There is the likelihood that Nigeria may be hit by a massive cyber-attack in the coming weeks, according to a top government official.
This is coming in the wake of one of the largest cyber-attacks in history, which has affected over 100, 000 computers in 99 countries including Russia and China.
The official, who pleaded anonymity because he was not cleared to speak to the media on the issue, told Daily Trust on Sunday yesterday why Nigeria is a possible target.
“Nigeria has been flagged among the countries to be attacked. Our massive usage of Microsoft Operating System has already made us vulnerable. We may see the true picture next week when work resumes,” the official who is a cybercrime prevention expert told our reporter on phone.
He said it was most likely the attack had already hit the country because it was only reported globally yesterday (Friday).
But the National Information Development Agency (NITDA) said yesterday it had yet to receive any report of an attack on any of establishment in the country.
NITDA’s Director General, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said though no attack has been reported anywhere in the country, the agency had put measures in place to prevent it from spreading to Nigeria.
He said Nigerians should quickly report any abnormality noticed in their computer system to: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
He said the ransomware attack was exploiting vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows Operating System, especially those not currently supported such as Windows XP, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003.
“Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability in March and machines that were updated with the patch would have been automatically protected,” Dr Pantami said.
Furthermore, the NITDA DG said should any system be infected by the ransomware, it should be isolated from other networks to prevent the threat from further spreading.
In addition, he said, the following action could be taken immediately: remove the system from network, do not use flash/pen drive/external drives on the system to copy files to other systems, format the system completely, and contact NITDA’s Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Team for assistance.
Media reports say the massive cyber-attack, which is using tools believed to have been stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA), came to limelight Friday when many organisations noticed disruption in their online activities.
Britain, Russia, China and spain are among the countries to have suffered the most from the attack with an NHS staff sharing screenshots of the WannaCry programme, which demanded a payment of $300 (£230) in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock the files for each computer.