The latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (Vol.17) has shown that Nigeria has moved six positions up the ladder to occupy the 59THposition globally among countries with greatest Internet Security and information threat. This was made known to us at a media parley where Mr Sheldon Hand, Territory Manager at Symantec covering West, East, Central Africa and the Indian Ocean Island. He explained that the rising Nigeria economic indexes, increased broadband availability, growing usage of mobile and connected devices in the country are largely responsible for this within the period under review.
What does this report mean to us as a nation and also as a business? It simply means that Nigeria is increasingly being exposed to cyber threats. Most developed nations have the larger risk of cyber threats and they also have a quick recovery plan in place for it. It becomes a greater concern for Nigeria because no plans on ground to combat such threats. For us this alarming trend calls for a critical approach considering the fact that Nigeria is a country much busy adopting and using technologies without a balanced approach where risks associated with such are holistically tackled and minimized.
This threat alert leaves me to wonder what the situation will be when we start this new ‘cashless’ system where financial transactions are largely driven and done over technologies and the internet. Yes such cashless system is good but the question is -are we ready for it now? With great infrastructure deficiency, technology and cyber related laws not in place and many more; I am of the opinion that we are not ready for such. Okay, what about emergency response to issues and problems associated with technology usage and adoption in Nigeria? How set are we to handle such threats that have started to show up. It is obvious that we are about to witness some alarming cyber crimes than ever if we do not put things in place before implementing the cashless system.
Mr. Hand said that as information is exploding globally, with 294 billion emails sent daily,2.8 million emails sent per second new threats and challenges are seen in several forms ;increased security risks and threats posed by sophisticated malwares like Stuxnet, Flamer etc are targeting large corporations, facilities, businesses and institutions. Malware attacks make up 81% of cyber threats around the world now. New threats are also being targeted at mobile devices as mobile and connected devices grow every day. There is also data compromise in several ways even in offices and establishments. And businesses that are not ready are worst hit by this. He further explained that small and medium scale businesses (SMBs) do not have a disaster recovery plan especially in Nigeria, they always have this “crossing Finger” approach and attitude towards such.71% of them that suffer any form of cyber attack never recovers hence the great need to backup information and data.
Talking about Symantec strategy of helping businesses, the Symantec boss said “Symantec as a leader in information protection and security provides confidence to individuals, businesses and the government in the use of technologies. They backup and protect 50% of the world’s business information, they help businesses and institutions develop IT policies, protect information and infrastructure, authenticate identities and manage systems .Symantec’s presence in Nigeria working with partners have investment in R&D, innovative technology, seamless integration, better protection, market reach and awareness. He disclosed that Symantec protects the information of more than 60% of the telecommunications companies and 50% of banks in Nigeria. At the media parley they also announced two new products, the Backup Exec 2012 for SMBs and NetBackup 7.5 for large corporations.