CyberSafe Foundation, a leading non-governmental organization in the information security ecosystem in Nigeria, and its partners – Foreign CommonWealth & Development Office (FCDO), have hit the set targets to equip digitally vulnerable groups and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the knowledge and skills required to identify, protect, detect, defend and respond to COVID-19 instigated cyber threats, enabling a safe digital community.
The UK Government, through its Prosperity Fund Digital Access Programme, signed a grant agreement with CyberSafe Foundation to carry out the “Safe Digital Community during COVID-19 Project” as part of UK’s cyber risk mitigation support to Nigeria’s COVID-19 response.
The grant agreement which was signed by FCDO and CyberSafe Foundation on the 7th of September 2020, led to equipping digitally vulnerable groups and 1,504 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The Safe Digital Community Project directly benefited 1,504 SMEs across 35 States in Nigeria, and upskilled 3,057 employees in cyber safety essentials.
For the digitally vulnerable groups including people with limited digital experience, the project helped raise their awareness in safe cyber hygiene, enhance their online security and enable a safer digital community, reaching over 10 million people.
Speaking on the project, Confidence Staveley, Executive Director, Cybersafe Foundation thanked UKAID and 18 volunteer cyber security expert trainers for aligning with the Foundation to empower the participants, adding that through the ‘No Go Fall Maga’, cyber awareness comedy skits, more than 3.3 million people were educated on vishing, multi-factor authentication and phishing.
She said that beneficiaries cut across computing/technology, real estate, transport & services, oil & gas, retail/manufacturing, fashion, hospitality & leisure, healthcare, charity/NGO, education, consulting, financial services, amongst others.
Also, the partners executed massive work through the radio and did a novel cybersecurity awareness song in collaboration with Cobhams Asuquo which was played 3,973 times on 32 radio stations across Nigeria. In addition, 13 episodes of the No Go Fall Maga radio drama series created to drive awareness about cyber hygiene best practices, reached more than 5.2 million radio listeners.
During the project’s duration, an intensive social media mass awareness campaign saw close to 10 million people digesting 20 short cyber hygiene videos developed by the team.
Statistics also show that the SME upskilling and upscaling cyber security training garnered a lot of results. With 1,504 SMEs participating, 40.7% of the beneficiaries are female-owned.
Prior to the training, 57% of the beneficiaries could not identify a phishing email. However, post-training review indicates that 83% of them now understand prevalent attack vectors and preventive measures.
Interestingly, 76% have now implemented one or more security controls.
Staveley who is visibly elated by the growing testimonials from participants, said, “the impact has been massive and we are prepared to sustain the tempo even in 2021. We are going to increase the number of SMEs by 100%; in other words, we are targeting 3,000 SMEs in this rerun and will continue to use social media and radio to drive cybersecurity awareness. We are calling for SMEs to join the new batch for training. They can register via this link http://learn.cybersafefoundation.org/”.
Commenting on the project, the UK Government’s Head of Digital Access Programme and Country Adviser, Idongesit Udoh, said, “The first run of the Safe Digital Community During COVID-19 project recorded enormous impact courtesy of the excellent delivery by Cybersafe Foundation.
“The project afforded approximately 3057 employees the opportunity to get cybersecurity training, raising the bar in cybersecurity preparedness for Small and Medium Scale Businesses in Nigeria, also impacting millions via social media and radio.
“This project demonstrates the UK Government’s continued support for Nigeria and its digital sector, recognizing the tech ecosystem’s role in inclusive growth and development. A rerun of this project will sustain the huge impact recorded by the CSF on cyber awareness and extend cyber capacity building to more SMES across the country during this pandemic where there is increased cyber risk for small businesses”.