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SIM Cards not Linked to NIN before Month End will be Deactivated – NCC Warns

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said SIM cards that are yet to be linked to the National Identity Numbers (NIN) will be deactivated by the end of February.

NCC Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Aminu Maida, disclosed this during a meeting with journalists on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

“By the end of this month, SIMs without NIN will no longer work,” Mr Maida said.

The compulsory linkage began in December 2020 when the government directed telecommunication companies to block calls from unregistered and unlinked NINs.

The policy was expected to help the authorities in fighting bandits and terrorists who kidnap and kill innocent people daily. Despite the extension of deadlines, many phone lines are yet to be linked.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Maida said “Pre-registered or illegally registered SIM has been a challenge for a long time. In 2021, there was a policy to link NIN with SIMs thinking that such will take care of the problem but people in the value chain lashed out on loopholes.”

He added that the commission will hold telecom service providers accountable for service delivery to customers.

“You are going to see a change in the way we make decisions; we are going to be very data-driven. All our decisions are going to be backed up by data as much as possible. We want to reduce subjectiveness and make the right decisions that will improve the industry.

“We intend to hold our licensees accountable for all services. After all, the consumers pay for the services and they expect the service to be at a certain level or point so we will be holding our licensees accountable to ensure they deliver on their obligations to their licenses.

“We need to put smiles back on the faces of consumers. NCC is clear on this; we need to protect the interests of consumers. They remain number one because that is where you extract values from. Yet, the interest of licensed operators will also be protected while we put eyes on their activities to see the level of compliance.” he said.

He explained that the commission would focus more on the consumer, government and licensees and the industry.

“The commission also will be driven by the recognition that we have primarily three critical stakeholders in the industry. These are the consumers of telecom services, the industry and the licensees. The topmost are the internet service providers (ISPs), submarine-landed cable companies, and all of the licensees of the commission and last but not least, the government,” he said.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

Telecom

Recovery Costs for Ransomware Attacks on 2 Critical Infrastructures Quadruples to $3m in 1 Year – Sophos Survey Finds

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Sophos, a global leader of innovative security solutions for defeating cyberattacks, today released a sector survey report, “The State of Ransomware in Critical Infrastructure 2024,” which revealed that the median recovery costs for two critical infrastructure sectors, Energy and Water, quadrupled to $3 million over the past year.

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This is four times higher than the global cross-sector median. In addition, 49% of ransomware attacks against these two critical infrastructure sectors started with an exploited vulnerability.

Data for the State of Ransomware in Critical Infrastructure 2024 report comes from 275 respondents at energy, oil and gas, and utilities organizations, which fall under the Energy and Water sectors of CISA’s 16 defined critical infrastructure sectors.

The results for this sector survey report are part of a broader, vendor-agnostic survey of 5,000 cybersecurity/IT leaders conducted between January and February 2024 across 14 countries and 15 industry sectors.

“Criminals focus where they can cause the most pain and disruption so the public will demand quick resolutions, and they hope, ransom payments to restore services more quickly.

“This makes utilities prime targets for ransomware attacks. Because of the essential functions they provide, modern society demands they recover quickly and with minimal disruption,” said Chester Wisniewski, global Field CTO.

“Unfortunately, public utilities are not only attractive targets but vulnerable to attacks on many fronts, including the requirement for high availability and safety, as well as an engineering mindset focused on physical security.

“There’s a preponderance of older technologies configured to enable remote management without modern security controls like encryption and multifactor authentication. Like hospitals and schools these utilities are frequently operating with minimal staffing and without the IT staffing required to stay on top of patching, the latest security vulnerabilities and the monitoring required for early detection and response.”

On top of growing recovery costs, the median ransom payment for organizations in these two sectors jumped to more than $2.5 million in 2024—$500,0000 higher than the global cross-sector median.

The Energy and Water sectors also reported the second highest rate of ransomware attacks. Overall, 67% of the organizations in these sectors reported being hit by ransomware in 2024, in comparison to the global, cross-sector average of 59%.

Other findings from the report include:

·       The energy and water sectors reported increasingly longer recovery times. Only 20% of organizations hit by ransomware were able to recover within a week or less in 2024, compared to 41% in 2023 and 50% in 2022. Fifty-five percent took more than a month to recover, up from 36% in 2023. In comparison, across all sectors, only 35% of companies took more than a month to recover

·       These two critical infrastructure sectors reported the highest rate of backup compromise (79%) and the third highest rate of successful encryption (80%) when compared to the other industries surveyed

“This once again shows that paying ransom payments almost always works against our best interests. An increasing number (61%) paid the ransom as part of their recovery, yet the amount time it took to recover was extended.

“Not only do these high rates and amounts of ransoms encourage more attacks on the sector, but they are not achieving the claimed goal of shorter recovery times,” said Wisniewski.

“These utilities must recognize they are being targeted and take proactive action to monitor their exposure of remote access and network devices for vulnerabilities and ensure they have 24/7 monitoring and response capabilities to minimize outages and shorten recovery times.

“Incident response plans should be planned in advance, the same as for fires, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, and be rehearsed on a regular schedule.”


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Telecom

ChamsSwitch Partners Wema Bank, launches UnionPay Cards in Nigeria

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ChamsSwitch, a leading financial technology company, is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with Wema Bank to launch the UnionPay card in Nigeria.

This collaboration is set to revolutionize the payment experience for Nigerians travelling abroad, especially to China and other Asian countries, as well as for those conducting international online transactions from the comfort of their homes.

Speaking on this development, Dumebi Obodo, ChamsSwitch Managing Director said, “We are excited to partner with Wema Bank to bring the UnionPay card to Nigeria.

“This collaboration aligns with our mission to provide innovative and seamless payment solutions for Nigerians.

“The UnionPay card offers unparalleled convenience and security for our customers, whether they are traveling abroad or making international online purchases.

“We believe this product will significantly enhance the payment experience and meet the diverse needs of our users.”

UnionPay, recognized as the largest card scheme in the world by card volumes, brings an array of benefits to Nigerian consumers. With the introduction of the UnionPay USD Prepaid card, ChamsSwitch and Wema Bank are poised to meet the growing demands of Nigerian travellers and businesspeople.

The UnionPay USD Prepaid card is the perfect companion for Nigerians travelling abroad, particularly to China and other Asian countries, where UnionPay is the dominant card scheme.

The card ensures a seamless and hassle-free payment experience, allowing travellers to load their cards in Nigeria and withdraw cash from ATMs in their destination countries.

This is especially advantageous in regions like China, where other card schemes may face acceptance issues.

The UnionPay card is not only beneficial for travellers but also for business professionals and online shoppers in Nigeria. The card facilitates secure and straightforward international purchases, providing a reliable alternative for those who wish to buy products from global online marketplaces.

ChamsSwitch and Wema Bank are committed to offering a cost-effective and secure payment solution. The UnionPay card is designed to provide lower transaction fees, enhanced security features, and a seamless user experience, making it an attractive option for Nigerian consumers.

UnionPay’s extensive global network ensures that cardholders can use their cards in numerous countries worldwide. Notably, UnionPay cards has strong presence and widely accepted in Asia countries such as; Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, etc. A region where other card schemes may not function effectively.

The card is also well accepted at BRICS countries. This global acceptance makes the UnionPay card a versatile and indispensable tool for international travelers and businesses.


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Telecom

TECNO Celebrates Nigerian Idol Winner, Chima

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The flight to stardom has reached its crescendo as Chima emerges victorious as the winner of Nigerian Idol Season 9, a victory well-deserved and celebrated by all. Empowered by TECNO, this season of Nigerian Idol has been nothing short of spectacular, showcasing incredible talent and delivering unforgettable moments.

TECNO played a vital role in this journey, empowering all the contestants with their latest and most innovative CAMON device, the CAMON 30. As the grand prize winner, Chima has also been awarded an entire suite of TECNO eco products, including the TECNO PHANTOM V fold, the TECNO True 1 buds, the TECNO Smartwatch, and the TECNO Megabook. These cutting-edge devices are designed to enhance productivity, creativity, and connectivity, ensuring he has all the tools needed to excel in his new stardom journey.

Mr. Chidi Okonkwo, MD of Transsion Holdings, expressed the collective joy and pride in this partnership, noting that this season has been enriching for TECNO, the contestants, and loyal fans and users. The success of this collaboration underscores TECNO’s commitment to the “Stop At Nothing” mantra, driving innovation and excellence in every endeavour.

Throughout the season, fans have been an integral part of this journey, participating in weekly challenges, the home edition, and various engaging activities. The excitement and enthusiasm shared by fans have made this season of Nigerian Idol truly memorable. Their involvement and support are testaments to the strong bond between TECNO and its community.

As this remarkable season concludes, the celebration extends beyond Chima’s victory to the enduring spirit of all participants and fans who have made Nigerian Idol Season 9 a success. TECNO remains dedicated to empowering talent and fostering connections through its advanced technological innovations. The commitment to innovation ensures that every user, fan, and contestant experiences the very best that TECNO has to offer.

Fans who were part of the winners of the weekly challenge, home edition, and all the other engaging activities will not forget this exciting season of Nigerian Idol in a while, and it is proof of TECNO’s “Stop At Nothing” mantra.

Stay connected with TECNO on Facebook, Instagram, and X for more exciting updates, opportunities, and the latest in the technology ecosystem. With TECNO, the journey of innovation and inspiration never ends.


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