Analysts estimate that in Nigeria, ministries, departments and agencies lose over N127 billion annually to cyberattack. This does not include sums lost by private sector businesses and organisations. The alarming rate, increasing sophistication and sheer boldness of cybercriminals calls for more holistic solutions and this is what Microsoft had in mind when it hosted a media roundtable on Wednesday.
The session which held at the company’s Lagos headquarters provided insight to the status of the local cybersecurity landscape. Microsoft also used the platform to re-emphasise its ongoing commitment to providing a safer and more trusted platform to organisations and businesses in the region.
Microsoft Country Manager for Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon, Akin Banuso explains that as organisations continue to digitally transform, so does their exposure to threats within the cyberspace.
“Organisations need to leverage ever-improving capabilities with advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence to efficiently combat cybercrime. We have a responsibility to educate businesses about these recent developments – this is what encompassed our goal for this event.”
Microsoft recently published a Security Intelligence Report which identified four key trends in the fight against cyber threats. Digital Advisor for Microsoft Middle East and Africa, Daniel Adeyemo outlined these trends.
From our ongoing research, we found that in the past year, ransomware attacks as a vector declined, software supply chains have become a risk, cryptocurrency mining is prevalent, and phishing still remains the preferred attack method.Digital Advisor for Microsoft Middle East and Africa, Daniel Adeyemo
Adeyemo added that while this may indicate progress in blocking ransomware attacks against organisations, it also draws our attention to new avenues now being identified for attacks. According to him, these new avenues are very easily ignored by organisations but are a recognisable ‘pathway’ for penetration.
The digital advisor went on to list technical ways Microsoft is tackling these cyberattacks. These solutions include building cyber security fabrics into the different layers of the technology landscape. This inadvertently leads to better security within customers’ operating systems, within cloud platforms and better protection around identities using multi-factor authentication.
There are also fraud detection tools like the Microsoft graph which is a massive system that collates information from various sources like emails, which helps Microsoft see attacks in real time.
We use artificial intelligence to detect anomalies and protect against that. We, therefore, use that graph that we can see to respond quickly. Organisations who are tapped into Office 365 have consoles where they can get that data and they can take action within their organisation.Daniel Adeyemo
Mr Adeyemo also proffered simple yet very effective solutions and best practices individuals can effect to prevent cyberattack.
They include: security hygiene which means security tools like antiviruses should be in place and up to date; access control systems must be of the latest technology to allow for proper multi-factor authentication; backing up information is one of the most effective ways of protecting against ransomware as it helps retain information that was compromised; user education is recommended so that organisations can offer mandatory cybersecurity training to employees.
While security has always been a focus for Microsoft, Mr Banuso explains that his organisation recognises that the digital world requires a new approach on how to protect, detect and respond to security threats.
While there will always be new threats, attacks and technologies, Microsoft believes organisations and companies can begin to take action today to address security concerns and improve their security postures.
“We believe that security is a journey and not a destination. This must be addressed holistically by everyone and not by a single vendor,” Mr Adeyemo concludes.
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