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Microsoft Cyber Signal Report Reveals Increased Security Budget Among Nigerian Organizations

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Microsoft’s latest Cyber Signals report highlights how cybercriminals are using Operational Technology (OT) as gateways into an organization’s network. This comes at a time when IoT connections in the region are growing with the GSMA predicting that 1.1 billion IoT connections are expected by 2025 in MENA.

It’s this growth in OT and IoT that has given cybercriminals more opportunities to breach an organization’s network.

Microsoft’s Cyber Signals report is a regular cyberthreat intelligence brief spotlighting security trends and insights gathered from Microsoft’s 65 trillion daily security signals and 8,500 security experts. The latest edition has found that converging IT, Internet of Things (IoT) and OT systems pose a wider risk to critical infrastructure.

For CIOs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the impact of a possible security breach is top of mind in an increasingly complex threat environment. This can be seen in the 11.2 percent rise in cybersecurity spending in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for 2022.

The growing rate of digital transformation within the African region is facilitating the emergence of new attack vectors and opportunities for cybercriminals. For Nigerian CIOs the consequences of a possible security breach is their number one concern as they look to navigate an increasingly complex threat and regulatory landscape.

This is according to the Enterprise Security Trends in Nigeria survey, conducted by the IDC and commissioned by Microsoft. Nigerian organizations realize the importance of developing a proactive approach to security. The IDC survey revealed that 72% of organizations in Nigeria have increased security budgets by 10% or more in the last few years.

The increase in digital transformation across the region has enabled organizations to manage their buildings, emergency systems and access control with smart devices connected to a network. In addition, we have seen an increase in IoT devices in the workplace to better enable hybrid work such as smart conference rooms with microphones and cameras.

As the threat landscape continues to expand and become more complex, organizations need to rethink their cyber risk approach to stay one step ahead of would-be attackers. Cyber Signals found that there are currently over 1 million connected devices publicly visible on the Internet running Boa, an outdated and unsupported software still widely used in IoT devices and software development kits.

“Organizations are more connected than ever before. From the humble Wi-Fi router to the everyday office printer, IT teams need to view their IoT devices differently and secure them as they would any company laptop to prevent security breaches,” says Ola Williams, Country Manager for Microsoft Nigeria and Ghana. “Gaining complete visibility of an organization’s OT systems and protecting its IoT solutions will go a long way in preventing cyberattacks.”

To learn more about IT, OT, and IoT threats, read the third edition of Cyber Signals. To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions and keep up with expert coverage on security matters, visit the Microsoft Security website and Microsoft Security blog.

 


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E-Business

e-Governance Reform Saves Edo State N60Bn

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Donatus Ojiefoh, Edo State Commissioner of Mines and Energy, has said Mr Godwin Obaseki, state governor, e-governance in the state civil service sector has saved the sum of N60 billion, an amount that would have been expended in the procurement of office stationery.

Ojiefoh in an interview with newsmen in Benin City also disclosed that the state government reforms in the electricity and the solid mineral sectors have repositioned the state as one of the most businesses friendly in Nigeria.

He noted that sustaining the state government reforms and achievements, voters in the forthcoming September 21st governorship election should not make the mistake of voting for a candidate that lacks understanding in investment and development.

He said harnessing maximally the abundant mineral resources, the state government has registered the Edo State Mining and Investment Company and has obtained 40 mining licenses adding that government reforms put in place has continued to yield positive results.

“If Obaseki was the governor before now Edo state would have been one of the richest states in the federation. It is crystal clear that the next governor that is coming must be able to match Obaseki’s shoes, somebody who understands the investment and development status of the state at the moment.

“Edo state is ten years ahead of other states apart from Lagos. Edo has put over 20 million files into the e-governance structure since the state was created and is the only state operating 100 per cent e-governance thereby the delay and bureaucracy in governance is over.

“Obaseki has saved over N60 billion for Edo State just on office stationery alone. Whatever paper you see in my office are external papers or files. It takes a man with a potent brain that understands saving system to achieve that and we are the only state in Nigeria that has completely moved from analogue to digital.”


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Scammers Target Facebook Business Accounts using Meta’s Infrastructure and Branding

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Kaspersky has discovered a new phishing scheme targeting Facebook business accounts, using legitimate Facebook infrastructure to send deceptive emails with threats of account suspension.

Cybercriminals have devised a method to use authentic Facebook functions to send fake suspension warnings to business accounts. These emails, originating from Facebook, contain alarming messages such as “24 Hours Left to Request Review. See Why”.

Clicking the email link leads to a genuine Facebook page displaying a similar warning. After that, a user is redirected to a phishing site disguised with Meta branding, reducing the time to resolve the issue from 24 to 12 hours. Finally, the phishing site initially asks for innocuous information, followed by a request for the account’s email, or phone number and password.

The attackers utilise compromised Facebook accounts to send these notifications. They change the account name to a threatening message and the profile picture to an exclamation mark, after which they create posts mentioning the targeted business accounts.

And because delivery is via the actual Facebook infrastructure, these notifications are guaranteed to reach their intended recipients.

“Even notifications that appear legitimate and come from a trusted source such as Facebook can be deceptive. It’s crucial to carefully examine the links you are prompted to follow, especially when it involves entering data or making payments. This can make a significant difference in protecting your business accounts from phishing attacks,” comments Andrey Kovtun, a security expert at Kaspersky.

 


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Lagos State Government, Interswitch Group Sign MoU Smart Health Information Platform

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The Lagos State Government has officially signed a concession agreement with one of Africa’s leading integrated technology enablers, Interswitch, through its Healthtech subsidiary, Interswitch eClat, to develop and manage the Lagos Smart Health Information Platform (LAGSHIP).

Nigeria’s healthcare industry remains grossly underfunded with several other challenges, lacking a truly national/integrated framework for healthcare service delivery due to fragmentation among health stakeholders.

A recent report from Knight Frank estimates Nigeria would require about $82 billion of investment in health-care assets to reach the global average. Healthcare institutions continue to struggle with daily operations due to a myriad of constraints and process inefficiencies.

The foregoing is the backdrop against which this latest public-private partnership milestone championed by the Lagos State Government is being launched with a view to positioning Lagos, Nigeria’s largest economic hub as a model for sub-nationals in strategic healthcare delivery interventions.

The Executive Governor of Lagos State, H.E. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu highlighted the significance of the Lagos State Smart Health Information Platform Project as one unprecedented in Nigeria till date.

The Governor, in his remarks asserted that “The signing of the Concession Agreement between the Lagos State Government and Interswitch for the implementation of the Smart Health Information Platform (SHIP) is a ground-breaking development which signifies the start of a comprehensive technological overhaul in Lagos State’s health sector, aimed at enhancing residents’ access to healthcare services.”

Governor Sanwoolu further remarked that “I believe that this platform represents a significant and innovative approach to utilizing technology for accessing health information. It is poised to deliver numerous benefits and eliminate payment barriers, thereby encouraging citizens to actively engage with the process.”

Capitalizing on over 2 decades of experience and strategic expertise digitizing transactions and aggregating technology platforms across Africa, by virtue of this concession, Interswitch will support the State Government in securely leveraging data harnessed from electronic medical records deployed across all hospitals (public and private) and allied locations within the industry value chain, to create enhanced experiences for all stakeholders, from administrators to medical personnel, patients, as well as for better planning and policy-making, ultimately.

The strategic objective is to address gaps within the healthcare delivery system by creating an ecosystem that facilitates deeper connections between stakeholders and essentially addressing fragmentation by connecting patients to doctors, practices to public offices and patients to their medical data, thereby solving the operational problems of hospitals and healthcare providers through the robust over-arching technology infrastructure that LAGOS-SHIP represents.

Commenting after the signing ceremony, which was jointly signed by the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Akin Abayomi and the Special Adviser to The Governor on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), Mrs. Bukola Odoe, and witnessed by the Executive Governor and selected members of the Lagos State Executive Council at the State House, Marina, Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, remarked:

“22 years ago, we set out with a clear vision to solve social problems in Nigeria, starting by digitizing the use of cash, making it available to Nigerians just-in-time. Today, despite the incremental efforts of Interswitch and other players over the years, digital payments are estimated to be still less than 20% of total transactions in the economy.

This realization suggests that there is tremendous value, financial and otherwise, locked up in sectors and areas where government is a key player, particularly in the aspects of healthcare, transportation, and other basic social services.

This vision we had from the outset underpinned our acquisition of eClat Healthcare 5 years ago, and initiatives such as Lagos-SHIP are unfolding strategic interventions along that transformational roadmap.

We are highly delighted that after a rigorous selection process, the Lagos State Government has deemed it fit to partner with us at the Interswitch Group on this epoch-making journey to digitize the healthcare system, uniting disparate elements into one holistic platform that creates value and enhances the experience of all stakeholders, just like we’ve done in the sphere of financial services, leveraging technology.”

Also speaking at the signing ceremony, Managing Director for Interswitch eClat, Interswitch’s Healthtech Venture, Dr. Wallace Ogufere opined that the Lagos State Government’s pioneering initiative in the form of LAGOS-SHIP is significant in terms of advancing the outlook for Healthcare Management and Administration in a frontier-market such as Nigeria, and moving closer to what obtains in developed economies.

In his words “The go-live of the Lagos Smart Health Information Platform will significantly close many identified gaps in electronic medical records management, essentially addressing long-standing constraints including process inefficiencies, limited transparency and inadequacy of necessary tools and supplies, among other challenges.”

This partnership between the Lagos State Government and Interswitch represents a unique model for public-private partnership in the healthcare delivery space, and one which is expected to be a veritable reference point for national and sub-national governments in Africa going forward.


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