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Sophos Acquires Braintrace to Provide Next Generation Cybersecurity

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Braintrace

By Adedapo Adesanya

Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, has announced the acquisition of Braintrace to manage cyber threats and provide responses to its customers.

This further enhances Sophos’ Adaptive Cybersecurity Ecosystem with Braintrace’s proprietary Network Detection and Response (NDR) technology.

Braintrace’s NDR provides deep visibility into network traffic patterns, including encrypted traffic, without the need for Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) decryption. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Braintrace launched in 2016 and is privately held.

As part of the acquisition, Braintrace’s developers, data scientists and security analysts have joined Sophos’ global Managed Threat Response (MTR) and Rapid Response teams.

Sophos’ MTR and Rapid Response services business has expanded rapidly, establishing Sophos as one of the largest and fastest-growing MDR providers in the world, with more than 5,000 active customers.

Braintrace’s NDR technology will support Sophos’ MTR and Rapid Response analysts and Extended Detection and Response (XDR) customers through integration into the Adaptive Cybersecurity Ecosystem, which underpins all Sophos products and services.

The Braintrace technology will also serve as the launchpad to collect and forward third-party event data from firewalls, proxies, virtual private networks (VPNs), and other sources.

These additional layers of visibility and event ingestion will significantly improve threat detection, threat hunting and response to suspicious activity.

Speaking on the acquisition, Mrs Joe Levy, chief technology officer, Sophos said, “You can’t protect what you don’t know is there, and businesses of all sizes often miscalculate their assets and attack surfaces, both on-premises and in the cloud. Attackers take advantage of this, often going after weakly protected assets as a means of initial access.

“Defenders benefit from an ‘air traffic control system’ that sees all network activity, reveals unknown and unprotected assets, and exposes evasive malware more reliably than Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS).”

“We’re particularly excited that Braintrace built this technology specifically to provide better security outcomes to their Managed Detection and Response (MDR) customers.

“It’s hard to beat the effectiveness of solutions built by teams of skilled practitioners and developers to solve real-world cybersecurity problems,” he added.

Sophos will deploy Braintrace’s NDR technology as a virtual machine, fed from traditional observability points such as a Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) port or a network Test Access Point (TAP) to inspect both north-south traffic at boundaries or east-west traffic within networks.

These deployments help discover threats inside any type of network, including those that remain encrypted, serving as a complement to the decryption capabilities of Sophos Firewall.

The technology’s packet and flow engine feed a variety of machine learning models trained to detect suspicious or malicious network patterns, such as connections to Command and Control (C2) servers, lateral movement and communications with suspicious domains.

Since Braintrace built its NDR technology specifically for predictive, passive monitoring, its engine also provides intelligent network packet capture that IT security administrators and threat hunters can use as supporting evidence during investigations. The novel NDR analysis and prediction technique is patent pending.

On his part, Mr Bret Laughlin, CEO and co-founder of Braintrace said, “NDR is critical to successful threat hunting. Braintrace’s competitive differentiation is its unique NDR technology that our MDR analysts leveraged for finding, interrupting and remediating cyberattacks.

“With our own NDR technology, the team responds faster and more accurately because of the real-time, automated visibility and threat verification they have into encrypted traffic.

“We built Braintrace’s NDR technology from the ground up for detection and now, with Sophos, it will fit into a complete system to provide cross-product detection and response across a multi-vendor ecosystem.”

Braintrace’s NDR technology is a key component for defending against cyberattacks today and in the future.

Sophos research demonstrates how adversaries aggressively and constantly change tactics to evade detection and execute their attacks.

Braintrace’s technology helps uncover malicious C2 traffic from malware, such as ColbaltStrike, BazaLoader and TrickBot, as well as zero-days, that could lead to ransomware and other attacks. This visibility allows threat hunters and analysts to pre-empt any potential ransomware attack, including recent strikes by REvil and DarkSide.

Sophos plans to introduce Braintrace’s NDR technology for MTR and XDR in the first half of 2022.

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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NITDA Wants Nigerians’ Contributions to AI Development

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NITDA

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has called on Nigerians to make contributions to the National Artificial Intelligence Policy (NAIP), which will enhance digital innovation and the evolution of technology.

This was disclosed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday.

She explained that globally, countries are grappling with ways to manage the exponential growth of new and emerging technologies to advance their economies.

Mrs Umar said that the cognisance of the exponential growth and potential value of digital technologies is in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to diversify the Nigerian economy.

This, she said, is through utilising digital technologies and the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

“It is against this backdrop that Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, directs NITDA to develop a National Artificial Intelligence Policy (NAIP).

“The development of the NAIP is envisaged to maximise the benefits, mitigate possible risks, and address some of the complexities attributed to using AI in our daily activities.

“Furthermore, it will provide directions on how Nigeria can take advantage of AI, including the development, use, and adoption of AI to proactively facilitate the development of Nigeria into a sustainable digital economy.

“The agency, hereby, invites the public to contribute and participate in developing the NAIP,” she urged.

Mrs Umar called on interested experts and  volunteers to send their inputs through https://forms.office.com/r/JmgCe8HauK or alternatively to https://forms.office.com/r/nvmpp8Nv65

She directed them to make further inquiries by reaching out to ai@nitda.gov.ng.

NITDA is responsible for developing standards, guidelines, and frameworks for the IT sector in Nigeria, as enshrined in Section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007.

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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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