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Sophos Identifies Top Ransomware Families in Africa



Cyber security vendor Sophos has identified the top ransomware families that affected Africa in 2017.

According to Sophos, the Ceber ransomware accounted for 80% of attacks in Africa, followed by WannaCry (17%), and others like Jaff (1%), Locky (1%) and Petya (0.5%).

One of the most active kinds of ransomware out there, Cerber encrypts the files of infected users and demands money in exchange for enabling access to their files. It works even if a user is not connected to the Internet, so they can’t stop it by unplugging their PC.

Cerber, sold as a ransomware kit on the Dark Web, remains a dangerous threat, says Sophos, adding the creators of Cerber continuously update the code and charge a percentage of the ransom that the “middle-men” attackers receive from victims.

Regular new features make Cerber not only an effective attack tool, but perennially available to cyber criminals, the cyber security firm notes.

“This Dark Web business model is unfortunately working and, similar to a legitimate company, is likely funding the ongoing development of Cerber. We can assume the profits are motivating the authors to maintain the code,” says Dorka Palotay, SophosLabs security researcher and contributor to the ransomware analysis in the SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast.

The WannaCry ransomware attack was a May 2017 worldwide cyber attack by the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm, which targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin crypto-currency.

“Looking at the whole world, WannaCry was responsible for 45.3% of the ransomware attacks, while in Africa this value is only 17%,” Palotay says.

“In Africa, clearly Cerber was the biggest ransomware threat this year, since 80% of the ransomware lookups was caused by Cerber, while this number is only 44.2% if we look at the whole world. Regarding the smaller families, the results are very similar.”

The SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast report recaps ransomware and other cyber security trends based on data collected from Sophos customer computers worldwide from 1 April to 3 October 2017.

One key finding shows that while ransomware predominately attacked Windows systems in the last six months, Android, Linux and MacOS platforms were not immune.

“Ransomware has become platform-agnostic. Ransomware mostly targets Windows computers, but this year, SophosLabs saw an increased amount of crypto-attacks on different devices and operating systems used by our customers worldwide,” says Palotay.

She notes that for the first time Sophos saw ransomware with worm-like characteristics, which contributed to the rapid expansion of WannaCry.

“This ransomware took advantage of a known Windows vulnerability to infect and spread to computers, making it hard to control.

“Even though our customers are protected against it and WannaCry has tapered off, we still see the threat because of its inherent nature to keep scanning and attacking computers. We’re expecting cyber criminals to build upon this ability to replicate as seen in WannaCry and NotPetya, and this is already evident with Bad Rabbit ransomware, which shows many similarities to NotPetya.”

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Konga Appoints Ijogun Chairman



Olusiji Ijogun

Konga, Nigeria’s leading e-commerce giant, has announced the appointment of frontline corporate guru, Olusiji Ijogun as Chairman.


The appointment takes effect from April 1st, 2018.


Konga has dominated the news recently after its recent acquisition by the Zinox Group, Nigeria’s foremost technology conglomerate, in a move that several industry watchers believe will position the company on a stronger footing and raise the profile of e-commerce in Nigeria.


A seasoned and widely experienced technocrat, Ijogun boasts over three decades of top-notch performance in finance and management which he has brought to bear on the fortunes of a number of thriving businesses across various sectors.


His sterling career has seen him hold several top positions including Senior Group Manager, Unilever Audit, Divisional Managing Director, UAC Foods, Group Finance Director, UAC of Nigeria Plc and Commercial Director, Lever Egypt. He was appointed to the Board of Honeywell Group where he positioned the Group in the foods sector of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segment.


Mr. Ijogun holds a B.Sc (Hons.) degree from the Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Cost and Management Accountants UK and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He currently serves as the Chairman of Ackmen Nigeria Limited and CEO of Innodel Consulting


His wealth of experience across several brands and sectors is expected to come in handy in positioning Konga on a path of sound corporate governance and a greater share of the e-commerce market in Nigeria and beyond.

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JAMB Warns as Fraudster Urges UTME Candidates to Pay for Scores ‘Upgrades’



As the writing of the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination came to an end on Friday, fraudsters have invaded the Internet, asking candidates to call some numbers through which they could “upgrade” their results.


In a post shared on social media on Sunday, one Mr. Magaji who calls himself JAMB Upgrade Director, urged candidates to call his alleged telephone number 09038747733 for payment instructions for the “upgrade” of their results.


He goes ahead to provide names of candidates and their alleged scores which were supposedly upgraded from low marks to high ones.


The impostor writes in bad grammar unexpected of any official of an examination body whatsoever:


“Attention, attention, attention. This is to inform those who score below 180 in JAMB, the exam board has officially release the upgrading system for those who did not do well.


“Scores has already been upgraded. Congratulations to these following names for your result has been upgraded, please contact upgrading board on 09038747733 Mr. Magaji or WhatsApp me.


“Note: you have to see your previous result before payment.”


The fraud then proceeds to provide what he calls candidates’ names, their previous scores and the ‘upgraded’ ones.


He writes, “You can check your name out — Desmond Samuel 111-280; Chukwu Glory 174-320; Loveth Jude 144-290; Adams Godstime 123-322; William Samson 136-290; Akpan Johnson 156-312; Roland Felicia 170-285; Emeka Queen 171-384; Vivian Hudson 163-299; Mary God’swill 152-321; Doris Gabriel 122-291; Adams Chuka 132-242.


He then calls on UTME candidates who wish to upgrade their results, saying, “If you wish to upgrade your JAMB score, please contact JAMB Upgrading Director (09038747733). Thank you.”


When contacted, JAMB spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, warned that the information is false in its entirety.


Benjamin said, “Obviously, this fraud is so ignorant and she or he definitely misunderstood the 2016 incident in which the parameters used for the examination were wrong and therefore had to be corrected.


“In the process of transforming the grades of candidates for the 2016 exams, the examiners used the wrong parameters.


“What we call ‘transformation’ is actually a measurement instrument. So, when we discovered the problem, we did the right transformation but people took it out of proportion to interpret it as addition or subtraction of marks. We only did the right thing.


“It was never an upgrade, as this fraud and others in his category deemed it to be.


“Even in the 2016 incident, the candidates affected were not up to 60,000 out of the 1.5 million that wrote the exams.”


Benjamin warned that no one should listen to the lie, saying that the examination body is busy reviewing the CCTVs in each of this year’s exam centres to ascertain how much candidates and supervisors complied with rules and regulations.


“The CCTVs will reveal any infractions that the supervisors might not have noticed.


“Once we are satisfied with the review, the results will be released without any delay.”


He said the results of over 1.2 million candidates are currently being collated, and that as such, no one can possibly claim to be in charge of any upgrade whatsoever.


He said, “There could be nothing called results upgrade because in JAMB, no one fails or passes. It is a selection exam, which is dependent on general performance.


“Though you may not score enough to get you admitted into a tertiary institution, no one fails.”


He disclosed that the cut-off point for the 2018 exam would likely be 180 or 190.


He also said the results would be released late Monday evening or early Tuesday morning.

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FG to Use ICT to Curb Unemployment



Dr. Isa Pantami, Director General of NITDA

Federal government has said it is aware of difficulties in securing white-collar jobs by youths in the country and this has compelled it to look inward to build technology entrepreneurs.


This was revealed by Dr. Isa Pantami, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency ([NITDA), during the ninth edition of Startup Friday event for Akwa Ibom youths in Uyo, the state capital.


According to him, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become inevitable. The future of the country’s youths depends on ICT.


The Director General said the Startup Friday programme was created to encourage every Nigerian to look inward in tackling

Nigeria’s economic problems, stressing that, “ICT is the global driver of all aspects of the economy”.


“We are aware of the harsh condition in securing white-collar jobs in the country. So, it has become apparent for the government to focus more in building technology entrepreneurs. A developed indigenous ICT eco-system would help the country to diversify its economy from oil.


“Data is the new oil. With the two local content-related Presidential Orders, we need to focus on locally-produced innovations for our local markets. NITDA intends to encourage and support ICT entrepreneurship and promote it as an attractive career option for the teeming youths”, he said.


He said the startup was brought to Akwa Ibom to encourage the youths to eke a living through ICT, adding that plans had reached advance stage to establish a Digital Job Centre in the state.




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