Wednesday, October 20, 2021

NITDA Warns Nigerians On Data Theft, Privacy Infringement

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has alerted the general public to increasing risks of data breach through the mobile applications (apps) downloaded on phones.

A statement by the agency’s head of cooperate affairs and external relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, said the issue had become more worrisome as current research revealed that large numbers of mobile health applications were found to encourage data theft, thereby infringing on people’s privacy.

The statement read in part, “The mobile health applications, mostly available on android platforms and downloaded through Google play store, handle increasingly sensitive data over unsecured Internet communications and third-party servers. These sensitive data collected pose security threats to users as most of these apps do not only access data, but also share accessed data with third parties.

“Therefore, the NITDA invites the general public to take the following precautions to prevent privacy and security risks, while using mobile health applications:

*Users should avoid downloading apps from third party source.

*Users should examine apps before they download them, to understand the level of information the app requests for. This can be done by evaluating reviews by other app users. 

“Users should read apps’ permissions before and after installation to protect themselves from data exploitation.

“Ensure apps available for download in Nigeria should have privacy policy that is Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR)-compliant. 

“Users can customize the settings, which will potentially restrict the amount of information disclosed to the apps.

“Users must consider downloading apps that offer better privacy protection; prohibit accessing data over unsecured Wi-Fi network or hotspot. 

“Install firewalls and anti-virus to protect against virus/malware-base attacks and malicious application.”

The statement urged Nigerians to contact the head, NITDA Computer Readiness and Response Team (CERRT) on cerrt@nitda.gov.ng, support@cerrt.ng, or 08178774580 for further enquiry.

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