M-debit-card-feesFor a period close to 8 years, I have been an IT security Envangelist advocating for Software Quality Assurance as one way to maintaining the Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of data in Information Systems. It was passion that moved me to this field, nothing else; I had not been a direct victim of software or security compromise. My privacy had remained with me – To me, this was normal since my “ever -conscious” mind told me what was right to do on the internet and what not to do. However last week, I had my own fair share of security and privacy breach. It started with a hack on my payment card and then a virus attack on my PC. I had used my payment card indiscriminately on several POS terminals when I travelled out of my country. I returned to Nigeria without bothering to check the activities on my account. The first time I would check my electronic bank statements in two months, I saw fraudulent ATM withdrawals originating from far-away Pakistan! My payment card was cloned and used to withdraw money from my bank account. As if that was not enough, I was preparing for a presentation with some final year Computer Science students, I needed some local data to drive home my point of the need for the participation of the female folk in IT. While trying to get some useful data from the Internet, I mistakenly downloaded a malicious software, and in less than 24 hours, my computer system stopped being mine – The virus determined when the PC would shut down, when my browsers would launch and what site I must visit. My computer system was literarily grounded!

In December last year, I attended a programme tagged “Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roundtable”. The event was organized by Deloitte Nigeria, a security consultancy company and had in attendance Chief Executive Officers, CEOs and CISOs. One of the participants said “cyber security war is a war that can not be won” while I acknowledge the fact that malicous activities will remain an ongoing concern in the IT world for as long as the hackers continue to exist, my security breach experience has further motivated me and strengthened my resolve to join forces with other security professionals to keep fighting the cyber security war until we make that space safer and better. No retreat, no surrender!

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