By Otori Emmanuel
Online business may have its benefits, but there is also a greater chance of hoaxes and cyber threats. The credibility of your business could be negatively affected by a successful cyber-attack. Therefore, safeguarding your business against cyber-attack is a crucial concern. That, if not prevented, may require a re-establishment of the business.
In extreme scenarios, it may even force you out of business permanently because you won’t be able to make up the lost revenue and customer loyalty, as clients want to feel safe in transactions. The good news is that you may take preventative action and safeguard your company before it’s too late by choosing from a selection of cyber insurance alternatives.
Preventive measures against cyber threats
- Installation of Devices and Network Security Software
Verify that your operating system and security applications are set to update automatically. Updates might include vital security upgrades for recent malware and threats. Most updates allow you to schedule them at a time that is more convenient for you, typically after office hours. It’s imperative to consistently follow update prompts since updates frequently fix serious security issues. Install security software to help prevent infection on business PCs and mobile devices. To prevent compromise on business laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, the software should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam filters. Setting up a firewall between your working devices and the internet acts as a gatekeeper for traffic entering and leaving. Maintain a robust firewall by regularly updating to the newest patches.
- Passphrase use and setting up several authenticators
If possible, take extra precautions to make your security more difficult to access because you do not want to lose your company to hackers. Instead of using passwords, use passphrases to secure your networks and devices that house sensitive company data. Passphrases are phrases or collections of words that are used as passwords. Humans find them easy to memorize, but computers find them challenging to decipher. A secure passphrase needs to be at least 14 characters long and includes a mix of capital and lowercase letters, digits, and special characters. For each of your accounts, use a different passphrase. If you are serious about protecting your company, changing passwords to passphrases is insufficient. To ensure that the legitimate owners are granting access, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is used in this situation. Before you can access your account, two or more forms of identification must be shown. Additional security for your accounts is provided by two-factor or multi-factor authentication.
- Protect sensitive information
The data that will be sent into and out of your company system needs to be encrypted after you’ve configured your authenticators. Before sending your data over the internet, encryption transforms it into a hidden code. Make sure your network encryption is enabled and that all data received or stored online is encrypted. This lowers the danger of theft, destruction, or tampering by limiting data access to parties that possess the encryption key. When utilizing a public network, you can enable network encryption by adjusting the settings on your router or by setting up a virtual private network (VPN) program on your computer.
- Backup your data
Data backup is one of the cheapest ways to guarantee that your information can be retrieved in the event of a cyber-incident or computer issue. Additionally, it is a less demanding technique to prevent future attacks. Although firewalls, antivirus software, and other security measures may malfunction, keeping a backup provides you with an advantage over attackers. To assist ensure the protection of your data, use a range of backup techniques, like routine incremental backups to a mobile device or cloud storage. Include weekly, quarterly, and yearly server backups as well. It should be regularly checked to see if this data is functioning properly and can be recovered. Store several copies of your backup offline, if possible.
- Your business’s safety is your employees’ safety
Your staff and device operators are responsible for your company’s security. Businesses should have clear cyber security policies that inform staff on what is appropriate while sharing data, using computers and other devices, and visiting websites. Your personnel should receive internet safety instructions making them aware of the dangers they can encounter and their responsibility for keeping your company safe. Hackers might have their access restricted by creating a culture of awareness. This is why it is so important to teach them how to recognize, avoid, and handle a cyber-attack and use strong passwords and passphrases.
Keep track of all the computing hardware and applications that your company employs. All the hardware and software that your company employs must be documented. Any software and hardware that are no longer in use should be disconnected from the network, and sensitive data should be deleted. Older, inactive hardware and software won’t likely be updated, and they could be exploited as a “backdoor” by thieves to attack companies. In a similar vein, you ought to deny access to former workers and people who have switched roles and no longer need it.
- Business continuity is based on customers’ safety
It’s crucial that you protect the information about your clients. Your company’s reputation will suffer if you misplace or compromise their information, and you risk legal repercussions. Make sure your company invests in a safe online transaction environment and protects any stored personal customer data. Find out what your payment gateway provider can do to stop online payment fraud if you accept payments online. Consider purchasing cyber insurance to safeguard your company. Dealing with a cyber-attack may cost far more than simply replacing computers, enhancing security, or repairing databases. Your company may benefit from the cost savings provided by cyber liability insurance coverage for attack recovery.
WhatsApp Rolls Out Self-Messaging Feature
By Adedapo Adesanya
Popular instant messaging service, WhatsApp, has started rolling out a feature that allows users to chat with themselves or save messages. Sending messages to one’s own account can be a way to keep a piece of information easily accessible, right next to other WhatsApp conversations.
Called Message Yourself, the feature lets users send notes, reminders and shopping lists to themselves on WhatsApp.
On Monday, the Meta-owned instant messaging app announced the rollout of the new self-messaging feature that will reach all its Android and iPhone users in the coming weeks.
Users will see their contact at the top of the contacts list on WhatsApp when they create a new chat. Tapping that contact will take them to the chat screen they can use to send messages to themselves.
Although the native feature to message oneself is new on WhatsApp, some users have already been using a workaround for some time. Users can already send messages to themselves using the app’s click to chat feature. Nonetheless, the new offering removes the additional steps that users need to self-chat using the wa.me URL.
Users can also pin their self-chat messages to the top of the conversation list if they don’t want to search for them in their widely polluted chats list.
Rival platform, Signal, already offers a feature called Note to Self that does much the same thing, though it is contained in the user’s contacts list rather than being available at the top.
Telegram also offers a similar feature called Saved Messages that lets users bookmark any important messages as well as save their notes and reminders that can be accessed in the future. Messages, once saved, can be accessed from the top of the chats screen. However, Telegram users initially need to access the feature by tapping the hamburger menu on Android or through the settings menu on iOS.
MSMEs, Schools, Others to Benefit From N16.7bn Broadband Access Projects
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Broadband access projects worth N16.7 billion aimed to accelerate the Nigeria digital economy efforts of the federal government are expected to be enjoyed by several organisations in the country.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, speaking at an event in Abuja recently, stated that those to benefit from the projects include Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), 18 universities, and six polytechnics from each of the six geopolitical zones in the country.
The Minister was at the unveiling of the projects being driven by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at Transcorp Hilton.
He said the projects underscore the importance of broadband connectivity and access as central to the accomplishment of the targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 for a digital Nigeria.
Mr Pantami, who was joined by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Mohammed Bello, disclosed that the key infrastructure being provided for the projects comprises broadband infrastructure for tertiary institutions, broadband infrastructure for MSMEs, distribution of 6,000 e-pad tablets, in addition to the provision of broadband connectivity to 20 markets as a pilot.
He said the interest in supporting the MSMEs is justified by their current contribution of more than half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and now constitute 96.7 per cent of entire businesses in the country, and therefore, “any effort to develop our economy without bringing the such important sector into the equation will amount to efforts in futility.”
In their remarks, the Chairman of the NCC board, Mr Adeolu Akande, and the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Mr Umar Danbatta, agreed that the projects would fast-track and enhance the ongoing efforts of the agency to deepen connectivity towards achieving the targeted broadband penetration of 70 per cent by 2025.
Mr Akande assured of the commitment of the commission in completing the projects, which will add the necessary fillip to achieving the major objectives spelt out in the NDEPS, 2020-2030, while Mr Danbatta said the organisation was determined to improve broadband penetration in the country.
He said the commission would promote digital skills acquisition to improve service delivery in education, commerce, healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, and governance, among others.
ISSAN to Teach Practical Steps to Check Cyber-Attacks
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
On Tuesday, November 29, 2022, individuals and businesses will receive practical steps to check cyber-attacks at the annual cyber security conference of the Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria (ISSAN) themed Cyber Security Imperatives for Business – Practical Considerations.
The hybrid programme, which starts at 9 am, is open to public and private sectors, including large corporates, small and medium-scale enterprises, educational institutions, government agencies and all stakeholders that are impacted by the cyber-ecosystem in any way.
According to the president of ISSAN, Dr David Isiavwe, the conference, which members of the public can be part of via Zoom, will be devoted to further exposing the new threats and trends in the cyber security space and also offer practical steps on what businesses and individuals need to know and do to check the rising tide of the activities of cyber-criminals.
He observed that cyber attackers are getting more sophisticated globally, which is an aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that greater awareness must be created to minimize attacks on businesses that may result in losses by various organisations.
“There is an urgent need to evolve a strengthened cyber-security system in Nigeria because of the growing digitalisation of the country’s economic and social interactions as people now work from home and anyone with a smartphone could hop into cyberspace from anywhere and attack nation-states, organisations, and individuals. This means that the threat landscape has just expanded significantly across the borders of any organization or country.
“The first thing that ISSAN is doing is advocacy. We are engaging all key stakeholders to ensure that there is adequate and constant collaboration. Everybody must work together because the entire cyberspace is as secure as its weakest link,” Mr Isiavwe said.
Further, the ISSAN leader, who is also a General Manager at Ecobank, disclosed that highly experienced subject matter specialists had been assembled to provide further insights on how the ecosystem can be better protected, noting that large sums of money are usually at risk in every successful attack.
The keynote address will be delivered by the Director of Payment Systems Management at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Musa Itopa Jimoh and the Director of IT at the apex bank, Mrs Rakiya Mohammed.
The speakers include Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewels Limited, Mrs Adedoyin Odunfa; Founder & CEO, Mint FT Innovative, Mr Similolu Akinnusi; Chief Information Security Officer, First Bank of Nigeria, Mr Harrison Nnaji and MD, Cybertech NX, Dr Austine Ohwobete.
Others are Managing Partner, Technology Advisors LLP, Basil Udotai, Esq; Group Head, Customer Fulfilment Centre, UBA, Mr Prince Ayewoh; Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Financial Services Limited, Mr Stanley Jacob; Sales Director (Africa), OneSpan Europe, Mr Nicholas Poire and Field CTO, OneSpan Europe, Mr Dan Mcloughin.
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