2023 Polls: Over 12 Million Cyberattacks Targeted Nigeria’s Cyberspace – Pantami

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Isa Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.

The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has revealed that there were 12,988,978 cyberattacks from both local and foreign sources during the 2023 presidential and National Assembly polls. The attacks, the ministry said, were recorded from February 24 to February 27, 2023. On average, public websites and portals received around 1,550,000 attacks daily, but the number skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on the day of the presidential election.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, directed all parastatals to enhance their 24/7 network and traffic monitoring to detect potential attacks. The ministry’s mandate is to ensure the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace and to align with the goals and objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS).

On February 24, 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 chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) board, had the CEOs of NCC, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Galaxy Backbone (GBB) as members. The committee’s role was to monitor telecommunication infrastructure for credible, free, fair and transparent elections and to develop and implement plans to enhance the resilience of critical digital infrastructure against cyber threats.

The committee was also tasked with developing comprehensive risk assessments, analysing the nation’s current cybersecurity capabilities, identifying gaps that need to be addressed and providing professional advice to the government on the effective use of digital technologies during the 2023 general elections.

“During the committee’s activity from February 24 to February 28, 2023, several 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,” the statement said.

It added that the centers successfully blocked the attacks and escalated them to relevant institutions for appropriate action. Pantami urged citizens to have confidence in digital services and emphasised the importance of protecting Nigeria’s cyberspace.

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