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Africa Records Over 1,600 Weekly Cyber Attacks

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cybercrime - Investors King

An average of 1,615 cyber-attacks has been said to affect organisations in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries, making the continent the highest victims of the attacks, cybersecurity solutions provider, CheckPoint Software Technologies (CST) says.

The breaches in Africa, according to CST, represent a 15 percent increase from 2020. The firm also disclosed that 2021 recorded a 50 percent rise in overall attacks per week on corporate networks globally, compared to the year before. CST noted that Asia Pacific (APAC) comes second place, with an average of 1,299 weekly attacks per organisation (20 per cent increase), followed by Latin America with an average of 1,117 attacks weekly (37 per cent increase), Europe with 665 (65 per cent increase) and North America with 497 (57 per cent increase).

The sectors which recorded the highest number of cyber-attacks were Education/Research with an average of 1,468 attacks per organisation, each week (increase of 60 per cent from 2020), followed by Government/Military with 1,082 (40 per cent increase) and Healthcare with 752 (55 per cent increase).

CheckPoint stated that one major attack was botnet, launched in 2021. The cybersecurity firm explained that botnet is a network of malware-infected computers that can be wholly-controlled by a single command and control centre operated by a cybercriminal. the network itself, which can be composed of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of computers, is then used to further spread the malware and increase the size of the network.

“The malware type that impacts organisations the most in 2021 is the botnet with an average of over eight per cent organisations being impacted weekly (a nine per cent decrease from 2020), followed by banking malware at 4.6 per cent (a 26 per cent increase) and cryptominer at 4.2 per cent (a 22 per cent decrease), ransomware 1.9 per cent and mobile 1.2 per cent,” CheckPoint said.

Warning organisations, CheckPoint claimed that the increase in multi-vector attacks designed to infect multiple components of an IT infrastructure in 2021, is alarming, adding that such attacks are the biggest challenge facing security practitioners, requiring effective measures to be put in place, such as preventing the attacks before they happen and employing a security architecture that enables and facilitates a single, cohesive protection

The firm advised that all attack surfaces and vectors in the business must be secured via a single solution that provides broad cyber security coverage, particularly in today’s multi-hybrid environment where the perimeter is now everywhere. Organisations are also to segment their networks, and apply strong firewall and intrusion prevention safeguards between the network segments. This, CheckPoint advised, contains infections from propagating across the entire network.

It further stressed that, “While there isn’t a single silver-bullet technology that can protect organisations from all threats and all threat vectors, there are many great technologies available, such as machine learning, sandboxing, anomaly detection, content disarmament, and many more. Each of these technologies can be highly effective in specific scenarios, covering specific file types or attack vectors.”

The cybersecurity experts noted that two important components to consider are threat extraction (file sanitisation) and threat emulation (advanced sandboxing), explaining that each element provides distinct protection. When used together, the threat extraction and emulation offer a comprehensive solution for protection against unknown malware at the network level and directly on endpoint devices.

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Fintech

Flutterwave Receives PSP, Payments Facilitator Licenses in Egypt

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Flutterwave

Nigeria’s leading fintech giant, Flutterwave has received two licenses in Egypt as it moves to deepen payments in Africa and connect the continent to the rest of the world.

The company, in a short note from its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-founder, Olugbenga GB Agboola, announced that Egypt Government had approved the Payment Services Provider license and Payments Facilitator license for its operations in the North African nation.

He said “I’m so proud to announce that we (Flutterwave) have accomplished a major milestone in our journey as we obtained our Payment Services Provider and Payments Facilitator licenses in Egypt 🇪🇬.

“Our vision is to connect all major parts of Africa through payments and further connect Africa to the world and this new license is yet another step in that direction.

“Truly, this is big news for our customers, partners, investors, and other stakeholders.

“I am excited to see how this new license helps us provide first-class payment services and seamlessly connect businesses to their customers in Egypt 🇪🇬.”

Founded in 2016 with the aim of making it easier for people in Africa to pay and get paid, both locally and globally. Flutterwave’s main products is its payment gateway, which enables businesses to accept payments from customers through a variety of channels, including debit and credit cards, bank transfers, Paypal and mobile money. The payment gateway is secure and reliable, with 24/7 support and dispute resolution services.

Another important product offered by Flutterwave is its Rave platform, which enables businesses to send and receive payments, as well as manage their finances, in a single place. Rave integrates with popular e-commerce platforms and offers a range of features, including invoicing, recurring payments, and currency conversion.

Flutterwave also provides individuals with financial services through its Barter platform. Barter allows users to make payments, transfer money, and pay bills from their mobile devices. The platform is easy to use and supports multiple currencies, making it ideal for people who travel frequently or who need to send money to friends and family abroad.

In addition to its core products, Flutterwave has a range of partnerships and integrations with companies and organizations that provide complementary services, such as e-commerce platforms, payment processors, and financial institutions. This helps to create a seamless experience for users, as well as providing businesses with a range of options to choose from when setting up their payment systems.

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Technology

All You Need to Know About Google’s AI Chatbot “Bard”

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Bard is Google’s soon-to-be-launched AI search assistant that will work in the background of search queries to provide in-depth information on users’ results.

Bard was rolled out by the tech giant earlier this month, in response to OpenAI Chatbot ChatGPT which is currently the rave of the moment, that has amassed over 1 million users daily.

Bard is reported to be Google’s first shot at ChatGPT as it seeks to compete with the chatbot, as well as possibly displace it.

What Powers Bard?

Bard is powered by a language model to enable it to converse with humans efficiently. The Chatbot uses a language model for dialogue applications (LaMDA) as its model.

LaMDA is a type of Large Language Model (LLM), which are software algorithms trained on huge amounts of data, usually measured in terabytes.

Although they are most well known as the software that powers chatbots, LLMs can also be used to do things such as scanning scientific databases to learn about the structure of medicines.

How Does Bard Work?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post, disclosed that Bard draws information from the web to provide fresh and high-quality responses. Like ChatGPT, Google’s Bard will initially only answer text prompts with its written replies.

He further disclosed that the AI chatbot can be an outlet for creativity and a launchpad for curiosity, which will help users to explain different discoveries or get in-depth knowledge about certain information.

The company further added that Bard will also let users do things like “plan a friend’s baby shower”, “compare two Oscar-nominated movies, or “get lunch ideas based on what’s in your fridge”.

When Will Bard be Released?

Google has revealed that Bard will be rolled out in the coming weeks, which will come on a lightweight model version of LaMDA, noting that this will enable it to scale the chatbot to more people as the much smaller model requires significantly less computing power.

Google will open up the conversation technology to trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public.

The tech giant further disclosed that the initial launch of Bard will be in a testing phase, as it seeks to combine its external feedback with its internal testing, noting that this was necessary as chatbots have shown a propensity for negative traits that include everything from bias to powering cyberattacks.

Google has assured users that soon they will see AI-powered features in search that will distill complex information and multiple perspectives in easy-to-digest formats, to enable them to learn more from the web, Investors King understands.

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Fund Raising

Energy Fintech Startup SunFi Raises $2.325 Million Seed to Expand Operations

The seed round was led by Nairobi-based factor (e), SCM Capital asset management, and other participation from investors such as Sovereign capital, Voltron Capital, Ventures platform, and Norrsken impact accelerator.

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startup - Investors King

Nigerian energy financial technology startup that provides people access to solar energy and payment plans SunFi, has raised $2.324 million in seed funding.

The seed round was led by Nairobi-based factor (e), SCM Capital asset management, and other participation from investors such as Sovereign capital, Voltron Capital, Ventures platform, and Norrsken impact accelerator.

Speaking on the seed fund raised, SunFi CEO Rotimi Thomas revealed that the investment will help the startup expand its operations and enhance its capacity to adjust clients on the best systems to purchase at the most affordable prices.

With this funding, SunFi also hopes to improve its Fintech features over the following 12 to 18 months, convert more than 4,000 consumers, and expand its existing 29-person workforce.

“This investment seeks to aid SunFi to grow its operations and improve upon its capabilities to suggest the best systems with the lowest costs to customers, typical of every rational customer wanting to be offered the best quality in exchange for a small quantity fee or charge associated with acquiring the facility,” he added.

Founded in 2021, with its headquarters in Lagos, SunFi builds energy financial technology that optimizes and matches the right clean energy solution to meet customers’ needs. From payment plans to installation support and maintenance, the startup got its customers covered.

It also offers a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) payment option for solar providers, which ultimately benefits end consumers. By filling the credit gap, the startup wants to eliminate the need for solar providers to seek credit from financial institutions.

Investors King understands that SunFi does not manufacture or install solar panels, rather it gives small solar businesses expert advice on choosing the best manufacturers in the market.

After it launched a demo version of its app in November 2021, the demand for solar systems surged to over 200%. SunFi has also partnered with Arnergy Solar, the largest solar installer in Nigeria, to expand access to more consumers.

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