By Adedapo Adesanya
Mobile phone giant, Huawei, has announced the winning entries for its Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest, stylised as AppsUP, with developers from across the regions impressing judges with their innovative approaches to app creation.
Participants were encouraged to push the full potential of HMS Core and innovative new experiences for Huawei device users.
The inaugural competition challenged app developers across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region and beyond to create exciting applications that help people in their daily lives.
The winners from the MEA region will share $200,000 cash prizes in total, funded by Huawei’s Shining-Star Programme.
The Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest evaluated more than 150 mobile applications from five regions: Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Latin America and China.
The successful entries were shortlisted due to the creativity and the imagination their apps showcased.
The MEA region category winners hope their success can inspire more people to develop apps and help grow the region’s eco-system.
The apps were placed in regional sections and split between six categories and tje Middle East and Africa (MEA) category winners were:
MEA App of the Year x 1: AMAN from Jordan
Best App x 5: My Pregnancy Journey App from South Africa, Almosally App from Egypt, Deaf Sign Language App (ASL) from Pakistan, Med from Tunisia, Women Workout from Morocco.
Best Game x 3: FPS Encounter Shooting 2020: New Shooting Games from Pakistan, Bike Stunt Race Master Motorcycle Game from Pakistan, and Gauntlet from South Africa.
Best Social Impact App x 3: My Pregnancy Journey App from South Africa, Deaf Sign Language App (ASL) from Pakistan, and Almosally from Egypt.
Most Popular App x 1 (according to the download & voting): Almosally from Egypt.
Honorable Mention x 12: Slug Hunter from South Africa, Color FIll Puzzle from Algeria, Load Shedding Notifier from South Africa, RafiQ from Algeria, 9arib from Egypt, Colorwheel from Egypt, Katamars + Orsozoxi from Egypt, Decipher Word from Morocco, photo editor from Morocco, Message of happiness from Egypt, Q Dictionary from Egypt, and Ordera from Egypt.
The winners will share in a regional prize money allocation of $200,000 as part of the total $1 million from the Shining Star developer program for the competition.
The top five apps receive $15,000 each; the top three games get $15,000; the top three apps with the best social impact are awarded $15,000; The most popular app will win $5,000, while the 12 honorable mentions receive $2,500 each.
From the Best App category, My Pregnancy Journey app developer from South Africa commented: “Being part of the global Huawei Apps Up Contest has been a great journey for us and we are very excited about the future.
“Huawei does so much for tech entrepreneurs like myself. This award is going to change the course of our app and now finally we can start becoming a global contender and start making that social impact that we so badly want to do.”
From the Best Game category, the South African Developer of the game, Gauntlet commented: “We entered Gauntlet into Huawei Apps Up 2020 Contest because what the contest was offering in terms of learning and exposure was invaluable. The opportunity to take our games to the next level was something we couldn’t ignore.
“We had our biggest successes to date on the Huawei AppGallery. And the Apps Up 2020 Contest format was fantastic. What truly helped us integrate HMS Kits into our games was the official and available resources from Huawei.
“We found the official documentation was the best source. We stuck with that and it paid off. And the local support from Huawei was unmatched. For Gauntlet, we incorporated the Huawei Ads Kit, Account Kit, and Game Kit, among others, to allow users to more easily connect with the game and create a more engaging experience. I just want to extend my gratitude to everyone in Huawei.”
Speaking on the honours, the Managing Director, HMS and Consumer Cloud Service for Huawei Consumer Business Group MEA, Mr Adam Xiao, said: “The category winners of the inaugural Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest, AppsUP fully deserve their success. Developers in the MEA region impressed judges with the creativity and innovation seen in their apps.
“By using the power of HMS Core, developers were able to create unique experiences for Huawei users that help them in their daily lives. We hope that their success can inspire a new generation of app developers in the MEA region to push their imaginations and skills and create exciting experiences for Huawei device users.”
The HMS ecosystem and Huawei AppGallery is already bringing new content and digital services to over 700 million Huawei users in 170+ countries and regions.
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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