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Nigeria’s Internet Fraudsters Focus on Corporate e-mail – Report

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West Africa’s infamous Internet scammers have shifted their targets from impersonations of online love interests, princes and US soldiers to hijacking corporate e-mails, costing businesses hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

It is a much more lucrative venture that works by gaining access to corporate e-mail login details or passing off almost-identical addresses as the real deal, a scam known as business e-mail compromise (BEC), according to a report by cyber security firm CrowdStrike.

These Nigerian rackets now dwarf other types of online criminal theft, amounting to at least $5.3 billion of losses between October 2013 and the end of 2016, said CrowdStrike and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3).

“There’s a disproportionate amount of criminal gains they get from it. The lion’s share of ill-gotten, fraudulent money is around these business e-mail compromise attacks. It’s a huge problem for our customer set,” Adam Meyers, vice-president of intelligence at California-based CrowdStrike, told Reuters.

Nigeria has become one of the hubs of BEC. Nigerian online fraudsters, known as “Yahoo boys”, became notorious for trying to pass themselves off as people in financial need or Nigerian princes offering an outstanding return on an investment.

The capers became known as “419 scams” after the section of the national penal code that dealt, ineffectively, with fraud.

Yahoo boys even impersonated a US forces commander in Afghanistan to defraud people by asking for help in recovering the assets of deceased soldiers. It forced the commander to issue a Facebook statement saying he would never try to contact anyone asking for financial help.

Now the scammers have bigger fish to fry, with the potential gains amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to CrowdStrike.

Behind the fraudsters is an organised crime network with its hands in human trafficking, drugs, prostitution, money laundering and e-mail fraud and cyber crime, the CrowdStrike report said. “The magnitude of this criminal threat has only recently begun to be understood.”

The Black Axe gang sprang from Nigerian universities and now extends from Africa to North America, Europe and Asia. Its targets have ranged from semiconductor makers to schools in US states including Connecticut and Minnesota, passing themselves off as executives and lawyers to trick employees into wiring sometimes millions of dollars a day into bank accounts.

From there, the money is quickly laundered through a series of bank accounts that can be traced to Hong Kong and China, where the trail often goes cold because diverging regulations foil monitoring, Meyers said.

With that money, the Nigerian scammers are often enjoying the high life, said Meyers, noting social media accounts filled with pictures of them posing with luxury Mercedes cars, gold watches, jewellery and champagne.

“It’s really hard to stop; you can’t stop it with anti-virus or any kind of software, it’s really kind of a human problem.”

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Uber Extends Safety Toolkit Launch for Riders, Drivers to Nigeria

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Uber  to double down on safety and roll out Safety Toolkit for riders and drivers across 38 countries, including Nigeria; Features to include Safety Centre, Trusted Contacts, Share Trip, emergency assistance button and customisable speed alerts

This week Uber announced the new Safety Toolkit which, over the next few weeks, will be rolled out to the millions of riders, drivers and delivery-partners using the app across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The toolkit will introduce new innovative features which aim to raise the bar on safety, and increase transparency, accountability and peace of mind for all users.

Since launching the app, Uber has provided millions of people with technology that allows them to get a ride at the push of a button, track every trip with GPS technology and report any issues 24/7 with a dedicated safety team.

With the introduction of new safety features, the company aims to double down on safety and help make the Uber community safer.

Features that will be introduced as part of the new rider and driver safety toolkit, include:

Emergency button – With the push of a button in the app, riders, drivers and delivery-partners can connect directly to private emergency services and security response when needed through a third party private security supplier

Trusted Contacts – Riders can now easily designate five friends or family members as “trusted contacts” and, with a single tap, share their trip information which are easily customisable in their trip sharing preferences.

Safety Centre – A new app-housed safety information hub where users can find information on some of the key existing safety tools in the app, including our 24/7 team, information on the driver and the car, trip GPS-tracking and our rating and feedback system.

Speed alerts – A feature which reminds drivers and delivery partners to maintain a safe speed within the posted speed limits.

These new safety features will be a phased rollout, not all riders, drivers and delivery partners will have access to the features immediately.

“With more than 15 million trips on the Uber app every day, there is nothing more important than the safety of riders, drivers and couriers. Over the last year we’ve been working to develop innovative products that increase transparency, accountability and peace of mind for all users.

The rollout of our new Safety Toolkit features across Europe, Middle East and Africa is the next step in making sure that we’re helping everyone stay safe and connected, wherever you might be,” says Sachin Kansal, Uber’s Global Head of Safety Product.

Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made safety a top priority for 2018. Since joining the company, he has introduced a number of changes including Injury Protection cover for driver’s, delivery-partners and riders, driving hour limits and Driver Share my Trip.

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Okeremi Urges NIMC to Creating Additional Biometric Centres to Expedite NIN Registration

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Ronke Okeremi, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Arit of Africa, in addressing the inadequacy of centres, has urged NIMC to create more physical and mobile registration centres in order to speed up the enrolment of more Nigerians.

Okeremi while speaking on the need to hasten up the programme suggested that the creation of more centres across the country will solve the issue of slow pace of registration and boost the morale of Nigerians in the urban and rural areas to participate in the exercise.

The technology expert who is managing the oldest information and communication technology [ICT] in Nigeria reiterated that one of the logjams associated with the NIN programmes is the inadequate registration centres especially in some remote areas in the country.

She therefore called on NIMC to equally train its field officers in order for them to give their utmost in the discharge of their duties, in respect to the NIN registration exercise.

“Operators who are enrolling the citizens must be properly trained and biometric acquisition and authentication processes must be adequately defined.

“Mobile biometric enrolment kits can be used to provide biometric registration where it is required and it is especially useful for enrolment in outskirts and in the remote areas.

“A biometric system is made credible by ensuring that quality biometric acquisition devices are utilised and by installing software that ensures the quality of captured biometric and security of the biometric system”, she said.

Since the period the National Identity Management Commission [NIMC] was established to provide sustainable world-class identity management solution to affirm identity, enhance governance and service delivery in Nigeria, the government agency has experienced setbacks in enrolling Nigerians properly.

Among these challenges are ineffective and inefficient enrolment exercise, which include lack of adequate registration centres, extortion of enrollees before they could be enrolled, lack power supply and unavailable internet facility among others.

These challenges have rendered the enrolment exercise comatose, resulting in slow pace of work, which has further left many Nigerians frustrated, dejected and disinterested in the NIN exercise.

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Nigerian Startup Celebrates Female Heroes

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Social media in recent weeks has been agog with the celebration of iconic Nigerian women, by Nigerian female entrepreneurs from all walks of life, who have been commemorating their female heroes.

 

618Bees, a Nigerian tech start-up, began the ‘Naija Woman Hero’ contest where women are required to post a photo of their all-time iconic Nigerian woman on Instagram, using the hashtag #NaijaWomanHero, and tagging @618Bees.

 

Thousands of female entrepreneurs have nominated their iconic Nigerian women and the contest has started a resurgence of some sort since the competition began.

 

The competition has seen thousands of posts since the contest began on October 1st.

 

According to the BBC, Nigeria has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world and who often struggle to secure investment, with banks always requiring collaterals, like properties, which women often do not have.

 

Without access to capital, it is difficult for a lot of women to grow their businesses.

 

In a bid to make life easier for women, 618 Bees is offering hundreds of woman the opportunity to start their own businesses by registering the businesses for free.

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