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Microsoft to Hold Imagine Cup National Finals

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Microsoft Nigeria has announced 24th of May 2010 as the date for the national finals of the Imagine Cup Competition, a global competition open to students in tertiary institutions.
Winners of the national finals which will hold at the UNILAG CITS Complex in Lagos will be representing Nigeria at the World final in Poland, in July with a cash prize of USD$25,000 awaiting the winning team.
The Imagine Cup competition encourages young people to apply their imagination, their passion, and their creativity to technology innovations focused on finding solutions to some of the world’s most challenging social issues outlined in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing to announce the Nigeria final, Ken Spann, Development Platform manager, Microsoft Nigeria, said, “The goal of Imagine Cup is to awaken the consciousness of youths and stimulate their thought process to improve their environment and ultimately Nigeria as a whole.”
He stated that “The response this year has been overwhelming. So far we have received applications from 50 schools, with 145 students indicating interest.  This is about 20% higher than the number we recorded last year. This shows that Nigerian youths are passionate about the world around them and desirous of making a significant difference. The Imagine Cup Students of today will contribute to building the knowledge based economy of the future. Nigeria can become a key country for software development and begin to create not only jobs but wealth as well. ”
Now in its eighth year, the competition begins with the local and regional contests, whose finalists go on to the World finals which hold in different locations every year.  Kick-started in Spain, the World finals have held in Brazil, Japan, India, South Korea, France and Egypt.
By the sixth edition, Nigeria was lucky to book a space at the finals in France.  The country was represented by the same team in Egypt in 2009.
At the national final, participating teams will each be allotted some time to present their concept and demo.  This will be followed by a rigorous selection process that will lead to the announcement of the winners.
As a reward to schools and students who elect to compete, registered Imagine Cup participants can download 18 Microsoft products for free.
“We wanted to do something to reward the schools who invest the time and commitment to participate in this competition,” Spann explained. “While registered participants can download this software for free, Microsoft appreciates that this is a significant drain on bandwidth resources. Any participants struggling to access the software via the internet should contact me or The Nigerian Computer Society so Microsoft can provide the software directly if needed.”
“Additionally, we do recommend that participants install Windows Internet Explorer 8, the new Web browser from Microsoft which is both easier to use and faster before downloading the products.”
Among the 18 products available for free download are Windows Server 2008 R2 on which the following products can be installed: Visual Studio Beta 2010 Ultimate, Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, SQL Server 2008 Developer and Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R.2. For a complete listing of products available for free download go to https://www.dreamspark.com/Products/ProductList.aspx.
A two-time winner of the national finals, Celestine Ezeokoye, who regrettably couldn’t register this year because of his tight schedule, thanked Microsoft for the initiative which is aimed at empowering students outside the classroom.  According to him, “Imagine Cup has greatly impacted my life.  Through it, I have been able to dream, task my imagination as well as articulate my thoughts.  I have also forged friendships which will last a lifetime.”
He added, “Microsoft cannot continue to do this alone.  We need support from other businesses; corporations as well as government to enable us perform at our optimum capacity.”
Registrations for the 2010 Imagine Cup are still open. For more information, contact Ken Spann at [email protected] or go to http://www.imaginecup.com.
 

 


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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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