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Almost 13 million cyber attacks recorded during polls –FG

The 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections attracted 12.99 million cyber attacks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has disclosed.

He noted that the attacks were recorded between 24th February and 28th February, with the presidential election day (25th February) attracting 6.99 million attacks alone.

He stated this while explaining the activities of the ministry he oversees during and after the 2023 presidential election.

According to him, the attacks witnessed during the period included a series of hacking attempts including Distributed Denial of Service, email and IPS attacks, SSH login attempts, brute force injection attempts, path traversal, detection evasion, and forceful browsing.
Prior to the presidential election, Pantami had on behalf of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), inaugurated a 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, and with the CEOs of NCC, National Information Technology, and Galaxy Backbone as members.

A statement signed by Pantami’s spokesperson, Uwa Sulaiman, read in part, “It is worth noting that 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

It added, “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, email and IPS attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing.

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.”

This is not the first time a Nigerian election will be recording cyberattacks. After the Ekiti and Osun polls in 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission disclosed that its result viewing portal was unsuccessfully attacked.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said, “Another technical concern for us is the repeated attempts to break through our cyber security system for the portal. Our Engineers reported several cyberattacks on the portal during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, some of them from as far as Asia.

“I am glad to note that all of them failed.”

A Senior Manager of Cyber Risk Services at Deloitte, Ms Funmilola Odumuboni, recently stated that a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds.

Recently, ICT expert and Senior Partner of e86 Limited, Olugbenga Odeyemi, said that the growth of technology in the country would continue to open the door for more cyberattacks.

The Chief Technology Officer, NJALO.NG, Chukwuemeka Orjiani, also said that most of the system in the country runs on outdated software.

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