The website of Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), the nation’s internet police unit under the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), has suffered a major internet downtime.
Technology Times checks reveal that the ngCERT website, which has gone offline as at the time of filing this report today, has impacted the online presence of the internet police and cyber response unit for Nigeria, with official website on http://www.cert.gov.ng.
ngCERT, as the nation’s internet police, was established by the Nigerian government, under the purview of the Office of the NSA, with “mission to manage the risks of cyber threats in the Nigeria’s cyberspace and effectively coordinate incident response and mitigation strategies to proactively prevent cyber-attacks against Nigeria.”
ngCERT: What caused website downtime?
Efforts by Technology Times to confirm the nature of cyber incident that caused the ngCERT’s website downtime have so far proved abortive.
When Technology Times called one of the listed phone lines of ngCERT, an official who identified himself simply as “Inspector Alegu” picked the call, but discontinued the phone conversation when he was told about the website downtime. We had told him that we wanted to confirm the nature of the cyber incident that caused the downtime to ensure a balanced reportage of the incident. After the call was discontinued, calls made back to the phone line were no longer picked.
Technology Times independent checks of internet web records using Wayback Machine, a service that offers a digital archive of the World Wide Web, reveals that the most recent record of the online presence of the ngCERT website was as at June 8, 2023.
In an advisory by Nigerian tech firm, Whogost explains in a blog post that the top 5 reasons that could cause a website downtime include server overload, DDoS cyber attack, Poor website hosting, Miscellaneous Causes and theme and plugin incompatibilities.
According to ngCERT’s founding principle, the cyber response unit “has the mission to achieve a safe, secure and resilient cyberspace in Nigeria that provides opportunities for national prosperity.”
The ngCERT unit, web records reviewed by Technology Times shows, “was established with a mission to manage the risks of cyber threats in the Nigeria’s cyberspace and effectively coordinate incident response and mitigation strategies to proactively prevent cyber-attacks against Nigeria.”
The Nigerian cyber response unit, which was saddled with the responsibility of reducing the volume of future incidents, was set up “to prepare, protect, and secure the Nigerian cyberspace in anticipation of attacks, problems, or events,” according to the government.
ngCERT Proactive services:
The Proactive service of ngCERT, the unit says in web records, “is carried out to help prepare, protect, and secure the Nigerian cyberspace in anticipation of attacks, problems, or events. These services will directly assist ngCERT to reduce the volume of future incidents.”
ngCERT listed its proactive services to include:
ngCERT carry out this service to monitor and observe new technical developments in Information Technology, intruder activities and related trends to help identify future threats.
Intrusion Detection Services
ngCERT monitors IDS of organizations that host information systems that are considered Critical National Information Infrastructure(CNII) to the Nigerian Government. It also review existing IDS logs and analyse in order to initiate a response for any events that meet ngCERT specified threshold.
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration testing
Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing is one of ngCERT’s on-demand services, perform to protect information systems that are considered Critical National Information Infrastructure(CNII) which may be owned by either public or private sectors of Nigeria. This service is designed to properly secure such information systems.
Announcements by ngCERT include but not limited to intrusion alerts, vulnerability warnings, and security advisories. Such announcements inform constituents about new developments with medium to long-term impact, such as newly found vulnerabilities or intruder tools.