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Internet Safety Education: Our Greatest Weapon Against Internet Abuse and Cyber Crimes



Internet Safety Education

By Rotimi Onadipe

What is internet safety?

Internet safety refers to precautions that should be observed when using the internet in order to ensure the safety of the user’s personal or sensitive information, device, properties, life etc.

Human life has become very interesting with the introduction of the internet, social media, smartphones, iPad and other High Tech devices.

With this development, there is no doubt that the first thing we view in the morning and the last thing we view at night is our mobile phone or computer because of our need to communicate with friends, family members, neighbours, business partners etc.

However, as good as the internet is, we must be informed about the dangers associated with internet usage e.g. internet fraud, hacking, cyberbullying, social media addiction, online gaming addiction, pornography or cybersex addiction etc.

As far as internet abuse and cyber crimes are concerned, we are all vulnerable in one way or the other and the best way we can reduce our vulnerability is to be educated about internet safety irrespective of our age, sex, status, nationality, profession or academic qualification.

It is very important for us to know that we don’t have to become information technology experts before we can stay safe online. If we have the right information that we need, we can protect ourselves against many online risks associated with internet usage.

Adopting the following safety tips is a good way to educate ourselves about internet safety:

  1. Use strong password. The stronger your password, the tougher it is to crack by cybercriminals. Make sure your password is long. Use at least 14 characters and mix letters, numbers and special characters.
  2. Change your password from time to time because you may not know if a cybercriminal is monitoring your password.
  3. Keep your browser and other programs updated. If you are not updating on a regular basis, your device may continue to be vulnerable to different cyber attacks.
  4. When you receive an email that has an attachment or a link, don’t download the attachment or follow the link if you are not 100% sure it is legitimate. Cybercriminals send unsolicited emails with a malicious attachment or link on a daily basis and many unsuspecting victims have ignorantly downloaded such malicious attachments and followed the link, after which their private and sensitive information were stolen e.g. username, password, credit card information, personal identification number, bank account details etc.
  5. Avoid sharing your private and sensitive information online. This is because cybercriminals can easily get your personal information through any online platform and use it for fraudulent purposes.
  6. Avoid using public Wi-fi. e.g. cyber cafes, hotels, restaurants, banks, colleges, airports etc. This is because most public Wi-fi are easy to hack by cybercriminals. It is also very easy for cybercriminals to monitor any internet user in public places through the CCTV attached to their devices.
  7. Talk to your children about internet safety so that they don’t ignorantly disclose your personal and sensitive information to internet fraudsters. Most children that are on social media are the targets of cybercriminals and many children may ignorantly divulge their parents’ personal and sensitive information to cybercriminals.
  8. When you receive an email warning you of some consequences if you don’t take action immediately, be suspicious of such email. e.g. when you are warned that your bank account will be closed or that those unauthorized charges have been deducted from your bank account, credit card, utility bills, online mobile recharge etc.
  9. Don’t post your travel plans and other activities on social media because most cybercriminals get their victims’ information through social media.
  10. Conclusively, knowledge is your greatest weapon against cybercriminals. Make sure you always contact experts or counsellors on cybercrime and other related matters so that they can educate you about the common tricks of cybercriminals. This is very important because as technology advances, new fraud schemes are being developed on a daily basis by cybercriminals.

Rotimi Onadipe is the CEO of Onadipe Technologies and founder of Internet Safety Magazine

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MTN Partners Huawei to Deploy Premium Wi-Fi Service in Nigeria



MTN Group Premium Wifi service

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

To improve the experience of end-users on its network, MTN Nigeria has partnered with Huawei to launch a premium Wi-Fi service in the country.

According to MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr Mohammed Rufai, the deployment of the premium Wi-Fi is geared around delivering a superior user experience with high technology.

He stated that this also became necessary due to an increase of smart home device quantiles and new types of services such as video clips and online games which demand a better home network quality.

MTN is working with Huawei on an Autonomous Driving Network project, including various innovative practices such as target architecture design, autonomous level evaluation and high-value use-cases of autonomous networks.

“Home network experience has become a vital area in improving network quality for us. In addition, we want to solve problems such as Wi-Fi interference, coordination between home network terminals and Wi-Fi coverage which occurs frequently and leads to a large proportion of user complaints,” Mr Rufai said.

 “With this, we can proactively identify and accurately locate fault points on home networks. It will help us to improve O&M efficiency and reduce customer complaints,” says Daniel Smith, a senior engineer with the MTN Group.

“In the future, MTN and Huawei will implement more innovations regarding network automation and intelligence, quickly deploy them on the live network to promptly deliver superior user experience of high tech,” he concluded.

The premium Wi-Fi can play back the historical home Wi-Fi performance in the last seven days. It demarcates faults based on speed tests by segment and diagnoses major issues in just one click to rectify problems in the cloud.

Besides, with the self-trouble shooting function on the mobile app, home broadband users are able to solve certain network problems by themselves, allowing them to manage the broadband performance much easier.

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Cyber Attacks: Africa Must Encourage Digital Skills Development—Experts



Adopt Digital Skills

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Urgent steps must be taken by African leaders to encourage general digital skills to tackle cyber-attacks and crimes on the continent, some experts in the industry have advised.

Speaking at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) event, the stakeholders warned that if efforts are not taken, the governments, citizens and businesses may suffer “catastrophic consequences.”

It was stressed that at the moment, Africa is struggling to match its counterparts in the other parts of the globe due to a shortage of general digital skills caused by brain drain.

At the workshop themed Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Quagmire, the founder/CEO of Digital Jewels, Mrs Doyin Odunfa, in her presentation, lamented that the shortage of general digital skills at all levels is expected to become more critical as economies grow, noting that the supply of digitally skilled labour must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs.

She observed that highly skilled African professionals have been emigrating from African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.

Whilst proffering solutions, she recommended intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.

“These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.

“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.

“Many highly talented African students that obtain opportunities and scholarships of training abroad do not return home after completing studies,” Mrs Odunfa stated.

In his welcome address, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world calls for concern.

According to him, “The cyber threat landscape is still evolving. The cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and highly reputable firms. Even individuals are not left out.

“Consequently, it becomes imperative that organizations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Stanbic IBTC, Abumere Igboa; CISO of Heritage Bank, Eduje Ighoakpo; CISO of First Bank, Harrison Nnaji; CISO of Standard Chartered Bank, Oghenefovie Oyawari and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Digital Jewels, Tokunbo Taiwo, were the other speakers at the gathering.

ISSAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace. It is significantly involved in ensuring the security of banking systems and applications, ATMs, e-government systems, and the entire cyberspace in Nigeria.

The group also seeks to achieve its objectives through awareness heightening measures including the promotion of appropriate legislation and best practices.

Membership cuts across both public and private sectors of the economy including Banks, Telecommunications Operators, Government parastatals, switching companies, IT and IT security consultancies, Legal Practitioners with a keen interest in cyber-related matters, and regulators.

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Interswitch Receives Fresh Funds from LeapFrog, Tana




By Adedapo Adesanya

LeapFrog Investments (LeapFrog) and Tana Africa Capital (Tana) have invested in Interswitch, one of Africa’s technology-driven companies focused on the digitisation of payments.

In a joint statement from both companies, the exact amount was not disclosed, but it was stated that the investment will assist in supporting the company’s drive to advance the payment ecosystem across the continent.

A portion of the investment has been acquired from existing shareholders, with Ignite Holdco Limited, made up of Helios Investment Partners and TA Associates, remaining the largest shareholder in the business following the transaction.

Interswitch Group CEO, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, in a statement, said the company was “excited to welcome LeapFrog and Tana on board, as we continue our work to advance the future of the African payments landscape.”

This will further advance its offerings after it launched some new products in March.

The services unveiled include an enhanced Biometrics feature for Point of Sale (PoS) terminals & Automated Teller Machines (ATMs); Tokenization, and Card Fusion, with the services addressing digital payment fraud, problems with card issuance and portfolio management.

Interswitch, in collaboration with SterlingPRO, designed the Biometrics on Point of Sale (PoS) and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to protect customers against digital payment fraud and to avail them faster and more convenient ways to validate payments. The solution utilizes physiological features unique to everyone such as fingerprints, voice, and facial features to verify payment transactions.

Tokenization on the other hand replaces sensitive data such as the 16-digit account information with a unique digital identifier known as a token. Tokenization will enable merchants to fast-track and collect payment seamlessly, enabling customers to check out faster in-store, in-app and online.

In addition, Card Fusion is a web-based instant card issuance platform that enables banks to conclude new card production requests and issue cards within a very short time, thus enhancing their customers’ experience while customers get to personalize their cards instantly.

Interswitch is one of Africa’s largest electronic payments and infrastructure companies and services providing online banking system offerings in areas like point-of-sale terminals, online consumer payment platforms, Quickteller, and Verve, the biggest domestic debit card scheme in Africa, issuing over 35 million active cards since launch.

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