There is a common misconception that the most dangerous threats to encounter on modern users’ digital journeys are likely to appear during Internet surfing. The reality however, based on the most recent analysis of cyberattacks in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria within 2020 by Kaspersky experts demonstrates that users are in fact more likely to face malware related attacks hidden within their devices.
Such threats are classified as ‘local’, which means they are detected either on users’ devices or on portable data storage devices, such as flash drives. In 2020, 25% of Kaspersky private users in South Africa, 40% in Kenya and 38% in Nigeria were attacked by such threats. To provide a comparison, web attacks only affected 9% of users in South Africa, 11% in Kenya and 8% in Nigeria.
When looking at corporate users in these regions, the numbers are similar: 23% of corporate users in South Africa, 29% in Kenya and 35% in Nigeria encountered such local threats within 2020.
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the sophistication of such threats – which may be hiding on the user’s device within a seemingly legitimate file for a while, to fly under the radar, and only strike later.
“The cyber threat landscape across Africa is constantly evolving,” says Denis Parinov, a cybersecurity expert at Kaspersky. “A few years ago, there were much more drive-by attacks – cases when different malicious software is downloaded and being run while the user simply browses the Internet. Nowadays, most of the web-threats “stays in browser”: they specialise in content replacement, browser locking or clickjacking, online-skimming, cookie stuffing, etc. Now the situation when a user could download a malicious file directly is not too often. It’s more common for a malware to be disguised as something else to hide from the security solutions, remaining an unseen threat to users. The good news however is that modern security solutions are too advanced for such malware to fly under radars – it is more likely to be blocked either during the initial scan of the file by a security solution that happens by default, or within the very moment such programs attempt to launch.”
To protect against cyber threats including malware, Kaspersky recommends keeping to the following guidelines:
- Do not follow dubious links from letters, messages in instant messengers or SMS
- Regularly install updates for the operating system and applications
- Install applications only from official stores
- Use complex and different passwords for accounts
- Regularly copy important data from your device to the cloud, to a USB flash drive or hard drive
- Do not give applications access to those functions that they do not need
- Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Internet Security (https://bit.ly/3168MCA)
In addition, companies are encouraged to provide training to improve cyber literacy among their employees. For example, the automated platform Kaspersky ASAP (https://bit.ly/3cZ8frF) helps to develop safe behaviour skills and form sustainable cybersecurity habits. The solution allows the company to assess the current knowledge of an employee in the field of cybersecurity, and in accordance with this, determine the set of skills that the employee needs, depending on job duties and risk profile, and build a timetable for the program.
Alphabet Leads Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Investment
Alphabet has so far invested $1.5 billion in blockchain companies between September 2021 and June 2022
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has so far invested $1.5 billion in blockchain companies between September 2021 and June 2022, the largest among global companies.
A recent report by Blockdata has shown. According to the report, Alphabet led funding rounds of blockchain/cryptocurrency companies with $1.506 billion invested in four rounds.
Blackrock, Morgan Stanley, Samsung, Goldman Sachs and others followed as shown in the statement below.
The report went on to say, “Forty corporations invested in companies in the blockchain/crypto space during this time. Samsung is the most active, having invested in 13 companies. United Overseas Bank came in next with 7 investments, followed by Citigroup with 6 investments, and Goldman Sachs with 5. In most cases, we cannot determine how much money these corporations have invested, as they participate in funding rounds with multiple or many other investors. As a proxy of this, we can look at the total funding amounts of the rounds they participated in.
“Based on this, the investors active in the biggest funding rounds are Alphabet ($1,506M in 4 rounds), Blackrock ($1,171M in 3 rounds), Morgan Stanley ($1,10M in 2 rounds), Samsung ($979M in 13 rounds), Goldman Sachs ( $698M in 5 rounds, BNY Mellon ($690M in 3 rounds), and PayPal ($650M in 4 rounds). The 40 companies invested approximately $6B into blockchain startups between September 2021 and June 2022.“
Further analysis of the data, revealed that banks have begun to increase their exposure and interest in crypto and blockchain companies, driven by an increase in client demand for crypto services.
Banks on the list of crypto investors are United Overseas Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and BNY Mellon.
Call, Data Rate to Jump 100% as FG Imposes 5% Excise Duty on Telecoms
Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services
Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services, a source from the sector stated.
According to industry experts, the increment will not only impact subscribers but also increase tax burden on telcos which would translate into rise in tariffs.
This, experts explained would increase the total consumption tax on the sector from just the 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) to 12.5%, a situation they said would worsen Nigerians’ economic status given the ongoing happenings in the country.
If implemented, Nigerians are now expected to be paying as much as N40 a minute, up from N20 and could be paying up to N2,500 per gigabyte.
Last week, Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, decried the new tax, threatening to take the Federal Government to court for overburden the industry with so much taxes at a time when the telecommunication sector and the entire Nigerian economy was not faring well.
He said: “The 5 percent excise duty will overburden the industry. As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor obtained a memo to that effect. Even the appropriate lawmakers that were supposed to be talked with have also told me they were not.
”Things are not done that way. Besides condemning the tax, we will take every lawful step to guarantee that the tax does not stand.”
However, Ahmed Zainab, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, had different excuse for going ahead with the new 5% excise duty. According to her, the new 5% excise duty was in line with 2020 Finance Act and was part of Federal Government efforts at augmenting the nation’s revenue, especially from the non-oil sector.
The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers and the Nigerian Telecommunication Consumer have joined Pantami and other Nigerians to kick against the decision they considered wicked and inconsiderate.
Chief Adeolu Ogunbajo, president National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) also added his voice. He said the sector is barely holding its ground with the existing 7.5 percent VAT, additional 5 percent will sum the total VAT in the sector to 12.5 percent. This is a killer move on the sector, he said.
Soft POS User Base to Grow 475% Globally by 2027
The total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027
A new study from Juniper Research has found the total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027; rising from 6 million in 2022. This growth will be driven by Apple’s entrance into the soft POS space; enabling iOS users to access an affordable mobile POS solution.
Soft POS enables NFC enabled smartphones or tablets to accept contactless payments, without additional hardware.
1.2 Billion iOS Users Added to Soft POS Market
The research forecasts that Apple’s decision to enable third parties to develop soft POS solutions leveraging iOS NFC capabilities will result in an influx of iOS-specific services; leading to innovative solutions for merchants. Furthermore, the research predicts Apple’s entry will provide 1.2 billion iOS users with soft POS capabilities; unlocking a previously untapped market.
Soft POS is the latest development from Apple within the payments space; building upon Apple Pay and Apple Pay Later. Soft POS vendors should leverage Apple’s payment ecosystem by developing innovative solutions such as integrated QR payment acceptance, using Apple Pay and Pay Later compatibility to attract a broader iOS user base.
Increasing Contactless Payment Adoption to Drive Soft POS Uptake
The research anticipates soft POS adoption being driven by the increasing use of contactless payments – with volumes expected to rise from 195 billion in 2022 to 408 billion by 2027. Therefore, consumers will come to expect contactless acceptance as standard; forcing smaller merchants to adopt contactless-capable POS solutions. Merchants are anticipated to embrace soft POS, based on cost savings achievable from eliminating the need for additional hardware, as well as mobility advantages over contactless POS.
This will be profound for small-sum and mobile merchants that must accept contactless transactions, but lack the need for high-cost dedicated terminals. As such, the research recommends soft POS vendors must look to target micro and mobile merchants; designing solutions that meet their unique needs.
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