In the past few years, the digital financial ecosystem of Nigeria has undergone a massive transformation for good. The current financial ecosystem of the country is such that it is now a hub of fintech start-ups and organizations. With increased internet penetration, the mobile payment system is expanding. This alone is contributing to building the trust factor amongst the consumers. To maintain this trust of the consumers, it is essential to work on cybersecurity in the Nigerian financial space.
Government Of Nigeria Is Ensuring Cybersecurity
The Central Bank of Nigeria is the leading domestic regulator of the country’s financial landscape. Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria and other banks have taken significant steps toward ensuring cybersecurity in the different financial institutions. In addition to the government’s efforts, it is also important for individuals to take care of cybersecurity. A simple way of doing it is to hide the IP address while making important financial transactions. What Is My IP is a platform you can use to check the IP address before hiding it. In addition to that, public Wi-Fi should be avoided while making financial transactions.
To ensure cybersecurity in the country, it has a Risk-Based Cybersecurity Framework along with other important frameworks like the Regulatory Framework for Mobile Money Services in Nigeria. The Government of Nigeria is also planning to diversify the country’s economy under Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy. Cybersecurity serves as an important pillar, especially in the insurance, finance and banking sectors.
In the current age, the digital economy plays a key role in the country’s economic development. The digital economy can only be strengthened with a strong regulatory framework that the citizens can trust. Last year, the Nigerian government also launched eNaira, a central bank digital currency. This currency was created to make the entire process of financial transactions safe and speedy. Even though the reaction of the same was mixed, it was a welcome move toward the digital economy.
Importance Of Cybersecurity In The Nigerian Financial Space
According to the latest report, Nigeria currently houses more than 900 microfinance banks and 200 fintech firms. Even now, the percentage of informal payment systems is significant. To reduce that, it is important to work on financial inclusion. Currently, the financial space is dominated by fintech firms, followed by finance companies and primary mortgage institutions. Commercial banks occupy only 8.2% of the Nigerian economic space.
In Nigeria, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa play an important role in providing financial services to the Nigerian population. It is mainly done with subsidiaries. With increased digitization, the threats are also increasing. In fact, online threats have become sophisticated in nature. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to focus on cybersecurity. Focusing on cybersecurity also makes different financial institutes resilient to cyber attacks too. The framework designed by the Nigerian Bank is handy when it comes to taking proper measures to fight cybersecurity attacks.
Digital financial services are still new to Nigeria. Therefore, it is important to earn and then further maintain the trust of the customers. The different measures taken by the Government will hopefully maintain this trust factor of the customers. Also, it is high time to work towards building a safe online space too. A digital economy can only thrive when the online space is also felt safe. Everything is interconnected in the digital world.
According to the 2022 Cyber Threat Report by SonicWall, ransomware attacks rose by 105% in 2021. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses across the globe switched to remote work. This reason can be attributed to the increase in ransomware attacks across the globe. Ransomware attacks took the form of high-profile attacks last year, where the companies had to pay a huge ransom to maintain their reputation. In such a scenario, to ensure that the citizens continue to use digital financial methods, it is crucial to provide a safe environment and that too at multiple levels.
Nigeria has made commendable progress in improving the cybersecurity level of the country. However, it is also important to train the individuals regarding the same. It is because even though the government framework can protect the people from cyberattacks, the individuals need to maintain their digital hygiene too proactively. It is only through the collective efforts of the government and private sector along with the general public that Nigeria can enjoy a good digital financial economy.