The Federal Government through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has revealed that a total of 12,988,978 attacks originating within and outside Nigeria were recorded during the presidential election.
According to Pantami, no fewer than 1,550,000 threats to public websites and portals were recorded daily, adding that the figures skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on presidential election day.
A statement on Tuesday by the spokesperson for the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Uwa Sulaiman, noted that during this period, series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service, email and IPS attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing.
The statement noted that the minister had directed all the parastatals to enhance their 24/7 monitoring of the networks and traffic for potential attacks from 24th February 2023 to 27th February 2023, adding that on 24th February 2023, Pantami inaugurated the Ministerial Standing Committee on Advisory Role for the Protection of Nigerian Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure.
The committee which was chaired by the Board Chairman of NCC and with the CEOs of NCC, NITDA and GBB as members, was charged to monitor telecommunication Infrastructure for the successful conduct of credible, free, fair, and transparent elections; develop and implement plans to enhance the resilience of critical digital infrastructure against cyber threats; design procedures and use technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber attacks, as well as developing the ability to recover from any damage that is done quickly.
The committee was further charged to develop a comprehensive risk assessment, analyse the nation’s current cybersecurity capabilities, and identify gaps that need to be addressed while providing professional advice to the government on the effective utilisation of digital technologies in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
The statement partly read, “As part of its mandate, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is expected to ensure adequate protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace to a level that citizens will have confidence in digital services. This mandate aligns with the goals and objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS).
“In line with this mandate and in our efforts at supporting the initiatives of securing the Nigerian cyberspace, the parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry have established Cybersecurity Centers, namely, the National Information Technology (NITDA)’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), and Galaxy Backbone (GBB)’s Security Operations Centre (SOC).
“These Centers were established between 2020 and 2022 in line with the Honourable Minister’s policy directives and have been monitoring Nigerian cyberspace for potential threats and taking appropriate actions to mitigate them, both individually and collectively as well as in collaboration with other stakeholders.
It is worth noting that in the run-up to the 2023 General Elections, threat intelligence revealed an astronomical increase in cyber threats to Nigerian cyberspace.
“Generally, threats to public websites and portals averaged around 1,550,000 daily. However, this skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on Presidential Election Day.
“The Committee’s activity started on 24th February 2023 and ended on 28th February 2023. During this period, a series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and IPS attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing.
“A total of 12,988,978 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria.
The statement added,“The parastatals, under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, have played a crucial role in providing the enabling environment for the successful conduct of a credible, free, fair, and transparent election.
“The Honourable Minister commends all stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem for their support that resulted in this unprecedented success.
The minister further noted that these attainments were the result of the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari towards ensuring Nigeria’s successful transition into the digital economy.
He said the digital economy sector has enjoyed the continued support of the President and it was highly appreciated, adding that he hoped that lessons learnt during the process will be put to effective use in subsequent elections.