NCC to Establish Computer Security Response Teams for Telecoms

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ABUJA, OCTOBER 28, 2016 – Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed plans to set up Computer Security Incidence Response Teams (CSIRT) exclusively for the telecommunications sector.The Commission which also played a key role in its collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies, particularly the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) towards the establishment of the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team coordination center (ngCERT) believes that with 152 million active lines in 2016 and 97 million internet users across compared to 400,000 active telephone lines in 2001, cybersecurity has become an essential component of human activity with Its high level of complexity requires action at different levels.

This was disclosed in a keynote speech by Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC titled, Building Resilience in Critical Cybersecurity Infrastructure,’ delivered at 2016 Cybersecurity Awareness Month organized by the United States Embassy in Lagos on Thursday, adding that the current scale and growth of ICT applications transcends all spheres of social and economic boundaries worldwide.

The EVC who was represented by Mr. Tony Ojobo, director, Public Affairs at the NCC, said that whether it is broadcasting (digital TV) or social networking, e-Commerce (mobile banking and financial services), e-Governance (government services management, e- education, e-health, e-taxation, etc), governments, institutions and the society in general are increasingly embracing these technologies and at the same time becoming exposed to vulnerabilities of cyber-attacks.

“As we approach the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, the challenges of a secure Cyberspace is becoming more daunting as threat actors are becoming more resourceful (both in terms of skillsets, competencies and available technologies), more brazen and determined to inflict maximal damage to their victims (who may be individuals, corporate organizations, enterprises, or even nations), and more pervasive in terms of their profiles.

“The advent of embedded and wearable technologies, internet of Things (IoT) and other advanced Information and Communication Technologies has made cyber incidents to have greater effects in our physical world ; it is no longer just about money and data – however important these are – it is also about lives.

“Hence, both technical measures and appropriate legal instruments must be put in place to enhance the resilience of cybersecurity infrastructure and safeguard cyberspace users.

“It is also important to note that the vast majority of the nation’s communication infrastructure resides in private hands. The risks to national and economic security associated with the compromise or failure of these assets mean that their protection requires concerted public-private partnership efforts.

“Obviously, the enhancement of Cybersecurity resilience will therefore depend on the level of synergy and cooperation of all stakeholders involved in combating cybercrimes.

He said that the Commission and country in general, is committed to fostering and engendering a robust Cybersecurity environment for users in the Cyberspace.

“The NCC was actively involved and participated in all the collaborative processes that culminated in fashioning out the following national frameworks by the Federal Government:- National Cyber Security Policy; National Cyber Security Strategy and The Cybercrimes ACT, 2015.

“The Commission also played a key role in its collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies, particularly the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) towards the establishment of the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team coordination center, ngCERT, which serves as the single national point of contact for international coordination of cybersecurity incidents in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission believes and supports the approach taken by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) urging all sector regulators to set up Computer Security Incidence Response Teams (CSIRTs) that will collaborate and work with the ngCERT in tackling cyber threats and vulnerabilities, thereby forming an effective and well-coordinated national CERT ecosystem. It is in this line that the Commission is establishing a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team (CSIRT) exclusively for the telecommunications sector.

“The sectorial CSIRT will complement the ngCERT by handling and coordinating cybersecurity incidences in the telecommunications sector. The NCC CSIRT, when established, will facilitate intervention, swift identification of threats/vulnerabilities and sharing of valuable information and resources to assist in fortifying the resilience of the national cybersecurity infrastructure.

He said that the NCC CSIRT will take cognizance of the country’s pervasive use of, and reliance on, mobile and cloud technologies, including current advances in mobile “smart phones” capabilities and corresponding vulnerabilities, to develop and nurturehome grown Cyber Security Solutions that will protect critical national information infrastructural support the fight against Cybercrimes and terrorism and foster confidence in the nations’ economic / financial systems.

“The Commission is also partnering with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to establish (here in Nigeria) a Regional Cybersecurity Center (RCC) for Africa. The center, which will be sited in Abuja, will provide support in the area of technical manpower training, information sharing and other collaborative roles with local CERTs in the African region.

“The fight against cybercrimes is currently beyond socio-political and economic exigencies, hence there is greater need to form strategic partnerships and collaborative alliances with stakeholder Agencies, Organizations, and Jurisdictions with the objective of forming a common front to combat and contain the menace of Cybercrimes in all its ramifications and manifestations in our society.

“The dynamic nature of cyber-terrorism threats demand that our capabilities be continually refined and adapted to provide the most effective response. Education and general public awareness is a key part of this requirement,” he added.

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