REVEALED: Nigeria Faced 12.9 million Cyberattacks During Presidential Election – Pantami
The Federal Government through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has revealed that a total of 12,988,978 attacks originating from within and outside Nigeria were recorded during the presidential election.
According to Pantami, no fewer than 1,550,000 threats to public websites and portals were recorded daily, adding that the figures skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on presidential election day.
A statement on Tuesday signed by Uwa Sulaiman, the spokesperson to the Minister noted that during this period, series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service, email and IPS attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing.
The Statement read; “In the run-up to the 2023 General Elections, threat intelligence revealed an astronomical increase in cyber threats to Nigerian cyberspace.
“Generally, threats to public websites and portals averaged around 1,550,000 daily. However, this skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on Presidential Election Day.
“A total of 12,988,978 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria. It is worth noting that the Centres successfully blocked these attacks and/or escalated them to the relevant institutions for appropriate action.”
Thinking Ahead of the Attacks
Business Metrics reports that ahead of the elections, the Minister had inaugurated the Ministerial Standing Committee on Advisory Role for the Protection of Nigerian Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure.
The Committee was chaired by the Board Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and with the CEOs of NCC, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA and Galaxy Backbone (GBB) as members.
It was charged with monitoring of telecommunication infrastructure for the successful conduct of credible, free, fair, and transparent elections; developing and implementing plans to enhance the resilience of critical digital infrastructure against cyber threats; and designing procedures and using technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber-attacks, as well as developing the ability to recover from any damage that is done quickly.
Its other roles include developing a comprehensive risk assessment, analysing the nation’s current cybersecurity capabilities, and identifying gaps that need to be addressed; and providing professional advice to the government on the effective utilization of digital technologies in the conduct of the 2023 General Elections.
The minister, a Professor of Cybersecurity with demonstrated passion for ensuring safe and secure cyberspace, directed all the parastatals to enhance their 24/7 monitoring of the networks and traffic for potential attacks from 24th February 2023 to 27th February 2023.
Defence Resources Deployed
The while the ministry emphasised the need to protect Nigeria’s cyberspace, it said this is a mandate that aligns with the goals and objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS).
Pantami said ln line with this mandate and in the ministry’s efforts at supporting the initiatives of securing the Nigerian cyberspace, parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry had established Cybersecurity Centres which came in handy as readymade resources during the elections.
These include the National Information Technology (NITDA)’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team (CERRT); Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT); and Galaxy Backbone (GBB)’s Security Operations Centre (SOC).
“These Centres were established between 2020 and 2022 in line with the Honourable Minister’s policy directives and have been monitoring Nigerian cyberspace for potential threats and taking appropriate actions to mitigate them, both individually and collectively as well as in collaboration with other stakeholders,” according to the statement said.