" ITREALMS: Alert! NCC cautions operators, subscribers on WannaCry virus

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Alert! NCC cautions operators, subscribers on WannaCry virus

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted the licensed operators and subscribers in the country of the recent outbreak of a Ransomware virus also known as “WannaCry” across the world, reports ITRealms.

This alert, NCC officials told ITRealms was in fulfilment of its statutory mandate to assure the security and integrity of the national telecommunications network in the country.

The Ransomware, ITRealms gathered, is capable of infecting and encrypting all files on a system or any smart device until an amount is paid for a decryption key, or other means of retrieval which may lead to data loss are used to recover the system as an alternative.

This situation, NCC said, demands that proactive measures be taken by all players in the telecommunication eco-system to forestall the hazards of critical data loss, financial losses and ultimately network/business disruption. ITRealms also reports that the NCC in a public service notice, therefore advisd that the following protective measures be taken, amongst others to obtain software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017 to fix the Ransomware Virus; to plan scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times.

And for subscribers who use their smartphones as substitutes to computers for internet access, NCC said, they should protect themselves and their devices by “Not opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources; Not clicking pop-ups and applets on unknown websites; and installing effective antivirus software for their mobile devices.”

Furthermore, the NCC said it has taken proactive measures in fulfilling its statutory mandate including advising Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to initiate regular assessment and audit of their cybersecurity readiness.

“All operators should continue to ensure that their backup/ disaster recovery strategies are in place and up to date,” NCC stated.

In addition, the Commission noted it has further advised all operators to ensure continued deployment of effective firewalls, login passwords and antivirus management regime.

The Commission also stated, its working towards creating a link with the Cybersecurity Alert System on its website so that current information on global cyber threats/incidents could be immediately communicated to stakeholders.

NCC emphasized that the Commission will continue to provide more cybersecurity training for its staff.  

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