September 5, 2022

Enhancing Nigeria’s cyber security with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence


Among the major trends in technology is the rapid development of artificial intelligence and its wide range of applications. In addition to enhancing technological applications, artificial intelligence allows us to simulate and expand human intelligence. 

As a technology, artificial intelligence has emerged as a critical component of complementing the efforts of human information security teams. Humans cannot adequately protect the dynamic attack surface of an organisation alone. This is why artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly critical to cybersecurity professionals in order to reduce breach risk and improve security posture. It provides analysis and threat identification that is incredibly useful. 

Cyber security has risen to become a national concern as threats concerning it now need to be taken more seriously. A wide variety of viewpoints have been expressed on the issue of cybercrime, with many people coming at it from diverse perspectives.

The threat of cyber-crimes has expanded beyond conventional criminal activity and has now posed a threat to the national security of all countries, including the most technologically advanced ones. Interestingly, cybercrime is not limited to a single sector but affects a wide range of industries. Among the nations targeted by cybercrime is Nigeria.

During the course of 2020, a Deloitte report ranked Nigeria 16th among the countries most affected by cybercrime worldwide. The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Ali Isa Pantami, in recent book, Cybersecurity Initiatives for Securing a Nation, provides insights on tackling insecurity on cyberspace.

As the trend of data breach and stealing of user information continues to rise, so does the need for advanced data protection methods. In the digital age, cyber security has evolved into a national concern due to the threat it poses to current and future generations. There has been a wide range of opinions expressed regarding cybercrime, with many individuals taking a diverse approach to the topic. There has been an increase in the number of cyber-crimes beyond conventional criminal activity, now posing a threat to national security in countries, including those that are the most technologically advanced. Interestingly, cybercrime is not limited to a single sector but affects a wide range of industries. Among the nations targeted by cybercrime is Nigeria.

Earlier this year, 2022, a Deloitte report ranked Nigeria 16th among the countries most affected by cybercrime worldwide. As with the case of Nigeria, cybercrimes have not only caused financial losses, damaged reputation but it has also led to devasting situations for victims of cybercrimes , crimes which have led to untimely deaths of innocent people, wrongful imprisonment caused by identity theft, among so many other disastrous consequences.

Now more than ever, the need for the revolutionary Artificial Intelligence cannot be overemphasised in tackling cyber security issues in Nigeria.

The establishment  of The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, NCAIR, is one of NITDA’s subsidiary, a special purpose vehicle created to promote research and development on emerging technologies and their practical application in areas of Nigerian national interest, could not have come at a better time, as the rapid increase in cyberattacks in Nigeria is ever overwhelming.

NCAIR, a subsidiary of NITDA,  and a research facility specifically focused on Artificial Intelligence could do more to implement the use of AI to effectively tackle cyber security issues. The delegation of AI to tackle cyber-crimes in Nigeria would be a plus to the Nigerian image  for solving one among several other issues .

Furthermore, cybersecurity posture analysis and improvement should no longer be a human-centric endeavour but rather than of an AI. Whether figuratively or literally, AI is like the non-human friend who lifts the burden off your shoulders and leaves you stress- free. Putting this into consideration, technology agencies like NCAIR and other start-up tech organisations could try to leverage and maximise using AI to combat the dangerous menace of cyber-crimes in Nigeria.

Moving on, Artificial intelligence which goes far beyond human intelligence, can and would be able to detect cyber threat in advance, something we humans would have limitations with. Secondly, agencies like NITDA,  and particularly NCAIR, have a huge role to play in ensuring the safety of innocent Nigerian citizens against notorious hackers menaces and cyber threats to the society

To answer the main question: how would AI be used to solve cybercrimes in Nigeria? As a security tool, AI can identify and prioritize risks, identify any malware on a network instantly, guide incident response, and prevent intrusions from occurring.

With artificial intelligence, cybersecurity teams can form powerful human-machine partnerships that enrich our lives, push the limits of our knowledge, and drive cybersecurity along a path that seems greater than the sum of its parts.

Na-Allah Umar-Baba, an IT analyst, wrote from Wuye District Abuja, via: [email protected]