By Dipo Olowookere
Head of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, has disclosed that the agency has approved dedicated spectrum for trial deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in the country.
The NCC chief made this disclosure at the maiden Digital African Week organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) being hosted by the Commission at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The four-day conference, which began on Tuesday in conjunction with the Management of ITU-T Study Group 20 (SG20) and Study Group 5 (SG5) Regional Group for Africa Meeting, will allow all stakeholders in the emerging digital space to deliberate on the future technologies in Africa.
Addressing stakeholders at the event, Mr Danbatta acknowledged the evolving trends in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem, giving rise to such technologies as Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart cities and communities (SC&C), among others, saying the Commission was well positioned to jump-start trial of 5G deployment in the country.
“In this regards, we have approved spectrum for the trial of 5G services in the country,” he said, stressing that the licensing of seven infrastructure companies (Infraco) to deploy metro and inter-city fiber and broadband Point of Access with a minimum capacity of 10Gbps across the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria, is in line with the 8-point agenda of the Commission for the provision of ubiquitous broadband infrastructures across the country in the Next Level document.
He noted that such a regulatory move is also consistent with Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020, which recognises the importance and imperatives of ICT, as part of the “new world order” and catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development.
The EVC emphasised that in line with its collaboration and strategic partnership drive, the NCC had taken steps to involve members of the academia as strategic stakeholders in its activities towards the development of the telecom sector by harnessing the research potentials in the academia.
“In this regard, the Research and Development Department of the NCC is collaborating with the Universities and other institutions of higher learning to develop the ICT sector.”
While restating the commitment of the NCC to continue to work hard to ensure that all citizens of Nigeria have access to affordable broadband connection irrespective of their circumstances or location, Mr Danbatta said that the digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government is anchored on Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of broadband which the Commission is driving aggressively.
He further informed the audience that Nigeria had not only achieved but exceeded the 30 per cent penetration target set by the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018, saying “At the end of June 2019, our broadband penetration stood at 33.31 per cent.”
Financial Phishing Cyberattacks Jump 79% in Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The number of financial phishing attempts in the African regions increased significantly with Nigeria recording a 79 per cent jump in the second quarter of the year.
According to Kaspersky’s Financial Cyberthreats report, attacks in the financial sector are becoming increasingly corporate-oriented and shifting away from consumers as banks, payment systems, and e-commerce websites were attacked massively.
Imperfections in the transition to remote/hybrid work continue to pose a huge threat to businesses. On top of that, economic issues caused by the pandemic have further aggravated the problem. Driven by poverty and unemployment, cybercriminals have continually intensified malicious activities against customers and bank infrastructure.
Financial phishing is a deceptive way of stealing information and is gaining momentum in the region. Phishing is a type of online fraud where the scammer sends fake alerts from banks, e-pay systems and other organisations to trick consumers into sharing their financial details.
The alerts sent by the scammer can be related to loss of data, update credentials or system breakdown, which results in theft of passwords, credit card numbers, bank account details and other confidential information.
According to the Kaspersky telemetry, in Q2 of 2022, a total of 61,344 financial phishing attacks aimed at organisations were detected, an increase of 79 per cent compared to the first quarter.
Giving a breakdown, the largest share of attacks was mostly directed at e-commerce websites with 52 per cent, with payment systems hit by 42 per cent, while banks received about 6 per cent.
It was higher in Kenya, one of Africa’s booming economies, as a total of 100,192 financial phishing attacks aimed at organisations were detected in Kenya, a 201 per cent increase compared to Q1.
The largest share of attacks was directed at e-commerce websites (58 per cent), with banks (21 per cent) and payment systems (also 21 per cent).
Speaking on the report, Mr Emad Haffar, Head of Technical Experts at Kaspersky, said, “A life without the Internet is strange to us. So much so that our financial life is now digital. This is the magic of digitisation. But we also need to be aware of an unprecedented wave of challenges.
“Financial threats are one such challenge which is becoming more advanced in exploiting human behaviour and will only continue to grow. Businesses trying to stay ahead of such evolving, complex cyberattacks should make fraud prevention a focal point to control fraud transactions, eventually reduce fraud risk in the future and avoid reputation damage.”
Kaspersky highlighted certain recommendations to help businesses stay ahead of financial threats and phishing attacks, including companies needing to educate employees as they are considered the first line of cyber defence. This needs to be a continuous learning experience as well as teaching them about the red flags they need to keep an eye out for.
Similarly, organisations need to extend the dos and don’ts of cybersecurity to customers to protect themselves against phishing fraud.
It called on companies to capitalise on the Kaspersky Fraud Prevention solution, which proactively analyses and detects whether a customer’s device is infected with malware in real time.
Organisations were also charged to rely on Kaspersky Threat Intelligence to increase visibility and feed their security operations with advanced insights.
Meta Introduces WhatsApp Call Links to Rival Zoom, Google Meet
By Adedapo Adesanya
WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature that allows users to share a direct link to a call, just as it is planning to allow up to 32 users during a call session in a move that can see the Meta-owned platform rival other platforms.
The Call Links feature will start appearing on WhatsApp this week and can be accessed through a banner at the top of the Calls tab. WhatsApp users who want to try the Call Link feature will need the latest version of the app, which can be updated through the app store.
Mr Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, while announcing the feature on Facebook, said WhatsApp users will be able to share a link to a call with “a single tap.”
The ability to share a call link with up to 32 users was teased in April during the announcement of another upcoming feature, WhatsApp Communities.
The WhatsApp Call Links feature will support both audio and video calls. Mr Zuckerberg also confirmed that encrypted video calling is currently being tested for group calls with up to 32 people, which is notable, as WhatsApp currently caps video calls at eight users.
The expanded call capacity sets up WhatsApp as a competitor for Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom. These rival offerings have a far greater caller capacity (100 for Google and Microsoft Teams and 300 for Zoom).
However, they include restrictions like call duration for free accounts and might not be the first choice for the billions of people already chatting for free on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp did not mention any restrictions on call duration, which could place it as one of the best free video calling applications for smaller teams and personal networks once the feature is widely available.
Why Digital and Tech Skills Need to be Included at all Levels of Education
Education is, without a doubt, a fundamental human right. Today, digitalisation enables us to improve education and provide equal access to all. But where do we even begin?
In a world where everything is online, and any business that isn’t online is losing money, failing to teach our children digital skills for today and tomorrow will only widen our continent’s skills gap. This is because more than half of today’s professions demand technical abilities.
So, why is it critical for the technology industry to be involved in education at all levels?
Nurture future champions of the industry
Technology literacy and digital literacy are crucial for Africa’s future. And while we are making progress with the introduction of coding in primary schools in countries like Kenya and South Africa, we still have a ways to go.
“We know that every technology business is hampered in its growth by a severe lack of talent across Africa, and it is up to us as a part of that ecosystem to help develop and nurture future champions of the industry,” says Sean Riley, CEO at Ad Dynamo by Aleph.
“Unfortunately, there is still a substantial skills gap in Africa, and to solve it, we must begin at the grassroots level. We live in an increasingly digital world, so it is only logical that we begin teaching digital skills,” adds Riley.
Provide more flexible pathways
According to a World Economic Forum report, 65% of today’s primary school children will eventually be working in job types that do not exist yet, while the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that by 2030, more than 230 million jobs in Africa will require digital skills.
“It is therefore clear that emerging economies face significant upskilling challenges, which need to be addressed throughout the educational careers of young people. Businesses and educational institutions must work together to ensure that learners are equipped to handle the ever-changing nature of work.
“The business sector, in particular, should take the lead in this regard, whether through training sessions, providing more flexible skills pathways, or through the recognition of short courses, as well as online and self-learning,” says Vanashree Govender, Huawei SA spokesperson.
Technology innovation is happening so quickly that training must now be adjusted constantly, almost in real time, as new systems, applications, and devices come to market.
Conscious of the need for technology-driven upskilling, Huawei has built strong relationships with training and education institutions and established programmes such as our ICT Academies at universities and TVET colleges and our Seeds for the Future programme, which aims to develop skilled, local ICT talent.
“Education needs to be contextual. It should enable children to understand things around them and prepare them for real-world challenges. As technology has become ubiquitous, it is important to teach children how it impacts the world and helps them understand how it can be utilised to solve various problems,” says Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa – Zoho Corp.
Prepare students for an evolving workplace
Students require more than a functional knowledge of digital and technological skills to succeed in the world. By incorporating these technologies into the normal curriculum and ongoing activities, institutions ensure that their students are more equipped for the modern workplace.
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