Nigeria: Internet Service Providers - The Unlikely Heroes In Preventing Cyber Attacks

Last Updated: 12 April 2016
Article by Tope Aladenusi

Most Read Contributor in Nigeria, July 2017

Once upon a time, speed, data capacity and coverage were the forces customers used to decide which ISP they were going to patronize for Internet service; now security is fast becoming the next factor for success. ISPs can increase the lifetime value of their customers by providing security protection thereby increasing revenue and impacting customer loyalty.

Cybercrime has emerged as the default front-page article in various publications around the world. As a new enemy battling an unprepared army, a fire brigade approach is mostly employed by both public and private organizations worldwide to tackle its vices. Regulators in their attempt to manage cyber risk encourage and enforce compliance with various information security standards. Though their goals may be noble, this has pushed in the compliance-check-box mentality. What we now witness is that organizations are racing to get compliant as opposed to having a culture that promotes continuous improvement of their security processes.

In any crime, there has to be a perpetrator, a victim and an avenue that brings both the perpetrator and victim together. For example, a bank customer that gets robbed at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), the victim is obviously the customer, the perpetrator is the person that steals from the bank customer while the avenue that brought them together is the ATM. For such a scenario one might blame the bank customer for not being security conscious especially if this happened at night. However, the flip side is, what if this is a recurring issue at this ATM point? I'm sure the bank responsible for providing the ATM needs to be questioned as well. One would expect the bank to put certain measures in place such as have security guards, security cameras, proper lightning when it is dark and if possible have Police protecting the area in other to satisfy its customers going forward. The same should apply to cybercrime. There has to be a perpetrator, a victim and an avenue. For cybercrime, the avenue is usually the Internet. The anonymous and faceless nature of the Internet does not help in this regard as normal face-to-face interaction or physical evidence during regular crimes is often lost. The good news is that the Internet does not just appear; it is provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

As internet penetration increases and more businesses and social activities come online, Internet users would clamor for increased speed at reduced cost. A lot has been done is this regard; we have moved from the era of dial up modems to broadband connections. In some parts of Lagos, there are options to have fiber optics cables directly to people's home from their ISPs. There is still a long way to go while we also try not to forget the several challenges of doing such a business in Nigeria. This won't be discussed in this article rather what I hope to bring to bear is the role of ISPs in the cyber security landscape. ISPs have ample opportunities to contribute to cyber security improvements based on the advantage of their positioning in the Internet's ecosystem.

Regulation is important as we need to have an agile approach to cybersecurity, constantly updating our laws to both reflect and anticipate realistic threats. However, regulation may not be as fluid enough to tackle the onslaught of cyber security attacks and threats. This is where ISPs nationwide need to approach cybersecurity from a responsibility perspective. Regulation is usually too slow to create and implement in such a rapidly evolving world. As at 2012, ISPs in the U.S. voluntarily committed to taking steps to combat three major cyber security threats, based on recommendations from their Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advisory committee. This included implementing measures to fight botnets, domain name fraud and Internet route hijacking. Also, Internet customers in the UK are prohibited from accessing a range of web sites by default, because they have their Internet access filtered by their ISPs. Categories of content blocked across the major ISPs range from Drugs, File sharing, Gambling, Pornography, Weapons, Criminal Skills to Hacking tools and techniques. It is worthy to note and stress that the mentioned examples were voluntary actions even though there have been a number of attempts to introduce legislation to move it onto a mandatory footing.

Organizations with the exception of non-profit ones are in business to make profit and ISPs should not be left out. There are incentives for ISPs to secure the traffic of its customer by offering this as an added value service for additional fees. This security protection could be expanded for which new revenues will be generated. Once ISPs begin touting security as a value added service, this changes the market dynamics as consumers will be faced with the option of being protected versus not being protected. I'm optimistic that customers will be willing to pay a premium for services that deliver more value, ensure the integrity of data, and help protect them.

With the popularity of the Information Security Standard and other IT Governance processes being promoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria, most Financial Services Institutions such as Banks and Merchant Banks are demanding their third party suppliers or vendors to pay particular attention to information security in their organizations. The Banks will require their vendors to demonstrate or show proof of a level of measures taken to ensure information security processes within their organization. If such measures are lacking or not up to par, the banks will either accept the risk or search for an alternative vendor with better measures so as not to violate the standard's requirements. These vendors include various third parties of which ISPs are inclusive. Hence once banks start switching vendors or ISPs based on their security measures, this will be a tipping point for ISPs to take security issues and consumer protection seriously.

There is currently no legal obligation for ISPs in Nigeria to take further steps in securing internet traffic that passes through its network, hence no liability on their part but when security becomes a focus of market and economic forces, strategic moves from ISPs in actively improving security measures and protecting their customers will become paramount. There are however many opportunities for service offering differentiation and for ISPs to differentiate themselves in the market and raise the bar in consumer protection. An example would be if ISPs could provide early security notification to its customers once a threat is identified. Protecting consumers, governments and businesses is a priority and there is a responsibility for ISPs at the 'center' of the Internet ecosystem to ensure the networks are secured. According to the Cybercrime Act 2015, the Nigeria national Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) coordination center has a mandate to manage cyber incidences in Nigeria and all companies under a cyber-attack must send reports to the center. It will be in the best interest for the ngCERT to share classified information and raw lessons from incidences with companies involved. This way, all ISPs become part of a collective responsibility.

Once upon a time, speed, data capacity and coverage were the forces customers used to decide which ISP they were going to patronize for Internet service; now security is fast becoming the next factor for success. ISPs can increase the lifetime value of her customers by providing security protection thereby increasing revenue and impacting customer loyalty.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.