NCC raises alarm over rising fake news on social media

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THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has raised alarm over the increasing number of fake news, hate speech and misinformation on the social media.

Prof Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC, noted that social media has become a very potent tool for the sharing of fake news, misinformation, inciting videos, images and messages and hate speeches.

Danbatta, who spoke at the 2019 Telecom Executives and Regulator Forum in Lagos on Thursday, July 11, said given that an increasing number of Nigerians access news through the social media, this creates an obvious national security threat. He said with increasing broadband penetration and pervasive access to the internet, data breaches and crime potentialities are evidently rising.

“Obviously, the challenges are real, and our readiness depends on the level of synergy and cooperation of all stakeholders involved in combating cybercrime. Cyber security is structurally composed of processes, technologies and practices devised to optimally mitigate the risks to computers, programes, and networks, i.e. cybercrime.

“Cybercrime evolves at a fast pace with malicious cybercriminals becoming increasingly more sophisticated and better organized using the same ICT infrastructure and systems that have made it easier for people to conduct e-commerce and online transactions, being exploited for criminal activities.

“The Nigerian government, being aware of the benefits of ICT to its citizens and the growing concerns about cyber security, therefore, carefully developed The National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy documents, and thereof, came-up with the Cybercrimes Act 2015, which is a cohesive measure towards addressing the nation’s risk exposure in cyberspace.

“Cyber security has become an essential component of human activity. Its high level of complexity requires action at different levels (both virtual and physical) and by different actors (governments, private sector, civil society, intergovernmental organizations, etc.),” he said.

But Danbatta assured Nigerians that the commission is working to address the challenge. He said one of the key objectives of the commission as enunciated in the NCC Act 2003 was to promote and safeguard national interests, safety and security.

According to him, the commission has vigorously pursued these objectives by engaging in aggressive public awareness campaigns against cybercrime and providing the necessary infrastructure (hardware, software and frameworks) for the prevention, protection, detection and restoration mechanisms to the principles and processes of cyberspace.

Danbatta noted that the commission would ensure existence of enabling environment to assist security and law enforcement agencies in investigating telecommunications related security incidents. “As a regulator, NCC acts as an interface that ensures collaborations between the industry players – Mobile Network Operators, MNOs, Internet Service Providers, ISPs, – and Law Enforcement Agencies, LEAs, in providing necessary interventions and support in cyber security management and protection of critical telecommunications infrastructure as provided for in the National Cyber security Strategy.

“The Commission played a key role in developing the National Cyber-security Policy and Strategy documents that led to the establishment of the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team, ngCERT, Coordination Center, domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA. The ngCERT serves as the single national point of contact for international coordination of cyber security incidents in Nigeria.

“The Commission is working towards establishing a Cyber Security Incidence Response Team, CSIRT, exclusively for the Telecommunications sector. The CSIRT will complement the ngCERT by handling and coordinating cybercrime incidences in the sector. The CSIRT will also facilitate intervention, swift identification of threats/vulnerabilities and the sharing of valuable information and resources to assist in fortifying Nigeria’s national security,” he added.

– July 15, 2019 @ 15:25 GMT |

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