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Education sector, lucrative target for cyber criminals -NSA

“Also, Birmingham College in the United Kingdom, was hit by cyberattacks, and over 20,000 students were denied access to their data in the school records.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, says that digital transformation has made the academia and education sector a lucrative target for cybercriminals.

Monguno stated this at a two-day Multi-Stakeholders Sensitisation Workshop, on the Implementation of Nigeria’s National Cybersecurity Strategy 2021, organised for the education sector by ONSA on Wednesday, in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NSA was represented by the Director, Policy and Strategy, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Amb. Amonu Lawal.

He said that the education sector globally, became the target of cyber-attacks, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when most transactions went virtual.

He said that the trend could be attributed to possible huge financial gains, adding that if the cybercriminals had known the financial gains, they would have tapped the education sector and avoided all the banks.

According to him, access to valuable data which serves as a treasure hub of sensitive data and personal information, including valuable propriety in research data, espionage on valuable data including intellectual property rights and disruption of education activities.

“For instance, in June 2020, the University of California in San Francisco, paid a ransom ware of 1.14 million dollars.

“Also, Birmingham College in the United Kingdom, was hit by cyberattacks, and over 20,000 students were denied access to their data in the school records.

“These examples demonstrate the criticality of the academia and education sector and the need to enhance our defence mechanism, the urgency to develop our capacity and collaborate towards secure cyberspace for improved productivity and efficiency,” he said.

The NSA said that the reviewed maiden CSPS 2021 version, was in a bid to ensure that the nation effectively harness the benefits of the digital revolution, while effectively combatting the heightened risk of cyber threats.

He said the NCPS 2021 was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on Feb. 23, adding that the document presented the national road map for addressing the emergent threats in the cyber domain and enhancing progress use of Nigeria cyberspace.

According to him, the document also contains implementation plan which captures the responsibilities of all relevant stakeholders, towards actualising the initiatives proffered in the document.

Monguno said that the workshop for the academy and education was crucial in the development of cyber security knowledge gap skills, and expertise to boost efficiency and capacity in cybersecurity.

He said that the sensitisation campaign was also a recognition of the sector’s vital role in enhancing effective security in Nigeria.

According to him, the workshop is expected to create the forum for us to discuss modalities and implementing action plans, across various establishments towards protecting our educational institution against cyber-attacks and threats.

He enjoined the participants to work together and provide the necessary input towards the implementation of the NCPS.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Director, ICT, Mr Abubakar Isah, said the digital transformation was accompanied by its attendant threats to the nation.

Adamu commended ONSA for organising the sensitisation workshop for the academia and education sector in general.

He urged participants to make useful contributions and deliberations toward effective implementation of the NCPS 2021.

Source – (NAN)

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