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NCC alerts operators, subscribers on outbreak of Ransomware

By Adeyemi Adepetun and Femi Adekoya   |   16 May 2017   |   4:07 am  


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday alerted all operators and their respective subscribers to the outbreak of Ransomware.

NCC, in a statement, said the Ransomware is capable of infecting and encrypting all files on a system or any smart device until an amount is paid for a decryption key, or other means of retrieval (which may lead to data loss) are used to recover the system as an alternative.

"This situation demands that proactive measures be taken by all players in the telecommunication eco-system to forestall the hazards of critical data loss, financial losses and ultimately network/business disruption.’’


The Commission urged Nigerians, as protective measures to among others; obtain software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017 to fix the Ransomware Virus; plan scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times.

The Commission urged subscribers who use their smartphones as substitutes to computers for Internet access to protect themselves and their devices by not opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources; not clicking pop-ups and applets on unknown websites and installing effective antivirus software for their mobile devices.

The NCC also advised Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to initiate regular assessment and audit of their cybersecurity readiness. It stressed that all operators should continue to ensure that their backup/disaster recovery strategies are in place and up to date.

The Commission has further advised all operators to ensure continued deployment of effective firewalls, login passwords and antivirus management regime.

NCC said it is working towards creating a link with the Cybersecurity Alert System on its website so that current information on global cyber threats/incidents could be immediately communicated to stakeholders.

Meanwhile,the President of Computer and Allied Product Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), the market association at Computer Village, Ahmed Ojikutu, said the association is working out plans to rid the market counterfeiters that will prevent sales of fake products.

The Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub, Chris Uwaje, who said Nigeria must build sophisticated software capability with human resource, also called for the introduction of software army in the country and national software legislation that must be backed by law.

"In the United States, you can't develop software without the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence and you can't sell without being certified. There must be a cohesive Office of the Information Technology-General of the Federation so that we can monitor everything the IT and cybersecurity in Nigeria.

"The issue is critically serious and Nigeria must act fast by enthroning the National Software Board, the Establishment of National IT Bill and the Enactment of Software Deployment Act and an institutional framework to be controlled and managed by the Office of the Information Technology General of the Federation. It must be noted that most government servers are also under serious threats of hacking," Uwaje stated.



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