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.
Data Breaches in Nigeria Increase 64% in Q1 2023
By Adedapo Adesanya
Data breaches in Nigeria increased by 64 per cent, as 82,000 leaked accounts were recorded in the first three months of the year when compared with the last quarter of 2022.
This made Nigeria the 32nd most breached country in the world in the first three months of this year, according to the latest data from cybersecurity company, Surfshark, collected through its independent partners from 29,000 publicly available databases and aggregated by email addresses.
Globally, data breaches declined in the first quarter of 2023, with a total of 41.6 million accounts breached. This is almost 50 per cent less than the nearly 81 million seen in Q4’2022.
The increase in Nigeria’s data breaches moved the country from the previous position of 41 to 32, with around 50,000 breaches recorded in Q4 2022.
Russia was ranked 1st in the world (6.6 million), followed by the United States (5 million), Taiwan (3.9 million), France (3.2 million), and Spain (3.2 million), making the top five.
Taiwan saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase (21x), placing its total of 4 million leaked accounts 3rd in Q1’2023. The country had only placed 26th in Q4 2022 with 191,000 breached users.
Globally, data breaches declined, dropping to one user account leaked every second in Q1 2023.
“According to Surfshark’s study, data breaches declined globally in the first quarter of 2023 if we compare it to the previous one,” says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark. “However, the fact that over 40 million accounts were breached in just a few months is still a cause for concern. Those whose data was compromised are at an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals as their personal information can be utilized for phishing attacks, fraud, identity theft, and other serious cybercrimes.”
Surfshark showed that Europe was the most affected region by breaches in Q1’2023, followed by Asia and North America.
In the period under review, Europe was also the only region with a significant quarter-over-quarter increase in its statistics on data breaches. The number nearly doubled, growing from 9.9 million in Q4 2022 to 17.5 million in the first three months of 2023. To put this into perspective, 2 out of 5 accounts breached in Q1 2023 were of European origin, with 38 per cent of these being Russian. Within the region, the biggest quarter-over-quarter spikes in data breaches were recorded in Czechia (almost 9x), Armenia (around 6x), and Switzerland (6x).
Asia was the second-most vulnerable region, accounting for around a fourth of the quarter’s breaches (10.6M). The three countries that saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase overall were all Asian — Taiwan and Saudi Arabia both had around 20 times more leaked accounts in Q1’2023 than in Q4’2022, while South Korea saw its number increase 12 times.
An additional 13 per cent of the accounts were North American (5.3 million). All other regions comprised less than 5 per cent of the quarter’s total. Out of all regions, Africa saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter decrease — a whopping 33 times, bringing its total of 18.6 million leaked accounts in Q4 2022 down to 557,600 in Q1 2023.
Some of the biggest breaches by email count were Sberbank (Russia), with 2.9M accounts leaked, Weee! (United States) with 1.1M, and Zurich Insurance (Switzerland) with 756,700.
The ten most breached countries of Q1’2023, in descending order, are Russia, the U.S., Taiwan, France, Spain, India, Czechia, South Korea, and Italy. The highest growth in user victims was spotted in Taiwan (21x), Saudi Arabia (19x), South Korea (12x), Czechia (9x), and Armenia (7x).
WhatsApp Now Allows Users Edit Messages
By Adedapo Adesanya
The social messaging platform, WhatsApp, has announced that rather than users deleting chats in case of a typo, they can now make simple edits.
The edited messages will have an “edited” tag next to the time stamp to mark the change, and other users won’t be able to see the previous versions of edited messages.
The Meta-owned platform, through its chief executive officer, Mr Mark Zuckerberg, first noted the development in a Facebook post, revealing that users can now modify a message within 15 minutes of sending the message.
If users want to do this, they can press and hold on to a message and tap on the edit option to alter the message.
“We’re excited that you’ll now have more control over your chats, such as correcting misspellings or adding more context to a message. For this, within 15 minutes of sending the message, you have to tap and hold that message for a while and then select the option of ‘Edit’ from the menu,” the company said in a blog post on Monday.
This will be good for users that want to correct a simple misspelling or those that want to add extra context to a message.
“We’re excited to bring you more control over your chats. All you need to do is long-press on a sent message and choose ‘Edit’ from the menu for up to fifteen minutes after,” WhatsApp said.
As with all personal messages, media and calls, messages and the edits made are protected by end-to-end encryption.
This feature has started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.
Rival platform, Telegram, has always allowed for edits and users can do so for a time frame of 48 hours.
Last week, the platform announced that users can now lock and hide conversations as part of privacy measures using biometrics or a special code.
WhatsApp Launches Chat Lock to Hide Conversations
By Adedapo Adesanya
Social conversation platform, WhatsApp, has announced a new feature that will allow users to lock and hide conversations.
The new feature called Chat Lock will remove a chat thread from the app’s regular onscreen inbox and place it into a new folder that can only be opened by a password or biometric, such as facial recognition or a fingerprint.
Calling it “one more layer of security”, Meta – WhatsApp’s parent company – added that Chat Lock would protect “your most intimate conversations” and hide notifications from them.
“Over the next few months, we’re going to be adding more options for Chat Lock, including locking for companion devices, creating a custom password for your chats so that you can use a unique password different from your phone’s,” Meta wrote in a blog post.
“Locking a chat takes that thread out of the inbox and puts it behind its folder that can only be accessed with your device password or biometric, like a fingerprint. It also automatically hides the contents of that chat in notifications, too,” the past announced.
Users can lock chat by tapping the name of a one-to-one or group and selecting the lock option. To reveal these chats, users will need to slowly pull down their inbox and enter their phone password or biometric alternative.
“We think this feature will be great for people who have reason to share their phones from time to time with a family member or those moments where someone else is holding your phone at the exact moment an extra special chat arrives,” Meta added.
This is the latest feature since it fortified its mobile application with three new security features to protect the personal messages of its users.
Also, it announced that has started allowing in-app payment in Brazil last month.
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