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Akwa Ibom Partners Intel, Others for National School Science Fair

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The National School Science Fair, which brings together secondary school students from across the country, will be hosted by the Akwa Ibom State Government this year.

The event is sponsored by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Intel Corporation, and Interswitch. 

The commencement of the Science fiesta was announced at a press conference held in Uyo Akwa Ibom, State.

The Fair will accommodate pupils from the thirty-six (36) states plus the FCT Abuja and will give them the opportunity to showcase their independent research projects and inventions, as they try to solve the challenges faced in their local communities.

Science teachers who accompany the students to the Fair will participate in a one-week Science Educator Academy, where they will learn about current trends in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), including project management and mentoring of young scientists.

Nedo Osayande, SPDC’s general manager, Sustainable Development and Community Relations,  said: “We’re pleased to be part of the success of the National Science Fair. We believe that, by encouraging the young ones to take interest in science subjects, we will be laying a solid foundation for the technological development of Nigeria. This has also informed the different educational programmes that SPDC and other Shell companies in Nigeria are implementing in the Niger Delta and throughout the country”.

Olubunmi Ekundare, country manager, Intel Nigeria, while explaining the mechanics of the competition stated, “We encourage interested students to submit their original research work. The best six (6) projects will qualify to feature at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which will holds in Los Angeles from May 11-16 2014. Over 4 million dollars in prizes and scholarships will be awarded to winners.”

Also speaking at the conference, Mitchell Elegbe, group managing director, Interswitch Transnational said that the fair is an excellent opportunity for young Nigerians to exhibit their inherent skills and demonstrate the huge potential the nation offers. 

“Interswitch proudly supports the National Festival of School Science Quiz and Fair competition. We remain committed to providing people development platforms that would help young Nigerians play active roles in national development in technology and beyond. This is quite essential as Nigeria strives towards becoming one of the Top-20 world economies by 2020,” he said.

As host to this year’s Fair, Engr. lboro Ekanem, commissioner for Science & Technology, Akwa Ibom State, said, “Nigerian students have consistently given a good account of themselves at International Fairs. I am certain that the successful winners of the National School Science Fair   will excel at the 2014 Intel ISEF.”

Speaking further, the Fair’s organiser, Genius Illumina, represented by the Executive Director, Dr Jerry Orhue, said,  “For us at Genius Illumina, it’s been ten years of unbroken commitment to the promotion of excellence in Science and Technology Education. Ten years ago, we stood alone, but today, we are grateful to have giants standing by us. We remain highly indebted to our financial partners – SPDC, Intel and Interswitch, who through their commitment to the Nigerian child have continued to put their money behind our noble dream. We look forward to many more years of working together with them for the good of tomorrow.”

The National School Science Fair, which began in 2004, is designed to gradually transform every student into a researcher and teach students to see themselves as part of solutions to societal problems.  It is expected that this year’s event will see even more daring science projects from participating students than in the previous years.
 


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Post Intrusion Ransomware the Biggest Threat to Businesses in Africa – Report

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Aside from an increase in malware and new malware samples, businesses must also be alert to the capability of post intrusion ransomware.

This is according to the McAfee Threats Report: November 2020 released by device-to-cloud cybersecurity company McAfee Corp.

An examination of cybercriminal activity related to malware and the evolution of cyber threats in Q2 2020, the company witnessed an average of 419 new threats per minute as overall new malware samples grew by 11.5%.

In addition attacks on cloud services users reached nearly 7.5 million; mobile malware grew 15% driven by Android Mobby Adware surge, and publicly disclosed security incidents rose 22%; with incidents targeting technology industry increase by 91%.

The company added that a significant proliferation in malicious Donoff Microsoft Office documents attacks propelled new PowerShell malware up 117%, and the global impact of COVID-19 prompted cybercriminals to adjust their cybercrime campaigns to lure victims with pandemic themes and exploit the realities of a workforce working from home.

Raj Samani, McAfee fellow and chief scientist, said: “The second quarter of 2020 saw continued developments in innovative threat categories such as PowerShell malware and the quick adaptation by cybercriminals to target organisations through employees working from remote environments.

“What began as a trickle of phishing campaigns and the occasional malicious app quickly turned into a deluge of malicious URLs, attacks on cloud users and capable threat actors leveraging the world’s thirst for more information on COVID-19 as an entry mechanism into systems across the globe.”

Samani added that broadly speaking the year has witnessed a spike in the use of COVID for fraudsters. “…take South Africa for example with malicious file detections in the hundreds of thousands and quite frankly continuing to rise. The impact of these attempts is of course a concern, since they are intended to defraud the citizens at a time when we all need as much support as we can.”

However, it is the capability of post intrusion ransomware that represents the most serious threat to businesses in Africa says Samani.

“There exists a small group of criminals so adept at extorting companies that their actions are literally causing the wheels of the economy to stop turning until millions are deposited into criminal enterprise. We have to recognise that cyber is not an IT issue but the basis of our economy, and broader society,” he adds.

Samani senses that businesses are in a continual crisis. “With major vulnerabilities, or the capability of threat groups improving it does feel we jump from one major escalation to another. Although this is the nature of the cyber professional. Since we have to get everything right all of the time, the bad guys only need to be right once!”

He advocates that businesses be absolutely clear about the systems, people and processes required to maintain the core business and ensuring that appropriate resilience is built in this organisation is crucial.

“Trying to work this out during a crisis is far, far too late,” said Samani.


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CWG Bags Software as a Service Provider of the Year Award @ NiTA 2020

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CWG Plc, the leading provider of Information and Communication Technology solutions and services in Africa has won the Software as a Service Provider of the Year award at the Nigeria Technology Awards (NiTA) 2020 held on Saturday in Lagos.

The organizer of the award, Beta Media affirmed that CWG Plc clinched the award over five other companies shortlisted for the category, after going through a rigorous winner selection screening exercise.

“CWG Plc came out successful after our in-house selection process. We want to congratulate CWG Plc and hope that this award will spur the company to do more, especially in its usual drive to use technology solutions to enable the growth of other businesses,” Beta Media said.

They further stated that the Software as a Service Provider of the Year award presented to CWG Plc, is a testament and public endorsement of its technology innovations, creativity, hard work and dedication.

Meanwhile, Mr. Olumuyiwa Dosunmu, Brand & Communications Executive at CWG Plc, who received the award on behalf of the Pan-African company assured that the award will serve as an encouragement for CWG Plc to work harder and further contribute to the growth of the Information and Communications Technology industry.

“The future seems exciting from our point of view and we have not even begun to scratch the surface. We hope to do a lot more in the coming year and we are working towards being a major contributor of the growth of the Nigerian technology industry,” he said, adding that the award stands as recognition of CWG Plc’s continuous efforts to enable businesses in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

The Nigeria Technology Awards (NiTA) is an award organized to celebrate and reward Technology Entrepreneurs, Innovators, Inventors, Academicians and Policymakers (Government) in Nigeria.

Two major objectives of the institution are to promote and commend the outstanding contribution of Nigeria Technology professionals and organizations towards building a sustainable economy using technology; and to encourage local practitioners to develop innovative and creative technology solutions, geared towards uplifting the image of Nigeria both locally and internationally.


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Laptop, PC Scarcity May Persist Till Q3 2021

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The ongoing scarcity of laptops and personal computers (PCs) may worsen as industry experts are now projecting that the prevailing paucity may persist until the third quarter of 2021.

Previous reports indicate that the situation is a result of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand for units worldwide.

Equally important, global computer Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have admitted that there are no easy fixes or a quick way out of the current scarcity, with a number of paid-up orders already being recalibrated for shipment in April/May or June next year.

The situation has seen urgent requirements of laptops for business, learning and leisure needs grossly affected the world over.

Enquiries from major distributors in Dubai and Nigeria indicate that back-log of orders are still yet to be shipped.

They insist that manufacturers, who are struggling to cope with supply chain disruptions, are finding it hard to clear their demand logs. The situation is the same with all the big players including HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, among others.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest market, is one of the hardest hit by the current scarcity.

Consumers, including businesses, educational institutions and individual users, are bearing the brunt of the situation, with prices flying for the few available units in the market as greedy retailers cash in on the prevailing scarcity to jack up their margins.

Bayo Oshunde, a commentator, says the situation will get even worse as university students prepare to return to school in the face of a potential compromise between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which has been on a 10-month strike and the Federal Government.

‘‘The scarcity is really biting hard here in Nigeria. Prices are at an all-time high for few systems available in the market and a number of sellers are taking a pound of flesh from consumers as a result.

‘‘But this is just the beginning for Nigeria. In my opinion, the situation is going to get even worse before it gets better.

“Right now, the Federal Government has made a few significant concessions to ASUU and the word on the street is that the strike may be called off soon.

“The resumption of university students will put even greater pressure on demand for laptops, PCs and other devices.

‘‘The downside of this is that many of our students in their final or penultimate years in school, whose parents or guardians cannot afford to compete for the heavily-priced few units on sale, will be forced to enter the already overstretched and fiercely-competitive labour market as analogue graduates,’’ he lamented.

 


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