FG To Update Cybercrimes Act In Response To AI, Emerging Tech Risks

In response to the challenges posed by emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Federal Government of Nigeria is taking steps to amend the 2015 Cybercrimes Act.

Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Advisor, announced this during a symposium organized by the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) in Abuja. Representing Dr. Bala Fakandu, the Manager of the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), Ribadu highlighted the increasing use of new technologies by cybercriminals.

Ribadu emphasized the government’s commitment to safeguarding the security and accessibility of critical information systems, recognizing that cybersecurity is essential for a sustainable and successful future. Acknowledging that cybercriminals are already exploiting technologies like AI, machine learning, and blockchain for illicit activities, he stressed the need to address these areas.

To address concerns raised by various stakeholders regarding AI and virtual assets, the Federal Government is seeking to revise the 2015 Cybercrimes Act. This amendment aims to address the evolving nature of cyber threats and ensure the legislation remains relevant in combating cybercrimes associated with emerging technologies.

“As we embrace the rapid evolution of technology, we must be mindful of new and exciting areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain technologies that will continue to affect the future.

“This is bearing in mind that criminal elements are already exploiting new technologies to progress their illicit activities.

“Consequently, the FG is currently making efforts to amend the Cybercrimes Act 2015 and the issue of AI and virtual assets are amongst several critical inputs from stakeholders being considered.”

Ribadu further emphasised how crucial cybersecurity incident management and the protection of the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) are for the development of the nation.

According to him, a Presidential Order on the designation and protection of CNII is awaiting President Bola Tinubu’s assent, which would help Nigeria’s efforts to achieve its security, national development, and economic prosperity objectives.

In response to the growing cyberthreats from state and non-state actors, the NSA stressed the necessity for ongoing cybersecurity awareness.

“This underscores the need for continuous cybersecurity awareness in the wake of increased cyber threats from both states and non-state actors,’’ he added.

By encouraging international cooperation and partnerships to counter these threats, Nigeria has achieved tremendous strides in cybersecurity, establishing itself as a reliable player in the global digital arena.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be attained by 2030, according to CSEAN President Ade Shoyinka, who also emphasised the need of combating cybercrime.

He stressed that Nigeria’s progress towards the SDGs might be hampered by cybercrime by non-state actors in the absence of effective preventive measures.

Shoyinka emphasised the critical role that technology and cybersecurity play in achieving the SDGs and urged governments, the corporate sector, and civil society organisations to work together to combat cyberthreats.