council Member, Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria. (CPN). Foundation Member, National Software Development Initiative (NSDI), Member, National Outsourcing Initiative by the Federal Government of Nigeria, He is a distinguished Fellow of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Fellow: Institute of Analysts and Programmers. U.K. Fellow: Institute of Certified Professional of UK; Former Council Member: Nigeria Computer Society (NCS). Pioneer Past President Global Network for Cyber Solution (NGO on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Chris Uwaje is reputed for his numerous articles concerning national and International issues on ICT.He is the President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria(ISPON) Contact email:uwajenet@gmail.com

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