Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), an advocacy group on all matters and challenges faced by information security in Nigeria, has released its National Cyber Threat Forecast 2023.
In the forecast released by the Directorate of Research and Development at CSEAN, the body acknowledged that in 2022, there was a significant increase in the complexity and impact of cyber threats worldwide, and Nigeria was no exception.
As experts and active stakeholders in the cybersecurity sector, the authors collected and analyzed data from various sources, including cybersecurity professionals in the country, incident reports, and 2021 and 2022 threat trends, to present our forecast of cyber threats for 2023.
According to them, several factors will contribute to the predicted threats, including the upcoming 2023 general elections, the economic situation in the country, a lack of transparency in reporting security breaches, and a lack of coordination among organisations within the same sector. These and more were captured in the cyber threats forecast categorized and discussed under two sections: (i) election-related threats and (ii) regular and emerging threats.
According to the report, the 2023 Elections will come with a deluge of Cyber threats, including spread of misinformation and disinformation.
“It is expected that there will be a significant amount of misinformation and disinformation circulated through social media platforms in the run-up to, during, and after the 2023 general elections.
“We are very likely to experience the weaponization of manipulated information to inﬂuence people’s perceptions and behaviours in relation to the elections. This can seriously aﬀect the integrity of the electoral process and undermine public trust in democratic institutions. Disinformation, specifically related to the elections, is likely to increase, with political parties potentially hiring foreign actors to create and disseminate false or misleading information,” the report stated.
The report however encouraged observers to be on the watch. “It is crucial for individuals to be vigilant and critically evaluate the information they come across, particularly during election periods. It is also vital for social media platforms and government agencies to take steps to address the spread of misinformation and disinformation, such as through fact-checking eﬀorts and public education campaigns”.
Other threats to come through the cyberspace will include, Hate Speech, Mal-information/Cyber Smearing and Attacks Against INEC cyber-infrastructure, among others.
On the ‘Regular and Emerging Threats’ as categorized by the report,
Government Infrastructure as a Target (GIaaT); Malware; Ransomware; Attacks on Financial Institutions; Attacks in the Cloud; Cryptocurrency-Based Threats are imminent.
While also noting that Phishing and Social Engineering will be used , the report further predicted that SMEs will feel the brunt of Cyber threats more with heightened incidences of password stealing, Internet, and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) attacks, which pervaded in 2022.
“This trend is very likely to continue in 2023. SMEs may be easier targets for cyber threat actors, and there are several reasons for this. Generally, small businesses have limited resources to invest in cybersecurity, may have fewer IT staﬀ or less expertise in cybersecurity, and o en lack the level of security awareness that big organisations have.
SMEs must be aware of the cyber risks associated with their business and take necessary steps to protect their systems.
CSEAN listed security measures to be taken by individuals and organisations: “To mitigate these threats, individuals, organisations, and relevant government bodies must adopt appropriate cybersecurity measures and strategies.
Furthermore, all stakeholders must work together to ensure a concerted eﬀort to protect the cyber sovereignty of the country. Cybersecurity is a collective responsibility.”
CSEAN is a non-profit organisation centred on a collective purpose and vision to be a vehicle championing the cause and awareness of Information security best practices, acting as an agent of change to address Cyber Crime phenomena through engaging intellectual minds, business, and political leaders.