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ITU Seeks Global Approach to Combat Cyber Crimes

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International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said that no organization or country can work alone to combat cyber crime, primed now as a borderless and very fluid, menace.

The admonition was part of presentation by Mr Brahima Sanou, director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) during 2013 World Cybersecurity Conference held in Abuja, recently.

He said to collaborate on tackling the menace; organisations and government of different nations need to acknowledge several new approaches like coming together to solve these issues in a multi-stakeholder way.

Sanou who was represented by Philippe Metzger, his deputy, noted that the Internet itself is has multi-stakeholder approach, as the global threat is ubiquitous and permanent and requires multi-stakeholder solutions.

He said: “Second, we need to adapt and balance our responses and policies to match our needs accordingly. No one size fits all, and no policy or strategy will remain unaltered forever.

 “Third, we wish to see some harmonization of policies between countries to deal with cybersecurity. Regional protection is important since criminals and threats can easily relocate across borders and renew activities.

 “Fourth, governments have a role as both policymakers and drivers for new infrastructures and services that increase their own efficiency and resilience”.

The Director added that ITU has been playing its role in bringing stakeholders from across the globe together, “but it is evident, as I already mentioned, that no single entity can achieve this vision alone.

 “This means working together with other intergovernmental bodies and ensuring active participation by all the stakeholders, including local and regional bodies; the private sector; and civil society organizations”.

Sanou cited that good progress is being made with big countries like China, Russia and the USA realizing the importance of dialogue and the European Union (EU) establishing a framework on cybersecurity endorsed by all EU Member States.

Also, with the new International Telecommunication Regulations, the ITRs, containing a specific provision that also aims at international cooperation on security and robustness of networks, ITU said such is a right step in a right direction.

Sanou added that concerted efforts have also been made with initiatives such as ITU-IMPACT and Child Online Protection, and the ITU-EC project supporting the harmonization of ICT policies in sub-Saharan Africa.

 “ITU-IMPACT is the world’s first comprehensive alliance against cyber threats which brings together governments, academia and industry experts to enhance the global community’s capabilities in dealing with cyber threats. It has now been formally endorsed by – and is offering services to – 145 countries.

“Child Online Protection – or COP, for its part, is an international collaborative network for action, with a growing number of partners, to promote the online protection of children worldwide. COP provides guidance on safe online behaviour in conjunction with other UN agencies and partners, and has already reached a very wide audience.

“With a focus on regional harmonization in mind for policymaking, ITU has been encouraging regional initiatives such as HIPSSA, the Support for Harmonization of ICT Policies in Sub Saharan Africa. HIPSSA includes as a major emphasis on recognizing and legislating against cybercrime,” he maintained.

However, Sanou said that member of  the ITU BDT are delighted to see Nigeria moving fast and in a very effective manner as a regional hub on cybersecurity, as well as investing resources in securing the online space for all citizens, including in particular the youth generation.


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Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports

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There were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA) detections over a 7-month period in Nigeria, according to Kaspersky security solutions.

Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports

Elsewhere in South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections, showing the growing desperation of the attacks.

The company reported on 28 million malware attacks in 2020 and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programs (pornware, adware etc.) accounted for by the beginning of August 2020.

These numbers show that it’s not only the malware that attacks users but also the “grey zone” programmes that grow in popularity and disturb their experiences, while users might not even know it is there.

Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) are programmes that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves.

However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way. For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may download even more various applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones.

calculating interim results of threat landscape activity in African countries, Kaspersky researchers noticed that PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware.

They also eventually reach more users: for instance, while in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in 7-months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.

“The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the programme is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals. The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programmes on their device and that in some cases, such programmes are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads,” said Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.

By taking a closer look at PUA, it becomes apparent that they are not only more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware.

Evaluating results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much.

Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense. In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections.

Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances, Kaspersky said.


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Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech

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Web giants including Facebook have struck a deal with advertisers on how to identify harmful content such as hate speech, after an impasse over the issue which led to boycotts of the platform.

Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech

The agreement — which also included Twitter and YouTube — laid out for the first time a common set of definitions for hateful statements online.

In July, hundreds of advertisers including big-name consumer brands suspended advertising with Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, saying the social-media titan should do more to stamp out hatred and misinformation on its platform.

And earlier this month a group of celebrities — including Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — stopped using Facebook and Instagram for 24 hours, to push a similar message.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) said in a statement Wednesday: “Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, in collaboration with marketers and agencies through the Global Alliance for Responsible Media have agreed to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content and to collaborate with a view to monitoring industry efforts to improve in this critical area.”

The alliance was founded by the WFA and includes other major trade bodies.

According to the WFA, key areas of agreement included applying the alliance’s common definitions of harmful content; developing reporting standards for such content; establishing independent oversight; and rolling out tools for keeping advertisements away from harmful content.

The WFA said that properly defining online hate speech would remove the current problem of different platforms using their own definitions, which it said made it difficult for companies to decide where to put their ads.

“As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline in order to make the necessary improvements,” said Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the WFA.

Luis Di Como, executive vice-president of global media at Unilever, a major advertiser, sounded a note of cautious optimism.

He said: “The issues within the online ecosystem are complicated, and whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”

Speaking in July, Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he remained adamant that the company did not want hate speech on the social network.

On Wednesday, the company’s vice-president for global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said the agreement gave all parties “a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”

 


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Nigeria, Others Facing ‘Millions of Cyber Attacks’ in 2020

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Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, continues to fall victim to millions of malware attacks and Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs), according to the latest research from Kaspersky.

The IT security firm says its security solutions have reported on 28 million malware attacks in 2020 and 102 million detections of PUA (including pornware, adware) accounted for by the beginning of August 2020.

PUAs are programs that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves, Kaspersky explains. However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way.

For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetizing software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may download even more various applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones.

By taking a closer look at PUA, it becomes apparent that they are not only more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware, according to Kaspersky.

“Evaluating results over the same seven-month period in Nigeria, there were 3,8 million malware attacks and 16,8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much. Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense.

In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections. Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances,” the company adds.

These numbers show that it’s not only the malware that attacks users but also the ‘grey zone’ programs that grow in popularity and disturb their experiences, while users might not even know it is there.

While calculating interim results of threat landscape activity in African countries, the researchers noticed that PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware. They also eventually reach more users: for instance, while in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in seven months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.

“The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the program is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals.

“The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programs on their device and that in some cases, such programs are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads. This is why many security solutions, including ours, flags such programs to make sure users are aware of its presence, influence on their device and activity,” says Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.


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