The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has inaugurated an incidence response facility, aimed at addressing incidences of cybercrime, protecting telecoms infrastructure and encouraging increased participation in nation’s digital economy.
The overall mandate of the NCC-CSIRT is to ensure continuous improvement of processes and communication frameworks to guarantee secure and collaborative exchange of timely information while responding to cyber threats within the sector.
Pantami noted that the launch of the facility would mark 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 Centre 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,” Pantami said.
In his address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta stated that, considering the increasing growth in Internet usage, especially as a consequence of the outbreak of the pandemic, the commission observed 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 had 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 safety needed for growing the digital economy.
“The CSIRT’s services will commence with four main thrusts, namely: monitoring, incident management, communication, and alert and warning. The devices for handling these four areas will be scaled up and expanded as the Centre’s operations grow in order to enhance the digital economy and ensure it yields great dividends to the Nigerian citizens,” Danbatta said.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retired), 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 any risk that will emanate as the country embraces advanced technology to facilitate digital transformation in the country.
According to Monguno, by establishing the CSIRT, the NCC has taken a step that could only be described as impeccable and timely, and in conformity with the highest standards and international best practice, which aligns with the requirement of the Cybercrimes Prohibition, Prevention Act 2015.