Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, Thursday, emphasized the need for comprehensive measures to protect telecom consumers and bolster cybersecurity.
While addressing the participants at the 2nd Quarter 2023 Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) meeting, Professor Danbatta, highlighted the critical importance of combating e-fraud on telecom platforms and building consumer confidence in the digital economy.
He underscored the need for collaborative efforts among industry stakeholders, regulatory bodies, law enforcement agencies, and consumers to safeguard against fraudulent activities and protect Nigeria’s digital ecosystem.
Prof. Danbatta in his speech titled: “Combating E-fraud On Telecom Platforms And Building Consumer Confidence In The Digital Economy,” emphasized that Nigeria’s digital economy presents significant opportunities for growth and diversification.
However, the proliferation of e-fraud and cybersecurity concerns pose challenges to the transformative potential of the digital landscape. Various forms of e-fraud, such as identity theft, phishing, hacking, and unauthorized access, not only cause substantial financial losses but also erode consumer trust in the digital realm.
The NCC, as the regulator of the communications sector, plays a pivotal role in combatting e-fraud. Prof. Danbatta called for the establishment of comprehensive legal frameworks and standards that mandate sound security practices for telecom operators. T
hese frameworks should focus on data protection, privacy, and incident response, holding operators accountable for any security lapses on their networks. He emphasized that the NCC collaborates with mobile network operators to ensure network safety and conducts regular audits and assessments to verify compliance, fostering a culture of cybersecurity within the industry.
Telecom operators were also urged to invest in robust infrastructure, employ state-of-the-art security measures, and conduct regular audits to identify vulnerabilities promptly. Stringent authentication protocols, two-factor authentication, and encryption mechanisms were highlighted as essential safeguards for customer data and preventing unauthorized access.
To address concerns about personal data protection, Prof. Danbatta highlighted the importance of Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030 (NDEPS). Pillar #6 of the NDEPS, which focuses on soft infrastructure, addresses cybersecurity standards, frameworks, and guidelines.
The recently enacted Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 provides a legal framework for personal information protection, regulating its processing. The NCC is also developing comprehensive Data Protection Regulations specific to the communications sector.
Prof. Danbatta stressed the significance of collaboration among law enforcement agencies, telecom operators, and regulatory bodies to investigate and prosecute e-fraud perpetrators. Enhanced coordination, information sharing, and dedicated cybercrime units were cited as effective deterrents against cyber criminals.
The NCC, through its Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), has been actively engaged in protecting, informing, and educating telecom consumers. The NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) provides timely advisories on cybersecurity threats, equipping consumers with the knowledge to avoid falling victim to cyber-attacks.
Prof. Danbatta encouraged telecom operators to educate their customers, promptly address concerns, and emphasize transparency and accountability in their security measures and incident response mechanisms.
The speech highlighted the importance of consumer awareness, digital literacy, and fostering innovation in security technologies. He encouraged the consumers to actively participate in protecting themselves while urging telecom operators to guide secure online practices and user-friendly tools to monitor and manage accounts.
Further, he said collaboration between academia, industry, and research institutions was emphasized to drive innovation in cybersecurity and countermeasures against e-fraud.
In closing, Prof. Danbatta called for a collective effort to combat e-fraud and build a secure digital ecosystem.