On Thursday, July 16, 2015, the Nigerian news and entertainment site Legit.ng fell victim to a lengthy cyber attack conducted by sources yet to be determined.
Neither the reason for nor the source of the outbreak is clear as at the moment, but the team of developers are working to determine both and strengthen Legit.ng’s lines of defence. The routine operations have since resumed, but the stories of systematic Internet security breaches and pessimistic prognoses on increasing number of cyber attacks on Nigeria paint a grim overall picture.
As Nigerian online news platforms gain more and more prominence, hackers committing cyber attacks — Internet crimes — are also raising their level of skills and craftiness. The opportunities of the Internet are close to limitless, but, sadly, this is being explored and exploited by criminals who spare no one in their quest for profit, settling scores for “vengeance,” or causing trouble to prove some point.
During their period of live reporting of the Nigerian 2015 elections, Premium Times also succumbed to hackers who unleashed a series of DDoS attacks apparently originating from both Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, and Eastern Europe - Russia and Ukraine.
In August 2013, the New-York-based Sahara Reporters informed their audience they had come under a severe DDoS attack and recalled their lengthy story of fighting ill-wishers on the Internet and in “real” life.
News websites are, of course, not the only aims for cyber bullies. In the three years of its existence, Legit.ng has witnessed the digital presence of various official sites of the Nigerian government agencies and parastatals being violated multiple times.
Ordinary citizens of Nigeria are in the risk zone, too. Deloitte, in their 2015 outlook on Nigeria, have identified the main categories of cyber traps Nigerians fall into, and named a number of preventive measures to tackle the threat.
Tim Akano, a Nigerian IT specialist, managing director and chief executive officer of New Horizons Nigeria, has also warned Nigerians to stay alert and be careful as they go about their usual activities on the Internet.
In his write-up for Business Day, Tope S. Aladenusi, a partner at Deloitte Nigeria and the president of ISACA Lagos Nigeria, looks into the possibility of Boko Haram terrorists to harness the Internet to unleash a cyber war and advance to the level of cyber-terrorism.
Forewarned is forearmed. Today, cyber criminals are one step ahead, making the Internet and its users vulnerable. Nigeria should invest in cyber security.