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Cybercrime: Stakeholders at ICT Forum Worry Over N127Bn Annual Losses

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Stakeholders who gathered at this year’s edition of the African Digital Awards (ADA) have expressed worry over and seek measures to curb N127 billion annual estimated economic losses to rising wave of cybercrimes in the country.

ADA is a twin programme, which annually features an award ceremony after an intensive workshop tagged Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum (NIICF), where critical issues affecting the industries are assessed and solutions proffered by industry regulators and stakeholders from the private sector of the industry.

Discussions at this year’s forum NIICF forum was around “Broadband Access: The Challenges of Cyber Security: Threats and Effect on Social Media Era.

While the issue of cybercrime, in its ramifications is said to be a global phenomenon, the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Communications, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), MTN, MainOne, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), among others were on accord that Nigeria needed to develop a strategy backed with thorough implementation of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 towards curbing the economic losses.

According to them, In Nigeria and other countries around the world, the internet has become an integral part of everyday life and has become a key development index, whose measurement is taken by development-oriented organisations and agencies.

While noting that there was no doubt about the positive impact of the internet and its peripheral technologies in enhancing people’s daily lives, they were also on accord that Internet has brought about the advent of cybercrimes, which are now threatening the socio-economic landscape of people across the globe.

Speaking at the forum recently held at the Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, noted that within a short period of time, Internet had evolved from being a simple tool for accessing information and conducting communication and commerce to becoming a significant venue for social activity and interaction.

He, however, said that whilst this means better and more convenient services and a boost in the economy, it also creates a viable avenue for cyber attacks and criminal activities which could cripple or destabilise the national system. “As the world increasingly depends on technology and the cyberspace, especially increasing access to broadband for daily businesses, it gets more and more insecure.

Yearly, he said thousands of cybersecurity problems are identified in cyber space and technologies from known and unknown global actors leaving Internet users vulnerable.

Shittu said cybersecurity is more than a challenge for government as it poses a huge obstacle to the country’s digital transformation agenda in social and economy desired for the country, stressing, however, that the Federal Government has estimated an annual loss of over N127 billion to cybercrime activities in the nation, the minister said.

According to him, “Nigeria has had its fair share of cybercrimes between 2016 and 2017 alone, stressing that the recession in 2016 brought about numerous attacks targeted at organisations and individuals.” Noting the most recent targets in Nigeria were unsuspecting patronisers of ponzi schemes.

“In the wave of austerity, many people lost money to the said schemes carried out through cyber platforms and others fell victims to malicious and compromising websites.”

Indeed, in the electronic payment space, data from the Nigerian Inter-bank settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS) showed that in the first quarter of this year, over N374 million was lost to different cases of electronic frauds.

Meanwhile, Prof Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of NCC, explained while development of regulatory framework for broadband penetration, licensing of infrastructure service providers, issuance of wireless broadband licence and the offering of more wireless broadband frequency and services are part of the Commission’s efforts towards ensuring deepen broadband access, the Commission has been collaborating with necessary stakeholders in order to work together to also tackle rising wave of cybercrimes.

“For instance, the Commission, among others, is partnering with the ITU to establish in Nigeria a Regional Cybersecurity Centre (RCC) for Africa,” Danbatta said. ‘The centre, which will be sited in Abuja, will provide support in the area of technical manpower training, information sharing and other collaborative roles with local Computer Security Incidence Response Team (CESIRT).”

Also Convener of the forum, Mr. Tayo Adewusi, said as individuals get exposed to cyber crimes, “companies are also exposed to the risks in the course of interacting with their supply chain, partners and customers but all said and done, Mr, Olusola Teniola, president of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said there was a need for government to create more enabling environment for service providers and collaborate with them more in order to sanitise the industry.

Mr. Kunle Adegoke, partner, M.A Banire & Associates, stressed the need for effective implementation of the Cyber Crime Act, 2015, saying “what we need is to be religious about the implementation and then not lose the sight of the fact that technology is always ahead of law and ‘so, the law must be subjected to periodic review and amendments in order to make it relevant at all time no matter the advancement in technology space.”

Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke, who also made a presentation that in capturing the broadband demand in the country, there was a need to encourage last-mile transmission of humongous internet bandwidth seating in the shores of Lagos to the nooks and crannies of the country to ensure wider access to broadband services. “Also, other challenges relating to multiple taxation, multiple regulation, vandalism and denial of right of way (RoW) must be addressed,” she added.

In the same vein, Ms. Abimbola Alale, chief executive officer of NIGCOMSAT, disclosed that while her organisation has been collaborating to deploy satellite facilities and encourage their usage within the country, towards encouraging deeper broadband, “we are also working day and night o ensure that our broadband services are secure for Nigerians and beyond.”

Other stakeholders,  who spoke at the event, have emphasized that the fight against cybercrimes is currently beyond socio-political and economic exigencies, adding that as broadband access gets deeper, creating wider and unhindered access to high-speed internet, there is greater need to form strategic partnerships and collaborative alliances with stakeholders, agencies, organisations and jurisdictions with the objective of forming a common front to combat the menace of cybercrime in all its ramification and manifestations in the society.

Meanwhile, awardees at this year’s ADA leg of the event included Most Outstanding Telecoms Company of the Year which went to MTN Nigeria; Regulator of the Year was clinched by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Most Outstanding Government Agency of the Year grabbed by Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat Ltd.) and away ICT Woman of the Year won by the due Chief Executive Officers of NIGCOMSAT, Ms Abimbola Alale and Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke.

Also, the award jury rated Kunle Azeez of New Telegraph as Most Outstanding ICT Editor of the Year; former President of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Engr. Bayo Banjo emerged as Broadcast Personality of the Year; Chief Executive Officer of Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, won Broadband Luminary Award;  Mr. Babatunde Mo’ Aguda emerged winner of Youth Innovative Award while Mr. Chris Kehinde Nwandu won Most Outstanding Online Editor of the Year.

 

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

NITDA to Blacklist MDAs not Running Website on .gov.ng

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said any government agency or ministry not running its website on Nigerian domain name, .gov.ng, will be blacklisted.

 

Dr Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami, NITDA director general in a statement made available in Abuja, added that most of the agencies still run their websites on generic top level domain (gTLD).

 

According to Dr Pantami, NITDA has observed the disregard to the use of .gov.ng domain in transaction of government business despite previous warning.

 

The DG said the agency would henceforth ensure strict compliance stressing that government business transactions should be carried out in the country’s code top level domain of the Nigerian government (ccTLD.ng)

 

However, for easy compliance, he said NITDA would henceforth approve request for .gov.ng within 24 hours, with the provision of special purpose phone numbers coupled with regular evaluation of agencies sites.

 

He said: “Furthermore, .gov.ng domain names are free with no rental or renewal cost attached. We therefore call on all MDAs and service providers to support government on the scale on the scale of ease of doing business.” (Daily Trust)

 

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Swift Networks Launches Customised ICT Solutions for SMEs

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Swift Networks Limited, Nigeria’s leading broadband services provider has launched a suite of information and communications technology products customized to support Nigerian SMEs.

 

These bundled solutions will reduce cost and give small businesses better control of their operations to drive efficiencies and growth.

 

To operate under the sub-brand of SWIFT SMARTBusiness Kit,these all-in-one service bundles will consist of all the office and home connectivity, hosting and bespoke business software solutions available to small businesses in the market today.

 

“SWIFT SMARTBusiness Kit continues in SWIFT’s tradition of demystifying and simplifying technology to help unlock Nigeria’s abundant potentials so that people can achieve more in their daily undertakings”, enthused Mr. Charles Anudu, managing director of SWIFT.

 

“SWIFT SMARTBusiness Kit is user friendly and will resolve the problem of small businesses dealing with multiple vendors who often present them with conflicting solutions that are not future-proof. With our solution, SMEs will obtain all their ICT solutions from a single trusted service provider with probably the industry’s best of customer care team on one monthly bill”, according to Mr. Chukwuma Okoye, chief operating officer of SWIFT.

 

“And because we are sure that our target small businesses will like this solution, SWIFT SMARTBusiness kit will come with a 30-day money back guarantee with no questions asked if the customer is not satisfied with the solution.”

 

He further added that “for the early birds, we shall throw in a free home internet access for the business for as long as the subscription is current.”

 

A sample SWIFT Business Kit solution will consist of office (and free home) internet, web and e-mail hosting, attractive business and international travel voice call rates, a la carte business software modules for sales, accounting, customer relationship management, inventory management and human resource management.

 

A customer can start with a basic plan and either add or drop modules as the business evolves. This is because our solutions basket are well aligned and future-proof.

 

SWIFT SMART Business Kit is specially targeted at businesses in the professional services, eCommerce, traditional retail, educational, healthcare, hospitality and cottage industries.

 

The services will be distributed directly through SWIFT’s customer centres as well as those of its online and off-line channel partners. It will also be supported by a professional field sales team from SWIFT.

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Gates Foundation Open-source Tool Enables Digital Payment Interoperability

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The new Mojaloop software, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is available, free-of-cost, for software developers to adapt and banks, financial service providers and companies to implement.

Mojaloop is said to be the first model that can help extend interoperability from mobile money providers to any bank, merchant or government institution in a way that specifically meets the needs of the poor. It reduces the complexity and cost of building all-inclusive payment platforms.

Kosta Peric, deputy director, Financial Services for the Poor at the Gates Foundation, says just as the Internet revolutionised digital communication, open source solutions like Mojaloop can spark innovation, democratise access to digital payments, empower billions of new customers, and drive massive economic growth in developing markets.

“Interoperability of digital payments has been the toughest hurdle for the financial services industry to overcome. With Mojaloop, our technology partners have finally achieved a solution that can apply to any service, and we invite banks and the payment industry to explore and test this tool,” Peric adds.

Mojaloop (from the Swahili word ‘moja’ which means ‘one’) was created by the Gates Foundation’s Level One Project, which aims to build inclusive payment models to benefit the world’s poor.

It was created in partnership with fintech developers Ripple, Dwolla, ModusBox, Crosslake Technologies and Software Group, using technology such as the Interledger Protocol, a solution for settling funds among multiple providers across their individual systems.

The Mojaloop development project also brought together four mobile systems companies – Ericsson, Huawei, Telepin, and Mahindra Comviva – to develop an Open API for mobile money interoperability. These APIs will allow mobile money providers to integrate seamlessly with Mojaloop and products built from it.

It was designed to ultimately serve as a model for national payment switching systems that, for example, enable an individual’s digital wallet to connect with an employer’s bank account and her children’s school account to complete monthly transactions.

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