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Internet Activities in Nigeria: Ethics and Best Practice

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The Internet is those set of networks or machines that uses the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol suite (TCP/IP), connected through gateways and sharing a common name and address (RFC 1244). The Internet with the capital letter ‘I’ should be carefully distinguished from the internet with small letter ‘i’. The later might not necessarily be built on a TCP/IP protocol and   could be a multiple small networks in a campus network (internetwork of networks, shortened for internet)
The Internet was an improvement over the early 1970s ARPANET which had a lot of flaws. Two engineers in the U.S department of defense started working on this modern Internet. Surprisingly, they never knew that what they were working on is going to support the global business, education and totally replicates the entire activities of mankind into bits and bytes.
When the idea of the global network (Internet) that could stand even a nuclear war started germinating in the U.S DoD, people dismisses it as just science fiction. But now the Internet has come to stay. It has come to break every international boundary on earth. A mouse click you are in China, the other in Russia and the other Zanzibar that sort of thing. The Internet has made the world flat, flat in the sense that   it has created a favourable environment for people to compete globally irrespective of their locations, race and technological advancement. Whether you are a Russian astronaut aloft in a spacecraft, a Bedouin tribesman in the desert with PDA/cell phone, or a Canadian work –at-home mother with her office in a spear bedroom, you will be able to connect with nearly anything or anybody anywhere. You will be able to participate in telephony, teleconferencing, telecommuting, teleshoping, telemedicine, tele-education, televoting and even telepsychotherapy not to mention a few. I am a practicing network engineer in Nigeria and belong to different networking fora online. A times when I make contributions on these fora, engineers from advance countries clap and even make references to my contributions. Often times, I make contributions on network securities that is even beyond the comprehension of some of these engineers born and practicing in the US. Thank god for the Internet.
For fifteen years and counting, Nigeria has been battling with positioning itself on the Internet. while the developed world have  fully integrated into the Internet , from virtual Internet banking, online degree programs, online medical surgery to online home businesses; Nigeria is still lingering  with  epileptic, expensive and insecure Internet service. Most internet service providers in Nigeria had ran out of business relying on old Vsat technology, and living   the meager Internet user in a misery. The sadder story is that the government is not truthfully helping matters.
Two realities stand out from the rest in Nigeria’s IT milieu. Firstly, more than 90 percent of Nigerians are computer illiterate. Secondly, the remaining percentage lacks the awareness to tap the resources on the Internet. Sadly, these percentages are not exclusive of the academic environment. I have met senior professor who cannot open an email address or print a document from the Internet. How then can they learn? what kinds  of  graduates  are these educators  going to  produce , because a graduate with  computer education is ten times more productive than a graduate  without  a computer education. The   people in charge of our society are scared of the computer keyboard; they fear that computer will not let them be in charge. But this   reality they most embrace, and it’s the path to changing our society.
I  had  a time  in  Onitsha , Asaba, lagos  and  Benin in southern Nigeria, and  I had encountered hundreds  of Internet fraudster between the  ages 18-20yrs  sending scam mails in hundreds of thousands. This is the lifestyle some Internet users in Nigeria have chosen for themselves.  Not minding the fact that the western media is blowing this threat out of proportion, this is not good for confidence in e-commerce with Nigeria. For instance, the amount of credit card scam that is going on in China alone is more than that   of the whole Africa. China and Russia is harboring some of the most dangerous criminal hackers in the world, they spent time developing criminal software that will enable them hack into your switches to steal money because of their poor economy, though the software  developers  in Moscow and St.Petersburg get higher  payment paralleling those in the  UK and  the US. But  a BBC  reporter will be  more interested in reporting  a scam  mail sent  by  a Yahoo Boy  in Nigeria inviting  an American  business  man to   deposit  some  money in  an account to help make  away with some stolen  wealth from a  Nigerian government coffer. Foreign entrepreneurs that agree to such offers are also of doubtful characters.
I started working as a server administrator with an Internet café in a university town. I opted for the job because I needed a round the clock access to the Internet. While my co-workers were busy chatting in yahoo messenger looking for romance online, I was busy studying with free simulated online tutorials ranging from networking to e-commerce. After a while, I was making extra money from downloading free software repackaging them and selling them to my clients: collecting viruses, extracting there source codes and mailing them to a network security consultant in Bombay. And also making extra money from downloading and reselling e-books with free resale right. That extra money was seven times my monthly salary.
The activities of Nigerian based scammers (a.k.a yahoo boys) can be stratified based on the type of yahoo boy in question. There are three species of yahoo boys which I call:

Type A, Type B,  and Type C
Type A
These types of scammers are moderately determined and given an alternate source of income will rather not engage in such criminal activities.
Type B
These types of scammers are also moderately determined and mostly scam for fun, having to do stuffs like that online fascinates them. They are mostly teenagers from well to do homes.
Type C
These scammers are the most dangerous types; they are criminally minded and have chosen to be bad people even before they had contact with the Internet. The Internet just enable they conduct a stay-at-home-theft and are mostly within the ages of 25-35yrs. These  scammers  can conveniently speak  with more  than five international  English accents – as an Arab, Indian, Chinese that sort of  thing.
70 percent of the scammers in Nigeria falls into the type A group. To them it is just business which they make a living out of. They use this means to send monies to their folks at home as such the some folks sometimes encourage them to sustain the returns. Type B and C are lavish spenders mostly hanging out in rather raucous parties spending on cute women. After expending their take for a couple of months, they go broke and return to their drawing boards (laptops) to restrategise.
Type A scammers being moderately determined average 8-10hrs on a  daily basis preying for victims, while the more determine type C average 15-18hrs preying for victims online. The impact of the activities of this scammers on  the local economy is minimal as most local  entrepreneurs are computer illiterate and don’t agree with online transactions. In fact this has gone a long way in reducing local crime rate on the streets since the crimes now are transportable through the Internet to the advance world which is less risky for scammers.
Their attack methodology
These scammers execute their attacks in phases:
Phase one – Scouting and foot printing
In this stage, they go in search for online chat fora like Myspace, yahoo, facebook etc, romantic forum is  a gold mine because they get people dying to  get  romance  online. The age group of their target victims is very important to them. They aim at women between the ages of 35-45 and men within the ages of 45-55 that will be easily carried away by cute looking faces they don’t have courage to approach offline.


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Microsoft Moves into 5G Race with Azure Cloud for Telecom Operators

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Microsoft Corp unveiled a new cloud platform on Monday aimed at enabling telecom operators to build 5G networks faster, reduce costs and sell customised services to business clients.

After banning China’s Huawei from its telecom network, the U.S. government has been pushing big American companies such as Microsoft to get more involved with 5G – a technology which promises to enable everything from self-driving cars to remote surgery and more automated manufacturing.

The new platform will be on Azure, Microsoft’s flagship cloud computing business, and the company says it will reduce infrastructure costs, give flexibility to add services on demand and use artificial intelligence to automate operations.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president for Azure Networking, told Reuters that it could cut costs by 30%-40% in some cases.

The developer of Windows and Office software entered the 5G arena after its acquisition of cloud networking companies Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch earlier this year.

“The telco DNA was obtained through those acquisitions and we went from a small number of engineers in this space to literally hundreds of engineers,” said Khalidi. “On the other hand, the foundational pieces, including edge compute, we have had in a pipeline for many years.”

The company has already partnered with companies ranging from telecom operators such as Verizon VZ.N and AT&T T.N to network equipment firms such as Samsung 005930.KS and Mavenir to either use or sell the new platform to clients.

Microsoft’s move will increase competition for existing 5G service vendors like Nokia NOKIA.HE and Ericsson ERICb.ST, said CCS Insight analyst Nicholas McQuire.


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Interior Ministry Boosts Digitization Process with New ICT Projects

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Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, over the weekend commissioned the e-Library, e-Law Library, CCTV Surveillance network services and other projects in his office in Abuja to digitize work processes and procedures in the Ministry.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said that the projects were part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at repositioning the Ministry for better performance in line with its mandate of providing internal security and citizenship integrity for Nigerians and foreigners alike.

According to him, the e-Library will avail officers the opportunity to access the right information, in the right form and time.

“The e-Library gives our legal and other officers 24/7 access to a wide range of online resources, which can be updated in real time and we believe this will enhance the quality of their work to the benefit of the Ministry”, he said.

The Minister further assured of government’s commitment to putting in place measures that will boost staff capacity and also ensure self-development, with a view to ensuring proper implementation of projects, policies and programmes that will improve the lives of Nigerians which would lead to economic transformation in line with the present Administration’s policy thrust.

Aregbesola emphasized that crime and criminality has become complex to handle, the world over, hence the need to deploy modern technology to fight it.

He therefore called on staff to see the projects as morale booster for self-development and urged them to continue to support the efforts of government towards improving the lives of its citizens.

Earlier, Lanre Adesuyi, the Chief Executive Officer, Havillah Merchants Limited, thanked the Minister for giving them the opportunity to provide workers with state of the art equipment for efficient service delivery.

On his own part, Mr. Mohammed Mustapha, the Managing Director, Aliph Technologies, called on government at all levels to see the deployment of modern technology as one of the best ways to tackle security challenges in the contemporary world.


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Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte Canvass Use of Tech to Tackle Fraud & Rescind Effects of Covid-19

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO of Heritage Bank, speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.


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