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Expert Raises Alarm over Illegal Harvest, Sale of Data of Nigerians

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Davies Bamigboye, an information technology expert, has raised an alarm over the ease at which data belonging to Nigerians are sold and harvested illegally.

 

Bamigboye who is the chief executive officer of Conceptsworld Academy, based in the United Kingdom, lamented that the lack of data protection laws in Nigeria has exposed Nigerians to grave risk.

 

He however blamed the failure of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in enforcing the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) since January 2019, for the brewing security crisis.

 

While he hailed NITDA for taking a bold step in constituting the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in January 2019, he lamented that agency has not done enough to publicise the law and communicate deadlines to all organisations across the nation.

 

According to the Director General of NITDA, the NDPR core principles include lawfulness and legitimacy; specific purpose; data minimisation; accuracy; storage and security; confidentiality, integrity and availability; compliance and enforcement.

 

But reacting to the delay in implementing the data protection regulation, Bamigboye said “public and private institutions will continue to process Nigerian citizens data through third parties especially where due diligence has not been undertaken, contractual clauses are not favourable to Nigerians, data loss prevention methods have not been verified, or where such information is transferred outside of Nigeria.

 

“Children’s data (e.g pictures) for example, will continue to be used to support advertisements that aim to seek aids from foreign countries by NGOs. There is no reason to believe that such NGOs seek approval from Nigerian regulators before using these pictures.

 

“Even, if they (the NGO) had wanted to seek permission, there was no designated body in Nigeria which could serve as the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) that such requests should be directed to.

 

“The current monitoring of Nigerians by other Nation States and large organisations will continue to go unchecked. For example: Multinationals possessing the “location data” of Nigerians gleaned from smartphones, laptops, iPad, smartwatches, smart TVs and other intelligent devices will continue to exploit this information for their own advantage to profile our citizens.

 

“The level of access that these organisations have means that the privacy rights of Nigerians are at risk. It means that information in the hands of private companies can be used to identify where an individual Nigerian is, where they have been, who they have been in contact with, and who was situated around them. This has a major impact on the privacy and security of Nigerians.

 

“The risk of selling of Nigerian Citizens data for nefarious activities will continue – especially as it pertains to children for sex-trafficking etc. This decimates the future of our country.

 

“Not enforcing the NDPR means that legitimate organisations and criminal gangs can continue to target Nigeria with the sole purpose of trawling up information that could be used in a criminal or discriminatory manner.

 

“Without clear breach notification and process of seeking redress, when a breach occurs or indeed a crime is initiated, the lack of effective NDPR coupled with a judiciary with limited cyber awareness capabilities makes it hard to prosecute alleged offenders.

 

“The need to be able to prosecute and fine foreign companies for me sit on the top list of what needs to be addressed asap. If you compare Nigeria to other countries with effective data protection regulation, foreign companies are careful to exploit the privacy of their citizens,” he added.

 

He further expressed concern that if NITDA does not proactively push the initiative, it will further erode business confidence in Nigeria and international organisations will perceive the nation as formulating a policy with the intent of “looking” the part but not serious about carrying out its mandate.

 

“The Buhari administration can pride itself in the history of Nigeria as being the administration that facilitated this trillion-dollar industry. As the saying goes, data is the new gold and Nigeria can ride the wave of the data economy by coming to grips with the importance of data not just to our national security but a business opportunity that will open up employment to the youths of this nation.

 

“With roles such as Data Protection Officers, Privacy SMEs, Data Auditors, Data Analysts, Cyber Security Professionals expected to be in demand if NITDA can turn the regulation into mainstream national requirement, Nigeria is bound to increase its GDP earnings from this nascent industry,” he said.

 

 


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Experts Caution Firms on Public Cloud on Data Security

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Information and communications technology experts have urged organisations using public cloud to feel personally responsible for the data they take to the public Cloud irrespective of the security policies the cloud provider must have put in-place.

“They should consider using data encryption technologies, multiple level of authentication, enforce strong password policy and ensure that a backup system is provided. It is important that organizations and individuals who consume cloud services ensure they are constantly studying and following cyber security trends to enable them to adjust according to new security realities,” they said.

This is coming against the backdrop of recent Sophos state of cloud security 2020 report, which says that 43 per cent of organisations in Nigeria on public cloud have been hit by Malware also 57 per cent of Nigerian organizations are with public cloud data exposed in the last year. This is highest globally according to the report.

The report revealed that 46 per cent of Nigerian organisations with cloud account credentials stolen in the last year.

Obinna Adumike, chief technology officer, Cloud Exchange West Africa, advised organisations and individuals when creating cloud accounts, as a matter of importance to design a security policy that ensures that each cloud platform has a unique and independent credential and avoid reusing credentials.

“Password policy that uses Alphanumeric and special characters are very important with not less than 8 characters depending on the security level required. Also ensuring that such credentials are not saved or cached by browsers, applications and cloud services is very essential,” he noted.

Responding to the report on Nigeria Remi Adejumo, chief executive officer, Cloud Flex, said that 90 per cent of Nigerian presence on the public cloud is with the hyperscalers – AWS /Azure.

“70 per cent of incidents are insider jobs. Security is 50/50 between the public cloud and the customer. And we are protected against each other. Majority of Security breaches are achieved through phishing or malware but it is independent of the public cloud edge security. Also the use of a VPN protects the link between the customer and the public cloud,” he said.

Adejumon further explained that the cloud platform is a software virtualisation of physical hardware. “It allows the virtualised platform to achieve a degree of granularity that would be uneconomical or ridiculously expensive in a physical environment.

“Security concerns associated with the Cloud is shared by the cloud provider and the customer. The provider must ensure that the infrastructure is secured, and the customer ensures that the data and applications are secured,” he stated.

Cloud computing has been described as the greatest game changer since the creation of the internet and is one of the fastest growing areas of technology today.

According to him, “the annual spend on Cloud computing is expected to triple in the next two years. It can be simply defined as renting time on a computing infrastructure over the internet, rather than building your own from the ground up. In a way it could be described as outsourcing your computer infrastructure”.


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‘Emotet’ Malware Attacks Banks- Check Point

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Check Point Research has found sharp increase in the Emotet botnet spreading spam campaigns after period of inactivity, aiming to steal banking credentials, and spread inside targeted networks.

‘Emotet’ Malware Attacks Banks- Check Point

Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd., a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has published its latest Global Threat Index for July 2020.

Researchers found that after a five-month absence, Emotet has surged back to 1st place in the Index, impacting 5% of organizations globally.

Since February 2020, Emotet’s activities – primarily sending waves of malspam campaigns – started to slow down and eventually stopped, until re-emerging in July. This pattern was observed in 2019 when the Emotet botnet ceased activity during the summer months but resumed in September.

In July, Emotet was spreading malspam campaigns, infecting its victims with TrickBot and Qbot, which are used to steal banking credentials and spread inside networks. Some of the malspam campaigns contained malicious doc file with names like “form.doc” or “invoice.doc”.

According to researchers, the malicious document launches a PowerShell to pull the Emotet binary from remote websites and infect machines, adding them to the botnet.

The resumption of Emotet’s activities highlights the scale and power of the botnet globally.

“It’s interesting that Emotet was dormant for several months earlier this year, repeating a pattern we first observed in 2019.  We can assume that the developers behind the botnet were updating its features and capabilities. But as it is active again, organizations should educate employees about how to identify the types of malspam that carry these threats and warn about the risks of opening email attachments or clicking on links from external sources. Businesses should also look at deploying anti-malware solutions that can prevent such content reaching end-users,” said Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research, Products at Check Point.

The research team also warns that “MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution” is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 44% of organizations globally, followed by “OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure” which impacts 42% of organizations worldwide. “Command Injection Over HTTP Payload” is in third place, with a global impact of 38%.

 Top malware families

(The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month).

 

This month Emotet is the most popular malware with a global impact of 5% of organizations, closely followed by Dridex and Agent Tesla affecting 4% of organizations each.

↑ Emotet– Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet was originally a banking Trojan, but recently is used as a distributor of other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.

↑ Dridex– Dridex is a Trojan that targets the Windows platform and is reportedly downloaded via a spam email attachment. Dridex contacts a remote server and sends information about the infected system. It can also download and execute arbitrary modules received from the remote server.

↓ Agent Tesla – Agent Tesla is an advanced RAT functioning as a keylogger and information stealer capable of monitoring and collecting the victim’s keyboard input, system clipboard, taking screenshots, and exfiltrating credentials belonging to of a variety of software installed on a victim’s machine (including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Outlook email client).

Top exploited vulnerabilities

This month “MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution” is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 44% of organizations globally, followed by “OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure” which impacts 42% of organizations worldwide. “Command Injection Over HTTP Payload” is in third place, with a global impact of 38%.

↑ MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution– A remote code execution vulnerability that exists in MVPower DVR devices. A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request.

↓OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure (CVE-2014-0160; CVE-2014-0346) – An information disclosure vulnerability that exists in OpenSSL. The vulnerability is due to an error when handling TLS/DTLS heartbeat packets. An attacker can leverage this vulnerability to disclose memory contents of a connected client or server.

↑ Command Injection Over HTTP Payload – A command injection over HTTP payload vulnerability has been reported. A remote attacker can exploit this issue by sending a specially crafted request to the victim. Successful exploitation would allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target machine.

Top mobile malware families

This month xHelper is the most popular malware, followed by Necro and PreAMo.

xHelper – Amalicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisements. The application can hide itself from the user, and reinstall itself in case it was uninstalled.

Necro – Necro is an Android Trojan Dropper. It can download other malware, showing intrusive ads and stealing money by charging paid subscriptions.

PreAMo – PreAmo is an Android Malware imitates the user by clicking on banners retrieved from three ad agencies – Presage, Admob, and Mopub.

Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence, the largest collaborative network to fight cybercrime which delivers threat data and attack trends from a global network of threat sensors.

The ThreatCloud database inspects over 2.5 billion websites and 500 million files daily, and identifies more than 250 million malware activities every day.


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Konga Eyes Listing on NSE, LSE and NYSE

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Konga is setting its eyes on listing in top global bourses as it seeks to expand its foothold and maintain leadership of the e-commerce space in Africa, according to Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, co-chief executive officer of the retail giant.

Konga Eyes Listing on NSE, LSE and NYSE

Ekeh, said the firm has received enquiries from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to list. “It’s something that will happen as part of our African expansion plan when Konga becomes a multi-billion-dollar business,’’ he said.

He said the firm has invested well over $120million since it was acquired two years ago in the country alone and now strategically structured to take on other African countries.

‘‘Though we started with a monthly loss of N400million, but with new systems, structure and energy put in place, we have gradually been reducing losses and now about N100million loss per month. E-Commerce is an expensive project but we are best positioned to deliver as a very innovative technology company,’’ he disclosed.

Ekeh  said Konga employs directly and indirectly over 150,000 local workers, adding that most of them are merchants, logistics and other service providers.

‘‘We partner to create a trusted and sustainable digitally-driven ecosystem and working hard to scale this to about 250,000 before the end of 2020.

‘‘We see ourselves as more than just an e-commerce company. Konga is a technology company and as a technology company, we are positioned to leverage that status in deploying new solutions and innovations. Indeed, no one should be surprised if tomorrow, Konga starts launching space ships into orbit. Although we have received several offers from interested investors, we are content with the group that is funding Konga. The group is highly ethical and wants us to maintain the highest level of integrity. Our investors have assured us of enough capital to survive the next five years at least. This was why we did not accommodate a valuation of $300million from a consortium of global investors last year.

‘‘However, we are also keen to expand into other African markets after taking charge of the Nigerian market. The e-Commerce market in African is still a largely untapped one.’’ Therefore, any company that makes the right in-roads will reap huge benefits from it,’’ he said.

‘‘We have also received enquiries from the New York Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to list on these markets. It’s something that will happen as part of our African expansion plan when Konga becomes a multi-billion-dollar business.’

‘‘Our strategies and tact are 21st century influenced, but also taking cognizance of deficiencies in our country.”

 


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