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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

Farmcrowdy Launches Mobile App for Agritech in Nigeria

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Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy

Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first and leading digital agriculture platform has introduced a new category of funding small scale farming in Africa by allowing Nigerians to venture and sponsor agriculture; and launched of its first app for Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices.

 

Techstars Atlanta alumnus, Farmcrowdy is reshaping the way in which people participate in farming and food production, through using their online platform to source funds from sponsors, whose money is used to secure land, plant crops and meet the funding needs of boosting food production with small scale farmers. Farm Sponsors can expect to see returns after harvest of 6-25% between a 3-9 month period, depending on what farm type they choose.

 

Since the launch of its website 12 months ago, Farmcrowdy has recorded close to 1,000 unique farm sponsors, aggregated a combined 4,000 acres of farmland in Nigeria for farming purpose and grown over 150,000 organic chickens to date.

 

Having worked with close to 2,000 small scale farmers in Nigeria already, the vast majority of Farmcrowdy sponsors are based in Nigeria, whilst 10% are located in the US and UK.

 

With another 6,000 Farm Followers visiting their website every week, the launch of the Farmcrowdy mobile app will provide a more accessible platform for agriculture enthusiasts to experience, learn and appreciate agriculture practice first-hand. Farmcrowdy currently provides regular updates, images and videos from the farmers as they work on the sponsored farms, providing an opportunity for their sponsors and farm followers to digitally track the journey of their sponsored farm through regular updates.

 

Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy said “We have launched the Farmcrowdy app to provide an accessible, real-time platform for people on the go, who do not want to miss out on empowering their own communities. In the past month alone, we have witnessed over 500 farm units of poultry – 25,000 chicks – sell out in a few hours to engage farmers who would have found it difficult accessing loans in the banks; so it’s super fast-paced. People are equally excited about creating impact in the lives of our farmers while earning a decent return. Nigeria is a mobile-first society and we had feedback from our sponsors who said they wanted improved access to our farms. They spoke, we listened, and we have now built a platform that suits Nigerians’ preferred means of doing business. – a mobile app. We expect that with this move, we would continue to stay at forefront of innovation in Agritech across Nigeria and scale our activities into more states in Nigeria while attracting more farm followers and sponsors to engage our farmers”.

 

“By effectively placing farms in the pockets of Nigerians globally, we are collectively impacting national food production and food security. This is our way of creating impact and return model for everyone sponsoring small scale farmers with Farmcrowdy”.

 

Currently operating in eight states across Nigeria, farm sponsors can choose to sponsor a variety of farm types including cassava, maize, rice, soya beans and poultry (broiler chickens for meat); with cycles lasting between 3 to 9 months depending on the farm. Farm sponsorships start from N96,000 [$270], and Farmcrowdy coordinates pre-arranged buyers to sell the farm harvest when the cycle is complete. The farm profit from the harvest is then split between the sponsors who receive 40% of the harvest profits plus their original sponsorship, while the farmers receive returns of 40% and Farmcrowdy gains 20% of the profits.

 

More than 80% of farmers in Nigeria operate on a small-scale level and it is currently estimated that 38 million of them are unbankable. Farmcrowdy, through pairing farmers with sponsors to effectively manage the farming cycle with training in smart farming techniques, supply of equipment and technical support, has over the last 12 months, ushered close to 2,000 small scale farmers into the financial ecosystem, making them financially inclusive.

 

The app, which is now available for download in Google Playstore, with Apple and Microsoft following suit soon, will through an accessible information feed and push notifications, allow users to view available farms, follow existing farms, provide ease of communication with farm account officers and allow the facilitation of easy feedback and comments.

 

Onyeka Akumah added, “This app provides a safe and reliable platform for agriculture enthusiasts to participate in this growing sector from a knowledge stand-point to making informed decisions about exploring opportunities in farming. So, we are looking forward to partnering with more Nigerians locally and globally as we continue to work towards building this community model for Nigerians to empower Nigerian farmers, produce Nigerian food and boost food production in the region while impacting positively on farmers lives and families. This kind of community model will be scaled into other regions as keep learning and improving our processes with the application of technology”.

 

 

 

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Nasarawa Adopts e-payment for Corps Members Payment

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The Nasarawa State Government is to use e-payment system to pay N5, 000 monthly allowance to corps members serving in government establishments in the state.

Mr Samuel Akala, the Special Adviser to Gov. Tanko Al-Makura on Youths, Students and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), disclosed this in Akwanga.

Akala said the new system was to address complaints by corps members on delay in payment of their monthly allowance.

He said that the state government had already commenced screening of corps members to ascertain their actual number in the state as a prelude for the introduction of the new payment system.

Akala said government would also collate data of banks and other details of corps members to ensure hitch- free take off of the scheme.

“Now, the governor discovered that payment of allowance to corps members has not been transparent.

“Some corps members keep complaining all the time that they have not been paid their allowance,’’ he said.

Akala said with the introduction of the new system, payment of corps members’ allowance would be centralised and made for easier.

He commended the governor for giving adequate attention to the welfare of corps members and urged them to reciprocate by dedicating themselves to their duties.

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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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