WannaCry: FG declares Nigeria Cyber attack Free

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(Last Updated On: 2017-05-22)

Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Sunday said that Nigeria is free from the “WannaCry” ransomware attack but called for sustained security alertness from stakeholders to forestall future attacks.

The Director-General of NITDA, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantimi, made the declaration in a statement issued on his behalf by Head, Cooperate Affairs and External Relations, Hadiza Umar in Abuja.

The WannaCry began affecting computers worldwide, with evidence pointing to an initial infection in Asia at 7:44am UTC.

The WannaCry ransomware attack is an ongoing worldwide cyber-attack, which targets computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

It has affected systems of 300,000 computers worldwide, more than 150 countries across the globe including Europe, America and Russia were affected.

The NITDA, however, said there is no need for panic in the country as all efforts have been taken to ensure Nigeria is free from attack.

Given reason while Nigeria was not affected by the WannaCry ransomware, Ibrahim, said the country was spared following sensitisation from relevant stakeholders.

“The management of NITDA would like to bring to the attention of Nigerians that the recent WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack has been contained. Nigeria was largely spared from the attack due to the massive enlightenment campaign, awareness and proactive measures put in place to swiftly deal with any reported incident,” he said.

The DG commended efforts of all stakeholders in ensuring that the country was spared of attack.

“The efforts of all stakeholders in the Information Technology industry are highly commendable and appreciated.

“The attack which was considered to be one of the biggest cyber security attacks in recent history showed traces that Nigeria appeared to be isolated, as no major incident is reported in the country.

Pantimi called on all Nigerians to support the NITDA in the fight against the virus attack by always following best practices and be proactive.

“We, therefore, call on all citizens, especially critical stakeholders in the IT industry, to support NITDA in this onerous task by always following best practices. They should be proactive in the way information and systems are handled as these will help in minimising risks of attacks as well as possible loss of vital information,” he said.

The D-G said that IT had become the integral part of Nigerians which required vigilance to ensure maximum protection.

Ibrahim further called on users of outdated operating systems to upgrade to Windows 10 and obtain the latest protection patch, MS17-010 released by Microsoft.

He added that Windows Defender Antivirus should be enabled on systems so as to detect Ransomeware and similar attacks.

He, however, said that there was hope for systems that had already been affected by the attack.

“For systems that have been attacked, tools have been developed to unlock the files locked by this ransomware.

“The WannaDecrpyt or Wannakey can be used to unlock the file; they have been found to have successfully decrypted systems infected with the ransomware,” he said.

 

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