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‘How to secure markets from cyber risks’


Experts have called for a collective approach towards tackling and forestalling cyber risks and enhancing the security of financial architecture.

At a webinar organised by Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), financial market stakeholders, including bankers and capital market operators, dialogued on innovative measures for preventing cybercrimes, dire need for increased campaign and exigency of collaborative investments to rein in the rising rate of cybercrime.

The online event themed “Cyber security and information during the pandemic” was commended for its timeliness, as COVID-19 pandemic and attendant remote connections may have increased cyber-security risks in many organisations, particularly as the crime rate surges globally, with rising exposure of financial services institutions in Nigeria and the broader African continent.

The event was attended by participants from the banking sector, capital market and public service. Among the panelists were  Divisional Head, Technology and Innovations, CSCS, Mr. Tobe Nnadozie; Chief Information Security Officer, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr. Bharat Soni and Chief Information Security Officer, Interswitch Limited, Mr. Ikechukwu Ugoji.

Chief Executive Officer, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, said cybersecurity is a collective effort such that every one should play a role to preserve the integrity of the market.

According to him, the pandemic and its attendant remote connections occasioned by business continuity and work-from-home protocols have increased exposures to cyber-security risks and some businesses may have suffered colossal losses due to cyberattacks since the pandemic.

“More than ever, cyberattacks are like a double whammy at this challenging time when businesses are re-strategizing to adapt to the new normal and ensure sustainability,” Jalo-Waziri said.

Mr. Femi Onifade, Chief Strategy Officer, CSCS, said a breach on any market participant’s network may inadvertently expose the entire system, thus reinforcing why all parties must collaborate to prevent any vulnerabilities in the financial system and why all participants and stakeholders must take active and effective measures in ensuring and sustaining cyber-resilience.

Soni said new work culture has expanded remote activities and cloud capabilities to an unprecedented level, thereby making businesses more vulnerable to cyber-attacks such as online scams and phishing, disruptive malware, malicious domains amongst others.

“Hence, the use of strong authentication for accessing networks would no longer be an option but a necessity. “Awareness of the new realities of safe cyber practices needs to be communicated to employees, partners and customers so that they can remain aware of the evolving cyber threat and how to best protect themselves and their organizations,” Soni said.

Ugoji said over 90 per cent  of cyber breaches were facilitated by phishing email or social engineering attack and that every employee is a first-line of defence against incoming threats.

According to him, employees must be made to understand their vital roles and responsibility in protecting the organization.

Nnadozie noted that the pattern of spend on cybersecurity shows clearly that organizations are making relevant investments to protect their systems and broader market, albeit sadly, lack of vigilance is the leading cause of breaches.

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