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IBM, Nokia, Others Launch IoT Cybersecurity Alliance

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IBM, Nokia, AT&T, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and Trustonic have announced that they are collaborating to help address IoT security challenges.

The “IoT Cybersecurity Alliance” said the combination of industry-leading security providers and IoT experts will research and raise awareness of ways to better secure the IoT ecosystem.

“The explosive growth in the number of IoT devices is only expected to continue; therefore, so must the associated cybersecurity protections,” said Mo Katibeh, SVP of Advanced Solutions at AT&T. “Today’s businesses are connecting devices ranging from robots on factory floors to pacemakers and refrigerators. Helping these organisations stay protected requires innovation across the whole IoT ecosystem to enable sustainable growth.”

In the past three years, AT&T said it has seen a 3,198 per cent increase in attackers scanning for vulnerabilities in IoT devices.

When AT&T surveyed companies in 2016, 58 per cent of respondents said they were not confident in the security of their IoT devices.

The Alliance members believe the key to IoT security lies in protecting all devices at the endpoint, network, cloud and application layer, and using overarching threat analytics to study the overall ecosystem and designing products with a built- in, always-on security approach.

The members want to advise customers and educate the industry on the cybersecurity measures needed to create a safer IoT ecosystem, foster collaboration and advance innovation with top cybersecurity and IoT thought leaders.

Specifically, goals of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance are to:

Collaborate and research security challenges of IoT across verticals and use cases such as automotive, industrial, smart cities and healthcare. The Alliance will take use cases or business challenges in IoT cybersecurity to dissect and advance security concerns and identify ways to implement security across the value chain.

Dissect and solve for IoT security problems at every critical layer of security. These include the endpoint, connectivity, cloud, and data/application layers, and the Alliance says it includes experts at each of these layers to help educate businesses and consumers on how to protect their connections.

Make security easy to access across the ecosystem. Security needs to exist across the value chain, and the Alliance says users will benefit from innovative IoT services and infrastructures that can withstand the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Influence security standards and policies. Using each group member’s leadership and expertise will raise awareness of cybersecurity, with the Alliance engaging regularly with policymakers and other organisations.

“Be it a connected car, pacemaker or coffee maker, every connected device is a potential new entry point for cyberattacks,” said Bill O’Hern, Chief Security Officer at AT&T. “Yet, each device requires very different security considerations. It’s become essential for industry leaders and innovators like those in the founding members of this Alliance, to work together to help the industry find more holistic security approaches for IoT.”

The IoT Cybersecurity Alliance intends to bring together market leaders in device security, connectivity, data, cloud, and applications, creating the opportunity for end-to-end IoT security to help businesses continue to grow and compete in the ever-changing market. Its members say they will help the industry maximize the advantages of IoT while educating about how to keep companies and consumers more secure.

 

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

Millions Exposed in Facebook Data Protection Failures

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Passwords of millions of Facebook users were accessible by up to 20,000 employees of the social network, it has been reported.

 

Brian Krebs, Security researcher, broke the news about data protection failures, which saw up to 600 million passwords stored in plain text.

 

The passwords that were exposed could date back to 2012, he said.

 

In a statement, Facebook said it had now resolved a “glitch” that had stored the passwords on its internal network.

 

In a detailed expose, Mr Krebs said a Facebook source had told him about “security failures” that had let developers create applications that logged and stored the passwords without encrypting them.

 

Commenting on Mr Krebs’s story Facebook engineer, Scott Renfro said an internal investigation started after Facebook had uncovered the logs had not revealed any “signs of misuse”.

 

In public comments, Facebook said it had discovered the issue in January as part of a routine security review.

 

And its investigation showed that most of the people affected were users of Facebook Lite, which tends to be used in nations where net connections are sparse and slow.

 

“We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users,” the company told Reuters.

 

But it added it would enforce a password re-set only if its taskforce looking into the issue uncovered abuse of the login credentials.

 

The news caps a long period of trouble for Facebook over the way it handles and protects user data.

 

In September last year, it said information on 50 million users had been exposed by a security flaw.

 

And earlier in 2018 it revealed that data on millions of users had been harvested by data science company Cambridge Analytica.

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Konga Rated in Top League of Globally Viable Start-Ups

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E-commerce giant Konga has emerged among an exclusive list of globally viable start-ups and corporate organizations after achieving top scores in a rating by Early Metrics, an European based independent rating agency for start-ups and innovative SMEs.

 

The rating places Konga in a rarefied club of the top 14% of the 2,100 startups rated globally as at March 2019, further justifying the elevated standing of the company as one of the most promising ventures in the Nigerian and African business space.

 

A European-based global rating agency, Early Metrics assesses the growth potential of innovative and early-stage ventures. Their ratings support decision makers such as investors and corporates to identify innovative start-ups worthy of their time and money.

 

Their ratings also help the organizations themselves, as it allows them to critically examine their strengths and weaknesses, gain credibility and give their investors added confidence by being audited by a third party.

 

Konga, acquired by the Zinox Group about 12 months ago, has been undergoing strategic restructuring and expansion to position it as the first and largest Omni – channel e-Commerce group on the African continent.

 

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NITDA says Only 4.7% of Nigerian Govt. Institutions Use IT Effectively

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has criticised government institutions for underutilising enterprise technology saying only 4.7 per cent of federal institutions use IT “in somewhat effective manner”.

In contrast, over 66 per cent of such institutions are at what the agency called “emerging stage” of IT utilisation, maintaining only websites “offering basic information online”.

The agency, which is responsible for formulating and supervising government’s IT policies, bemoans the low compliance with modern technology by government ministries and agencies.

NITDA’s director general, Isa Pantami, however said with the presentation of Nigerian Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA) framework to stakeholders yesterday, the agency is setting the tune to changing the current reality.

He sought the support of the stakeholders, arguing that “public institutions for a big critical enterprise that must be managed efficiently to ensure its resources including IT are maximized to create value for stakeholders given the prevailing political, legal and administrative contexts.”

Mr Pantami, who was represented at the event by NITDA’s director of e-Government Development and Regulation, Vincent Olatunji, however, acknowledged improvement in IT systems of some public institutions which, he said, however, come with other challenges.

He listed some of the challenges to include inefficient IT environment, poor interoperability of IT systems, poor information sharing across agencies, maintenance of unnecessary multiple sites and unstandardized communication channels.

Other challenges he outlined are high cost of IT investments and poor sustainability of IT projects by host institutions.

“In addition to the previous challenges mentioned, ICT adoption and implementation in Nigeria naturally faces a lot of challenges ranging from inadequate basic infrastructure such as electricity, broadband and other digital technologies to insufficient human capital and the required skills in the public sector effectively implement and utilise ICT solutions.

“We also have unfriendly and weak institutions; inadequacy of finance for ICT projects as a result of competing demands and inability to properly align government businesses and ICT deployment, among others,” he said.

Mr Pantami said the implication of those challenges on the sector resulted in the inability of public institutions to fully translate national or organisational visions, policies and programmes into effective enterprise change and add value.

“This has prevented IT, to some extent, from becoming an asset shaping strategic future opportunities of public institutions and the government as a whole,” he said.

The official, however, commended ICT adoption as exemplified by the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Bank Verification Number (BVN), e-Taxation, e-Passport and e-Wallet system for farmers.

In his presentation on the draft NGEA document, Soji Adegunwa of Goldberry Systems Ltd said enterprise architecture is a recommended technology system that is being accepted by governments all over the world.

He said the adoption and harmonisation would help the government reduce costs in IT investment, as it cuts multiplicity and allows for collaboration.

He said with common platforms, there will be a reduction of “administrative headache” among agencies.

Mr Adegunwa also allayed fears of government institutions saying the technology is only making things more efficient without “taking powers away.”

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