BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA—Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, raised alarm, Tuesday, that the Defence Headquarters’ website and that of the Nigerian Navy had been hacked into by terrorists, adding that the threat posed by the Boko Haram sect, through online reports of their activities needed to be effectively checked.
Petinrin raised the alarm just as the Chief of Defence Communications, Air Vice Marshal Osmond Amu warned that if cyber crime was not checked, “the security challenges the country is currently facing, such as killings, bombs by Boko Haram, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, oil theft, corruption and so on, which had kept the armed forces and other security agencies on their toes, would be nothing compared to the potential threats inherent in cyber space.”
Speaking in Abuja, at the opening of the World Cyber Conference, the CDS, who was represented by Major-General K. Amao, Chief of Research and Development, DHQ, said to checkmate hacking into the websites of security agencies, “DHQ has achieved successes in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology, ICT, surveillance and tracking equipment to locate criminal elements in our society and perpetrators of the Boko Haram menace.
“However, further successes would be achieved if we appropriately apply cyber technology and space researches to tackle the country’s contemporary security problems.”
Declaring that it was no longer news that Nigeria has been making moves towards the actualisation of a cashless economy, the CDS said: “Before the pronouncement of the cashless policy, cyber attacks had been a major threat to the Nigerian economy. The threat to the Nigerian cashless policy can, therefore, never be overlooked.
“While the country’s apex bank, CBN, backs this policy, commercial banks over the last few months have also keyed into the initiative.
“Cyber attacks may stand out as a stumbling block or threat to the actualisation of this project, except concrete measures are put in place to counter such attacks.”
On his part, AVM Amu said: “The armed forces and other security agencies are by themselves incapable of containing the physical security challenges, hence the call for collective participation. Same applies to the containment of cyber threat, but with a higher universal involvement.”
In her message, Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, said the prevalence of cyber crime is a worrisome development as Nigeria becomes more reliant on ICT.