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> Blog Abstract SharePosted by Dan Swinhoe Company IDG Connect 06/14/2012
Dan Swinhoe (Nigeria)-Nigeria: Out With Princes, In With Hackers?
Along with the likes of Kenya, Egypt and South Africa, Nigeria is one of Africa's internet powerhouses. Like many African countries, it suffers from an underdeveloped and unreliable fixed-line infrastructure. But that hasn't stopped it topping 45 million internet users, the highest number on the continent.But with such large numbers come many dangers. Emerging markets across the world aresuffering at the hands of targeted hackers and malware due to insecure websites and poorly-trained staff. And onthe whole Nigeria is no different. Though the country may be aiming to have 70 Million internet users by 2015 ,Symantec has warned that the rise of internet users in Nigeria puts the country at a greater risk from cyber-crime.Kelvin Isaac, Symantec's Vice President of Emerging Marketssaid , "Nigeria, being a fast emerging market, withhuge bandwidth deposits from the various submarine cables, risk higher foreign invasion of cyber-attacksbecause of the glut in capacity utilization. [That is the]Reason why government, regulator and operators must work in collaboration to ensure that, every avenue to encourage is blocked completely in the country and the risk mitigated." Like many places around the world, SMBs are particularly at risk as they lack proper security plans and trained in-house staff to counter or quickly recover from any attacks.
There are plenty of web 2.0-literate people in the country, but not necessarily using their skillset for legal purposes.Last year a group of Nigerian hackers known as NaijaCyberHacktivists attacked government sites, including theNational Poverty Eradication Programme website and the Niger Delta Development Commission, posting a letter protesting against the N1b ($6.6 million) cost for inauguration for President Goodluck Jonathan and the country'sFreedom Of Information Act . The author of the report pointed to the county's rabid unemployment figures (currently hovering around the23%mark) and a country that is ‘rich in raw technology talent.' In a similar attack inJanuary
the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was attacked in response to reports of corruption.This pool of unemployed and angry talent has only recently started targeting its government. For years Nigeria hasbeen king of spam, with promises of Nigerian princes offering millions for only a small advance fee. These 419Scams (in reference to the article it's a crime under in the Nigerian Criminal Code) are so synonymous with thecountry they are often called Nigerian scams. Back in2005 Lagos was widely considered the world's leading placefor scam crimes. Although they are still common, they have been on the decline of late (spam is at its lowest levelsfor years) and Nigerian police have been more active inrecent yearsin shutting down these kinds of operations.
Given that Nigeria's IT sector is booming, programs to equip more people for careers in the sector are coming through, including World Bank's ACCESS(Assessment of Core Competence for Employability in the ServicesSector) program, which trains young people on a variety of aspects, from written English and basic numerical skillsto internet browsing, use of office software, and attention to detail. It's not quite on the same level that Kenya is