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Nigeria’s Battle Against Cybercrime: Are You Safe?

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Cybercrime

Cybercrime is nothing new in Nigeria. Part of youth culture for decades, criminal enterprises have spread across the country.

In 2020, Nigeria ranked 16th highest in the world for international cybercrimes, by the FBI. However, Nigeria ranked 47th on the Global Cybersecurity Index, showing a vast disparity between the volume of cybercrime, and the effectiveness of Nigeria’s cybersecurity.

To understand this divide, it’s important to understand where cybercrime originated in the country.

Let’s investigate…

A brief history of cybercrime in Nigeria

The roots of cybercrime culture in Nigeria date as far back as the 1980s. In those early days, Nigerian youth mainly perpetrated cybercrime through email scams.

Known colloquially as the “yahoo yahoo” business, “yahoo boys” use social engineering tactics to con their victims into sending them money. The fraudsters often use emotional pressure points or promises of high returns.

The Nigerian government took a blow in 2020 when hacker collective Anonymous declared cyberwar against them. They hacked the database of the Central Bank of Nigeria and police websites on behalf of the #ENDSARS movement.

Biggest threats to Nigeria’s cybersecurity

The landscape of global cyber threats shifts regularly. However, recent years have shown a rise in the popularity of certain types of cybercrime in Nigeria.

Social engineering tactics

Arguably the oldest cybercrime in Nigeria, social engineering continues to be a favourite of Nigerian cybercriminals. These tactics often include heartfelt backstories, pleas for help, and the promise of love, or return on investment — all via email.

These tactics play on victims’ emotions and vulnerabilities. Those who’ve been successful with these scams live frivolous lifestyles. “Yahoo boys” with fancy cars and clothes have also become role models for young people desiring the same lifestyle.

Phishing websites

Chances are you’ve ended up on a site like this before. Sometimes they pose as legitimate sites but are almost always just an attempt to collect data, or install viruses. Phishing sites are hugely popular in Nigeria as it goes hand in hand with email scams.

You only need to click on a dangerous link before a fraudster can view your data. This is where using a VPN for PC is essential. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) hide your browsing and location data from malicious phishing websites.

Insider collaboration

A significant area of concern for Nigerian businesses is insider collaboration. This occurs between criminals and employees. Fraudsters have often sent out open requests for anyone willing to cause damage to their employer for payment.

This is quite hard to track too, as hackers use valid credentials to access secure networks. Keeping logs of activities within the network can help to find leaks. This can also help to spot malicious activity in the future.

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities of third parties

One of the biggest concerns for Nigerian businesses is the security of third parties. Even if your business is a fortress, a poorly protected third-party can bring the castle tumbling down.

This is especially troubling to Nigerian businesses operating globally. More third parties mean more vulnerabilities. Only work with trusted clients and expand the scope of your cybersecurity to those you work with.

Deepfake technology

A hot-button issue in Nigeria at the moment, deepfake fraud is more common than ever. Deepfake technology is the life-like reanimation of an individual’s face, meaning you can make anyone say anything.

Unfortunately, deep-fake is only getting better. In 2018, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was featured in a deepfake video. The video became so viral that the President was prompted to make a statement dismissing the video as a fake.

How Nigeria is fighting back

Policing against cybercrime in Nigeria has been inadequate for decades. Only recently has the government declared significant steps in its plan to fight the rising issue of cybercrime.

Nigeria introduces the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS)

In 2021, Nigeria implemented the NCPS, which indicated cybercrime as a leading threat to Nigeria and its economy. The NCPS represents an attempt to safeguard Nigeria’s digital economy, by strengthening the country’s legal and regulatory framework.

Also ongoing is the development of the National Cybersecurity Coordination Centre (NCCC). The NCCC would ensure clear communication and a well-developed response to cybercrime across Nigeria.

Efforts like these are projected to boost cyber protections and cybersecurity awareness. While work is still ongoing, the future of cybersecurity in Nigeria looks bright.

Conclusion

Although it has been a mainstay for years, cybercrime is now starting to be taken seriously in Nigeria.

Being uncontrolled for so long, cybercrime has been able to grow steadily.

By embracing modern cybersecurity practices, Nigeria might finally rid itself of its unwanted cybercriminal image.

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Twitter Introduces Location Spotlight, Others to Benefit Professionals, Businesses

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Twiiter Location Spotlight

By Adedapo Adesanya

Twitter has launched Location Spotlight globally, a tool designed to help professionals customize and strengthen their business presence and showcase their products to customers directly on the social media platform.

According to a release made available to Business Post, Twitter said, “Professionals – whether they are creators, nonprofits, developers, small business owners, or big brands – come to Twitter every day to drive results that can move their business forward.

“For the past year, we’ve been developing a collection of foundational, free-to-use products that give this community the tools they need to customize and strengthen their business presence and showcase their products to customers directly on Twitter.

“Today, we’re hitting an exciting milestone in this journey: we’re making the Location Spotlight available to all professionals on Twitter. This is the first spotlight for professionals to become globally available.”

As a tool, Location Spotlight allows professionals with physical business locations to display their business address, hours of operation, and additional contact information so that customers can reach them via phone, text, email, or Twitter Direct Message.

The company noted that, “As we scale the Location Spotlight, we’re also giving it an extra boost that can help professionals drive their customers further down the path to purchase.

“Using Google Maps Platform, this spotlight now gives professionals the option to add a map of their business location. Customers can then click on the map for directions to navigate there.”

Alongside Location Spotlight, Twitter also announced other professional products and resources it plans to introduce this year. These include – Professional Home, Profile Spotlights, and Taking Care of Business series, among others.

On Professional Home, Twitter said, “For the first time, professionals will be able to access a homepage to track performance, discover product offerings, tap into additional resources and drive performance. Professional Home will become available to all professionals globally in the coming weeks with additional updates and iterations to come throughout the year.”

For Profile Spotlights, the company announced that “We plan to test and launch a few additional profile spotlights this year to better serve our broader audience of professionals. Ultimately, these spotlights will enable professionals to encourage potential customers to take the actions they care about most when discovering their account on Twitter. Stay tuned for more information as we begin piloting these spotlights!”

Starting this month, Twitter said it will be offering a monthly, live online workshop series created by Twitter Flight School called “Taking Care of Business.” The series is designed to help professionals who are just getting started with Twitter gain a better understanding of the newest products and offerings available to Professionals on the platform or simply need a refresher on how to leverage Twitter to grow their business.

The workshops will cover how to set up Professional Account; how to activate an appropriate spotlight for businesses and how to tweet confidently and engage with your audience.

It also announced #TweetLikeAPro On-Demand Courses on Twitter Flight School.

“In addition to the live webinars, in August, we’ll be rolling out 10 a la carte courses on Twitter Flight School that will cover several topics that are top of mind for professionals on how to leverage Twitter to drive customers to buy. Our #TweetLikeAPro coursework will be designed specifically for small to medium businesses and will cover topics like how to Up Your Tweet Game, Creating a Community of Engaged Followers and Keeping it Simple: The 4 Cs of Content Strategy.”

“We are proud of the foundation we’ve laid with the initial suite of products we’ve unveiled to date and we’re excited to continue introducing new ways to help professionals achieve business success on Twitter,” it announced.

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Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Jumps to 44.5% as NCC Reviews Short Code Services

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broadband penetration

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s broadband usage has continued to rise, moving up by 3.6 points from 40.9 per cent in February 2022 to 44.5 per cent in July 2022.

This was disclosed in a statement released on Thursday by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), through its Director of Public Affairs, Mr Reuben Muoka, a figure considered hopeful for achieving the national broadband penetration target of 70 per cent in 2025.

The statement quoted the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, as making the revelation at the beginning of a three-day public inquiry on five telecommunication regulations and guidelines which began in Abuja yesterday.

“With the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is, therefore, essential for the Commission to ensure that the right regulatory frameworks can accommodate such eventualities,” he said.

The agency’s boss said the public inquiry, which covered five areas of existing regulations, is aimed at achieving operational efficiency and operational excellence.

He listed the regulatory instruments under review at the public inquiry to include Type Approval Regulations, Guidelines on Short Code Operation in Nigeria, Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure, Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions, as well as Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.

He said the focus areas were already articulated in some important documents guiding the operations of the Commission, which include the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, and its Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021–2025, which are being implemented towards achieving its mandate.

While stating that these strides are the results of the commission’s regulatory efficiency and focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Mr Danbatta said the public inquiry is in tandem with the NCC’s strategy of consulting stakeholders in all its regulatory interventions.

The EVC further stated that the amendment of these regulatory instruments was to reflect current realities, one of which is the anticipated deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology, and management of shortcodes in Nigeria, including the Toll-Free Emergency Code 112.

Earlier, Head, Telecoms Laws and Regulations at NCC, Mrs Helen Obi, had stated that public inquiry allows the agency to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders, in the development of its regulatory instruments.

She said the process ensures that the NCC’s regulatory instruments are in line with the current realities in the industry as it had done with some regulatory frameworks and guidelines in 2021.

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Tech Companies Making a Difference in Africa

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Tech companies

Africa has long been touted as the continent with the most growth potential when it comes to tech and innovation. Many African countries are building their own equivalents of Silicon Valley and tech companies from all across the world have been setting up offices and launching themselves into markets across the continent. And in addition to growing their customer bases, these companies are also committing to making affecting change in Africa. Here’s how.

They are Investing in communities and equipping people to become entrepreneurs

Last year Airbnb announced a three-year commitment to South Africa to address barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur and to help rebuild a more inclusive and resilient domestic tourism economy. The commitment focuses on infrastructure, training and investment and builds on Airbnb’s 2017 $1 million commitment in Africa to boost community-led tourism projects, and the Africa Academy, which has trained more than 300 Hosts.

As part of this commitment, Airbnb announced its partnership with the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism and Hospitality to expand the Airbnb Academy programme to at least 1000 students over the next three years.

They are assisting in developing quality journalists and newsrooms

Over the years, Google, perhaps the biggest tech giant in the world, has been doing its fair share for small businesses, content creators and business owners across Africa. And just recently the company announced that five South African recipients have been selected as part of  Google’s News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge.

The GNI Innovation Challenge is aimed at helping the journalism industry thrive in the digital era. Their projects are among 34 chosen from 17 countries, to receive a share of $3.2 million in funding.

The recipients, among them 21 journalists and publishers from 10 countries in Africa, were selected for their work in promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion in the journalism industry. The GNI Innovation Challenge is part of Google’s $300 million commitment to helping journalism thrive in the digital era and has seen news innovators step forward with many exciting initiatives demonstrating new thinking.

Companies are nurturing talent from a young age

“At Huawei South Africa, we have long been committed to cultivating ICT talent and discovering new ways to harness technological innovation to advance sustainability,” says Vanashree Govender, Media and Communications Manager for Huawei South Africa. “Last year, we launched our Tech4Good Global Competition as part of our Seeds for the Future talent development programme, which exposes learners to courses on the latest technologies like 5G, Cloud, AI and IoT.

The Tech4Good competition gets students to think about how to use technology to address social and environmental issues. Through this programme, participants boost their creativity, hone their entrepreneurship skills, and develop a sense of social responsibility. This is a fun team effort, with coaching by Huawei experts and world-renowned social impact leaders”.

Huawei also runs a Tech4All program globally in which Huawei works with partners to create real change through connecting the unconnected, empowering underserved communities and protecting the planet. In South Africa, Huawei’s DigiSchool project in partnership with operator rain and educational non-profit organisation Click Foundation has connected over 100 urban and rural primary schools to the internet using 5G technology.

They are building the right skills through access to digital media education  

Today, there are local entrepreneurs in fields as diverse as fashion, healthcare, and decor who have proven that with more equal access to the digital marketing ecosystem, it’s possible to expand regionally and internationally.

In order for that to happen at scale, they also need the requisite skills to market themselves online in the markets they want to reach. At the very least, those entrepreneurs should have easy access to people with those skills. It’s important to note here, that these aren’t just fundamental digital marketing skills, but ones that relate to the specifics of marketing on the world’s leading digital advertising platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Spotify where people across the globe spend most of their time online. With the right types of messages, these platforms are the most effective places to reach new customers across a broad range of markets.

“This is something that we’re passionate about, and recently, Ad Dynamo by Aleph launched a free Digital Ad Expert programme for young people in Nigeria and Ghana, which aims to educate, certify and connect thousands of Africans with the digital skills needed to succeed in a rapidly digitising economy. While it’s entirely possible that someone with the right degree of determination and curiosity could develop those skills on their own, it’s critical that more and more resources are accessible to build them up at scale,” says Elyse Estrada, Global Chief Marketing Office, Aleph Group.

This is crucial to ensuring that markets such as Ghana and Nigeria aren’t just growth targets for international companies, but incubators for a new generation of entrepreneurs capable of competing on a global level themselves.

They are creating access for everyone 

MFS Africa, the continent’s largest omnichannel payment gateway, believes in a “borderless world” to which everyone has access. Their comprehensive digital networks link 320 million mobile wallets, enabling cross-border payments remittance firms, financial service providers, and worldwide merchants.

MFS Africa CEO and founder, Dare Okoudjo, believes that interoperability is crucial in allowing customers of different mobile financial services providers to interact with each other. This can be done by making direct payments from the mobile money account of one provider to the mobile money account of another provider.

To do this, MFS Africa acquired Global Technology Partners (GTP) recently, broadening its bank and fintech base and supplying tokenisation in the mobile money space by connecting with established card ecosystems like Visa and Mastercard. The ultimate objective is to give millions of mobile money users on the continent access to the global digital economy and new possibilities. For its partners, these new capabilities enable scalability, security, and new markets and consumers as technology innovation continue to penetrate and reshape societies.

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