The Nigerian government announced Tuesday that it recorded a total of 12.9 million (12,988,978) cyber attacks, originating from both within and outside Nigeria during the presidential elections.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, disclosed this in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman.
The minister said that in the run-up to the 2023 general elections, threat intelligence revealed an astronomical increase in cyber threats to Nigerian cyberspace.
Threats to public websites and portals averaged around 1.5 million daily but the figure skyrocketed to 6.9 million on Presidential Election Day, the minister said.
However, the statement said, the various measures put in place by the government ensured that these attacks were blocked and escalated to the relevant institutions for appropriate action.
The statement noted that from 24 February to 27 February, the minister directed all the parastatals to enhance their monitoring of the networks and traffic for potential attacks.
The statement said on 24 February, the minister inaugurated the ministerial standing committee on an advisory role for the protection of Nigerian cyberspace and ICT infrastructure.
It said the committee, chaired by the Board Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and with the CEOs of NCC, National Information Technology (NITDA) and Galaxy Backbone (GBB) as members, was charged with the responsibility of 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, 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.
It was also charged with the responsibility of developing a comprehensive risk assessment, analyzing the nation’s current cybersecurity capabilities, 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 Committee’s activity started on 24th February 2023 and ended on 28th February 2023. During this period, a series of hacking attempts were recorded, including distributed denial of service (DDoS), email and IPS attacks, SSH login attempts, brute force injection attempts, path traversal, detection Evasion, and forceful browsing,” the statement said.
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“A total of 12,988,978 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria. It is worth noting that the Centers successfully blocked these attacks and/or escalated them to the relevant institutions for appropriate action.
“Generally, threats to public websites and portals averaged around 1,550,000 daily. However, this skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on Presidential Election Day.”
He added that the parastatals, under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, have played a crucial role
in providing the enabling environment for the successful conduct of the election.
The minister noted that the initiative was part of the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari towards ensuring Nigeria’s successful transition into the digital economy.
“The digital economy sector has enjoyed the continued support of the President and it is highly appreciated. He also hopes that lessons learned during the process will be put to effective use in subsequent elections,” he said.
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