Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Nigeria’s capital market infrastructure, advanced its advocacy for cybersecurity in a webinar organized by the company, as it drums up support for cyber vigilance across all stakeholders.

In this year’s annual conference themed: “Cyber Security: The Challenges We Face Today”, CSCS pooled leading industry professionals in Information Technology and Cybersecurity to discuss innovative ways of enhancing security architecture of firms, with emphasis on the role of different stakeholders, especially employees and customers in protecting the integrity of information technology networks and systems.

The conference which was attended by participants from various sectors of the economy was moderated by Mrs. Isioma Lawal, Acting Head, Enterprise Risk Management and Resilience Services at CSCS Plc, with six panelists:  Mr. Harrison Nnaji, Chief Information Security Officer, First Bank Group; Ms. Funmilola Odumuboni, Senior Manager, Cyber Risk Services, Deloitte; Mr. Phil Menny, Regional Director, West and East Africa, Alliance Media Group; Mr. Tobe Nnadozie, Divisional Head, Business Technology and Digital Innovation, CSCS Plc and Mr. Walid Bou Abssi, Business Development Manager, Shelt Global Limited.

In his opening remarks, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of CSCS Plc, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri said: “the conference, the third in the series, is timely given the increasing global incidence of cyber-attacks, especially as network compromise arising from remote connections associated with work-from-home presents new forms of cybersecurity exposures. The prolonged pandemic occasioned by COVID-19 has increased digitization and adoption of new technologies, albeit presenting new risks to cybersecurity”.

According to Mr. Jalo-Waziri: “As we surf the internet and connect to different applications either on our official networks or personal devices, we need to protect ourselves and our ecosystem from the rising vulnerabilities of cybercrimes. At CSCS, we believe everyone’s awareness and conscious practice of best approaches in cybersecurity should be a key aspect of how people live and work in today’s environment, especially as everyone needs to take responsibility for protecting the integrity of networks and systems, not just for our personal interest but also in ensuring the integrity and safety of our ecosystem and broader market. Cybersecurity is not the responsibility of the IT officers, rather it’s a collective responsibility of everyone connected to the system, including customers, who we must continuously educate on best practices to prevent them from being the weakest link in our systems”.

In answering a question, Mr. Harrison Nnaji said: “the lingering COVID-19 will lead to increased insider threat, data breaches, and series of home network or work-from-home attack this year.”

Mr. Nnaji went further to discuss his perspectives regarding cyber threats that are likely to happen in the near future and advocated that everyone should be vigilant to avoid being victims. According to him, “Increased system infiltration, dangerous fileless and ransomware attack, increased attack on key cloud assets (crypto platforms, supply chain, blockchain, Internet of Things, Open API, and interconnected systems), enterprise software and remote communication platforms will be a key target of threat actors.”

While speaking at the conference, Ms. Funmilola Odumuboni said: “the major tenets of cybersecurity are confidentiality, integrity and availability.” Speaking to these tenets, Ms. Odumuboni said: “the information meant to be kept secure are indeed secure and kept out of public domain; the information at hand is correct and the systems are available to use when one wants to use them.”  She noted: “A cyber-attack occurs every 39 seconds and cybercrimes increased by nearly 300% following the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, human error is the primary cause of cybersecurity breaches, accounting for 95% of all data breaches; 86% of breaches were financially motivated and 10% were motivated by espionage and 36% of breaches involved phishing, 11% more than last year”.

Also, speaking from the financial markets and investor protection perspectives, the Head, Start-Up Operations at CSCS Plc, Mr. Folagbade Adeyemi said; “the Nigerian market has not been exempted, as fraudsters continue to attempt exploitation of probable vulnerabilities to cause significant investor loss. According to him “In order to prevent fraudsters from exploiting systemic gaps by assuming an individual identity, investors should take ownership of their identity and increase the effort level for identity theft by carrying out account updates such as contact information, strengthen access controls and periodically reviewing their accounts to ensure safety”.