By Nkasi Kolie
The National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, has urged the armed forces of Nigeria and other security agencies to exploit more of cyber technology in their quest to safeguard national security.
Monguno, made the call at the Defence Space Administration (DSA) Cyber Security Awareness Day 2021 with the theme, “Developing Cyber Capabilities for the Enhancement of Armed Forces of Nigeria Operations and National Security” on Thursday, in Abuja.
The NSA was represented by the Director, Policy and Strategy, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Amb. Aminu Lawal.
He said that Nigeria, like several other countries across the globe was currently witnessing a surge in digital transformation with many new activities migrating to the Internet especially with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.
NSA stated that Nigeria’s cyberspace had become a centre stage for new business innovations, governance and social interactions.
He said that the trend had created an opportunity for government to redefine its national objectives and address some of the major developmental challenges currently facing the country, including the emergence of new forms of criminality and terrorism perpetrated through the cyberspace.
According to him, the transformation is a vital priority for the armed forces and security agencies because of the enormous benefits they stand to derive from the cyberspace.
“It is pertinent to note that digital transformation in the armed forces is no longer about innovation but is considered as culture because of the exponential rates of accepting technology and its dynamism.
“The use of the cyberspace is increasingly impacting almost every aspect of our lives as a country and armed forces of the world exploit its benefits to transform their economies and operations.
“Also, the cyberspace is fast evolving, creating technologies, dismantling barriers to commerce, security and allowing seamless communication across borders for people to collaborate and share information,” he said.
Monguno said that cyberspace had been regarded as the fifth domain and newest theatre of warfare after land, sea, air and space, adding that conflicts in cyberwar were rarely military-on-military because of its borderless nature.
He, however, said there was need for the military through DSA in collaboration with ONSA to consolidate and redouble efforts for a more resilient infrastructure, enhanced capacity against cyberattacks and sustainable service delivery.
He commended DSA for organising the event to discuss ways to create opportunities from the nation’s cyber space for economic and operational planning.
Earlier, the Chief of Defence Space Administration (CDSA), Rear Adm. William Kayoda, said that DSA had entrenched the value of space to support the operations of the armed forces, especially on how space systems infrastructure would apply to national critical functions.
Kayoda said the Administration had continued to provide resilient cyber security solutions in the protection of Nigeria’s cyber space.
He said such were, especially, in the regulation, monitoring, vulnerabilities penetration assessment, testing and mitigation exercise to safeguard military and other security agencies’ websites and servers.
He added that DSA also followed the trends and ensure cybersecurity maturity model certification were sustained in the understanding of latest requirements.
According to him, the global re-occurring supply chain attacks that are very destructive, especially malware and ransomwares attacks, call for adherence to developing and sustaining basic cyber security hygiene.
“Thus, the issue of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFAs), passwords, decryption and other key management real world physical access control mitigation for supply chain security are very essential.
“In the Nigeria security perimeters, Multi-Factor Authentication, system control, hygiene culture, training, enforcement, segmentation, control of routine networks, physical access at all times, collaborations, end source investigation amongst others in line with global best practices must be our priority.
“This is very relevant as trust model for all devices has revealed the need for zero trust for machines due to vulnerabilities.
“Adherence to procedures, monitoring, reporting and policy compliance and enforcement devoid of complacency by cyber analyst, Network administration and other end users is important,” he said.
The CDSA disclosed that the cybersecurity awareness month was organised to increase sensitisation efforts on models to mitigate cyber threats and build national cyber resilience to shape cyber security standard, particularly information sharing and identifying critical solutions for implementation at all government levels.
In his goodwill message, the Ministry of Defence, retired Maj -Gen. Bashir Magashi, commended DSA on its unrelenting efforts towards creating a robust indigenous space competence capable of producing and utilising space assets to meet the operational requirements of the Nigerian armed forces.
Magashi said the awareness week was a critical step in addressing increasing cyberattacks on businesses and even the military.
He said that creating awareness of this menace was imperative especially with the drive for global connectivity, usage, recent launch of the e-naira by Mr. President and prevalence of more sophisticated cyber security attacks.
“No doubt, this exercise if sustained will go a long way in curbing new cyber threats and promote the proper use of the social media.
“On this note, I urge the participants to take full advantage of this Workshop and wish the DSA well in the pursuit of its mandate,” he said.