By Adedapo Adesanya
Cybersecurity giant, Kaspersky, has stressed the importance of keeping mobile wallet safe in Africa as the continent continues to expand with many analysts considering the region to be the epicentre of the global market.
With more than $1.9 billion processed daily and over one billion registered accounts globally, mobile money is a massive industry.
Kaspersky, citing PayPal’s recent announcement that it will expand its Xoom money transfer service to more countries on the continent this year, makes it evident that there is still significant growth to come. But this also means that consumers must be aware of the security risks associated with mobile wallets and payments.
According to Kaspersky, as of 2019, there were 481 million registered mobile money accounts in Africa, making up 46 per cent of global accounts and with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in lockdown conditions in many countries, more people have turned to mobile wallets instead of cash, as a safer option – from a hygiene perspective at least.
While cash has long been considered “king”, mobile money and e-wallets have been growing exponentially in Africa over the past decade – and as the number of international and African players enter and expand into new markets across the continent.
These provide a more user-friendly alternative to processing micro-payments and reduce the amount of cash people need to carry with them. And the expectation is that the region would exceed half a billion accounts by the end of 2020.
Speaking on this, Mr Bethwel Opil, Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa warned, “While there is ample benefit to be gained from mobile money, spam, phishing, social engineering, and fraud all form part of the cyberattack landscape when it comes to this innovation.
“Threat actors are constantly coming up with more innovative tactics to compromise people’s wallets whether these pertain to traditional bank accounts or mobile wallets.”
“It is, therefore, imperative that consumers remain vigilant and apply common sense to their transactions and engagements with mobile money services,” he adds.
“Considering the significant growth and potential for mobile money and e-wallets, these payment platforms must maintain a high level of security and keep improving on it.
He noted that given the financial and reputational risk, no provider can afford to have its systems compromised.
“Security is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain d like all other digital solutions, this is often the end-user.
“Education is, therefore, the most critical component of mitigating the risk of social engineering compromises from people opening malicious links, sharing sensitive information, or falling foul of fraudulent schemes,” states Mr Opil.
To keep the mobile wallet safe, Kaspersky recommends that users should “avoid clicking on malicious emails, attachments, or other messages.”
“Users must lookout for red flags in communication from those purporting to be from service providers. For example, they need to be wary of grammatical mistakes, attempts to incite a sense of urgency or danger, e-mail addresses and links that differ from the official ones (even if just by one letter), and so on. Never trust messages unconditionally.
“It is imperative to check any potential issues through one’s personal account on the Website or in the mobile money app. This is especially important when it comes to messages confirming the crediting of funds,” it further recommended.
It also suggested that a user must also never use an unfamiliar delivery service especially when it comes to online purchases.
“Users must be careful of using alternative money transfer methods to the ones they are comfortable with. These are typically not covered by the protection programs of mobile money or money transfer applications.
“It goes without saying that users must never give out personal information beyond what is necessary for the transaction. This includes usernames and passwords.
“In many respects, it is still the ‘Wild West’ when it comes to mobile money and e-wallets. Even though the solutions are safely used by millions of people daily, hackers are always on the lookout for soft targets.
“Constant vigilance and education remain essential to safeguard against any potential compromises,” the cybersecurity firm said.
Google to Redesign How Online Advertising Works
By Ahmed Rahma
The most widely used search engine, Google, has disclosed that it will not build or use alternate tools to track web browsing traffic once it begins phasing out existing technology from its Chrome browser next year, a move that will reshape how online advertising works.
The company made this known on Wednesday.
Google first announced it would get rid of third-party cookies, which for decades has enabled online ads, early last year to meet growing data privacy standards in Europe and the United States, Reuters reported.
Privacy activists for years have criticized tech companies including Google for using cookies to gather web browsing records across websites they don’t own, enabling them to develop profiles on users’ interests to serve personalized ads.
Now, Google is pledging it will not use other technology to replace the cookie or build features inside Chrome to allow itself access to that data, though it continues to test ways for businesses to target ads to large groups of anonymous users with common interests.
“Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect the privacy and that means an end to not only third-party cookies but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web,” the blog post read.
Rival advertising tech companies are building tools to identify users across the web anonymously, including Criteo SA and The Trade Desk.
Shares of both companies dropped in January 2020 immediately after Google first announced it would eliminate cookies, but have risen consistently over the past year.
Network Operators Get Approval to Establish SIM Swap Centres
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in Nigeria have been given the approval to establish dedicated SIM Swap centres across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country.
A statement jointly issued on Wednesday by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Identify Management Commission (NIMC) said the approval was authorisation was given by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
In the statement signed by Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, the Director of Public Affairs at the NCC, and Mr Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, said the federal government has also extended the tenure of National Identification Number (NIN) enrolment agent licenses for MNOs from one to five years.
This, they said, was in consideration of their satisfactory performance, though their activities would still be monitored to ensure they maintained the standard. It was explained that this action was to simplify the enrolment process for Nigerians and legal residents.
Last Friday, the Ministerial Task Force on the NIN-SIM registration held its 4th review meeting chaired by Mr Pantami. Several stakeholders were in attendance, including the regulators, the players and others.
At the close of the deliberations, a technical committee was mandated to complete the development of a new SIM issuance strategy that cannot be compromised. This will ensure that there is no repeat of the past process that was compromised through pre-registration by some agents.
In addition, a multi-sectoral ad-hoc team was tasked to immediately complete the review of the processes for new SIM activations for legal residents staying in Nigeria for less than 24 months.
According to the statement, the membership of the panel was drawn from NCC, NIMC, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
The Minister charged the NCC, NIMC and MNOs to come up with a framework for the establishment of SIM Swap/Replacement centres in each of the 774 LGAs in the country, beginning with critical and feasible locations.
Facebook, JAN Empower Young Digital Marketers
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A partnership that will empower Nigerian youths with digital marketing skills has been entered into between Facebook and Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN).
The collaboration is in line with the organisation’s vision of raising a generation of digitally-inclined young business leaders.
Beneficiaries of the scheme will be incorporated into the digital marketing module of JAN’s flagship company programme.
This element teaches secondary school students how to start and run their own business, develop a product or service, form a company, choose a business name and elect company officers to oversee the operation of the company.
The initiative aims to help students move a business idea from concept stage to reality and help them succeed in a global economy.
According to JAN, this scheme was developed as a result of the growing need for digital literacy among young people. The aim is to expose students to digital tools in order to help them bring their business online and market their brands through the programme.
“We are thankful to Facebook for this amazing partnership that will help our company programme students boost their business profitability and equip them with digital marketing skills.
“Digital marketing is the skill of the future. It fulfils the objectives of traditional marketing concepts and delivers competitive advantages, measurable ROI and better visibility and engagement,” the Executive Director of JAN, Foluso Gbadamosi said.
“When I came on board, one of the strategic methods I devised to accelerate JAN’s impact is to leverage digital technology to expand our reach as well as enrich our curriculum with relevant digital modules.
“This partnership is the right step in the right direction as we are on the right track to reaching another one million youth in five years,” Gbadamosi added.
On his part, the Policy Programs Manager at Facebook, Mr Phil Oduor, stated that, “The economic empowerment of Nigeria remains a priority for us at Facebook.
“We are excited to partner with JAN as it is an opportunity to further provide Nigerian entrepreneurs, small business owners and citizens with the skills needed to build a profitable business in a digital society.
“This partnership adds to our ongoing efforts to promote, guide and boost efforts to grow Nigeria’s economy by empowering citizens with digital skills.”
Applications for Apple Entrepreneur Camp Open
By Adedapo Adesanya
The applications for the next Apple Entrepreneur Camp for Female Founders and Developers have opened.
The Apple Entrepreneur Camp was established with the goal of supporting entrepreneurs who are underrepresented in technology as they build the next generation of cutting-edge apps, and to form a global network that encourages the pipeline and longevity of founders and developers of all backgrounds.
The heart of Apple Entrepreneur Camp is an intensive technology lab working one-on-one with Apple experts and engineers to significantly accelerate your app.
The event will see participants hear from Apple executives and leaders on a variety of topics such as the latest advances in machine learning and augmented reality.
Applicants will have the opportunity to connect as a cohort to discuss challenges specific to their community, and form relationships with their fellow attendees.
At the conclusion of the lab, they will have the opportunity to present their progress, get feedback, and chat with some of Apple’s most senior leaders.
In addition, Apple Entrepreneur Camp consists of an immersive technology lab, as well as mentorship, education, and support.
Selected organisations receive the following free of charge: One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple engineers; Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year; One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program; and access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious leaders.
Applications are accepted from developers worldwide. To be eligible to apply:
The organisation must have:
A female founder, co-founder, or CEO;
A female developer proficient in Swift or Objective-C; and
A developed app or functional build that you can demo live.
The participants must be 18 years of age or older and proficient in English.
The female founder, co-founder, or CEO, the female developer, and additional developer or designer of any gender (if applicable) must be 18 years of age or older, proficient in English, and able to attend together for the entire duration of the program.
One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers; Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year;
One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program; and Access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious leaders.
Applications will be reviewed based on:
Content of written responses to the questions in the application form; Commitment to development for Apple platforms using the latest Apple technologies; and whether the app is unique or innovative.
The application consists of four parts, which include uploads and prompts for written responses.
Tell us about your organization and provide contact information for up to three employees who would attend if your organization is selected.
Provide details about your app and development team. You may include a download or demo link, as well as up to three screenshots or wireframes that best illustrate the user experience.
Describe what you plan to gain from participating in Apple Entrepreneur Camp, as well as your plans for the future.
Select the dates for which you’d like to apply and provide any additional comments.
Each application will be kept on file for one year.
How to Apply:
Click here to get started.
Apply by March 26, 2021.
5G Network Not Dangerous to Health—Pantami
By Ahmed Rahma
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has stated that there is no known scientific evidence suggesting that the 5G network poses any risks to public health and safety.
He revealed this when he led the heads of agencies under his ministry and other stakeholders to an investigative public hearing by the Senate Joint Committee on Communications; Science and Technology; Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cyber Crimes; and Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, at the National Assembly Chamber in Abuja on Thursday, February 25, 2021.
Speaking at the public hearing, Mr Pantami affirmed the findings from independent scientific reports published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), both agencies of the United Nations (UN), which clearly indicate that there is no health risks to human lives associated with the deployment of 5G.
The Minister said after the initial approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, which led to the commencement of 5G trial in 2019 in selected locations in the country and the subsequent intervention of the National Assembly in 2020, seeking clarifications on probable health risks of 5G deployment, the Ministry had so far undertaken wide-ranging stakeholder consultations to ascertain the safety of 5G networks.
He explained that having aligned with the ITU and WHO reports and studied 5G deployment situations in many advanced countries where it has been fully deployed without any health risks, the ministry can affirmatively say that there is no health risks to 5G networks.
“To this end, we are also working on a 5G deployment policy that will take care of all security, health and safety concerns of Nigerians and we will get the nod of the President after all issues have been addressed before we proceed with our deployment, as we cannot afford to lag behind in the 5G revolution,” he explained.
The Minister further explained that 5G is an enhanced technology over the previous technologies of 4G, 3G and 2G, the three of which have more radiations than the 5G technology, adding that the “radiation from mobile technologies such as 5G is internationally certified by ITU and WHO as non-ionising, meaning such radiation does do not have a harmful effect on human lives and it is far low compared with radiation from a microwave oven that individuals use in their homes.”
Earlier in his address, the President of the Senate, Mr Ahmed Lawan, said the Senate resolved on May 5, 2020, that the joint committee conduct the public hearing, following a motion of public importance and urgency by Mrs Uche Ekwunife, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, to resolve all public health and safety concerns around 5G before the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) can proceed with its deployment in Nigeria.
After listening to all the views and submissions by the various stakeholders, the Lead Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, said that the purpose of the public enquiry was meant to help clarify and allay the fears of any health concerns among Nigerians.
“We hope all the submissions here today which point to the same direction on the safety of 5G to human lives will put the mind of Nigerians at rest that there is nothing to fear.
“We also hope that Nigerians will be looking forward to having 5G deployed in Nigeria,” she said.
Buhari Foresees Nigeria Driven by Prosperous Cyberspace, Digital Economy
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that Nigeria will be great with the help of the internet and the digital economy.
However, he stressed that to achieve this, efforts must be made to sanitise the cyberspace and explore the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.
He, therefore, called for an overhaul of the national strategy on cybersecurity.
Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021, the President tasked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr Babagana Monguno, to continue to “coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that our internet and cyberspace are used for the enhancement of national security and economic progression.”
“I am confident that, together, we can pave the way for the creation of new opportunities to usher Nigeria into a bright future driven by a prosperous cyberspace and digital economy,” Mr Buhari said.
According to him, his administration has taken some major policy decisions to increase penetration of the internet in the daily lives of citizens, particularly for the utilitarian purpose, with the launch of the National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 in March 2020; National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030; National Identity Program, Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number schemes.
He stressed that, “All these initiatives serve as enablers for tackling many of the economic and security challenges facing our country while also providing us with the platform to improve accountability and transparency in our unwavering resolve to tackle corruption.”
“However, like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet is accompanied by significant problems. We are witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension,” he added.
The President noted that the internet and social media have witnessed a surge in the propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.
“It is almost impossible to overstate the challenges. Some global events such as the rapid emergence of new technologies, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the advent of 5G technology, have further widened the scope and diversification of these cyber threats.
“In October 2020, we all witnessed an escalation in the use of the social media for dissemination of subversive messages and incitement of violence which played a part in heightening tensions, causing unrest and spurring widespread acts of looting and destruction across the country,” he stated.
President Buhari said the federal government had been proactive, over the past couple of years, in taking steps to ensure progressive use of the internet and cyberspace.
“In 2014, the maiden National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy was developed to provide the necessary roadmap for the realisation of our national cybersecurity programme. This national effort paved way for Nigeria to reach numerous cybersecurity milestones over the past six years.
“Therefore, in order to build on this achievement and reposition ourselves for enhanced engagement in cyberspace, it became expedient to review the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2014 and develop a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 for the common good of our country,” he said.
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