The assertion that Nigeria saw 12.99 million cyberattacks in four days during the presidential election has continued to elicit criticism, particularly in the cybersecurity community, according to Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
According to a statement released by Prof. Pantami on Tuesday and signed by his spokesperson Uwa Sulaiman, 12.99 million cyberattacks were detected during election week.
The announcement claims that there were 6.99 million hacking attempts on February 25th, the election day, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and IPS attacks, SSH login attempts, brute force injection attempts, path traversal, detection evasion, and forcible browsing.
“In general, daily threats to open portals and websites averaged around 1.550,000. But, on the day of the presidential election, this shot up to 6,997,277. 12,988,978 attacks were reported between February 24 and February 28, 2023, coming from both inside and outside Nigeria, according to the statement.
However, in response to the statement, Mr. Remi Afon, a cybersecurity expert based in the United Kingdom, pressed the Minister to explain how the figure, which is unprecedented in the history of cyberattacks globally, came to be determined by his ministerial standing committee on an advisory role for the protection of cyberspace and ICT.
Remi Afon, immediate past president of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), questioned, “It will do Nigeria a lot of good for the Minister to break down how his ministerial standing committee on an advisory role for the protection of cyberspace and ICT came about the figure which is unprecedented in the history of cyberattacks globally.
He highlighted that a “state of national cybersecurity emergency” should be proclaimed if the data presented by the Minister are accurate, which he doubts.
“According to the Ukrainian authorities, 2,194 cyberattacks targeted Ukraine in 2022, 1,655 of which occurred after Russia invaded the country on February 24.
He continued, “On the other hand, Nigeria allegedly had around 13 million cyberattacks just in four days due to an election.
Remi Afon, who should know better, countered that it is conceivable for numerous events to occur over the time period given without necessarily resulting in an incident or cyberattack. A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, for instance, should be categorized as one cyberattack rather than, for the sake of argument, 100,000 attacks, because it is launched from a variety of devices that are dispersed around the Internet.
He claims that, rather than a ministerial committee, the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), which is part of the Office of the National Security Adviser, has the authority to offer accurate information on cyberattacks.
Security Magazine estimates that there are approximately 2,200 attacks every day, or around one attacker every 39 seconds. Around 800,000 attacks per year are the result of the 2,220 daily cyberattacks.