The claim by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof, Isa Pantami that Nigeria recorded 12.99 million cyberattacks in four days during the presidential election has continued to generate reaction, especially in the cybersecurity circle.
Prof. Pantami had on Tuesday in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Uwa Sulaiman, disclosed that 12.99 million cyberattacks were recorded during election week.
According to the statement, there were 6.99 million attacks on February 25th, which was the election day with those attacks including a series of hacking attempts such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and IPS attacks, SSH login attempts, brute force injection attempts, path traversal, detection evasion, and forceful browsing.
“Generally, threats to public websites and portals averaged around 1,550,000 daily. However, this skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on Presidential Election Day. Within 24th February 2023 and ended on 28th February 2023, a total of 12,988,978 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria,” the statement disclosed.
But in a reaction to the statement, Mr. Remi Afon, United Kingdom based cybersecurity expert challenged the Minister to break down how his ministerial standing committee on an advisory role for the protection of cyberspace and ICT came about the figure which is unprecedented in the history of cyberattacks globally.
“It will do Nigeria a lot of good for the Minister to break down how his ministerial standing committee on an advisory role for the protection of cyberspace and ICT came about the figure which is unprecedented in the history of cyberattacks globally,” Remi Afon, who is the immediate past President of Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) queried.
He noted that if the figures released by the Minister are true, which he doubts, then a “state of national cybersecurity emergency” should be declared.
“Ukraine suffered 2,194 cyberattacks in 2022, with 1,655 coming after Russia’s February 24 invasion, according to the Ukraine government. On the other hand, Nigeria purportedly suffered close to 13 million cyberattacks just in four days because of an election,” he queried further.
Meanwhile, Remi Afon, who should know argued that it is possible to have several events during the period specified, which does not necessarily translate into an incident or cyberattack. Also, for example, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack should be classified as one cyberattack and not, for argument’s sake, 100,000 attacks because they are launched from multiple devices that were distributed across the Internet.
According to him, it is within the remit of the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team ngCERT under the Office of the National Security Adviser to provide authentic information about cyberattacks and not a ministerial committee.
According to Security Magazine, there are over 2,200 attacks daily, breaking down to nearly one cyberattacks every 39 seconds. With around 2,220 cyberattacks daily, that equates to over 800,000 attacks yearly.