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Google Go Launches in Nigeria, 29 Others across Africa

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Poised to incessantly give users a faster and lighter way to search and access the internet, Google has launched Google Go in Nigeria and 29 other countries in Africa.

According to Google, the application is designed to solve existing problems faced by 73% of smart phone users who use devices with low memory space and less one gigabyte Random Access Memory, 1GB RAM.

Speaking at the launch, in Lagos, Juliet Ehimuan, Google’s Country Director, Nigeria, revealed; “There are about 30 million smart phone users and the number increases annually, however, upon expansive and in depth research in to smart phone usage it was found that 73% of users have less than or 1GB RAM and low memory space which causes hitches while searching on the internet.

Also there is the issue of data cost and reliability. Taking all these into consideration, Google has made this innovation, Google Go, based on a new compression technology.”

Stating the features of the App, Lolu Bodunwa, Product Marketing Manager, Sub Saharan Africa disclosed; “Google Go is less than five megabytes, 5MB in size, it employs data management and compression technology and as such uses 40% less data.

It has a tap first user interface that gives users one tap access to everything you are looking for and most importantly, it is locally relevant.

Search results are also cached on the device so you can quickly re-access previous searches, even when you’re offline, without incurring further data costs.

When there’s no internet access, Google Go retries failed search requests in the background and lets you know as soon as the results are ready.

Web pages load quickly, even in data-saving mode or on 2G connections. It runs on Android 4 devices and above.

“For those new to smartphones or search, the App suggests trending search, top apps and is voice search enabled. Hence, no matter how accented, Google Go can recognise desired search items, just say the word or phrase.

It is essentially about organizing the world’s information and making it accessible to everyone, how they want it.”

On his part, Taiwo Kola – Ogunade, Google Communications and Public Affairs Management, West Africa added; “Google Go is built from the ground up with the feedback from user research.

Crucial parts of the design, functionality and features of Google Go are inspired by what we learned talking to people in Africa for over a year, since 70% of people who connect in Africa do so via a mobile device.”

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E-Business

Alleged Nigerian Hackers Steal from Shipping Firms

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Nigerian hackers, grouped as Gold Galleon, are menacing shipping firms and bleeding them of thousands of dollars.

 

Network security firm Secureworks has red-flagged the group, whose focus appears solely to be the maritime industry.

 

The group, according to a report by Maritime Executive, an online platform, uses basic email scams and publicly available hacking software to try to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting ship managers and service providers.

 

Secureworks said Gold Galleon is a group of about 20 individuals who work together to hack maritime firms all over the world using basic techniques.

 

They rent hacking tools for just a few dollars per month; they communicate via Skype; and they identify targets using online company directories and commercially-available contact lists.

 

While the criminal gang uses an online proxy service to disguise its location, several cues indicate that it is of Nigerian origin, Secureworks said.

 

The group communicates in Nigerian Pidgin, an English creole language, and it uses phrases associated with a Nigerian social organization called the “Buccaneeers Confraternity” for usernames and passwords.

 

Once the group has identified a new target, it sends a spearphishing email carefully tailored to the recipient. The email has an attachment containing malware, which deploys on the unsuspecting victim’s computer and logs his or her keystrokes, recording the username and password for the victim’s business email account.

 

Once the account is compromised, the group uses a software tool to collect all the email addresses with which that user has had an interaction, and it sets itself up to intercept business transactions between the user and his or her clients.

 

Many maritime firms use email to handle invoicing and payment details. When the Gold Galleon group sees payment details relayed on an invoice in a compromised email account, it intercepts the invoice, alters the account numbers to direct the money to its own “mule” bank account instead, and uses a similarly-worded email address to send the altered request on its way to the intended recipient.

 

Often, the buyer will not detect the change to the sender’s email address and the bank details, and will simply pay the fraudulent invoice.

 

In one case study, the group was able to steal email usernames and passwords for eight employees at a South Korean shipping firm, including the accountant’s account.

 

Gold Galleon members monitored the company’s financial transactions to gain familiarity with its billing cycles and clients.

 

Then, when the South Korean firm initiated a $50,000 “cash to master” transaction to deliver money to one of its vessels, a Gold Galleon hacker impersonated the recipient and asked for payment to be sent to a “subsidiary account for now” because of unspecified bank issues.

 

Secureworks was monitoring the exchange and notified the parties involved that they were being hacked, and it thwarted two subsequent attempts on the same firm – one for $234,000 and another for $325,000.

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HID Global Unveils e-ID Cards to Ease Movements in ECOWAS

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HID Global®, a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions, has introduced an end-to-end solution for national e-ID cards that complies with the recommendations provided by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as all international standards for travel identity documents.

 

The solution gives ECOWAS nations greater options for launching e-ID programs that will enable their citizens to travel easily within this sub-region of Africa.

 

“HID offers government agencies in the ECOWAS region the choice to directly source cards or buy specific components to fulfill their e-ID Card programs,” said Manuel Deloche, Vice President Product Marketing, Citizen ID Solutions with HID Global.

 

“We provide a one-stop shop for everything from polycarbonate inlays and cards to chips and a Common Criteria-certified chip operating system, all aligned with ECOWAS recommendations. HID Global can either support national governments directly or work hand-in-hand with regional partners to ensure a successful project.”

 

Per ECOWAS guidelines, the HID card and inlay options use polycarbonate materials, include an aluminum watermark and are compatible with inductive coupling dual-interface chip technology so there is no physical contact between the card’s module and antenna. HID cards and cards made using HID components have been fully tested against ISO24789 requirements for a minimum 10-year lifespan.

 

HID’s ECOWAS solutions offer the option of including the company’s Mirage™ level 1 security feature. Mirage™ is a 5-in-1 security feature including negative laser engraving, window protection, bi-color metallic effects, customizable design options and a window seal. The bundles also include a Common Criteria-certified SOMATM chip operating system supporting ICAO national e-ID applications, digital signatures, and “match-on-card” capabilities.

 

The ECOWAS national e-ID card initiative spans more than 500 million citizens from the nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

 

Several countries have started their national e-ID implementations and others are expected to initiate programs soon. These programs are aimed at making travel more convenient for citizens while also promoting economic integration among ECOWAS member states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BetaSMS Unveils Apps to Boost Revenue for Small Business

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A Lagos-based mobile marketing company, BetaSMS has unveiled a set of industry-leading business-oriented applications – WasherMEN and iPrefect – to help the operators of small and medium scale enterprises in their drive for increased revenue generation.

The applications are designed to increase the productivity of business owners giving them more control, encourage lean operations, reduce overhead costs and generate more profit to keep them in business.

Ajibola Awojobi, Managing Director of BetaSMS, said: “WasherMEN was built after we noticed an increased number of Laundry Start-ups had become increasingly dependent on SMS to notify customers for pick-up of their clothes.

We decided to create more value for such by building the application to ensure smooth running of their businesses.”

On iPerfect, Adebimpe Ayoola, Head, Communications, BetaSMS, said: “We decided to create this solution because of the incessant complaints of missing students’ files and records as well as difficulty in tracking students’ performances and behaviour.

This solution will help keep records for various institutions, simplify the enquiry processes and help instil discipline amongst students.”

WasherMEN is laundry management software designed with the one-man business model in mind but has the capacity to handle both commercial and industrial laundry activities.

iPrefect, on the other hand, is a school automation software built for every educational institute – colleges, universities, training schools- and aims to improve management’s understanding and interaction with students all through their duration in the school while reducing the workforce needed to achieve same. The solution will enable education institutions to perform all activities in the cloud.

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