Human and ICT: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Abiodun OLUWASIKU Written by Abiodun OLUWASIKU · 2 min read >

Information technology has revolutionised every aspect of human endeavours across the globe.  The use of digital devices has permeated all spheres of everyday life ranging from health, education, transportation, commerce, banking, finance, agriculture, communications, entertainment, tourism/hospitality, socialisation, and indeed all professions.  The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way humans do things a great deal.

Th availability of electronic capabilities to collect, analyse, manipulate and disseminate information, as well as tracking, surveillance, and hacking tools create unprecedented challenges to information privacy. Such technologies are becoming more effective, available, and affordable globally. Globalisation facilitated by technology in all spheres of society has led to a dramatic increase electronically compiled and transmitted data.

Depending on factors such as the quality of the available telecommunications infrastructure, affordability, and reliability of the access to networks and the level of information security, society can potentially socially and economically benefit from future developments in the ICT sector. This is evident by the daily influx of technology gadgets and software applications.

Vanguard (2014), reports that there are more than 10 billion electronic devices connected to the Internet – establishing a super-cluster of inter-cloud digital activities. Morgan Stanley feels that the number can be as high as 75 billion by the year 2020 because there are 200 unique consumer devices that could be connected to the internet that have not yet done so. These digital transnational interconnectivities are encapsulated in the crystal ball called cyberspace. With the advent of IoT, the challenges of privacy breaches are likely to magnify many thousand folds. Currently, cyberspace is inhibited by e-sharks that are responsible predominantly for cybercrime.

As technology advances and Internet usage continue to abound on a worldwide scale, there exists complex interdependence amongst critical information technology infrastructures such as security, health, banking, and transportation. The world over is heavily dependent on technology for survival and continuing existence without which life becomes pretty difficult.

In the past decade, personal computers, tablets, smartphones, workstations, databases, and mainframes have become increasingly interconnected with distribution networks, most importantly via the Internet. The exponential growth of the Internet coupled with numerous advantages such as ease of access; little or no regulation, censorship/government control; anonymity of communication; the fast flow of information; inexpensive development and maintenance of web presence; vast potential audiences; multimedia environment makes Internet supported ICT a global phenomenon.

Computers; networks; software; programs and applications; and ancillary technology devices present boundless opportunities to humanity. However, it is crucial to recognise inherent vulnerabilities and potential threats associated with the ICT notional environment called cyberspace. Technology grows exponentially without corresponding due consideration for security, cyber attackers can literarily identify and exploit security weaknesses. The IoT and numerous advantages associated therewith have further enhanced risks associated with computer technology because mischievous and criminally minded elements now consider cyberspace a veritable platform to formulate, plan and execute crime.

Cyber-based crime has distinctive advantages over physical crime. They can be remotely, anonymously, and relatively cheaply executed and they do not require significant investments in weapons, explosives, and personnel. The fact that crime has shifted from the conventional/physical realm to the borderless invisible/virtual realm is a major reason why cyberspace must be protected. Anybody who uses the Internet for any reason can be a victim. This is why it is important to be aware of how one is being protected while online.

Humanity is currently caught-up with perhaps the largest and most complex digital spider-web architecture – whereas Nigeria is passionately and perhaps naively trying to play digital catch-up through conspicuous consumption. This makes Nigeria susceptible to cyber-attack which can destroy critical information in the socio-political, and economic landscape. Nigeria deep-skill capacity and capability to defend our sovereign data and information systems is grossly inadequate.

Computer crimes or cybercrimes, whose commissions have proven highly prevalent in modern times, are in actuality, not more than digitalised versions of their conventional/traditional equivalents, operational in cyberspace. Since a fundamental duty of a State is the security of life and property, information security in commercial and public sectors is therefore a societal priority of all nations.

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