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Nokia Launches Three New Nokia C-Series Smartphones

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Nokia C-Series Smartphones

By Adedapo Adesanya

Hot on the heels of the recent launch of the G11 and G21, HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has announced three new Nokia C-series smartphones –the C21, C21 Plus and C2 2nd edition.

According to the company, this is in response to success for Nokia smartphones within the affordable smartphone market, which saw a 41 per cent smartphone revenue growth for HMD increase from 2020 to 2021 and the company reached its first full year of operational profitability in 2021.

Forecasting one million subscriptions to its Services Suite in the first half of this year, HMD is also announcing a new services-focused division to further continue this period of growth. This will allow the company to foster further growth, attract talent, and better support existing clients by streamlining processes internally.

Speaking on this, Mr Florian Seiche, Chief Executive Officer, HMD Global said, “2021 was a transformational year, resulting in solid revenue growth across the business and today, we are celebrating a profitable new chapter for HMD Global with the release of three new affordable Nokia devices which are not only safe, reliable and durable but ensure as many people as possible can access the latest innovative technology for less.

“I am excited to announce that our services portfolio includes a secure device financing solution for smartphones and other devices. At HMD, we are bringing together these two ingredients, a high-quality smartphone experience and a financing solution that builds upon our mission to make modern mobile technology accessible to everyone.

“Combined with the success of our enterprise services offering to scale to 1 million subscriptions in H1 and delivering the exceptional level of services clients expect from us, we are delivering an accessible and seamlessly connected experience for people and enterprises worldwide.”

Adding his input, Mr Janne Lehtosalo said, “Our range of enterprise IoT offerings has already made a significant impact on multiple industries including logistics, healthcare, and financial technology around the globe.

“Following the creation of the new division, we believe we will be better organised to further grow our offering to more industries, better serve our existing clients, and bring new services to the market. We’re excited to have hit a projection of over one million subscriptions in H1 and are proud that we are able to consistently offer them unparalleled services regardless of where they are on the globe.”

Review of Nokia C-Series

The three new devices epitomise the durability and long-lasting battery life qualities Nokia phones became famous all those years ago. This, combined with the best of Android™ software, and security updates cements HMD’s vision for 2022 and beyond – building Nokia phones that last for longer whilst maintaining excellent build quality.

Nokia phones have incorporated a beautiful Finnish aesthetic that is also functional. The company are bolstering their successful Nokia C-series range, which was introduced in 2020 and already makes up 16 per cent of total company smartphone sales in the last five years.

Nokia C21 Plus

The hero of the C-series family – Nokia C21 Plus – is the smartphone that keeps on giving. It’s designed for durability and is rigorously tested to achieve sleek style and strength, while also delivering on battery life and most importantly, remaining affordable. The device comes with two different battery sizes, 4000 mAh and 5050 mA which deliver up to two- and three-day battery lif] respectively – allowing people to stay connected for longer and recharge less.

Built around a robust inner metal chassis with an IP52 rating protecting against elements, with dirt, dust, and water droplet resistance thanks to a toughened cover glass that protects the dazzling 6.5” HD+ display – ensuring Nokia Hope can stand up to all of life’s hustle-and-bustle.

A 13MP dual camera with panorama and portrait modes allows you to capture life’s best bits in stunning detail. A clean OS with minimal preloads gives you more space for the apps and content you choose. Plus, 2 years of quarterly security updates, and fingerprint and AI face unlock technology ensures the Nokia C21 Plus stays secure, inside and out.

Nokia C21

The Nokia C21 maintains the excellent build quality, security promises and the all-day battery life signature to the popular C-series. The device brings an improved 8MP camera with autofocus technology that seamlessly reads QR codes – so whether people are scanning menus, making payments or simply looking up information – the Nokia C21 ensures scanning QR codes is a breeze.

Enhanced memory capabilities, thanks to a multi-core processor, bring efficiencies without sacrificing the all-day battery life, while AI-powered face unlock is now supported by a fingerprint sensor for extra security and convenience. Two years of regular security updates also come as standard for C-series devices so people can rest assured that the Nokia C21 works hard in the background to keep their smartphone phone safe.

Nokia C2 2nd edition

The Nokia C2 2nd edition comes with super-tough and reliable Nokia build-quality with even more ways to connect.  Designed to withstand life’s knocks, thanks to a tough inner metal chassis, and premium Nordic craftsmanship, this C-Series device has been rigorously tested to ensure it meets high durability standards and delivers a thoughtful and purposeful design at an affordable price point.

Giving you greater freedom to connect, and a reliable, super-smooth smartphone experience, the all-day battery life from a single charge enables hours of talk time and days of standby. The generous 5.7” display lets people easily stream, share and scroll through their favourite content and apps in brilliant definition – and capture the best bits of life, day or night, thanks to front and rear flash cameras. 2 years of quarterly security updates also ensure that the Nokia C2 2nd edition stays secure on the inside. The up-to-date OS with minimal preloads helps data go further, freeing up more space for the content and apps you love.

Other C-Series Accessories

HMD’s growth story continues with their accessories range, doubling the accessories business in 2021 with ambitious plans for future growth. Nokia C21, C21 Plus and C2 2nd edition come with a range of accessories including over-ear wired and wireless headphones and truly wireless earbuds offering an easy, hands-free calling experience.

Nokia Go Earbuds 2 + A truly wireless, clear sound and comfortable fit at ultra-high value, whilst environmental noise cancellation (ENC), sweat and splash resistance, up to 24-hour playtime will see users through even the rainiest of days

Nokia Headphones (Available in Wired and Wireless) – a super lightweight design with soft over-ear cushioning and a foldable arm for extra comfort and convenience, make for a seamless experience whether working or listening to music.

HMD Enterprise division

The one million subscriptions are split between the three core products (Connect Pro, Enable Pro, and Softlock) currently sitting under HMD Global Services, and are made up of IoT connections, EMM licences, and device lock licences. The global growth of the existing HMD Global Services lines led to the subdivision, which will further enable the team to focus on improving existing product lines, as well as innovating and creating new product offerings to clients.

Pricing and availability

Local pricing, variants and availability will be shared in-market at a later stage.

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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Biometrics Player iiDENTIFii Secures $15m to Fund Expansion

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iiDENTIFii

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The goal of an innovative biometrics tech firm, iiDENTIFii, to expand its operations across Africa is coming to fruition as it has obtained a funding package worth $15 million for this purpose.

iiDENTIFii is a world leader in biometric authentication. Its advanced face authentication technology securely authenticates users within seconds via their cellphones or PCs.

The company operates across several industry verticals and its services are used by the largest pan-African banks, insurers and mining houses for customer and employee authentication.

Its customers include Standard Bank, ABSA Bank, and Investec Bank. Investors in the round alongside Arise are growth-stage private equity firm Sanari Capital and veteran US tech entrepreneur Bill Spruill.

The major contributor of the new $15 million injection was an African investment company, Arise, whose cornerstone investors include Rabobank Partnerships, Norfund, NorFinance and FMO.

In a statement, iiDENTIFii said it would use this investment to fund its expansion across Africa, especially at a time cybercrime within the financial sector is a growing threat to the continent.

The consequences of attackers exploiting security vulnerabilities are particularly severe for financial services and banking apps that process sensitive financial information.

The use of iiDENTIFii’s biometric authentication to protect access to this sensitive financial information makes iiDENTIFii’s solution an integral part of financial inclusion, digital inclusion, and identity inclusion on the continent.

“I’m incredibly proud of our engineering team and our growth as a company over the past three years,” says iiDENTIFii Founder and CEO, Gur Geva. “This investment validates our central business thesis that we are the preferred partner for enterprise-grade identity in Africa. We’re excited to put the investment to work as we close in on our goal of authenticating every face in Africa. With this new funding and the networks of Arise, Sanari, and Bill – we confidently continue our mission of stopping identity theft in Africa.”

“In addition to complementing Arise’s portfolio of bank investments across Sub-Saharan Africa, this investment heralds our foray into the African fintech market,” says Arise CEO Gavin Tipper. “We are excited about our partnership with iiDENTIFii, which will allow us to offer their unique technology to banks in Sub-Saharan Africa, strengthening digital anti-money laundering practices and advancing financial inclusion.”

“At Sanari, we place a strong emphasis on digital and human enablement to unlock business potential,” says Sihle Gumede of Sanari Capital. “iiDENTIFii is, therefore, a great addition to our investment portfolio and we look forward to being part of its ongoing growth journey. We are excited about co-creating a scalable and sustainable pan-African biometrics business.”

“As an entrepreneur and investor, I’ve had a significant amount of experience with transformative technology,” says Bill Spruill “The work being done by iiDENTIFii is particularly exciting and I am excited to see the impact it has on the African continent.”

iiDENTIFii recently won KPMG’s Tech Innovator in Africa award and will compete for the global title in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2022.  It has previously, amongst other awards, won MTN App of the Year and Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner of the Year.

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Financial Phishing Cyberattacks Jump 79% in Nigeria

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financial phishing

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.

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Meta Introduces WhatsApp Call Links to Rival Zoom, Google Meet

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WhatsApp Call Links

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.

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