By Florence Onuegbu
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged telecommunications operators and subscribers to deploy firewalls as a proactive measure to tackle cyber-attack.
The regulatory body said in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday that there was a recent outbreak of a cyber-attack called “Ransomware Virus’’, also known as “WannaCry’’.
The commission said that alerting operators and subscribers of the virus was in fulfillment of its statutory mandate to ensure security and integrity of the national telecommunications network.
According to the commission, Ransomware is capable of infecting and encrypting all files on a system or any smart device.
NCC said that the files would be encrypted until an amount was paid for a decryption key, or other means of retrieval (which may lead to data loss) were used to recover the system as an alternative.
“This situation demands that proactive measures be taken by all players in the telecommunications eco-system to forestall the hazards of critical data loss, financial losses and ultimately network/business disruption.
“The NCC therefore, wishes to advise that there is the need to obtain software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017, as protective measures to fix the Ransomware Virus.
“Operators should plan scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times.
“Subscribers who use their smartphones as substitutes to computers for internet access should protect themselves and their devices by not opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources,” NCC said.
The commission said that subscribers should not click pop-ups and applets on unknown websites.
The telecomminications regulator added that subscribers should install effective antivirus software for their mobile devices.
According to NCC, it has advised Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to initiate regular assessment and audit of their cyber security readiness.
“All operators should continue to ensure that their backup/disaster recovery strategies are in place and up to date.
“NCC has further advised all operators to ensure continued deployment of effective firewalls, login passwords and antivirus management regime.
“The commission is working toward creating a link with the Cyber security Alert System on its website, so that current information on global cyber threats/incidents could be immediately communicated to stakeholders,’’ it said.
The regulatory body said it would continue to provide more cyber security training for its members of staff.