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MainOne Powers Up MEST Incubator with High-speed Internet

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West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre services provider, MainOne, has partnered with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) to provide high-speed internet access to the MEST Incubator in Ikoyi, Lagos.

MEST is a not-for-profit organization which provides technology training, seed investment and mentorship for the next generation of globally successful African software entrepreneurs.

This partnership will leverage MainOne’s fiber connectivity, as well as MEST’s seed fund and incubator to foster the growth and success of entrepreneurs by providing work space, high-speed internet, hands-on support, resources and a vibrant community to help start-ups succeed.

According to Funke Opeke, MainOne Chief Executive Officer, MainOne remains committed to powering up the startup and technology ecosystem in Nigeria which remains underdeveloped, to foster socio-economic development of Africa through the creation of sustainable businesses and enterprises.

“We will continue to support initiatives like the MEST with investments in fibre-optics infrastructure to deepen broadband penetration and create enabling environment for these companies”, she said.

“Our expansion into Lagos was in response to the vast amount of talent present combined with the surge in the development on technology in the country. Our Pan-African network of incubators is aimed at discovering the best tech talent on the continent and providing our existing entrepreneurs the support they need as they expand into new markets across the continent”, said Neku Atawodi-Edun, Director of Investor Relations at MEST.

Speaking on the partnership she applauded MainOne’s support in enabling the hub with the capacity to meet the requirements of entrepreneurs who just need the space to focus and work on their big ideas.

“The MEST Incubator is a hub where different tech and digital start-ups, are availed seed funds and resources essential to the success of their business. We wanted to create a space to enable entrepreneurs in Africa build scalable businesses by providing access to work-spaces, electricity, a community of ideators and super-fast reliable internet, thanks to MainOne.”

Elaborating on the company’s efforts towards innovation in ICT, Tayo Ashiru, Head Marketing, stated, “We are able to relate to the challenges start-ups and small businesses experience in this economy and support them by improving the quality of access and accelerating the digital transformation of small businesses. It gives us immense pleasure to play such a vital role in growing this very important ecosystem.

MainOne’s goal is to empower every West African who has a great idea for a business to turn that idea into a reality which in turn can help the community, Nigeria and the continent as a whole. The company supports innovation through partnerships with start-ups including Co-Creation Hub, Andela, PagaTech, ImpactHub; and MEST and Hackerspace in Ghana among others.

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ESET, Airtel Unveil New Security app for Smartphone Users

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ESET, a security solution company on Thursday launched a new mobile security app specially designed for Airtel Nigeria subscribers.

 

Olufemi Ake, country manager of ESET, said that the mobile security application would provide smartphone users with features for prevention and management of cyber risks associated to android mobile devices.

 

Ake made this known during the ESET Mobile Security Airtel Edition Launch held in Lagos.

 

He said that there was need for average smartphone users in Nigeria to install mobile security apps on their phones, “especially in this age where cyber criminals steal personal data online”.

 

The country manager added that the first telecom-focused security product was optimised for Android and also for bringing both unmatched performance coupled with proactive protection.

 

He said: “The new ESET mobile security for Airtel also welcomes the brand-new premium features such as Anti-Phishing, which protects against malicious websites attempting to acquire sensitive information – usernames, passwords, banking information or credit card details.

 

“It also features Anti-Theft, which locks a device upon detection of suspicious behaviour or when unauthorised SIM is inserted.

 

“The security app also has the Remote Lock feature, allowing a device owner to lock his or her phone remotely, thereby preventing unauthorised access to all stored information, including photos and emails.

 

“It also has the SMS and Call Filter feature, which enables smartphone owners to solely receive the calls and messages that they want and also empower them to define the sender and the time to receive SMS or calls with time-based call management.”

 

Ake noted that the ESET Mobile Security product already exists globally on Google Play Store with over ten million downloads.

He explained that the app also offered precise detection of known and unknown mobile threats with complement of advanced features such as Anti-Theft, Security Audit, App Lock, SMS and Call Filter and Password Protection, amongst others.

 

Dinesh Balsingh, chief commercial officer, Airtel Nigeria, said that the partnership with ESET affirms their strong commitment to protecting customers from cyber criminals.

 

He said that by introducing such apps to subscribers, they would be protected from cyber criminals hacking into their personal data.

 

Balsingh said that Airtel subscribers who wish to benefit from the new security app could subscribe via Google Play store at subsidized and flexible cost of N150 monthly.

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MainOne Takes Blame for Google Glitch

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Main One Cable has took responsibility for a glitch that temporarily caused some Google global traffic to be misrouted through China, saying it accidentally caused the problem during a network upgrade.

The issue surfaced on Monday afternoon as Internet monitoring firms ThousandEyes and BGPmon said some traffic to Alphabet’s Google had been routed through China and Russia, raising concerns that the communications had been intentionally hijacked.

Main One said in an e-mail that it had caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the Internet. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through Main One partner China Telecom, said the West African firm.

Google has said little about the matter. It acknowledged the problem on Monday in a post on its Web site that said it was investigating the glitch and said it believed the problem originated outside the company. It did not say how many users were affected or identify specific customers.

Google representatives could not be reached on Tuesday to comment on Main One’s statement.

Even though MainOne said it was to blame, some security experts said the incident highlighted concerns about the potential for hackers to conduct espionage or disrupt communications by exploiting known vulnerabilities in the way traffic is routed over the Internet.

The US China Economic and Security Review Commission, a Washington-based group that advises the US Congress on security issues, plans to look into the issue, said commissioner Michael Wessel.

“We will work to gain more facts about what has happened recently and look at what legal tools or legislation or law enforcement activities can help address this problem,” Wessel said.

Glitches in border gateway protocol filters have caused multiple outages to date, including cases where traffic from US Internet and financial services firms was routed through Russia, China and Belarus.

Yuval Shavitt, a network security researcher at Tel Aviv University, said it was possible Monday’s issue was not an accident.

“You can always claim that this is some kind of configuration error,” said Shavitt, who last month co-authored a paper alleging the Chinese government had conducted a series of Internet hijacks.

Main One, which describes itself as a leading provider of telecom and network services for businesses in West Africa, said it had investigated the matter and implemented new processes to prevent it from happening again.

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Nigerian Study Wins WhatsApp Misinformation Award Grant

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WhatsApp has announced the recipients of its $1 million research grants to academics from around the world for the purpose of studying misinformation and its impact on society. Fake news, calls for violence, election-related propaganda and other topics come under the different proposals for which the grants were given.

 

The goal of the research award is to facilitate high quality, external research on a wide range of topics by academics and experts who are in the countries where WhatsApp is frequently used and where there is limited research on the topic.

 

Tagged ‘WhatsApp Misinformation and Social Science Research Awards’, approximately 600 proposals were submitted and reviewed with the awardees representing the highest quality projects across several relevant research areas.  WhatsApp awarded 20 grants up to $50,000 each to researchers in several countries including Nigeria, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.

 

Among the winning projects is the research topic; ‘The use and abuse of WhatsApp in an African election: Nigeria 2019’, an international collaboration put together by Jonathan Fisher (University of Birmingham), Idayat Hassan (Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja), Jamie Hitchen (AREA Consulting) as well as Nic Cheeseman (University of Birmingham).

 

The study employs multi-method social science research instruments including in-country interviews, focus groups and surveys to explore how WhatsApp is used by political candidates, and their campaigns and supporters to tailor messages to key audiences during elections.

 

The research will focus on two gubernatorial elections in the upcoming 2019 Nigerian polls – those of Kano (northern Nigeria) and Oyo (southern Nigeria).

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