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Africa Found Wanting on Cyber Crime Preparedness

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That’s one of the biggest takeaways from the 2019 KnowBe4 African Cyber Security Report which surveyed over 800 respondents across SA, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritius and Botswana.

According to the report, 65% of respondents across all eight countries are concerned about cyber crime. However, KnowBe4 says they are vulnerable, as they are not aware of what they don’t know.

“From ransomware to phishing to malware and credential theft, users are not protecting themselves adequately because they mistakenly think they’re informed, ready and prepared. Around 55% believe that they would recognise a security incident if they saw one,” says KnowBe4.

“The results proved that respondents’ confidence was based on the little they knew about cyber attacks and it is where the problem lies. Africans are not prepared for these threats, making them increasingly easy preys to cyber-criminals,” says Anna Collard, MD of KnowBe4 Africa.

“Many criminals consider Africa a safe haven for their illegal operations, as many African governments need to attend to other pressing issues such as fighting poverty, unstable politics, violent crime and large youth unemployment and still regard cyber security as a luxury, not a necessity.”

The report says in many organisations, cyber security budgets are reported to be less than 1% of overall spend or are non-existent.

Skills shortage

Africa also faces the problem of a serious skill shortage of security professionals as well as a lack of awareness and skills among the general user population to protect them online.

Collard adds that many African Internet users are connecting to the Internet for the first time and “with the sharp increase in the next few years, you are looking at millions of people connecting without understanding the risks”.

Another reason why Arica is attractive to cyber criminals is the lack of legislation and law enforcement.

According to a report by the African Union, only about 20% of African states have basic legal frameworks to deal with cyber crime.

Kenya, SA and Mauritius are probably the most advanced in this regard and Nigeria is coming up fast, says KnowBe4.

The survey found that even though nearly half of respondents across all eight countries felt that their organisations had trained them adequately, a quarter of them didn’t know what ransomware was.

For South Africans, a worrying 31% thought that a cyber threat that encrypts files and demands payments was a Trojan virus and 27% of Kenyans agreed. More than 50% of respondents are not aware of what multi-factor authentication is or the benefit thereof.

E-mail trust

E-mail security is one of the biggest threats facing the average user, both at work and at home, and it is one of the most common communication methods – more than 70% of those surveyed use e-mail to collaborate with friends and colleagues.

“Most people don’t realise what a risky e-mail looks like or how their actions can result in their systems becoming infected,” the report says.

“While more than half of respondents in Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco and Mauritius have enough security smarts to avoid clicking on links or opening attachments they don’t expect, 46% still trusted e-mails from people they knew,” it notes.

In SA, more than half of respondents (52%) trust e-mails from people they know, while 50% don’t open attachments they have not expected.

“E-mail remains one of the most successful forms of cyber attack today for this very reason,” says the report.

“People are quick to click on links or attachments sent to them from people who they know, not realising that cyber criminals have potentially hacked or spoofed (impersonated) their friend’s, colleague’s or suppliers’ systems to spread malware, or launch other forms of attacks.”

It explains that cyber criminals can easily mimic contact lists or use e-mail addresses that look as if they’ve come from trusted institutions, and a simple click can unleash a ransomware attack that can hold an entire company, government or home hostage.


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FG Unveils Roadmap for Africa’s Digital Trade Revolution Under AfCFTA

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The Federal Government on Friday unveiled a comprehensive strategy to lead Africa’s digital trade revolution within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The strategy is part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to harness trade as a catalyst for economic growth and continental cohesion in line with AfCFTA objectives.

To this effect, Vice President Kashim Shettima said Nigeria is in a unique position to spearhead the continent’s technological transformation.

He made the observation while delivering the keynote address during a Stakeholders Summit with the theme, “Digital Trade in Africa: The Renewed Hope Strategy,” held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are in a vantage position because we are the continent’s largest ICT hub, and as such, we must lead the way to the future of this peculiar wave of the Industrial Revolution.

“Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth,” the Vice President stated.

Senator Shettima outlined key components of the roadmap to include implementation of AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol and the development of expansive technical talent hubs.

The plan, according to him, also focuses “on enhancing digital infrastructure investments, promoting disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship, and ensuring the alignment of multiple government agencies to support digital trade initiatives.”

The VP stressed the need for strong synergy between the public and private sectors in implementing the AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol, just as he assured that the federal government remains committed to investing in digital infrastructure and human capital development to drive the process.

He continued: “Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth. For a sector upon which all others rely to survive, digital technologies hold the nation together, and we cannot afford to slow down.

“Our programmes, from the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) to the ongoing intervention to train 3 million technical talents by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, to the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative (OTNI), are lifelines in our digital economy.

“They offer us an avenue to not only maximize our potential but also commit to the adoption of the Digital Trade Protocol within AfCFTA,” VP Shettima further explained.

Earlier in his remarks, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijjani, said the Tinubu administration is investing significantly in every aspect of the digital trade protocol, with a view to harnessing opportunities in the country and continent at large.

He explained that through innovative policies and programmes such as the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme, data protection policy and improved investments in digital infrastructure, the administration is equipping the country’s young population for the opportunities of the present and future.

Underscoring the significance of technology in trading across the continent, Dr Tijjani said opportunities that exist within the single market area are unprecedented and could best be harnessed through effective collaboration and networking facilitated by digital technology.

In his welcome address, the Special Assistant to the President on ICT Policy, Dr. Salihu Dasuki Nakande, thanked President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima for their commitment and dedication to the Renewed Hope Agenda, which he said has laid a solid foundation for the digital transformation journey in the country.

He said their continuous support has led to the discourse on digital transformation which will equally lead to a prosperous Nigeria.

Quoting the Vice President in his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Dr. Nakande said, “Looking ahead, there is a need for speed and cohesion among African countries, the idea of AfCFTA must be revived and there is no hope in keeping waiting in this world, we must act swiftly and together ensure that the AfCFTA succeeds.


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Cybersecurity Firm Uncovers Scams Targeting Olympic Games Fans

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The first in-person Summer Olympics since the lifting of pandemic restrictions is set to begin on July 26, attracting millions of sports enthusiasts.

Kaspersky experts have noted a surge in scamming activity surrounding the event, with fraudsters targeting users’ money and data.

To understand how scammers are exploiting viewers’ interest, Kaspersky experts analysed Olympic-related phishing websites and identified the main schemes currently in use.

Fake Tickets

With the Olympic Committee warning of fake ticket offers and news of a UK swimmer’s family being scammed out of £2,500 while attempting to purchase tickets for the Paris Olympics, Kaspersky’s telemetry confirms that fraudsters are actively crafting phishing websites.

These sites offer tickets for Olympic competitions at exclusive prices or claim to have seats for sold-out events. This well-tested yet effective fraudulent scheme has resurfaced during many Olympic seasons, and Kaspersky’s experts expect such websites to proliferate during Paris 2024 events.

In this scenario, users fill out a data form and transfer both their personal information and money to scammers. As a result, they may receive invalid tickets or, more likely, nothing at all, leading to financial loss and their data being sold on Dark Web forums.

Fake Corporate Giveaways

Many organisations host giveaways for their employees, partners, and customers during major events. Recently, Kaspersky experts uncovered a fraudulent page impersonating a French bank, falsely promising a chance to win event tickets.

Employees are enticed to fill out a form with personal details, including their Internet account login credentials and passwords. This allows fraudsters to infiltrate victims’ corporate resources and potentially spread malicious content further.

Fake Merch Stores

Kaspersky experts have also discovered fraudulent online stores selling merchandise such as shirts, uniforms, accessories, and more. Needless to say, those who were enticed by these offers never received the items they ordered.

Special Cell Phone Plans

Fraudsters have set up phishing websites offering a free 48 GB data package for all networks. These sites entice users to provide personal information, such as phone numbers and payment details, under the guise of activating the data package.

Once submitted, this information is harvested for malicious purposes, leading to potential financial loss and privacy breaches.

“During major events like the Olympics, the sheer volume of offers can be overwhelming and deceptive,” says Anton Yatsenko, security expert at Kaspersky. “Scammers prey on the excitement and urgency people feel, making it crucial to approach every offer with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take the time to verify the authenticity of offers and protect your personal information. Your vigilance can be the difference between enjoying the event and falling victim to a scam.”


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Nigeria inflation rate hits 34.19%

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Nigeria’s annual inflation rate increased for the fifth consecutive month to 34.19 per cent as Nigerians battle with high living crisis.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), released on Monday, the June figure is 0.24 per cent higher than the 33.95 per cent recorded in May. The lowest figure in 2024 was 29.90 per cent, recorded in January.

On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.40 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023, which was 22.79 per cent.

“This shows that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in the month of June 2024 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e. June 2023),” the NBS said.

NBS said on a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in June 2024 was 2.31 per cent, which was 0.17 per cent higher than the rate recorded in May 2024 (2.14 per cent) meaning that in the month of June 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is higher than the rate of increase in the average price level in May 2024.

According to the NBS, the food inflation rate in June 2024 rose 40.87 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.62 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023 (25.25 per cent).


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