There is a post from April 2011 asking if the CIA was monitoring Nairaland. The concern then was if, perhaps in union with the Nigerian Government, the American ‘spytelligence’ agency was taking notes of Nigerians’ behaviours and traits from the conversations on the forum.
Well, this is not about that. This is a more serious and pressing inquiry.
In light of the recent documents released by WikiLeaks revealing tools the CIA use on spying on internet connected devices, one should wonder exactly who and who have been affected all along.
inquizimedia.com cannot independently verify the authenticity of — heck, who has time to read 8,000 pages??!
So, basically, we have relied on available synopsis to know the juice in the documents. Like we know the CIA can break into Android and iphone handsets, including computers of ANY kind. Though some sources say the vulnerable devices are those of certain older software versions, the number of persons using those versions are high enough to be a matter of concern.
Which brings us back to the first point of inquiry: How many Nigerians are affected?
For starters, activities done on Whatsapp have been under the surveillance. How many Nigerians are still using old versions of Whatsapp? Even for those who have updated theirs, just how much information has been collected about your private chats? How many dialogues held in group chats have been open to the screen of intelligence officers?
There are scarier aspects of the CIA revelations. We have long been under the assurance, thanks to Nollywood, that when anyone lost control of his vehicle, leading to a crash, it was certainly due to things being done from the village, or as some like to put it, actions from one’s father’s House. Now, the documents state that the CIA did in fact test out the manipulation of cars for “nearly undetectable assassinations”.
In the interest of the safety of the Nigerian people, it will be wise to assume that the Ministries of Communications and Foreign Affairs are alert to this development. For once, it would not be a boring thing to hear them say “we are on top of the situation”. The CIA have an official record of Nigeria’s information, including details about Communications. Other aspects they know which we don’t know, if any, should be inquired about.
More importantly, though, this should provide a guide to discussions on themes around internet freedom and a transition to the world of the Internet-of-Things. Nigeria, as it is today, does not yet have the adequate cyber-security infrastructure required to combat hacks and deleterious effects of the hyper cyber connected world.
The official number of data users may have come down by some margin, but internet facilities and opportunities for connectivity are becoming more available. With more availability comes more vulnerability.
Mind you, more documents are yet to be released; Julian Assange ain’t quite done yet. But while we await specific answers on our inquiry, you can do these three things:
- UPDATE ALL YOUR SOFTWARE. Find a place where they offer free wi-fi, if you cannot afford the data required. Make sure you buy what they sell there though, whether you like the taste or not.
- Toggle off and online, have more offline moments.
- STOP BROADCASTING YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS ONLINE! This one does not require a WikiLeaks threat to even be a thing to be done. Get a diary.
We cannot afford to grab more cookies if that only increases the possibility of becoming infected with running stomach.