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Top 5 Tips for Reliable Smartphone Security



Top 5 Tips for Reliable Smartphone Security

Nowadays, having access to data on the go is as ubiquitous as having access to water or a jacket. Yet despite the convenience of being able to log onto the Internet from your smartphone from nearly any location, there are certain risks regarding smartphone security that should concern everyone using a mobile device in public. Namely, free public Wi-Fi networks make us vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.

According to TechRepublic, Android ransomware increased 137.8% from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2017. A benchmarking study of the cybersecurity practices of global companies offers insight into cyber threats. The study, called The Cybersecurity Imperative, was released by ESI ThoughtLab and WSJ Pro Cybersecurity and was sponsored by Security Industry Association (SIA), along with other partners. The study cites the following leading cyberthreats in 2018, which include malware, phishing, ransomware, viruses, and attacks from apps.

Wireless network hotspots, which are often provided by coffee shops, hotels, or airports, are significantly less secure than our private connection at home or in the office. Tech-savvy cybercriminals can easily hack into public networks and attempt to steal or even lock and extort confidential information for financial gain. One option to prevent cybertheft is to not use public Wi-Fi, however, it’s often hard to pass up. Therefore, in order to use hotspots safely, it pays to follow these simple tips to ensure you’re not an easy target for cybercriminals.

Use a Reliable Anti-Malware

Since we have already decided that it’s vital to have reliable cybersecurity protection on all our devices in order to detect, quarantine, delete and report any type of suspicious activity, it is important to continue applying this rule when we are on the go. According to cybersecurity leader Kaspersky, there were a more than 42.7 million mobile malware attacks in 2017 and malicious mobile software threats were found in more than 230 countries worldwide, making travelers especially vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Therefore, to ensure our smartphones are secure, having a reliable anti-malware is a no-brainer. The software performs routine scans of your smartphone or mobile device and updates itself with the latest security protection against cyber threats.

Always Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, ensures you can use the Internet safely because it disguises your online identity. Rather than browsing the Internet openly by using a coffee shop, restaurant or hotel’s free Wi-Fi network, use VPN software with encryption technology to safeguard your identity and ensure you are browsing anonymously. This will protect you from those who want to spy on what you’re doing online.

A reliable VPN for smartphone automatically changes your IP address to conceal your actual location. Fundamentally, a VPN makes your smartphone or mobile device as well as the information within it undetectable and therefore inaccessible to anyone who may be on the same Wi-Fi network as you. Not only will hackers not be able to pilfer your data, but they also won’t be able to infect your device with ransomware or other malware.

Be Careful Where You Connect

It is crucial to be sure you’re joining a secure Wi-Fi connection. Often, we connect simply by instinct. For example, if a network is called HotelFreeWiFi, we may innocently assume that it is the hotel’s network, yet it can often be a calculated “man-in-the-middle” attack employed by hackers to fool users into logging in in order to steal their information.

According to the Pew Research Center, 54% of internet users use public Wi-Fi networks, and many perform sensitive activities such as online shopping (21%) or online banking (20%) in public. Therefore, when logging in on the go, ensure your Wi-Fi network is secure and not a rogue network. Double check with the barista or receptionist to find out the actual name of the coffee shop or hotel Wi-Fi network.

Remain Alert On-The-Go

It is also important to be selective about what you’re looking at on your smartphone while in public. Using free Wi-Fi for reading the news or streaming music is one thing but be careful when you’re performing sensitive tasks like reading your email, banking, or online shopping. When performing these activities, you find a secured connection in an Internet browser that has a padlock or the letters HTTPS or SSL in the URL window, rather than HTTP.

Also, for added security, try to perform sensitive operations from your own personal hotspot by using your data plan for things like email, shopping or banking.

Additional Tips

It is also important to back-up your important information and other data at least once a week just in case you lose your smartphone, or your mobile device is stolen. A great solution is to use cloud services and local back-up, like a USB flash drive or external hard drive.

Also, use a strong password, which is at least 7 characters long, has a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and combines upper and lower cases. Experts say it can also be effective to use a passphrase, such as a line from your favorite song, like “royaltyinsidemydna,” from Kendrick Lamar’s DNA.

Additionally, when possible, choose a two-step verification that requires not just a password to log in, but also a one-time code that is sent to your smartphone in order to confirm it’s actually you using the device. If your smartphone is not set up to do this automatically, download the latest free software updates for the Windows or Mac operating system on your device.

Users should be concerned about smartphone security even if privacy isn’t a top priority for them. A VPN for smartphone or tablet, which unlike your home computer will be using public Wi-Fi access occasionally, either in a coffee shop, airport, or hotel, ensures your data is protected. Public hotspots are not particularly trustworthy, and those that don’t require a password are even more vulnerable to attack. A mobile VPN isn’t just smart, it’s vital.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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MTN Partners Huawei to Deploy Premium Wi-Fi Service in Nigeria



MTN Group Premium Wifi service

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

To improve the experience of end-users on its network, MTN Nigeria has partnered with Huawei to launch a premium Wi-Fi service in the country.

According to MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr Mohammed Rufai, the deployment of the premium Wi-Fi is geared around delivering a superior user experience with high technology.

He stated that this also became necessary due to an increase of smart home device quantiles and new types of services such as video clips and online games which demand a better home network quality.

MTN is working with Huawei on an Autonomous Driving Network project, including various innovative practices such as target architecture design, autonomous level evaluation and high-value use-cases of autonomous networks.

“Home network experience has become a vital area in improving network quality for us. In addition, we want to solve problems such as Wi-Fi interference, coordination between home network terminals and Wi-Fi coverage which occurs frequently and leads to a large proportion of user complaints,” Mr Rufai said.

 “With this, we can proactively identify and accurately locate fault points on home networks. It will help us to improve O&M efficiency and reduce customer complaints,” says Daniel Smith, a senior engineer with the MTN Group.

“In the future, MTN and Huawei will implement more innovations regarding network automation and intelligence, quickly deploy them on the live network to promptly deliver superior user experience of high tech,” he concluded.

The premium Wi-Fi can play back the historical home Wi-Fi performance in the last seven days. It demarcates faults based on speed tests by segment and diagnoses major issues in just one click to rectify problems in the cloud.

Besides, with the self-trouble shooting function on the mobile app, home broadband users are able to solve certain network problems by themselves, allowing them to manage the broadband performance much easier.

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Cyber Attacks: Africa Must Encourage Digital Skills Development—Experts



Adopt Digital Skills

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Urgent steps must be taken by African leaders to encourage general digital skills to tackle cyber-attacks and crimes on the continent, some experts in the industry have advised.

Speaking at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) event, the stakeholders warned that if efforts are not taken, the governments, citizens and businesses may suffer “catastrophic consequences.”

It was stressed that at the moment, Africa is struggling to match its counterparts in the other parts of the globe due to a shortage of general digital skills caused by brain drain.

At the workshop themed Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Quagmire, the founder/CEO of Digital Jewels, Mrs Doyin Odunfa, in her presentation, lamented that the shortage of general digital skills at all levels is expected to become more critical as economies grow, noting that the supply of digitally skilled labour must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs.

She observed that highly skilled African professionals have been emigrating from African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.

Whilst proffering solutions, she recommended intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.

“These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.

“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.

“Many highly talented African students that obtain opportunities and scholarships of training abroad do not return home after completing studies,” Mrs Odunfa stated.

In his welcome address, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world calls for concern.

According to him, “The cyber threat landscape is still evolving. The cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and highly reputable firms. Even individuals are not left out.

“Consequently, it becomes imperative that organizations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Stanbic IBTC, Abumere Igboa; CISO of Heritage Bank, Eduje Ighoakpo; CISO of First Bank, Harrison Nnaji; CISO of Standard Chartered Bank, Oghenefovie Oyawari and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Digital Jewels, Tokunbo Taiwo, were the other speakers at the gathering.

ISSAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace. It is significantly involved in ensuring the security of banking systems and applications, ATMs, e-government systems, and the entire cyberspace in Nigeria.

The group also seeks to achieve its objectives through awareness heightening measures including the promotion of appropriate legislation and best practices.

Membership cuts across both public and private sectors of the economy including Banks, Telecommunications Operators, Government parastatals, switching companies, IT and IT security consultancies, Legal Practitioners with a keen interest in cyber-related matters, and regulators.

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Interswitch Receives Fresh Funds from LeapFrog, Tana




By Adedapo Adesanya

LeapFrog Investments (LeapFrog) and Tana Africa Capital (Tana) have invested in Interswitch, one of Africa’s technology-driven companies focused on the digitisation of payments.

In a joint statement from both companies, the exact amount was not disclosed, but it was stated that the investment will assist in supporting the company’s drive to advance the payment ecosystem across the continent.

A portion of the investment has been acquired from existing shareholders, with Ignite Holdco Limited, made up of Helios Investment Partners and TA Associates, remaining the largest shareholder in the business following the transaction.

Interswitch Group CEO, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, in a statement, said the company was “excited to welcome LeapFrog and Tana on board, as we continue our work to advance the future of the African payments landscape.”

This will further advance its offerings after it launched some new products in March.

The services unveiled include an enhanced Biometrics feature for Point of Sale (PoS) terminals & Automated Teller Machines (ATMs); Tokenization, and Card Fusion, with the services addressing digital payment fraud, problems with card issuance and portfolio management.

Interswitch, in collaboration with SterlingPRO, designed the Biometrics on Point of Sale (PoS) and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to protect customers against digital payment fraud and to avail them faster and more convenient ways to validate payments. The solution utilizes physiological features unique to everyone such as fingerprints, voice, and facial features to verify payment transactions.

Tokenization on the other hand replaces sensitive data such as the 16-digit account information with a unique digital identifier known as a token. Tokenization will enable merchants to fast-track and collect payment seamlessly, enabling customers to check out faster in-store, in-app and online.

In addition, Card Fusion is a web-based instant card issuance platform that enables banks to conclude new card production requests and issue cards within a very short time, thus enhancing their customers’ experience while customers get to personalize their cards instantly.

Interswitch is one of Africa’s largest electronic payments and infrastructure companies and services providing online banking system offerings in areas like point-of-sale terminals, online consumer payment platforms, Quickteller, and Verve, the biggest domestic debit card scheme in Africa, issuing over 35 million active cards since launch.

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