Customer-focused telecommunications company, 9mobile, has said that its Iska Weather (forecast) service launched recently in partnership with weather forecasting portal, Ignitia, has gained impressive traction among the target users over the short period since its introduction.
The telecom firm said users have commended the innovative service because of the positive impact it has had on their businesses.
A user, Jibrin Yakubu Gama – a Kano-based businessman, in his testimonial said, “I use the weather forecast for trading. It helps me know how to schedule my plans for the day.” Another subscriber, Nazif Umar, lauded the service in these words, “I use it for driving so I know how the weather will be to be careful when driving.” In the words of Abubakar Zaaki Baiti – a Birnin-Kebbi farmer and user of the service, “I use the weather forecast for farming. It helps me know when to fertilize and helps me to know what to even do at the farm.”
Iska Weather Service enables farmers, event planners and others whose activities can be affected by meteorological conditions, to predict the weather with 84% forecast accuracy, thereby mitigating the impact of adverse weather and attendant losses.
Since its launch in October 2018, the service has gained over 135,000 new subscribers. In addition, the weather forecasting portal has had an average of 450,000 daily views on its landing page.
Commenting on the milestone, 9mobile’s Head Digital Media, Bolanle Afuye, said: “We were fairly optimistic when we rolled out the service, however the rate of subscription so far has surpassed our expectations. Even more amazing is the fact that to date we have recorded zero complaints from those who have used the service.”
She added that Iska Weather Service signals good times for event planners, traders, and other individuals for whom unexpected poor weather can significantly reduce their output. “A critical mission for us is to explore ways through which we can deploy technology in solving today’s problems, and Iska Weather Service provides a good opportunity to do that”, she enthused.
Iska Weather Service is a simple, easy-to-use platform that empowers 9mobile subscribers who live in rural and urban areas, to leverage technology in predicting the weather with near-perfect accuracy; thereby empowering them to plan against adverse weather conditions. The service offers subscribers access to Ignitia’s daily 2-day weather forecast service on rainfall risk, timing and intensity, along with the monthly and seasonal outlooks.
Farmers can utilise the service to prevent possible loss of crops from bad weather, while event planners, retailers, young and middle-aged individuals are also able to plan and carry out their activities unhindered by weather conditions.
Interested 9mobile customers can subscribe to the localised weather forecast by dialing *4555# via USSD or sending “help” to 4555 using SMS to view packages. The service is affordable and flexible, with customers able to choose their preferred subscription package. Available options include service packages of N10 per day, N35 per week or N100 per month.
NCC Tutors Nigerians How to Tackle Flubot Malware
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted Nigerian telecom users of the existence of a new high-risk and extremely damaging malware called Flubot.
The NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, said the malware is like every other malicious software and program designed specifically to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.
“When Flubot infects a device, it can result in incalculable financial losses. Additionally, the malware creates a backdoor which grants access to the user’s device, thus enabling the invader or attacker to perform other criminal actions, including launching other variants of malware,” he said.
Information from the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) revealed that Flubot malware targets androids with fake security updates and app installations.
The Flubot impersonates android mobile banking applications to draw fake web views on targeted applications, and its goal transcends stealing personal data and essentially targets stealing of credit card details or online banking credentials.
This malware can also be circulated through Short Message Service (SMS) and can snoop on incoming notifications, initiate calls, read or write SMSes, and transmit the victim’s contact list to its control centre.
It attacks Android devices by pretending to be FedEx, DHL, Correos, and Chrome applications and compels unsuspecting users to alter the accessibility configurations on their devices in order to maintain a continuous presence on devices.
The new malware damages the security of devices by copying fake login screens of prominent banks, and the moment the users enter their login details on the fake pages, their data is collected and transmitted to the malware operators’ control point.
This control quarter is where the data is exploited by intercepting banking-related One Time Passwords (OTPs) and replacing the default SMS app on the targeted Android device.
The malware is also capable of securing access into the device through SMS and proceeds to transmit similar messages to other contacts that may be on the device it has attacked, enticing them into downloading the fake app.
In a bid to tackle this malicious action, protect millions of telecom consumers and prevent criminal forces from using telecom platforms to execute fraud and complete damages, the NCC also listed measures to guard against attacks from Flubot.
Telecom users are expected not to install any app or security update following a page request, also not to click on any link when they receive a suspicious text message.
Users should also consider the use of updated antivirus software that detects and prevents malware infections, and apply critical patches to the system and application.
Also, the use of strong passwords and enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) over logins should be embraced.
Data should be Backed-up regularly, and if affected by this campaign, victims should reset their device to factory mode as soon as possible as this will delete any data on your phone, including personal data.
According to the NCC, backups made after installing the malicious program should not be restored, and victims may contact ngCERT platform for technical assistance.
Infected personnel will also need to change the passwords to all of y online accounts, with urgency, around online bank accounts.
If anyone has concerns that their accounts may have been accessed by unauthorized people, they are advised to contact their bank immediately.
Interswitch Unveils Report on Future of Africa’s Digital Economy
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A report aimed to help drive the growth of African businesses through blockchain technology has been unveiled by Interswitch Group, a leading integrated digital payment and e-commerce company on the continent.
The whitepaper titled Blockchain Technology: The Future of Africa’s Digital Economy, according to the Managing Director of Transaction Switching and Payment Processing at Interswitch, Mr Akeem Lawal, “was inspired by the need to demystify the ambiguity around blockchain technology for African businesses, thereby driving digitization and socio-economic growth across African markets.”
“We are passionate about empowering Africans and advancing the African payment landscape, and we are consistently identifying opportunities and exploring innovative ways to enable businesses to transform and scale,” he added.
Blockchain technology is a digital ledger that stores transactions. Essentially, it is a digital system for recording transactions in multiple places at the same time thereby making it impossible to falsify the data stored on it. The technology is evolving globally and businesses are integrating Blockchain technology into their business infrastructure.
The whitepaper document released by Interswitch contains details on how businesses can leverage blockchain technology to transform their businesses and the prospects it portends for the future of Africa’s digital economy.
Mr Lawal disclosed that the document encapsulates the benefits of blockchain technology and how it will help strengthen businesses because of its efficiency, better security in keeping records and safety.
“While the blockchain technology is a relatively new phenomenon in Nigeria and Africa, we are particularly excited about our partnership with Interstellar with whom we are developing a native blockchain infrastructure that is tailored to suit the African market,” he stated.
“This initiative will deepen digital payment, lower the cost of local and cross border payment as well as champion the cause for localization of emerging technology,” Mr Lawal assured.
He urged everyone to read the whitepaper document because it addresses existing challenges in the Fintech sector and simplifies the use of blockchain technology in unravelling these challenges.
Google Thrills Android Lovers With Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
It is an exciting moment for Andriod and Pixel lovers as Google is set to reveal its new Pixel 6 and 6 pro phones in a few hours’ time.
While the multinational technology company traditionally holds an October hardware event to reveal its new Pixel phones, it is a new thing that it had already announced this year’s innovations to be unveiled.
“On October 19, we’re officially introducing you to Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro—the completely reimagined Google phones. Powered by Tensor, Google’s first custom mobile chip, they’re fast, smart, and secure. And they adapt to you. #Pixel6Launch,” the company had earlier disclosed.
However, the excitement from fans all over the globe seems to be below expectation given that a lot has already been learned about the upcoming Google flagship, thanks to some leaks on the key details of the phones which have been in circulation before now.
There are no confirmations on what the new products will function like, but various leaks have it that the regular Pixel 6 is set to have a 6.4-inch FHD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate.
It has also been speculated to sport a 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide, while the Pixel 6 Pro ups the ante with a 6.71-inch QHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a third 48MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom.
Regardless, the introduction of the two new versions will see not only a significant departure from previous Pixels but also Google’s first attempt at its own silicon & Artificial Intelligence – a revolutionary outcome for Android users.
What has been confirmed is that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be the flagship devices for the latest Android version – 12, which also has a major visual design change.
The event which is themed Pixel Fall Launch will not only focus on the introduction of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro as there is room for surprises, that is, the unveiling of sister gadgets or applications.
According to Google, the launch is scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. BST. This means that for West African Time, it will be watchable starting from 6 pm today, and can be viewed on several platforms using various live-stream options.
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