Your phone alerts you that you have a text message. You rush to check, thinking it was an alert, but you find out that the message is an unsolicited one inviting you to apply for a loan.
Puzzled and confused, you think aloud-But I have never heard of this organization before, nor did I visit their website?! The question that pops into your mind is, how did they get your phone number?
This is a common phenomenon in Nigeria, where your data, especially emails and phone numbers that are meant to be safeguarded, are shared without your authorization. Thanks to this, you receive marketing messages you never subscribed to. This is an absolute breach of privacy and trust.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is the regulatory body for companies that handle a large amount of data. In August 2021, the NITDA slammed a ₦10 million fine on Soko Lending Company Limited (SokoLoan), an online lending platform, for privacy invasion.
NITDA’s Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, said that “The action was taken after receiving series of complaints against the company for unauthorized disclosures, failure to protect customers’ data, and defamation of character as well as not carrying out the necessary due diligence as enshrined in the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).”
Despite the measures put in place, illegal data sharing is still prevalent in Nigeria and other developing countries. Meanwhile, data protection worldwide has become a massive challenge as we can see from almost daily reports of data breaches. These breaches allow hackers to steal customers’ sensitive information, which is in turn sold on the darknet.
Recently, a T-Mobile hack affected 50 million customers. Shockingly, the attack’s mastermind was a 21-year-old American who resided in Turkey and described the security of T-mobile as ‘very awful’.
Responding, T-Mobile said that: “The data, which belonged to former and prospective customers, included names, dates of birth, driver’s license details, and Social Security numbers. In addition, the hackers had swiped data belonging to approximately 7.8 million current postpaid customers. It also confirmed that 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customer names, phone numbers, and account PINs were exposed.
Risk Based Security released their 2021 Mid-Year Data Breach QuickView Report, stating that there have been recognizable shifts in the data breach landscape despite 2021 breaches declining by 24%. There were 1,767 publicly reported violations in the first six months of 2021, which exposed a total of 18.8 billion records. However, the decline of reported data breaches does not mean security has improved over the pandemic.
As data breaches rise, so is the cost of data protection increasing. According to the Cost of a Data Breach Report, featuring research by the Ponemon Institute, in 2021, the prices rose from $3.86 million to $4.24 million. The highest average total cost in the 17-year history of this report.
Unfortunately, remote work due to COVID-19 has doubled the cost. The Ponemon Institute findings state, “The average cost was $1.07 million higher in breaches where remote work was a factor in causing the breach, compared to those where remote work was not a factor.” Due to these many breaches, data protection seems like pulling teeth. However, with the right workforce, training, and investment, data breaches will be history.
Via the Zwart Academy-the edtech arm of Zwarttech, we train young people between the ages of 15 and 22 in cybersecurity, software development, and UI/UX design for six months. Upon completing the training, they join Zwarttech or Zwart Cyber for a one-year internship where they work on practical projects and acquire experience. As a result, they become junior developers and are ready to thrive in the job market.
Senior IT experts who are interested in working for international businesses can visit Zwart Recruit to get connected with available jobs, including cyber security. With our highly skilled IT professionals, data protection will be 100% guaranteed.