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ISSAN Seeks Collaborative Efforts to Check Rising Cyber Threats

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ISSAN cyber threats David Isiavwe

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An urgent review of the National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2015 has been called for by the Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria (ISSAN).

According to the cybersecurity stakeholders, the review will make the law meet the current realities as it will capture the latest trends in the industry.

Speaking at the Quarter 1, 2022 ISSAN Cybersecurity Conference themed Payment Systems Platform Security in Lagos, the president of ISSAN, Dr David Isiavwe, said as the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually easing out, organisations are now settling for a hybrid way of working and providing services for customers while being mindful of the enlarged cyber threat.

He noted that new forms of attacks are being contrived and implemented by criminals through various means on individuals, nation-states and corporate bodies, stressing that cyber security gatekeepers are not spared as large sums of money are usually at risk in every successful attack.

“What we see on the horizon is that Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are becoming alarming; Ransomware attacks are not relenting. There are more phishing and password targeted attacks.

“Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks remain a growing problem. The loss globally is colossal. In Africa, Nigeria is expected to lead in terms of estimated loss due to our size. There is, therefore, the urgent need to brainstorm on how to keep payment systems platforms safer,” he said.

For a way forward, Dr Isiavwe, who is also a General Manager at Ecobank Nigeria, emphasised that banks and organisations need to be proactive, keep customers educated and updated on new threats and trends in cyberspace, automate and continuously monitor their systems and infrastructure, and also place a high premium on artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and data analytics.

In his keynote address, Director, Payment System Management Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Musa Jimoh commended the activities of ISSAN on enhancing a safer and secured payment ecosystem, stressing that the apex bank is committed to initiatives that would promote and enhance payment system security to check cyber fraud in the nation’s financial system.

He maintained that the financial sector cannot afford to fail as the payment system is vital to the functioning of any economic system.

According to him, “Data security is important for customers and a tool for financial inclusion. Banks are the custodian of customers’ information based on trust and should therefore put structures in place to prevent breaches and information theft. They should not compromise customers’ credentials as it would give cybercriminals access to defraud them.”

Mr Jimoh further stated that the entrance of Fintechs to the financial landscape has engendered stiffer competition, noting that “all responsible officers in charge of information security in organizations should keep track and always check and see the right things are done for the entities that are allowed to connect to their infrastructure.

“Banks should address infrastructure deficiencies, ensure operational resilience, introduce second or multi-factor authorisation, ensures banking payment infrastructure are formidable, address privacy violations, carry out end to end encryption to protect stored data, and also adhere to KYC provisions to avoid terrorism financing and money laundering.”

In her technical presentation, Managing Director, CreditRegistry Plc, Dr Jameela Ayedun, recommended a collaborative approach by banks, CBN, government agencies such as National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and others to enhance cyber security.

According to her, “Cyber security is the responsibility of all. The cybercriminals are still on a rampage therefore we must protect our payment systems and not give anything to chance.

“We must educate our consumers and should not be a silent victim. The payment service providers must have the basic requirements. The government also has a role to play in this regard. We should emphasise the privacy and integrity of our payment systems.”

Also, in his technical presentation titled: Anatomy of the New Fraudsters – A Nigeria Perspective, Head, Growth and Partnership – West Africa, BPC Technologies, Emmanuel Obinne, observed that cyber frauds transcend borders and boundaries. He gave a rundown of different types of frauds and maintained that relevant cyber laws should be put in place to check cyber criminality.

According to him, “Fraud management is a journey and not a destination. Proper laws should be in place to punish cybercriminals. Organizations should regularly upgrade their payment systems and security to avoid vulnerability. This will also fast track authorization and authentication of transactions. Second-factor authorization is also important to check fraud. The customers must constantly be educated to make them have more confidence in the payment system.”

Other panellists at the hybrid summit were Chairman, Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), Yinka Tiamiyu; Chief Information Security Officer, Heritage Bank, Ighoakpo Eduje, and Managing Partner, Technology Advisors LLP, Basil Udotai. The session was moderated by the Head, Internal Audit, FBN Holdings, Dr Bode Oguntoke.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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

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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

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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

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Interswitch

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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