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FG Rakes in 8Bn from Banks’ IT Levies

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Eleven Nigerian banks paid about N8.08bn Information Technology-related levies to the government in 2019, the audited financial reports of the banks have shown.

FG Rakes in 8Bn from Banks’ IT Levies

Punch reported that the analyses of the financial reports indicated that this is a reduction of N381.12m over the N8.46bn IT levy the 11 banks paid to the government in the corresponding period in 2018.

The National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) had established a Fund to which companies and enterprises with an annual turnover of N100m or more are mandated to contribute one per cent of their profits before tax to.

Companies liable to pay the levy as stated in the NITDA Act are GSM service providers and all telecommunications companies; cyber companies and Internet providers; pension managers and pension-related companies; banks and other financial institutions; and insurance companies.

Some of the banks, whose annual reports were assessed are Zenith Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank, Access Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

Others are Jaiz Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc.

Zenith Bank paid the highest IT levy out of all the banks in 2019, reporting N2.41bn, a 17 per cent increase from N2.06bn remitted in 2018.

GTB ranked second, reporting N2bn IT levy remittance to the government in 2019, a five per cent increase compared with N1.90bn paid within the same period of 2018.

Having paid N1.02bn to the coffers of the government, UBA reported a 52 per cent reduction in its IT levy remittance in 2019 as against N2.31bn paid in 2018.

IT tax expenses reported by First Bank rose by three per cent from N774m in the 2018 to N795m in 2019.

As contained in its annual report, Access Bank’s IT levy remittance to the Nigerian government in 2019 was N831.69m, an increase of 10 per cent over N752.43m made in 2018.

Fidelity Bank’s IT levy remittance for 2019 improved by 21 per cent to N304m as against N251m in 2018.

FCMB’s IT tax levy paid to the Nigerian government increased by 66 per cent from N120.46m reported in 2018 to N200.18m in 2019.

For Jaiz Bank, the IT levy paid increased by 286 per cent from N5.44m in 2018 to N21.01m in 2019.

With N102m reported in 2019, Sterling Bank’s IT levy paid to the government increased by four per cent from the N98m reported in 2018.

Wema Bank remitted N67.71m from its income to the government in 2019, compared to N56.05m it paid in 2018, recording 21 per cent growth in IT levy remittance.

Details of Union Bank’s annual report indicated that the bank paid N245m as IT levy to the government in 2019, recording 81 per cent increase as against N135m in 2018.

According to NITDA Act 2007, companies eligible to pay the one per cent levy are assessed and issued a demand notice by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.


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E-Business

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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