The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has said cybercrime is growing at an alarming rate globally.
He also explained how cybercrime ‘generates’ massive income globally.
He said this at the annual cybersecurity conference in Abuja on Thursday organised by Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC).
The conference was aimed at strengthening the security and resilience of the nation’s communication infrastructure.
The event served as a platform for discussion on developing a joint response in tackling internet crimes.
“In 2018, the cybercrime industry generated about $1.5 trillion while social media-related crimes generated a minimum of $3.25 billion. Bitcoin crimes generated $76 billion all within 2018,” he said
He said ”many people develop the expertise and embark on compromising systems, exploiting any opportunity they get and they are making money”.
“Cybercrime is growing at the speed of light, in view of this, as part of our agenda of promoting security, we are giving priority to cybersecurity,” he said.
Pantami said the digital economy of the government cannot be implemented without safeguarding the cyberspace.
“Countries that have the highest threat of cybercrimes, their participation and involvement in the digital economy is becoming slower by the day.
“We must join hands to ensure that our cyberspace is secured relatively because globally there is no system that is 100 per cent secured,” he said
Newsmen have reported several stories of sporadic arrests of internet fraudsters and cybercriminals, popularly known as ‘Yahoo boys’, who are usually youth, by the anti-graft agency, EFCC.
Meanwhile, the executive vice-chairman, NCC, Umar Danbatta, said the telecommunications regulator will establish more strategies to combat cybercrime in Nigeria.
He said as part of efforts to fight cybercrime, ”NCC began creating awareness among children and youth on the negative effects of the crime.”
The commission flagged off an awareness programme where students were invited and sensitised on cybersecurity.
The campaign gave concrete expression to the commission’s effort at strengthening ‘child online protection’ within the country.
Also, it sought to bridge the cyber workforce gap, strengthen national cooperation, exchange of information, and development of comprehensive strategies that will address the cybersecurity challenges confronting the communications industry in Nigeria.
“The regulator will come up with policies, laws that will protect the cyberspace and protect internet users,” Mr Danbatta said.
He said the agency is doing everything possible to fight cybercrime, “including putting measures in place that are technical in nature and protecting our network from cybercrime we will come out with measures to provide digital protection.”
He said the agency is committed to making sure ”the internet has fewer cybercriminals, through educating members of the public on the negative impacts of cyber-crime.”