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Nigeria at Risk of Attack, Experts Warn

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  • Nigeria at Risk of Attack, Experts Warn

Cyber experts in the country on Sunday said that the Federal Government and sectoral regulators must become more alert and fortify security in the cyberspace after last Friday’s wave of cyberattacks that hit 200,000 targets in at least 150 countries.

They said the cyberattacks, which had been on before now, could spread to Nigeria and urged banks to get more sophisticated.

The Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub, Chris Uwaje, said the attackers “are part of the invisible elements” attacking economies, adding, “There are some from Syria, Kenya and Iran that are launching attack on Nigeria’s cyberspace.”

He said Nigeria must build sophisticated software capability with human resource and called for the introduction of software army in the country and national software legislation that must be backed by law.

“In the United States, you can’t develop software without the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence and you can’t sell without being certified. There must be a cohesive Office of the Information Technology-General of the Federation so that we can monitor everything the IT and cybersecurity in Nigeria.

“The issue is critically serious and Nigeria must act fast by enthroning the National Software Board, the Establishment of National IT Bill and the Enactment of Software Deployment Act and an institutional framework to be controlled and managed by the Office of the Information Technology General of the Federation. It must be noted that most government servers are also under serious threats of hacking,” Uwaje stated.

The cyber experts warned that going by the porous nature of Nigeria’s cyberspace, voluntary or involuntary insider compromise and poor Information Technology standards, the country’s financial system might be headed for a face-off with North Korea’s cyber criminals.

According to them, while banks have not come out to lament any loss or attack, the success of the attacks on financial institutions has always been more of insider collusion.

Our correspondent gathered that there were conjectures that the North Korean hackers were aimed at mobilising funds for the cash-strapped country to develop its North nuclear programme.

A report has quoted the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okorafor, as saying, “We have not had anything like that in Nigeria and I am not aware of such attacks on any Nigerian bank.”

However, the Director of Banking and Payments System, CBN, as well as the Chairman, Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum, ‘Dipo Fatokun, said that hacking and cyberattack “are ongoing challenges across the world against banks.”

Admitting that the threats were real, he said that the regulator was on top of the situation with various policies and standards to ward off the attempts, saying there is no cause for fear.

He, however, said, “We have the IT standards for banks and we are monitoring compliance. But we continue to reiterate the need for data protection. It has only been the major route for cyber attack and hacking.”

The President of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association Nigeria, Tope Aladenusi, said no bank had confirmed any attack, adding that it was only a report.

Aladenusi said there was no evidence to suggest how it was done, but there were claims that the Internet Protocol address system of the attack was from North Korea.

He said the supposed malware called Lazarus was used to access people’s and organisations’ systems, saying, “The malware tries to compromise some vulnerable systems, whether in banks or organisations, and subsequently attacks other systems.”

Aladenusi, who also heads the cybersecurity arm of Delloitte Nigeria, advised that organisations must make it difficult for hackers to come near their systems by putting up measures including security tools and governance.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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FinTech Investments in Q3 2020 Drop by 16% Quarter-over-Quarter to $12.15 Billion

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The total value of fintech investments worldwide fell by 16% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) to $12.15 billion in Q3 2020. However, deal volume grew by 26% to 716 deals.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, the United States accounted for 64.7% of the total deal value, with 340 deals worth $7.85 billion.

Also, there were 25 mega-rounds during the period, accounting for 60% of the total funding value. Compared to Q2 2020, the total mega-rounds value increased by 64% to $6.4 billion, as non-mega rounds fell by 16%.

Payment Industry Deals Soar by 41% to $6.22B as InsurTech Grows by 63% to $2.5B

Payment industry deals took center stage, totaling $6.22 billion according to Global Data, marking a 41.9% QoQ increase.

The top five deals in the segment accounted for 58.4% of the total. Klarna bank had the highest raise, at $650 million at a post-money valuation of $10.65 billion. It made it the highest valued private fintech in Europe and the fourth highest globally.

Klarna, which is a buy now, pay later app, had 12 million monthly active users and 55,000 daily downloads. In H1 2020, its global transaction volume shot up by 44% YoY to $22 billion as revenue soared by 36% YoY to $466 million.

On the other hand, the insurtech sector raised $2.5 billion globally across 104 deals according to Willis Tower Watson. It marked a 63% increase in funding value and a 41% growth in deal volume. The number of mega-round deals in the segment increased by 50% QoQ.

Six mega-rounds drove 69% of the total insurtech funding. Top on the list was Bright Health with $500 million and another $500 million by Ki. Early stage companies in the sector grew by 57% QoQ during the period, compared to a record low of 42% in Q2 2020.

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World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos Backed African Fintech Startup, Chipper Cash

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The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, has invested in an African fintech start-up, Chipper Cash, according to the latest report from Tech Crunch.

Chipper Cash, a startup that helps facilitate money transfer across Africa and beyond, raised a $30 million Series B funding round led by Ribbit Capital with participation from Bezos Expeditions, a personal VC fund of Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon Inc.

Chipper Cash currently has 3 million users on its platform and processes an average of 80,000 transactions per day. The startup operates in the following seven African countries; Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya.

According to Ham Serunjogi, the Chief Executive Officer, Chipper Cash, the company attained a monthly payments value of $100 million in June 2020.

As part of efforts to grow beyond its current market, Chipper Cash plans to expand its product and geographical reach. In terms of product, the company plans to add cryptocurrency trading options and investment services.

We’ll always be a P2P financial transfer platform at our core. But we’ve had demand from our users to offer other value services…like purchasing cryptocurrency assets and making investments in stocks,” Serunjogi stated on the phone.The fintech company recently added beta dropdowns to its website and mobile application to enable customers to buy and sell Bitcoin and even invest in United States stocks from Africa. It partners DriveWealth, a U.S financial services company, to allow stock trading.

We’ll launch [the stock product] in Nigeria first so Nigerians have the option to buy fractional stocks — Tesla shares, Apple shares or Amazon shares and others — through our app. We’ll expand into other countries thereafter,” said Serunjogi.

On the financial service side, Chipper Cash plans to offer more API payments solutions. “We’ve been getting a lot of requests from people on our P2P platform, who also have business enterprises, to be able to collect payments for sale of goods,” explained Serunjogi.

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Top Four Social Networks Boast 8 Billion Active Users in Q3 2020

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In Q3 2020, Facebook inched closer to becoming the first social network with 3 billion users. Based on the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, it had 2.74 billion monthly active users at the end of September 2020, up by 12% year-over-year (YoY).

Facebook was the most popular social networking platform. YouTube and WhatsApp followed with 2 billion users each, while Messenger was third with 1.3 billion. In total, the four had a cumulative 8 billion users.

Facebook Family User Base Grows to 3.21 Billion in Q3 2020

During the period, Facebook also had a 12% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) increase in the total number of its daily active users (DAUs), to reach 1.82 billion. Asia Pacific led in DAUs, going from 699 million in Q2 to 727 million in Q3 2020. Europe remained flat at 305 million, while the US & Canada dropped from 198 million to 196 million.

In terms of monthly active users (MAUs), Asia Pacific was also the top market with 1.17 billion users. Europe followed with 413 million, while the US & Canada had 255 million.

In the same period, the Facebook family of apps had a total of 3.21 billion users globally. Of its messaging platforms, WhatsApp was the most popular with 2 billion monthly users in October 2020. Facebook Messenger was second with 1.3 billion monthly users.

On the other hand, YouTube reported that its Premium and Music services had 30 million paid subscribers in Q3 2020. The number had doubled in less than 18 months as it only had 15 million paid subscribers in May 2019.

According to Sensor Tower, Youtube was the second highest grossing mobile app in Q3 2020 across both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. During the period, its revenue increased by 59% YoY. On the other hand, Facebook came in second on the list of top mobile apps by downloads, in spite of a 2% YoY drop.

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