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Konga, Yudala Merge to Disrupt Ecommerce

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Konga, Nigeria’s largest online mall and Yudala, Africa’s pioneer composite e-commerce company have officially announced a merger of their operations which will see them effectively become the biggest organized retail and e-commerce/marketplace outfit on the African continent.

 

The business merger, which takes effect from Tuesday May 1, will see both companies operate under the Konga brand name.

 

The strategic decision will see both companies leverage the combined strengths of both platforms and is expected to further broaden the scope of organized retail and e-commerce in Nigeria and deliver more value to customers and merchants.

“Combining forces to power the new Konga will enable us effectively achieve our goals of platform expansion and accelerated growth, as we embark on an ambitious journey to redefine the retail ecosystem with the industry’s most advanced technology,” disclosed Olusiji Ijogun, Konga chairman.

 

“Effective from May 1st, Yudala will now operate under the name Konga, with dual CEOs in the persons of Nick Imudia who will be in charge of online among others and Prince Nnamdi Ekeh who will be responsible for offline. This merger will further strengthen our position in the Nigerian retail market as we creatively position Konga as the first profitable e-commerce company in Africa.

“The efficiency of Konga’s cutting-edge online platform, access to thousands of merchants and Yudala’s expansive network of fully stocked offline stores is poised to give our customers the best shopping experience imaginable. We will be working closely with all our combined clients, customers, merchants and employees to make the integration process as seamless as possible and thereafter make public our road map to sustain our leadership on the continent,” Ijogun said.

 

One of the exciting benefits of this merger is the possibility it offers prospective shoppers to order online, pay and pick-up the product(s) at the nearest Konga offline store. There are also increasing business opportunities for merchants nationwide.

 

“We are very excited about the operational merger between Yudala and Konga into the new Konga,” noted Prince Ekeh.

 

“A merger of this magnitude has never been experienced in Africa. We will be leveraging on Konga’s strong technology backbone and online experience as well as Yudala’s offline experience, network of retail stores and operational efficiency. In the near future, we plan to have a Konga store in every local government area in Nigeria. While this is ambitious, we believe that every Nigerian deserves the right to have access to the full range of genuine products offered by Konga,” Prince Ekeh declared.

 

Plans are also underway to showcase the full power of the merger with expanded access to thousands of products in Konga online and offline stores for all categories of shoppers.

 

According to Imudia, “We believe this operational merger between Konga and Yudala will bring immense opportunities for consumers in the e-commerce space. We urge all shoppers, consumers, merchants and clients to stay tuned as we unveil the massive ambitious contents we have to offer.”

Widely applauded by industry watchers as a masterstroke, the merger will broaden the range of products and solutions on offer within the Konga/Yudala stable, while giving the customers and merchants more options and access to an expanded variety of guaranteed quality offerings and payment methods.

 

The Konga Business platform will now include two distinct but fully integrated aspects including Konga Online, the e-commerce/marketplace platform and Konga Retail, the offline arm of the business.

 

Both will be supported by Konga Pay, a CBN-licensed mobile money platform and Konga Express, a world-class logistics company with advanced delivery capabilities for internal and external customers.

 

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

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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