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Cyber Security Experts Decry Weak Endpoint Security

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With increased cyber-attacks occurring on the endpoint devices of organisations, cyber security experts have urged organisations to do more in their endpoint security.

 

Chris Buchanan, client solutions director at Dell EMC, says that over 93% of attacks occur on the endpoint, and needs to be a key focus in securing the data. “Organisations that ignore the endpoint do so at their peril,” he noted.

 

He said that most organisations do not realise how critical their data is and what the implications are if they are compromised. “Of even more concern is that, on average, it takes organisations over 100 days to discover a data breach, meaning cyber criminals have had months to rifle through a business’s systems.”

 

Protecting the organisation’s data is not just good business practice, it’s also critical for protecting its reputation. “Most people would not do business with an organisation that has a reputation for sharing their personal information. That is why encrypting sensitive data is a critical first step.”

 

He added that businesses often believe they are covered if they have an anti-virus solution. “Unfortunately, that is no longer true. Traditional anti-virus products are only able to address half the virus threats out there, and are not equipped to fight zero day attacks at all.

 

Corroborating Buchanan on endpoint weakness, William Makatiani, managing director, Serianu, said that the percentage goes higher for newer attacks like ransomware and phishing.

 

“End point security has become so critical in the fight against cyber-attacks because cyber criminals have identified end users as the weakest link. It is much easier to successfully attack and infect multiple end-users than it is to attack a critical server. End users also seem to ignore basic cyber hygiene – hence the attractiveness.

 

“Simple, secure every single device and continuously monitor to ensure the expected secure profile is maintained. The challenge is the ability to get end users to adhere to required security profile. As such continuous monitoring and exclusion of infected devices helps to reduce infection.

 

“Always use technology to scan/review the security posture of end user devices before allowing them to access critical organisational data. There newer technologies that can be used to prevent/detect/isolate insecure end points,” Makatian said.

 

On the role of internet service providers (ISPs) in the fight against cyber -attacks, Makatiani said that Internet service providers have several roles to play in the fight against cyber-attacks.

 

“The first obvious role is continuous monitoring of the big pipes that deliver internet to organizations and individuals. Since they control these pipes and most attacks can be detected at the pipe level. It is possible to monitor ISP traffic and detect abnormal activities or traffic.

 

“ISP’s have a role to play in the general user awareness which increases user alertness.

 

“ISP can provide cheaper solutions as part of their provision of connectivity to their customers. Most cyber security solutions are expensive when purchased independently but a a service provider this can be reduced,” he stated.

 

On way forward for organisations on endpoint security, Buchanan said: “To protect the company’s data, a data-centric encryption product that can be audited and managed centrally is much less intrusive, faster and easier to manage than the traditional full disc encryption solutions.

 

“To protect against modern threats and attacks, a threat defence anti-virus should replace the traditional anti-virus solution.”

 

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

NITDA Identifies Stiff Competition with Foreign Software as Bane of Indigenous Software

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has identified stiff competition from foreign developers as the bane of software development in Nigeria.

The agency, which is responsible for the regulation and development of the information technology in Nigeria, said “off-the-shelf software” from foreign developers deny local producers the opportunity to grow.

NITDA’s director general, Isa Ibrahim, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday said his agency is working to change the situation by evolving software testing and information system security best practices.

Speaking while opening a stakeholders’ engagement for the review of the Guidelines for Information Systems Audit and Nigeria Software Testing Guidelines, he said the local industry is not reaping the growth in IT investment.

The director general was represented at the event by Vincent Olatunji, NITDA’s director of e-Governance and Regulatory.

“The acquisition of technology-driven solutions to drive growth in the public and private sectors has continued to increase in Nigeria.

“The indigenous software market has not been left out of this growth trend, but continues to suffer stiff competition from foreign off-the-shelf software used to meet local needs, where indigenous software could have provided the appropriate solutions,” he said.

Quoting unnamed industry analysts, the NITDA DG said the trend has affected the growth of the local software sector, “which by now should be in excess of probably $10 billion annually if well harnessed”.

He attributed the low patronage of local developers to quality assurance challenges.

Mr Ibrahim said the two new regulatory documents will help in addressing some of the challenges.

“The Nigerian Software Testing Guidelines (NSTG) is developed on the premise that mitigating software vulnerability risks through the promotion of structured software testing practice for safety and quality of software development will create the enabling environment for growth of the indigenous testing sector in Nigeria,” he said.

“The Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), has estimated that Nigeria loses about N127 billion to cybercrimes yearly. This is caused in part by our inability to adequately secure our Information Systems. Therefore, securing our information systems is a must if we want to guarantee the safe delivery of our services.

The proposed Guidelines for Information Systems Audit by the Agency is one of the tools to guarantee this safety.”

He said since coming to office, NITDA, under his leadership, has come up with a number of subsidiary legislations and regulations to enhance the productivity of the industry.

“For instance, in 2019 alone, I had launched and signed off five regulatory instruments and we have presented five additional documents to stakeholders for inputs and contributions.

“All these instruments were issued to address various challenges facing us as a nation,” he said.

In his review of the guidelines, Churchill Aribodor, an IT consultant, said the regulations developed by the agency are needed to tackle “the dark side of ICT”.

He said the new regulations will ensure tightened security, provide confidentiality and protect data systems from havoc.

Mr Aribodor said the news internet security guidelines will provide an improvement on the level of information security, avoidance of improper information security, ensure effective of control and safeguard access, and maintain key data and system attributes.

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Emerging Markets are Money Savvy and Ready for Change – Says Luno

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The adoption of cryptocurrencies in developing countries has been well documented and the anomaly is often flagged that people who have less appear to take greater financial risks.

Initial findings from the Luno ‘Future of Money’ survey, which took the views of more than 7000 respondents across Europe, Africa and South-East Asia helps explain this phenomenon. As large global tech firms start to move into blockchain and altcoins, the research shows why early adopters, the most important audience for these firms, will probably come from emerging markets.

Marcus Swanepoel, Luno CEO said: “As some of the world’s largest tech giants announce they are launching cryptocurrency coins we believe developing markets will be the lead adopters. Our research shows that in these markets people are more financially savvy because they have to be, which means that they need and understand the benefits the new coins can offer.”

When asked the question “Do you think a single global currency would make the current financial system better or worse?” almost three times as many respondents from Nigeria and South Africa said it would make it better, compared to the UK.

“The data also identified why money is such a focus in emerging markets. When asked why money is important to them, the respondents said that it was ’to secure my family’s well-being (60%) or to ‘pay for my education’ Nigeria 25%, compared to 8% in the UK.

A further question regarding the setting of a monthly expenditure budget found that 80% of people in Malaysia; 65% in Nigeria; 73% in South Africa and 74% in Indonesia, do, compared to 54% in the UK. And, 33% in Indonesia compared to 0% in the UK, are more likely to stay within the budget they set.”

“It is very clear that if money is not simply a ‘nice to have’ and is vital for your future, then you spend more time understanding it, managing it, preserving it and to an extent being creative with how you maximise the use of it. Therefore if a cryptocurrency can provide a secure and cheaper means of exchanging value, better than the existing system, it will be used.

This is why we believe that as new cryptocurrencies, linked to global brands are introduced they will find an important audience in emerging markets.”

“These markets are also more likely to exhibit grassroots level adoption (vs institutional)” said Swanepoel.

“In almost every emerging market country surveyed, over half of the people said they would turn to family, friends or colleagues for financial advice over government organisations which shows that people in these markets rely on information from those closest to them”

This survey presents an overview of a study conducted by Dalia Research for Luno between 17/05/2019 and 07/06/2019 about the future of money. The sample of over 7,000 individuals with internet access was drawn in France, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Calculated for a sample of this size and considering the design-effect, the average margin of error would be +/-3.1% at a confidence level of 95%.

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Galaxy Backbone Continues To Partner Locally For Space Segment & Satellite Services

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Galaxy Backbone has continued to provide connectivity services to Government MDAs across the length and breadth of Nigeria on its 1GOV.ng platform. The preferred mode of connection is fibre. However, in locations where there are no fibre or terrestrial networks, satellite capacity is used.

Galaxy has been and continues to obtain the satellite capacity required  from its sister agency, NIGCOMSAT. This has given federal government the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of economies of scale and encourage local partnerships.

Galaxy Backbone (GBB) is the Digital and Shared services Infrastructure provider of the federal government. For over 12 years, this organisation of government has continued to strive towards living its mission being, to drive national development through the provision of pervasive ICT Infrastructure and services to public institutions, underserved communities and other stakeholders. This mission propels the day to day running of the organisation and how it interacts with institutions, local communities and other stakeholders.

Prior to the existence of Galaxy Backbone (GBB), the provision of technology infrastructure services within public institutions existed in silos and created a lot of duplicity of government services and greatly increased government expense on ICT services.

That experience is history now as over 95% of these government establishments now operate under the Galaxy Backbone shared services platform which is secure, less capital intensive and provides a world class service experience to the federal government institutions on its platform.

Now, as technology has grown globally and locally in the last ten years, government continues to invest in ensuring that the required infrastructure needed to ensure that the network and communications amongst government agencies and between government and its citizens is enhanced.

As Galaxy Backbone continues to lay fibre optics across the nation, leveraging on the government’s investment in the National ICT Technology Infrastructure Backbone project, connectivity and broadband services will continue to expand for the consumption of the citizens. The vision to ensure that local and underserved communities are catered for in areas where fiber cannot reach, will be taken care of via Satellite services.

So, in 2015, GBB, seeing the growth, development and government’s investment in Satellite services to address these communities through the Nigerian Communications Satellite limited (NIGCOMSAT), severed its relationship with previous foreign partners, to focus completely in leveraging NIGCOMSAT services to serve these class of customers. This has made Galaxy Backbone one of the largest consumers of Nigcomsat satellite capacity.

Also, in promoting government’s vision around Data sovereignty and ensuring that data generated within the country, stays within the nation, Galaxy Backbone (GBB) provides secure hosting services through its state of the Tier III Datacentre located at the federal Capital Territory. Through this infrastructure, the nation’s sensitive data is kept secure.

GBB is also the only hosting company with an in-country Data Recovery Centre situated in Enugu.  The company will continue to improve its services, champion government’s efforts at improving digital services and data protection across the nation by collaborating and working closely with public and private institutions.

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