NCC warns telecom operators on ‘ransomware’ cyber-attack

The Nigerian Communications Commission,NCC, on Tuesday alerted all telecommunication operators and their subscribers of the recent outbreak of a Ransomware Virus known as “WannaCrypt”.

NCC said the Ransomware was capable of infecting and encrypting all files on a system or any smart device until an amount is paid for a decryption key, or other means of retrieval.

According to the NCC, the situation demands that proactive measures be taken by all players in the telecommunication eco-system to forestall data loss, financial losses and network and business disruption.

The wannacry attack, which has affected more than 200,000 computers in over 200 countries, is said to be the biggest cyberattack the world has ever seen.

The virus locks people out of their computer files until they pay a ransom.

The attack is carried out using tools believed to have been stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The NCC in its statement released a set of guidelines to ensure the security and integrity of the national telecommunications network.

According to the commission, the protective measures include obtaining software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017 to fix the Ransomware Virus; Planning scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times; and not clicking pop-ups and applets on unknown websites.

Similarly, subscribers who use their smartphones as substitutes to computers for internet access are also advised to protect themselves and their devices by not opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources and installing effective antivirus software for their mobile devices.

The commission also advised Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to initiate regular assessment and audit of their cybersecurity readiness, adding that operators should continue to ensure that their backup/ disaster recovery strategies are in place and up to date.

“The commission has further advised all operators to ensure continued deployment of effective firewalls, login passwords and antivirus management regime,” it said.

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