Monitoring Nigeria’s Cyberspace Before, During, and After the 2023 Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FCIIS, FBCS, FNCS, wishes to bring to the attention of the digital economy stakeholders and the general public the Ministry’s activities before, during, and after the 2023 Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.
It may be recalled that on the 14th March, 2023, the Office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy released a Press Statement regarding the activities of the Ministry and its parastatals before, during and after the Presidential and National Assembly elections. As a follow up to that and in line with the Ministry’s mandate as well as in our efforts aimed at supporting the initiatives of securing the Nigerian cyberspace, the Honourable Minister directed the Ministerial Standing Committee on Advisory Role for the Protection of Nigerian Cyberspace and ICT Infrastructure to further enhance the cyberspace surveillance activities of the three cybersecurity Centres of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB).
It may also be recalled that the Committee, inaugurated by the Honourable Minister on the eve of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, was charged with the following responsibilities, among others:
Monitoring of Telecommunication Infrastructure for the successful conduct of the 2023 General Elections:
1. Developing and implementing plans to enhance the resilience of critical digital infrastructure against cyber threats;
2. Designing procedures and using technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber-attacks, as well as developing the ability to quickly recover from any damage that is done;
3 Developing a comprehensive risk assessment, analysing the nation’s current cybersecurity capabilities, and identifying gaps that need to be addressed; and
4. Providing professional advice to the Government on the effective utilisation of digital technologies in the conduct of the 2023 General Elections.
Based on Honourable Minister’s directives, the Committee provided close oversight on the activities of the cybersecurity Centres, from Friday 17th March, 2023 to Monday 20th March, 2023. During this period and as previously reported, a series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and Internet Protocol Spoofing (IPS) attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing. A total of 3,834,244 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria. Daily breakdown of these attacks are:
1. Friday 17th March, 2023: 1,046,896
2. Saturday 18th March, 2023: 1,481,847
3. Sunday 19th March, 2023: 327,718
4. Monday 20th March, 2023: 977,783
It is interesting to note that the activities of cyberthreat actors on the Nigerian cyberspace during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections are much lower than those during the Presidential and National Assembly elections. This is neither surprising nor unexpected as, Nigeria being Africa’s largest democracy, the Presidential and National Assembly elections are bound to attract much attention of everyone, including cyberthreat actors, than during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.
Furthermore, the Honourable Minister is confident that the implementation of some recommendations as well as measures taken to fortify our cyber defence mechanisms might have helped in this.
The Honourable Minister reiterates that these attainments would not have been possible without the continued support of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR in particular, and the administration in general, towards ensuring Nigeria’s successful transition into the digital economy.
The digital economy sector has enjoyed Mr President’s unprecedented support and it is highly appreciated.