Nigeria has been ranked 47th on the list of countries putting measures in place to secure their cyberspace. According to the 2020 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the country was among the top cyber security-conscious nations out of the 194 countries measured.
The country scored 84.76 per cent in the five key indicators on which the countries were measured. These include legal measures; technical measures; organisational measures; capacity development measures; and cooperation measures.
The United States of America was ranked as number one in the world in terms of cybersecurity measures, having scored 100%. The USA was followed by the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, who occupied the second and third positions respectively.
With its score, Nigeria occupied the 4th position in Africa, coming behind Mauritius, Tanzania, and Ghana, which ranked first, second, and third on the continent in that order.
An analysis of Nigeria’s score in the five key indicators measured showed that the country scored the maximum mark of 20 in legal measures, 17.09 in technical measures, 18.98 in organizational measures, 12.21 in capacity development, and 16.48 in cooperative measures. The ITU noted that the country still has a lot of potentials for growth in the area of capacity development in cybersecurity.
While noting that global losses due to cybercrime are estimated from as low as USD 1 trillion in 2020, to as high as USD 6 trillion in 2021, ITU said the development of a legal and regulatory framework to protect society and promote a safe and secure digital environment is key and should be at the outset of any national efforts in cybersecurity. “Legal and regulatory frameworks include the establishment of legislation identifying what constitutes illicit activities in cyberspace, together with the definition of the necessary procedural tools to investigate, prosecute and enforce such legislation; the establishment of cybersecurity baselines and compliance mechanisms for a set of national stakeholders; and procedures to ensure consistency with international obligations,” it stated.
Recall that Nigeria recently released a National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy as part of measures to tackle the menace of cybercrimes in the country. In the policy document, the government said it would create a National Cybersecurity Coordination Centre (NCCC) to ensure the implementation of the cybersecurity policy in accordance with the provisions of relevant laws and international principles. “The NCCC shall be the local and international focal point for cybersecurity in Nigeria. Accordingly, a strategic structural model shall be adopted for the organisation, composition, operation, and functioning of the NCCC consistent with the roles and responsibilities of the Office of the National Security Adviser, the National Cybercrime Advisory Council and other functional frameworks as encapsulated in the Act,” the government stated in the policy.
According to GCI 2020, around half of countries globally say they have formed a national computer incident response team (CIRT), indicating an 11 per cent increase since 2018. The rapid uptake of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during the COVID-19 pandemic has put cybersecurity at the forefront.
“In these challenging times, the unprecedented reliance on ICTs to drive society, economy, and industry, makes it more important than ever before to secure cyberspace and build confidence among users," affirmed ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Governments and industry need to work together to make ICTs consistently safe and trustworthy for all. The Global Cybersecurity Index is a key element, offering a snapshot of the opportunities and gaps that can be addressed to strengthen every country's digital ecosystem.”
ITU added that some 64 per cent of countries had adopted a national cybersecurity strategy (NCS) by year-end, while more than 70 per cent conducted cybersecurity awareness campaigns in 2020, compared to 58 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively, in 2018.
Despite the improvements, the global telecommunications body said gaps in cyber capacity persist. “Many countries and regions still lag in key areas, which include Cybersecurity skills training, which must be tailored to the needs of citizens, micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); Finance, healthcare, energy, and other key sectors, which require dedicated measures to close cybersecurity gaps; Critical infrastructure protection, which requires enhancement to meet new and evolving cyber threats; and Individual data protection, which requires continual reinforcement as online activity expands,” ITU stated.