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Kaspersky Exposes Tricks Fraudsters Use to Lure Victims

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Kaspersky Exposes Tricks Fraudsters Use to Lure Victims

By Dipo Olowookere

Kaspersky Lab experts have discovered the distribution of an unusual fraudulent scheme that tricks users into parting with their time and their data, for no return. By creating fake websites for the free generation of gift cards, cybercriminals are able to “sell” users’ data to third party partner sites, to which they redirect victims.

While industry and law enforcement agencies from around the world are busy fighting against cybercrime, criminals themselves are constantly looking for new ways of earning money – other than just malware. Offering something valuable free of charge is always an enticing piece of marketing, and criminals can take advantage of this.

Websites that offer customers the option of freely generating gift cards for well-known companies – like iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, or Steam – are nothing new. For example, legitimate apps like Tokenfire and Swagbucks buy card codes from vendors, to then give them to clients as a reward for certain activities. Criminals have apparently recognised the popularity of such websites and have decided to deceive users using a simple algorithm.

When on the fake site, the user is asked to select the gift card he/she wants in order to receive the code. After that, the fraudulent mechanism is set in motion. To get the generated code, however, the user needs to prove that he/she is not a robot. To do this, the user has to follow the suggested link and complete various tasks, the number and type of which are determined by the partner network to which the user is redirected. For example, he/she may be asked to fill in a form, leave a phone number or email address, subscribe to a paid SMS-message, install adware, and so on.

The result is predictable: either victims get tired of doing endless tasks, or they finally get the useless code. The earnings for criminals range from a few cents per every click on a desired link, to several dozen dollars for filling in a form or subscribing to paid services. Thus, the criminals make a profit virtually for nothing, getting paid from the user’s actions on the websites of third-party partners, who, for their part, also benefit by getting access to personal data which can be used for private purposes.

“The success of these new fraud schemes is based on criminals exploiting the drive of users to get something for free. However, at best they will spend hours of personal time doing worthless tasks, and at worst – lose money without receiving anything in return. So, if you want to get your hands on a free gift card, try to earn it on legal and trustworthy sites,” said Lyubov Nikolenko, web content analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

To avoid falling for cybercriminals’ fraudulent schemes and losing personal data, Kaspersky Lab researchers suggest that users follow a few simple rules:

  • Remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch and always treat offers that seem too tempting to be true with skepticism.
  • Check the HTTPS connection and domain name when you open a webpage. This is especially important when you are using websites which contain sensitive data – such as sites for online banking, online shops, email, social media sites etc.
  • Never share your sensitive data, such as logins and passwords, bank card data etc., with a third party. Official companies will never ask for data like this via email.
  • Do not spread questionable links among your friends.
  • Check with the company if it really is giving out gift codes, and whether the site is its official partner. To do this, contact the official support service by reaching out on the official website of the company.
  • Use a reliable security solution with behavior-based anti-phishing technologies to detect and block spam and phishing attacks, such as Kaspersky Total Security, which blocks fake gift card sites.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Technology

FG Inaugurates Governing Boards to Fast Track Development

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Ogbonnaya Onu Governing Boards

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

In a bid to fast track the development of the country as well as overcome science, technology and innovation (STI) challenges, the federal government has inaugurated governing boards and councils of agencies or institutes under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Recall that recently, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the change of name of the Ministry of Science and Technology to STI in a bid to focus on ensuring the provision of STI-based solutions to overcome societal challenges.

On Thursday in Abuja, the Minister of STI, Mr Ogbonnaya Onu, during the inauguration, noted that in spite of the present challenges, his team was determined to break grounds by building a world-class ministry that would be the best in Africa and comparable with the best in the world.

However, he stressed that the team must work together efficiently to achieve this noble goal, as they are now in the path of repositioning and strengthening the Ministry to emphasize the desire to contribute to national development efforts of this administration to lift 100 million people out of poverty within the next decade.

According to Mr Onu, using the enormous power of STI, the focus will be on the development of abundant natural resources as well as the orderly exploitation of huge potentials of people and businesses.

The Minister further noted that the role assigned by the federal government on the ministry as custodian of all the fundamentals of innovations in Nigeria carries enormous responsibilities coupled with the recent change of name by the ministry.

“The new logo, vision and mission statement, our core values and critical success factors (CSF) would be unveiled very soon. A rebranded Ministry is emerging with implications for the commitment of all stakeholders within the STI ecosystem, especially the members of the various boards and councils of the Ministry.

“I employ you all to be diligent and unrelenting in the new journey to greater heights of service to our nation,” he noted.

The Minister also urged the governing boards and council members to familiarise themselves with the relevant instruments governing the operation and supervision of their respective agencies and institutes.

He expressed that the role and responsibilities of governing boards are stated in the relevant government circulars, laws, public service, administrative guidelines regulating the relationship with parastatals and government-owned companies.

In his remarks, Mr Micah Umoh, who represented the Chairman Senate Committee on Science, assured to give their full support to achieve the goal for the initiative.

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Technology

Third Telecom Consumer Initiative Holds October 15

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Telecom Consumer Initiative

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The third edition of the Telecom Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR) will take place on Friday, October 15 2021, at 7:30 am, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.

The telecom consumer initiative will air on the Human Rights Radio, 101.1 FM, Abuja and will focus on the benefits of the National Identification Number to Subscriber Identity Modules (NIN-SIM) integration.

Interested individuals can tune in to listen and participate in the discussion via life streaming on the Human Rights Radio social handles, the telecommunications industry regulator said.

The TCTHR is the modified version of the Consumer Town Hall Meeting, a consumer outreach programme of the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the NCC.

Like its forerunner, the TCTHR is a train that will traverse Nigeria in keeping with management’s commitment to reach and engage every telecom consumer wherever they are.

It could be recalled that two editions of the TCTHR had taken place earlier in Kano and Lagos.

The key purpose of the programme is to create greater awareness on the linking of SIM to NIN and to educate consumers on the benefits and how to achieve NIN-SIM integration, and which consumers can reach the commission.

This initiative over the years has made it easy for consumers of telecom services in the country, who are dissatisfied with services rendered to them by any of the service providers to file a complaint.

The NCC has insisted on October 31 as the deadline for users to link their NIN to their SIM cards, stressing those who fail to do this would soon be denied the opportunity of acquiring driving licences and passports.

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Technology

Zinox to Transform Edo Into Tech State

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Zinox

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Edo State Government has partnered with Zinox as part of its efforts to transform the state into a hub of technology in the country.

Governor Godwin Obaseki expressed delight at the opportunity of working with the tech giant following the formal signing of a partnership agreement between the Edo State Government and Zinox at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Monday, October 11, 2021.

Mr Obaseki, speaking during the signing ceremony, hailed Zinox which he described as an indigenous technology leader and a fitting partner in its journey of state reforms led by a renewed embrace of digital technology.

‘‘I have always said it that the private sector will remain sub-optimized without a virile public sector. Our goal is to transform our state into a very modern, progressive state. But there is no way you can pursue this agenda without using the tools of technology.

‘‘The superstructure on which the reforms we are driving is anchored on is technology. Our demographics is very youth-centric, we love to travel, so we have a certain level of exposure as a people.

“So, we just found out that technology helps us to put it all together. In reflecting on technology, the beautiful thing is technology is global. We also have to make it global. But to localize technology with global standards, you need partnerships locally that have these in-built standards.

“We’ve looked around and we are fortunate that we have a Zinox in Nigeria,” he disclosed.

He then said that the plan is to ensure that every member of the public and civil service in Edo State owns a minimum of one personal comp or laptop, which he noted would boost their efficiency, while also aiding their work from home.

“If we are going to achieve the greatest we can achieve as a state that we wanted to have in development via technology, then we need to have the best technology partner in all of Africa. We are transforming enviably every area of the state.

“We have developed an e-learning approach and spent the last one year diligently reviewing our system, processes and procedures, while also recruiting a new generation of civil servants, training them, teaching them and attracting people from the private sector to join government so that we can now change that culture of service delivery. Nothing can put all of these together in a transparent manner other than technology,” he stated.

Also speaking, Mr Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group, commended the Edo State Government for setting the pace in its adoption of technology as a tool for reforming the state and in raising the bar of service to world-class standards.

He noted that his recent visit to the state was an eye-opener, even as he reiterated the commitment of his tech group in working with the state to achieve its transformation agenda.

“The Zinox Group has done so much in the area of technology including a number of pioneering efforts across the continent. We are happy to be working with the Edo State Government to deploy the power of digital technology in empowering the citizens and transforming the state.

“I must commend the governor and his team for their vision and the efforts in this regard. Edo state is blessed with a number of smart youths and on arrival today, I interviewed some of them and already hired one. It is interesting also to see that the government is attracting its citizens back home, even from abroad. So, it means that they are doing something right,” Mr Ekeh stated.

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