Cyber Security: NITDA, NISS To Produce More Forensic Experts

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L-R: The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abduallahi presenting a plaque to the commandant, National Institute for Security Studies, Alhaji Saheed Adeleke when the latter paid him a visit at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) are set to enter into a partnership to build more manpower in the forensic sector for enhanced security, especially cyber security.

The NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, made this known when he received the NISS Commandant, Alhaji Saheed Adeleke, who paid a courtesy call on him at the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja, saying the shortage of manpower in forensic expert in the country had been described as one of the challenges mitigating against curbing the menace of cyber-attacks.

He applauded the commandant and his management team for taking the initiative to seek collaboration with NITDA in making Nigeria a better and safer place to live.

The DG stated that most government and private processes were prone to hacks and cyber-attacks, and that it had become imperative to improve on capacity building for security agencies and private outfits to produce more forensic experts in combating these crimes. 

According to the NITDA DG, “the trending COVID-19 pandemic has forced the digitization of processes and disrupted the normal way of life globally. This has led to increase in cyber-attacks and crime waves, necessitating collaborative efforts of relevant organ of government to ensure safe, secure and digitally safe country.” 

Abdullahi expressed strong conviction that the two organizations have what it takes to proffer strategic initiatives which would help in safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians as well as the sustainability of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

He said the agency usually collaborates with private and government institutions as no one can operate in isolation. “In governance, there’s no way you can work in silos and expect success. The world is going digital now and for any objective organization, they must embrace digitization,” the DG said.

He mentioned that NITDA had set up digital transformation technical working group for MDAs that oversee the entire digital architecture whereby valuable information are shared through relevant platforms. 

While speaking on several regulatory instruments put in place by NITDA to support digital economy, Abdullahi said Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) stood out as a unique instrument targeted at protecting the ‘oil’ of digital economy which is data. “I am sure you manage a lot of people’s data at your institute and NDPR, which is an initiative by NITDA that will give clear directions on how to manage people’s information and data,” the DG disclosed.

Abdullahi said he agreed with the NISS commandant that the security of the nation is a collective responsibility, adding security falls under one of the agency’s mandates, which is securing the country’s cyberspace.

“One of our mandates is to use information technology to improve national security and this cannot be taken for granted because at the NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, (SRAP 2021-2024), cyber security is one of the 7 strategic pillars we are working on,” he said.

The NITDA boss averred that it was almost impossible to separate the physical and digital world because data received from the digital world could be used to depict and influence the subject physically.

“In intelligence gathering, trailing a suspect is rather archaic at present because having access to the person’s mobile phone will yield faster and more accurate results,” the DG added.

He said the agency was investing hugely on cyber security by building capacity to have holistic insights into what is happening in the dark web so as to be proactive in helping the nation in securing her cyberspace. 

He also disclosed that the agency was willing to collaborate with NISS on areas of emerging technologies because according to him, every technology has its perils and promises, adding “as a nation, we need to build capacities to achieve these promises and avoid the perils.”

While assuring his guests of utmost support and collaboration, he mentioned that on intelligence gathering, the agency had the tools and investments which could be used to get valuable information from the dark web and come up with intelligent recommendations.

Earlier, Adeleke said the institute was currently running its 14th series flagship programme which had 66 participants undergoing various courses from agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Customs Service, Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and many others.

“Managing security of the nation should be a collective responsibility which is why we would like to tap and collaborate with you, most especially in areas of cyber security in order to achieve optimum security for the nation,” he said.

He expressed his willingness to train some staff of the agency in any of their offered security courses while inviting the DG to pay a working visit to their facilities at the Lower Usman Dam, Bwari, to enjoy the serenity of their learning environment.

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