Telecommunications operators and financial services providers on Tuesday traded blame over rising financial frauds perpetrated in the country through telecommunications networks.
At a stakeholder meeting on financial fraud using telecoms platform convened by the Nigerian Communications Commission, operators in both the financial and telecommunications services had a heated debate over who should bear what blame as a result of frauds committed on customers’ bank accounts using technology networks.
It was difficult for the stakeholders to come to an agreement whether the victims of financial fraud should be classified as bank customers or as telecommunications operators’ customers.
Another difficulty that the stakeholders had was in establishing who ought to bear the responsibility for the building of technology infrastructure that would help to dictate when a wrong subscriber that had swapped a SIM initiated a financial transaction through the networks.
Telecommunications operators alleged that banks wanted the technology solution to be given to them free while the banks contended that their services provided a flow of income to telecommunications operators.
It took the intervention of both the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Consumer Protection Council to establish that the subscribers were bank customers even when they used technology platforms to carry out transactions.
In an address at the forum, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the commission was collaborating with the CBN, the Nigeria police and other relevant agencies in the fight against e-banking fraudsters.
He said, “This important forum is taking place at a time when the level of financial fraud has reached N12.5bn. So, something needs to be done urgently to secure the confidence of Nigerians in the financial system as well as a communications system in the country.
“Despite advances in software technology, human intervention is still required to prevent SIM swap fraud, which is quite difficult to detect. Also, controls and processes by network operators have to a degree failed and led to instances of human error in retail branches in distributing SIM cards.”
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, said the incidence of financial fraud using telecoms platforms had been pervasive.
Shittu said, “We believe innovation needs to be meaningful to ensure that nations and societies everywhere benefit from technological advancement. Technology disruption has been infused in every facet of the Nigerian economy.
“The impact of online fraud cannot be underestimated or denied. Indeed, it leads to the loss of reputation and income and it is tied to direct financial loss of billions of naira in the financial sector, e-commerce and telecommunications.
“The frequency of identity theft is alarming and this is why the government is putting its full might behind efforts to confront this menace and to put an end to it.”
In a lead presentation, the Managing Director, Digital Knowledge Associates, Mr Benedict Anyalenkeya, said technologies for SIM cloning had become pervasive and cheap that banks must not only take care of their back-end but also the front-end security.
According to him, banks have traditionally sacrificed security for ease-of-use. This, he added, puts customers in jeopardy while banks secure their own end of the networks.
United Kingdom Ordered Meta, Formerly Facebook, to Sell Giphy
The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has instructed Meta – formerly known as Facebook – to sell Giphy, the American search engine that allows users search for and share short looping videos which are without sound, that are similar to animated GIF files.
The CMA stated that the merger deal could possibly be harmful to social media users and advertisers in the UK. It also found that the deal would further boost Meta’s already strong market power, as it would limit other platforms’ ability to use Giphy GIFs, which will, in turn, drive more traffic to sites owned by Facebook (WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook).
According to the CMA, Meta’s sites dominated social media usage time up to around 73 percent, and could eventually outperform social media rivals like TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat by leveraging Giphy. The Authority then added that before the merger, Giphy had launched ”innovative advertising services” which brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi which it could possibly have brought to the United Kingdom.
The CMA also stated that at the time the merger was made, Giphy’s advertising services were terminated by Facebook. That move removed a vital part of potential opposition in the market. The CMA was concerned by this move, calling it particularly concerning considering that Facebook is in control of about half of the £7 billion display advertising market in the UK.
Facebook had acquired Giphy for a reported fee of $400 million, with an aim of integrating the service into Instagram. After a month, the CMA started an investigation into the merger and decided in August that Facebook could hinder social media rivals such as TikTok and Snapchat from tapping into Giphy’s GIFs.
Meta had initially stated that the CMA did not have jurisdiction because Giphy was not operational in the United Kingdom, adding later that Giphy’s paid services were not display advertising by the definition of the CMA.
In October, Meta was fined $70 million by the CMA for breaking some rules related to the deal by failing to report necessary information and changing its chief compliance officer on two different occasions without receiving permission.
Burger King Expands to Nigeria
Burger King, an American multinational chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, has opened its very first restaurant in Nigeria to deepen its growing brand, support new job creation and enhance economic productivity in Africa’s largest economy.
The United States Mission in Nigeria has praised the improving commercial ties between Nigeria and the United States as American franchises and branches set up shops in Nigeria. This has in turn created more jobs as well as investment opportunities in the country.
This was said by the US Mission Commercial Counselor, Jennifer Woods during her speech at the opening of the Burger King outlet in Nigeria. Woods underlined the impact which new businesses have on a country’s economy, especially with a popular franchise like Burger King opening in a developing market like Nigeria.
She said that being Africa’s largest economy and a large youth population with a strong connection to the world, American brands must look at Nigeria as a highly critical market. She went ahead to state that while the companies will benefit from the expansion into the country, Nigeria itself will also benefit largely from their presence in the country.
Woods also described the addition of another American-owned franchise (one that emphasizes a culture of excellence) will help to provide job opportunities as the business expands to new parts across the country. She praised the high level of interest by consumers and the passion which they have for the iconic American rapid service restaurant since it began its operations in early November.
The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila congratulated Burger King and all its local partners on the intriguing business deal, explaining it as another signal of the benefits of a close business relationship between the United States and Nigeria. He also stated that Burger King is expected to open hundreds of outlets across the country.
Burger King entered into an alliance with local firm, Allied Food & Confectionary Services Limited in order to bring the American brand into the Nigerian market. The Group Managing Director of Allied Food & Confectionary Services Limited, Antoine Zammarieh has prior experience bringing United States rapid service restaurants to Nigeria.
Panasonic Confirms Data Breach after Hacker Attack
Japanese tech giant Panasonic has affirmed that the company has been a victim of a data breach after some hackers were able to access the company’s internal network.
In a press release dated November 26, the company stated that its private network was illicitly accessed by a “third party” on November 11, and also stated that some data which was on a company file server had been retrieved during the breach.
However, a spokesperson for Panasonic, Dannea DeLisser stated that the data breach started on June 22, and ended on November 3. She also said that the very first unauthorized access was detected on November 11.
The company which is based in Osaka, Japan provided additional details about the breach. In the press release, the company said that although it is conducting its own investigation into the breach, it is also working with a third-party organization to investigate the data leak. The third party organization is also looking into whether or not the breach included personal information of customers or sensitive information which concerns social infrastructure.
Immediately the unauthorized access was discovered by the company, the incident was reported to the appropriate authorities who went ahead to set up some security countermeasures, which also contained steps to avert external access to the network. The company closed the statement by apologizing for concerns and inconveniences caused by the data breach.
This type of incident is not completely new to Panasonic, as just under a year ago Panasonic India faced a ransomware attack in which hackers leaked about 4 gigabytes of data, including email addresses and financial details.
The data breach also comes at a period when Japanese technology companies are facing waves of cyberattacks. NEC and Mitsubishi Electric were victims of hackers in 2020, and Olympus was also made to suspend operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East after being a victim of a ransomware attack.
The trend of cyberattacks in Japan is likely to reduce public faith in the company, especially since it has been hacked twice since last year.
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