The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says cyber security is critical to the 2019 general elections.
Dr Isa Pantami, the Director-General of the agency made this known in a statement issued by Mrs Hadiza Umar, the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency on Thursday in Abuja.
Pantami said that the agency was working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant stakeholders to ensure cyber security throughout the electoral process.
He said that there was need to put proper security checks in place to avoid any unforeseen eventuality from hackers and terrorists.
“If proper information technology security measures are not put in place, terrorists may disrupt the general elections by hacking into INEC voter register database.
“They can disrupt the banking system by hacking into it and taking over the Bank Verification Number (BVN) platform.
“They can critically disrupt the national economy by cyber-jacking the Treasury Single Account (TSA) software and other key system of the nation.
“We therefore call on all Nigerians to note that cyber security is critical to national security,” he said.
According to him, reports in the public domain purported that the agency said there is verifiable and imminent threat of terrorist attack on the 2019 general elections.
Pantami said that NITDA was not aware of any plan to disrupt the 2019 general elections but “is proactively working with INEC and other stakeholders to ensure security of election and voting IT Infrastructure.
“NITDA, as the IT Sector Regulator, has prioritised cyber security as one of its seven strategic focus areas.
“In this regard, public awareness through capacity building workshops for relevant stakeholders in the states has so far been conducted in the North West, South South and North East zones while the train moves on to other zones shortly.
“The agency has developed a strong partnership with relevant agencies including INEC, Central Bank, National Identity Management Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service for the purpose of effectively securing Nigerian cyberspace,” he said.
Pantami said that the country through the agency had formed profitable partnership with global technology giants to improve its cyber-security readiness.
He said that the agency through its Cyber-security Emergency Readiness and Response Team had been gathering necessary information and intelligence to counter the activities of devious cyber criminals.
He, however, challenged IT professionals to come up with more options to help the nation become better prepared as a nation in the days of global cyber warfare.