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Sophos Identifies Top Ransomware Families in Africa

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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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New Startup in Uyo Launches Free Digital Marketplace to Support Individuals, Local Businesses in Nigeria

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Classified Market Center Limited has launched a new digital marketplace for Nigerians who want a safe and secure platform to buy and sell their products (and services) with ease online.

 

Using the platform is 100% free.

 

The site offers new users the opportunity buy and sell in over 100+ categories ranging from cars and vehicles to real estate and job vacancy listing. With its integrated advanced search system, users can easily search for any products or service they want in any specific location and category within a few seconds

 

“cmc.ng is our way of making the process of buying and selling seamless for Nigerians. The platform ensures that anyone from the comfort of his or her bedroom anywhere in Nigeria can sell off old and new items with ease. For local businesses, it offers a new front through which they can advertise and sell their products/services to a much wider audience. The best part of it is that buyers can even haggle the price of items with a seller on the platform using the price bidding tool and reach an agreement even before any physical meeting. This makes the process of buying and selling a very stress-free engagement for all parties involved”, said Unwana Akpan ,Classified Market Center Limited General Manager.

 

She also added that the social registration feature on the Classified Market Center site makes it easy for anyone to sign up easily with the click of a single button using his/her social media profile (Facebook, Google+ or Twitter). This creates a connection between the platform and the user’s social media account such that once the seller advertises a new product, such seller can easily share the advert with friends on social media.

 

In order to ensure the security of buyers and sellers in the marketplace, there is a “report a seller” feature which anyone can use to report any suspicious or fraudulent activity on the platform to the admin so that necessary actions can immediately be taken to protect users.

 

In addition to the above-mentioned, the Classified Market Center team offers a 24/7 support to buyers and sellers so that all complains and inquiries are handled speedily and no one is confused about any feature on the marketplace.

 

Individuals and Local business owners interested in buying and selling online with ease are hereby invited to logon to cmc.ng and submit their products/services for free. Approval of new listing is done within 30 minutes and the seller will be alerted immediately.

 

 

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Global IT Spending to Hit $3.8tn in 2019 – Report

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Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.8 trillion in 2019, an increase of 3.2% from the expected spending of $3.7 trillion in 2018.

This is according to the latest forecast by market analyst firm Gartner, which says enterprise software spending is forecast to experience the highest growth in IT spending with an 8.3% increase in 2019.

“While currency volatility and the potential for trade wars are still playing a part in the outlook for IT spending, it is the shift from ownership to service that is sending ripples through every segment of the forecast,” says John-David Lovelock, research vice-president at Gartner.

“What this signals, for example, is more enterprise use of cloud services; instead of buying their own servers, they are turning to the cloud. As organisations continue their digital transformation efforts, shifting to ‘pay for use’ will continue. This sets enterprises up to deal with the sustained and rapid change that underscores digital business.”

Gartner says software-as-a-service is driving growth in almost all software segments, particularly customer relationship management (CRM), due to increased focus on providing better customer experiences.

It believes cloud software will grow at more than 22% this year compared with 6% growth for all other forms of software.

While core applications such as enterprise resource planning, CRM and supply chain continue to get the lion share of dollars, security and privacy are of particular interest right now, says Gartner.

It points out that 88% of recently surveyed global CIOs have deployed, or plan to deploy cyber security software and other technology in the next 12 months.

In 2018, the market analyst firm says, data centre systems are expected to grow 6%, buoyed by a strong server market that saw spending growth of more than 10% over the last year, and in 2018 will come in at 5.7% growth.

However, by 2019, servers will shift back to a declining market and drop 1% to 3% every year for the next five years, Garner notes, adding that this, in turn, will impact overall data centre systems spending as growth slows to 1.6% in 2019.

The firm points out that IT services will be a key driver for IT spending in 2019 as the market is forecast to reach $1 trillion in 2019, an increase of 4.7% from 2018.

It says an expected global slowdown in economic prosperity, paired with internal pressures to cut spending, is driving organisations to optimise enterprise external spend for business services such as consulting.

In a recent Gartner study, 46% of organisations indicated IT services and supplier consolidation were in their top three most-effective cost-optimisation approaches.

Worldwide spending for devices (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) is forecast to grow 2.4% in 2019, reaching $706 billion, up from $689 billion in 2018.

Gartner says demand for PCs in the corporate sector has been strong, driven by Windows 10 PC hardware upgrades that should continue until 2020. However, the PC market may see some impact from the Intel CPU shortage. While this shortage will have some short-term impacts, Gartner does not expect any lasting impact on overall PC demand.

The current expectation is that the shortage will continue into 2019, but Intel will prioritise the high-end CPU as well as the CPUs for business PCs, says Gartner, adding that in the meantime, AMD will pick up the part of the market where Intel cannot supply CPUs.

“PCs, laptops and tablets have reached a new equilibrium state. These markets currently have stable demand from consumers and enterprises. Vendors have only subtle technology differentiation, which is pushing them to offer PC-as-a-service in order to lock clients into multiyear recurring revenue streams and offer new bundles of service options,” says Lovelock.

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MDXI Achieves Microsoft Gold Data Centre Competency, SAP Recertification

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MDXI, data centre provider, has attained the Gold Data Centre certification from Microsoft, thus strengthening its position as one of the leading Cloud Services providers in Africa demonstrating “best-in-class” capability to meet Microsoft’s customers’ needs.

The Gold Data Centre is the highest partnership level with Microsoft in Data Centre Competencies and is the pinnacle for Cloud Productivity in Microsoft’s Partner Network program.

Attaining Gold Partner status is an important step for MDXI in its drive towards supporting local companies face issues on digital transformation, particularly in relation to their data centre and computing platform strategies.

To obtain the certification, MDXI has demonstrated the highest commitment to the integration of the latest Microsoft products, with proven expertise to help costumers drive innovative solutions on the latest Microsoft platforms.

“The Gold Competency provides MDXI with a competitive advantage that helps us offer our customers the most relevant Microsoft solutions in the market. With this competency, MDXI is accredited as a partner to transform data centres into more flexible, scalable, and cost effective solutions using Microsoft Azure Cloud and hybrid solutions.

This will enable us deliver greater value to our customers with best-in-class staff that have been subject to rigorous exams, proven implementation and satisfaction references auditable,” says Gbenga Adegbiji, General Manager, MDXI.

The new milestone proves MDXI’s commitment to enabling digital transformation for its customers through constant improvement in delivering only the best services with competency levels including Silver Cloud Platform; Silver Data Centre; Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions; and Silver Application Development competencies.

In a similar vein, German business software maker, SAP, has given MDXI a clean bill of health with its recertification as a provider of infrastructure services for its cloud solutions.

This recertification endorses the ability of the company to deliver high-quality cloud and infrastructure operations services for customers running SAP solutions and confirms MDXI can continue to host and manage SAP applications using the company’s enterprise cloud platforms.

As a SAP-certified provider of hosting services, MDXI offers cost-effective yet reliable delivery models for mission-critical applications for customers of SAP.

SAP customers that rely on MainOne’s data centre for hosting services are empowered to focus on the business value of their solutions and benefit from reduced operational expenses that a commercial data centre provides.

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