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Critical Infrastructure Protection: Why the Nigerian Government Must Invest in Cybersecurity

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Destiny Young
Destiny Younghttp://linktr.ee/youngdestinya
Destiny Young is a highly credentialed information technology professional with over 13 years of industry experience. An HND/BSc (Hons) Computer Science graduate. He holds a Master of Technology degree in Information Technology from the prestigious University of South Africa (UNISA). He is a Distinction-grade MBA alumnus of Nexford University, Washington, DC, where he also obtained a First-class MSc degree in Digital Transformation. He is currently pursuing MSc in Cybersecurity. His professional development direction is in Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation, and Business Intelligence. He is a member of the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute of Administration of Nigeria (CIA), the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), etc.

Nigeria runs on invisible threads – communication networks, financial services, energy, commercial facilities, food/agriculture, and vital services. These interconnected systems, known as critical infrastructure, form the backbone of society. Yet, these very systems are increasingly vulnerable to a growing threat: cyberattacks.

The consequences of a successful attack on critical infrastructure could be catastrophic. Imagine a power grid plunged into darkness, hospitals crippled by data breaches, or transportation systems paralysed by malware. The economic damage, disruption to daily life, and potential loss of life could be immense.

This is why government investment in cybersecurity for critical infrastructure is not just an option, but an imperative. Here’s why:

1. The Threat Landscape is Evolving: Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, targeting vulnerabilities in outdated systems and exploiting human error. Nation-states are developing offensive cyber capabilities, potentially using them to disrupt critical infrastructure during conflicts.

2. The Cost of Inaction is High: The potential cost of a successful cyberattack on critical infrastructure extends far beyond financial losses. Disruptions can impact public safety, national security, and economic stability, creating a ripple effect that can be difficult to quantify.

3. Government Has a Role to Play: The private sector, while responsible for securing their own systems, often lacks the resources and expertise to address the complex challenges posed by sophisticated cyber threats. Government intervention is crucial to set standards, share information, and coordinate efforts across different sectors.

4. Investment Pays Off: Studies have shown that investing in cybersecurity can generate a significant return on investment. By preventing attacks and minimizing damage, governments can save money and protect vital services.

5. A Strong Cybersecurity Posture is a National Security Imperative: Protecting critical infrastructure is not just about protecting the economy; it’s about safeguarding national security. Disruptions to these systems could compromise national defense capabilities and create opportunities for adversaries to exploit.

What can governments do?

  • Develop and implement a national cybersecurity strategy: This strategy should prioritize critical infrastructure protection, outlining clear goals, roles, and responsibilities for different stakeholders.
  • Invest in research and development: Supporting the development of new cybersecurity technologies and solutions is crucial to staying ahead of evolving threats.
  • Facilitate information sharing: Creating secure channels for information sharing between government agencies, private sector companies, and international partners is key to identifying and responding to threats effectively.
  • Develop regulations and standards: Clear and enforceable regulations and standards can help ensure minimum cybersecurity hygiene across critical infrastructure sectors.
  • Build workforce capacity: Investing in training and education programs can create a skilled workforce to address the growing cybersecurity talent gap.

The future of our interconnected world depends on our ability to protect the critical infrastructure that underpins it. By investing in cybersecurity, governments can build a more resilient and secure future for all.

This article is just a starting point for the conversation. Let’s continue this crucial dialogue and work together to safeguard our critical infrastructure from the ever-evolving threat of cyberattacks.

By: DESTINY YOUNG | IT Operations and Technology Infrastructure Engineer

Destiny Young
Destiny Young is a highly credentialed information technology professional with over 13 years of industry experience. An HND/BSc (Hons) Computer Science graduate. He holds a Master of Technology degree in Information Technology from the prestigious University of South Africa (UNISA). He is a Distinction-grade MBA alumnus of Nexford University, Washington, DC, where he also obtained a First-class MSc degree in Digital Transformation. He is currently pursuing MSc in Cybersecurity. His professional development direction is in Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation, and Business Intelligence. He is a member of the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute of Administration of Nigeria (CIA), the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), etc.
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