As usual (and probably as most of you) I started today scanning through my mails and RSS feeds for important and urgent information. By doing that, I stumbled across an article called Hackers and Nigeria vulnerability to cyber terrorism and I started to read it.

As you know, I blogged several times already on the developing countries and the challenges they face. There are some pretty interesting statements in this article:

For many experts in the Nigerian IT industry, the impact of hackers is so colossal that it has the capability of wiping out development gains of a nation and retarding her growth fortunes by many decades. In terms of Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), experts have expressed fears saying that if proper steps are not taken to fight the ugly trend to the barest minimum, it will continue to cause more than good.

Pretty tough, isn't it: So, the criminals on the net are able to destroy all the good things that are done within a country to grow economy…

To many informed countries, according to him [Chris Uwaje , President of Global Network For Cyber Solutions] , it has become a matter of life or death – because the survivability of their nations now revolve on the dynamics of Information and Communications Technology. "ICT is now accepted, not only as the common currency, but indeed, represents the centre of gravity of the new world and new economy of the universe!

So, try to put yourself in the shoes of a government elite in a country like Nigeria. You have to ensure the true basics (water, power etc.), public safety, fight corruption (if you are not part of),… and then somebody asks you to fight cybercrime? As most of the politicians today did not grow up with this technology, it is extremely hard to convince them.

And then Uwaje pointed out the size of the problem:

Also a common knowledge in the ICT domain reveals that globally, "ID theft costs banks $1 billion a year. In the USA, nearly 10,000 victims had home loans _ totaling about $300 million _ taken out in their name in 2002 and another 68,000 had new credit cards issued in their name"

"While the FTC received 161,000 identity theft complaints last year, the FBI estimates the actual number of victims is probably closer to 500,000" What is the situation in the Nigerian Banks? We are reliably informed that a colossal N7.3billion Naira was lost to fraud in our banks, last year. Can that be all or is it more in this era of e_transactions and Cyber Space operation and life style? What will it cost the Nation to recover from this and similar future damages?" Uwaje explained.

Roger