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Africa Records Over 1,600 Weekly Cyber Attacks

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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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Telecommunications

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

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Services Tax

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.

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Fintech

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

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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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Fintech

Buy Now Pay Later Users to Reach Over 900 Million Globally by 2027

Buy Now Pay Later users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022.

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A new study from Juniper Research has predicted that the number of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022. This substantial growth of 157% will be driven by the anticipated economic downturn, which will increase the demand for low-cost credit solutions.

BNPL schemes enable consumers to spread the cost of their purchases without interest charges; making them a highly attractive alternative to credit cards. Additionally, BNPL services do not require hard credit checks and an increasing number of merchants are accepting this payment method; making it easier to access for consumers than traditional credit.

India to Experience High User Growth

The research identified India as having potential for rapid growth in BNPL, with users predicted to grow from 25 million in 2022 to 116 million by 2027. This is due to rising eCommerce usage and growing interest in international goods available through online retailers. In turn, it recommends that vendors build strategic partnerships with vendors in developing markets with established consumer bases, to successfully capitalise on this user growth and associated revenue.

Virtual Cards to Further Boost Usage

The research predicts that the adoption of virtual cards, where digital only cards are used for purchases, will increase the usage of BNPL solutions, as they only require merchants to accept card payments – overcoming previous limitations on growth. The advancement of virtual cards allows BNPL schemes to compete with credit cards; particularly in-store, where single use BNPL cards can be used within a digital wallet to complete contactless transactions.

Juniper Research recommends that in order to compete in this highly competitive landscape, BNPL vendors must differentiate their services: including offering virtual cards, browser extensions that automatically facilitate BNPL payment services, and digital loyalty schemes.

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