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Cyber Crimes: CBN Fortifies Banking Sector Security Framework

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it was strengthening the security framework of financial institutions to prevent the proliferation of cyber crimes.

The Deputy Governor in charge of Financial Systems Stability at the CBN, Mrs Aishah Ahmad, made this disclosure at a recent webinar themed Cyber threat Landscape: Financial services, 2021 and beyond.

At the event organised by the Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria (ISSAN), Mrs Ahmad, who was represented by the Director of Information Technology (IT) at CBN, Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, stated that the conversation around cyber threat could not be more important than now.

“The financial sector is particularly susceptible to cybercrime, given its crucial roles in financial intermediation in a highly connected financial system.

“CBN is committed to strengthening its regulatory and supervisory framework for cyber risk and vulnerability testing for the banking sector,” she said.

Also speaking at the event, a US-based cybersecurity expert, Dr Austen Ohwobote, advised that as the pace of digital disruption accelerates and innovative new technology reach the market, organisations should put measures in place to check cyber-crimes.

He listed the different cyber-attacks such as web-based attack, third party attack, insider threats attacks, and advised organisations to put resilient structures in place in order to understand the nature of attacks and when attacks are about to happen.

Mr Ohwobote submitted that for financial institutions to adequately check cyber-crimes, they must adapt and implement cybersecurity as a guide, recognise cybersecurity as a big issue, appoint cybersecurity ambassadors, raise customer awareness, emphasize strong password and Multi-Factor Authorization (MFA), adding that cybersecurity expert should be a member of decision making and re-emphasize third-party vendor management.

In his presentation, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, noted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be deployed to predict security threats and proffer solutions.

He described AI as a game-changer, stressing that the manual and semi-automated techniques of monitoring and responding to systems issues of the past were grossly inadequate to take care of the risk of the future.

“Technology has evolved and has changed the way we operate. COVID-19 only further accelerated the adoption of technology. Artificial intelligence, automation, internet have all created opportunities for business to unlock more values, but cyber threats have also increased both in complexity and volume,” Mr Akinwuntan said.

He added that, “The new normal of working from home has further exposed institutions to cyber-attacks and data breaches. Endpoints for remote access must be secured or else institutions are exposed to attack by a mismanaged endpoint. There is also the aspect of insider threat and exposure of password.”

Further, the banking executive identified other threats faced by financial institutions and organisations across the world to include cloud security threats and supply chain attack, stressing that a breach on one vendor could have ripple effects on the organizations.

In his submission, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, called on financial service providers and other organisations that handle large data of customers, to consider putting the right measures in place in order to safeguard their operations. He stated that the advocacy group will continue to create cybersecurity awareness and data handling.

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