Experts fault minister on 13million cyberattacks during polls

Cybersecurity experts have stated that the Federal Government’s claim that 12.99 million cyberattacks were recorded during the elections is impossible.

According to them, the government needs to explain its claim and allow experts to investigate its systems. On Tuesday, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, disclosed that 12.99 million cyberattacks were recorded during election week.

He stated that on the presidential election day (25th February), there were 6.99 million attacks. He explained that the attacks recorded included a series of hacking attempts including Distributed Denial of Service, email and IPS attacks, SSH login attempts, brute force injection attempts, path traversal, detection evasion, and forceful browsing.

Pantami noted that the Presidential cybersecurity committee for the election was up to the task and blocked all the attacks.

A statement signed by Pantami’s spokesperson, Uwa Sulaiman, read in part, “It is worth noting that in the run-up to the 2023 General Elections, threat intelligence revealed an astronomical increase in cyber threats to Nigerian cyberspace.

“Generally, threats to public websites and portals averaged around 1,550,000 daily. However, this skyrocketed to 6,997,277 on Presidential Election Day.”

However, cybersecurity experts have countered the claims of the government explaining that propaganda could be informing the claim.

The President of Nigeria Computer Society, Professor Adesina Sodiya, told The PUNCH, “Based on my personal experience, I am wondering how they would experience that amount of large cyberattack in a day during the election.

“Based on my experience, I do not think we could have up to that. But we need further information as to why they said that.”

He stated that when the NCS tried to find out if INEC had recorded any attack recently, the chairman of the commission stated that there was no attack. “Now that they are saying there were cyberattacks, it is not correlating.”

Explaining further, Sodiya, said, “In my experience as a professor of cybersecurity, they cannot experience that amount of cyberattacks.

“Cyberattacks are sometimes coordinated. When they try once and they don’t get access, they try again.”