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Nigeria, S/Africa, Others Record 2 million Phishing Attacks

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cybercrime

By Adedapo Adesanya

Internet security solutions giant, Kaspersky, has revealed that phishing activities were diversified as it intensified during the COVID-19 outbreak lockdown with over two million attacks in the second quarter recorded in Africa.

These and other findings were documented in Kaspersky’s new spam and phishing in Q2 2020 report.

According to the analysis, a number of new tricks have also been found – from HR dismissal emails to attacks disguised as delivery notifications. As a result of such tendencies, security solutions detected 2,023,501 phishing attacks in South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Phishing is one of the oldest and most flexible types of social engineering attacks. They are used in many ways, and for different purposes, to lure unwary users to the site and trick them into entering personal information. The latter often includes financial credentials such as bank account passwords or payment card details, or login details for social media accounts.

In the wrong hands, this opens doors to various malicious operations, such as money being stolen or corporate networks being compromised. This makes phishing a popular initial infection method.

Phishing is a strong attack method because it is done at such a large scale. By sending massive waves of emails under the name of legitimate institutions or promoting fake pages, malicious users increase their chances of success in their hunt for innocent people’s credentials.

Kaspersky noted that the first six months of 2020, however, have shown a new aspect to this well-known form of attack.

According to sampled countries, South African users have been influenced the most by this type of threat: there were 616,666 phishing attacks detected in three months. It was followed by Kenya (514,361), Egypt (492,532), Nigeria (299,426), Rwanda (68,931) and Ethiopia (31,585).

In the Q2 analysis, Kaspersky noted that phishers increasingly performed targeted attacks, with most of their focus on small companies.  It noted, “To attract attention, fraudsters forged emails and websites from organisations whose products or services could be purchased by potential victims. In the process of making these fake assets, fraudsters often did not even try to make the site appear authentic.”

According to the firm, these fraudsters leveraging on the coronavirus pandemic disguised communications with unsuspecting users ranging from delivery, postal, financial, and HR services.

Commenting on this, Ms Tatyana Sidorina, a security expert at Kaspersky noted, “When summarising the results of the first quarter, we assumed that COVID-19 would be the main topic for spammers and phishers for the past few months. And it certainly happened.

“While there was the rare spam mailing sent out without mentioning the pandemic, phishers adapted their old schemes to make them relevant for the current news agenda, as well as come up with new tricks,” she added.

Kaspersky experts then advised users to take the following measures to protect themselves from phishing. These include: checking online addresses in unknown or unexpected messages; never entering credentials on non-secure or ingenuine websites, and using a proper security solution with behaviour-based anti-phishing technologies.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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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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