By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. February 20, 2013: The threat of cyber attacks against the Nigerian government has come under the spotlight following a new report that no less than 23 government websites were defaced in the year 2012.
Website defacement is a form of hacking involving the substitution of the original home page by a system cracker who breaks into a web server, alters the hosted website and creates one of his own.
Centrex Ethical Lab, a cyber-security and intelligence company reports that its recent survey indicates that a total of 23 official government websites on the .gov.ng domain, the official government internet name in Nigeria was reported defaced in 2012 alone. Out of a total of the 60 website defacements last year, the attacks also included 15 cases of violation of .org government websites.
The Nigeria National Assembly official website appears as the most defaced government website in 2010 to 2012, followed by that of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the nation’s anti-graft agency.
Centrex Ethical Lab’s data analysis shows that the defacement of government websites was continually on the rise as the number of such cases grew from 1 per cent in 2009 to 10 per cent in 2010 and increased to 60 per cent in 2012.
There has been an increase in cyber-violations of official websites of government agencies and parastatal over the last three years says Nsikak Nelson, a cyber-security expert who says that the past three years has witnessed more cyber capabilities in the government sector and “these has left us with an imaginary line.”
He blames the lack of knowledge as a key reason for the vulnerability of government websites pointing to lack of understanding of ethical hacking among government officials as the main reason for the growing attack.
According to Centrex Ethical Lab report, cyber crime with more website defacement has been on top of the game with high scale of preference. Crackers are subjected to new means of avenue to wealth by giving a focus point at hacktivity, the highly populated opposition members have given hope to the team by patronisinghackivist to place a billboard of unwanted government policy on its site, he adds.
The report discloses that Nigerian government did not divulge details of websites violated, however, it is in the public domain that many of the government’s websites have come under such cyber attacks.
The Nigerian government is unable to secure its official websites raising a question mark over its claims that efforts have been made to reduce the growing threat of violations of its digital space, the company says.
The company in its survey indicates various reasons for website attacks in the country by hackers from 2010 to 2012.
“I want to be the best defacer, just for fun, as a challenge, political reasons, patriotism and revenge against that website”, ranks as some of the reasons for the attacks.
The major reason for website defacement during this period is political reasons followed by “I want to be the best defacer”, according to the report.