Huawei Unveils Winners of App Innovation Contest
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.
Data Breaches in Nigeria Increase 64% in Q1 2023
By Adedapo Adesanya
Data breaches in Nigeria increased by 64 per cent, as 82,000 leaked accounts were recorded in the first three months of the year when compared with the last quarter of 2022.
This made Nigeria the 32nd most breached country in the world in the first three months of this year, according to the latest data from cybersecurity company, Surfshark, collected through its independent partners from 29,000 publicly available databases and aggregated by email addresses.
Globally, data breaches declined in the first quarter of 2023, with a total of 41.6 million accounts breached. This is almost 50 per cent less than the nearly 81 million seen in Q4’2022.
The increase in Nigeria’s data breaches moved the country from the previous position of 41 to 32, with around 50,000 breaches recorded in Q4 2022.
Russia was ranked 1st in the world (6.6 million), followed by the United States (5 million), Taiwan (3.9 million), France (3.2 million), and Spain (3.2 million), making the top five.
Taiwan saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase (21x), placing its total of 4 million leaked accounts 3rd in Q1’2023. The country had only placed 26th in Q4 2022 with 191,000 breached users.
Globally, data breaches declined, dropping to one user account leaked every second in Q1 2023.
“According to Surfshark’s study, data breaches declined globally in the first quarter of 2023 if we compare it to the previous one,” says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark. “However, the fact that over 40 million accounts were breached in just a few months is still a cause for concern. Those whose data was compromised are at an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals as their personal information can be utilized for phishing attacks, fraud, identity theft, and other serious cybercrimes.”
Surfshark showed that Europe was the most affected region by breaches in Q1’2023, followed by Asia and North America.
In the period under review, Europe was also the only region with a significant quarter-over-quarter increase in its statistics on data breaches. The number nearly doubled, growing from 9.9 million in Q4 2022 to 17.5 million in the first three months of 2023. To put this into perspective, 2 out of 5 accounts breached in Q1 2023 were of European origin, with 38 per cent of these being Russian. Within the region, the biggest quarter-over-quarter spikes in data breaches were recorded in Czechia (almost 9x), Armenia (around 6x), and Switzerland (6x).
Asia was the second-most vulnerable region, accounting for around a fourth of the quarter’s breaches (10.6M). The three countries that saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase overall were all Asian — Taiwan and Saudi Arabia both had around 20 times more leaked accounts in Q1’2023 than in Q4’2022, while South Korea saw its number increase 12 times.
An additional 13 per cent of the accounts were North American (5.3 million). All other regions comprised less than 5 per cent of the quarter’s total. Out of all regions, Africa saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter decrease — a whopping 33 times, bringing its total of 18.6 million leaked accounts in Q4 2022 down to 557,600 in Q1 2023.
Some of the biggest breaches by email count were Sberbank (Russia), with 2.9M accounts leaked, Weee! (United States) with 1.1M, and Zurich Insurance (Switzerland) with 756,700.
The ten most breached countries of Q1’2023, in descending order, are Russia, the U.S., Taiwan, France, Spain, India, Czechia, South Korea, and Italy. The highest growth in user victims was spotted in Taiwan (21x), Saudi Arabia (19x), South Korea (12x), Czechia (9x), and Armenia (7x).
WhatsApp Now Allows Users Edit Messages
By Adedapo Adesanya
The social messaging platform, WhatsApp, has announced that rather than users deleting chats in case of a typo, they can now make simple edits.
The edited messages will have an “edited” tag next to the time stamp to mark the change, and other users won’t be able to see the previous versions of edited messages.
The Meta-owned platform, through its chief executive officer, Mr Mark Zuckerberg, first noted the development in a Facebook post, revealing that users can now modify a message within 15 minutes of sending the message.
If users want to do this, they can press and hold on to a message and tap on the edit option to alter the message.
“We’re excited that you’ll now have more control over your chats, such as correcting misspellings or adding more context to a message. For this, within 15 minutes of sending the message, you have to tap and hold that message for a while and then select the option of ‘Edit’ from the menu,” the company said in a blog post on Monday.
This will be good for users that want to correct a simple misspelling or those that want to add extra context to a message.
“We’re excited to bring you more control over your chats. All you need to do is long-press on a sent message and choose ‘Edit’ from the menu for up to fifteen minutes after,” WhatsApp said.
As with all personal messages, media and calls, messages and the edits made are protected by end-to-end encryption.
This feature has started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.
Rival platform, Telegram, has always allowed for edits and users can do so for a time frame of 48 hours.
Last week, the platform announced that users can now lock and hide conversations as part of privacy measures using biometrics or a special code.
WhatsApp Launches Chat Lock to Hide Conversations
By Adedapo Adesanya
Social conversation platform, WhatsApp, has announced a new feature that will allow users to lock and hide conversations.
The new feature called Chat Lock will remove a chat thread from the app’s regular onscreen inbox and place it into a new folder that can only be opened by a password or biometric, such as facial recognition or a fingerprint.
Calling it “one more layer of security”, Meta – WhatsApp’s parent company – added that Chat Lock would protect “your most intimate conversations” and hide notifications from them.
“Over the next few months, we’re going to be adding more options for Chat Lock, including locking for companion devices, creating a custom password for your chats so that you can use a unique password different from your phone’s,” Meta wrote in a blog post.
“Locking a chat takes that thread out of the inbox and puts it behind its folder that can only be accessed with your device password or biometric, like a fingerprint. It also automatically hides the contents of that chat in notifications, too,” the past announced.
Users can lock chat by tapping the name of a one-to-one or group and selecting the lock option. To reveal these chats, users will need to slowly pull down their inbox and enter their phone password or biometric alternative.
“We think this feature will be great for people who have reason to share their phones from time to time with a family member or those moments where someone else is holding your phone at the exact moment an extra special chat arrives,” Meta added.
This is the latest feature since it fortified its mobile application with three new security features to protect the personal messages of its users.
Also, it announced that has started allowing in-app payment in Brazil last month.
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