NCC Inaugurates Incident Response Facility To Fight Cyber-crime

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…minister, ONSA, Lawmakers, others commend initiative
…project will strengthen telecoms infrastructure protection – Danbatta

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami (third from left) commissioning the Nigerian Communications Commission Center for Computer Security Incident Response facility while ministry officials and other dignitaries observe in Abuja.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has inaugurated an incidence response facility aimed at addressing incidences of cybercrimes, protecting telecoms infrastructure and encouraging increased participation in the nation’s digital economy.

The commission’s Center for Computer Security Incident Response is the commission’s industry-specific intervention, whose objectives are aligned to the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) published by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). The NCPS requires each sector to establish a computer incident response team that provides requisite services to the stakeholders and players within each sector.

The overall mandate of the NCC-CSIRT is to ensure continuous improvement of processes and communication frameworks to guarantee secure, collaborative and timely exchange of information while responding to cyber threats within the sector.

Speaking during the commissioning of the project in Abuja, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, described the center as a strategic step in boosting cybersecurity in Nigeria and commended the Board of NCC and Danbatta-led management of the commission for ensuring successful implementation of the project.

Pantami noted that the commissioning of the facility marked an important milestone in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria and described it as a significant measure in the support of national efforts at protecting the information and communication technology infrastructure in the country.

“The creation of the center is in line with the provisions of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) document published by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), which was recently updated and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in February 2021. In keeping with the principles enshrined in the policy, each sector is expected to establish a sectoral Computer Incident Response Team (CSIRT) that provides requisite services to the constituents within that sector,” the minister said.

In his address at the event, the executive vice-chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said the increase in Internet usage, especially as a consequence of the outbreak of the pandemic, triggered a rise in cyber incidents and criminal activities.

“Thus, the commission recognises that, with the borderless nature and pervasiveness of these incidences, relentless and concerted attention is required to protect Internet users as well as the Critical National Information Infrastructure and ensure they are resilient,” Danbatta said.

The EVC emphasised that the NCC-CSIRT has been structured to operate within the framework of the NCPS and the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) to assist the Nigerian communications sector with the management and coordination of cyber security incidents and threats. He noted that the CSIRT was established as a proactive step towards building trust and bringing about the safety needed for growing the digital economy.

“The CSIRT’s services will commence with four main thrusts, namely: monitoring, incident management, communication, alert and warning. The devices for handling these four areas will be scaled up and expanded as the centre’s operations grow, to enhance the digital economy and ensure it yields great dividends for Nigerians,” he stated.

Danbatta explained that the key mandates of the CSIRT, which would be achieved through collaboration with relevant stakeholders, organisations and agencies, includes assisting the sector in the defence and response to major cyber threats and attacks targeted at sector actors, providing information, technical as well as policy advisories to the constituency to strengthen the defensive and response capabilities to cyber threats. Also, the centre is to liaise with other sectoral CSIRTs, as well as local and international security frameworks to protect the communications sector and the general wellbeing of the Nigerian people.

Other mandates of the NCC-CSIRT, highlighted by Danbatta, are; to provide guidance and direction for the constituents in dealing with issues relating to the security of critical infrastructure in their possession and to periodically assess, review and collate the threat landscape, risks and opportunities affecting the communications sector and provide advice to relevant stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.), who was represented at the event by Brigadier General Samad Akesode, also acknowledged the establishment of NCC CSIRT as a clear demonstration of the commission’s resolve to join hands with the Federal Government in mitigating risks as the country embraces advanced technology to facilitate her digital transformation.

According to Monguno, by establishing the CSIRT, the NCC has taken impeccable and timely steps in conformity with the highest standards and international best practices which aligns with the requirements of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.”

The leadership of the National Assembly, including the chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and the chairman, Committee on Telecommunications in the House of Representatives, Akeem Adeyemi, also profoundly applauded the Danbatta-led NCC for leading the sectoral implementation of the NCPS and improving security of the cyber space for all.

Others, who delivered goodwill messages, commended the commission and spoke about the significance of the CSIRT project to national economy and national security include the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Bitrus Nabasu, as well as other heads of agencies in the ministry.

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