What makes our Organizations Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

Nigeria’s disposition in the area of cybersecurity may look good but the truth of the matter is that it is far from good. As a country, we have grown to the state where we believe that the internet and computer network are needed to be able to actualize certain goals and achieve a certain objective. Our continued dependence on the computer network is a sign that we are growing as a country and this growth would also mean that we are more vulnerable. Your vulnerability as a country is not determined by the level of human capital within the IT sector or the rate of internet penetration but it is determined by the level of interconnection between sectors.
Our banking sector is connected to Telecoms, our Fintech is connected to the banking sector, our power sector needs the Fintech sector, government agencies need the IT sector to function, same as most other sectors.
We have grown to depend on the function of information technology to be able to remain visible and operational, which in turn brings about sustainability with specific IT dependant sectors such as Banking, FinTech, Energy & Power, Public Sector, Health, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Construction, etc. This connectivity was only possible because of our growth in the IT sector. Sadly this connectivity also makes us very vulnerable.
No country in the world is as vulnerable as the United States and the reason is that they are the most connected. All their sectors are interconnected and this makes them highly vulnerable. However, they are deploying regulations and policies to minimize their exposure.
As long as vulnerability is concerned, all organizations are vulnerable, however, the level of vulnerability differs. Based on this, we should understand that there are two categories of companies or organizations in the world; we have organizations whose vulnerability will be exploited and we have organizations whose vulnerability has been exploited.
Today I want to work with an assumption that Nigeria becomes a target of cyberattacks, what sectors are the most exposed. Let take a look at Nigeria’s most exposed sector to Cyber Attacks.
The sector that is most exposed in Nigeria is the Banking sector. In the ’90s before the bank recapitalization, most Nigerian banks operate manually. This means for every single transaction will require your presence in the banking hall. Most of the banks at that time had no branches. There was no interbank transfer as the bank’s sole purpose was to help you keep your money and when need you to go to the bank to withdraw your money. However, after the recapitalization, there was the need for merging and growth, banks began to adopt technology as a strategy not only for growth but to provide additional services like interbank transfer both within and outside the country. The adoption of technology made banks become interconnected with the help of the central bank mediating between them by bringing forth initiatives like Nigeria Inter-Bank Settling System (NIBSS) and SWIFT connection that enables international bank transfer. Some of these initiatives made the Nigerian banks interconnected.
Since then, Nigerian Banks have continued to adopt more technological innovations that enable them to remain operational. The Nigerian banking sector operates base on three different technological approaches. The first being operational technology, the second being information technology and the third being consumer technology.
Operational technologies are those technologies that the banks use to carry out their operations. Examples of operational technologies are the Employees Management System which is used to manage staff activities, Bank Management System also known as the core banking application, which is used to manage client/user’s account details and transaction activities. Some BMS enables banks to offer additional services loan management, investment management, etc.
Information Technologies are strictly those technologies that help communication between account holders and the bank or between different branches. Examples of these technologies include the internet, corporate network, web technologies, etc.
Consumer technologies are those technologies that are given to consumers or account holders to enable them to carry out certain services without visiting the bank. Example of such technologies includes internet banking application, mobile banking application, loan issuing application, etc.
Any organization that requires all these three categories of technology to function and remain operational is as vulnerable as the banking sector.
Our level of vulnerability is determined by the dependence on these three categories of technologies.
Another sector that is as vulnerable as the banking sector is FinTech. It requires all three categories of technologies to be able to carry out its operational functions.
Some sectors may only require operational technologies and information technologies only. Example of sectors in Nigeria that requires only operational and information technologies are hospitality sector, health sector.
Hotels only need to have a corporate network, internet, and hotel management system which enables them to be able to manage their guest. Some hotels may need an employee management system to be able to manage their clients.
The same goes for the health sector, especially the hospitals. They remain just a corporate network, internet, and the patient management system which enables them to manage their patient history.
Some our level of exposure is highly determined by the categories of technologies that organization will require to be able to function and remain operational.

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