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NCC Alerts Phone Users, Telecom Consumers on New Cyber Attack Schemes, Proffers Security Measures

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Two cyberattack schemes targeted at phone users and telecom consumers have been discovered by the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Cyber Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT).

The cyber vulnerabilities identified as– Juice Jacking and Facebook for Android Friend Acceptance are the first two cyber vulnerabilities disclosed by the NCC-CSIRT.

Investors King recalls that the NCC-CSIRT was inaugurated in October, 2021 saddled with the responsibility of ensuring continuous improvement of communication frameworks to secure and give timely information while responding to cyber threats within the sector.

In a statement issued by the public affairs director of NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde on Friday, the new cyber vulnerabilities were dissected –how they penetrate and preventive measures.

Juice Jacking cyber vulnerability is targeted at mobile phones and it gains access into it while charging at public places. The second, Facebook for Android Friend Acceptance vulnerability targets only Android Operating Systems.

The statement explained that for Juice Jacking, the attacker gains unauthorized entry into the mobile phone with a payload when charging at public places like restaurants, malls, and train stations.

“The attacker can leverage this to load a payload in the charging station or on the cables they would leave plugged in at the stations. Once unsuspecting persons plug their phones at the charging station or the cable left by the attacker, the payload is automatically downloaded on the victims’ phone. 

“This payload then gives the attacker remote access to the mobile phone, allowing them to monitor data transmitted as text, or audio using the microphone. The attacker can even watch the victim in real time if the victims’ camera is not covered. The attacker is also given full access to the gallery and also to the phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) location.

“When an attacker gains access to a user’s Mobile phone, he gets remote access to the User’s phone which leads to breach in Confidentiality, Violation of Data Integrity and bypass of Authentication Mechanisms.” 

The symptoms identified in the release are– sudden spike in battery consumption, device operating slower than usual, apps taking a long time to load, and when they load they crash frequently and cause abnormal data usage.

Outlining security measures, the NCC-CSIRT advised mobile phone users to use ‘charging only USB cable’, this is to avoid Universal Serial Bus (USB) data connection. Also, it encouraged the use of one’s AC charging adaptor in public space; and not granting trust to portable devices prompt for USB data connection.

NCC-CSIRT further urged phone users to install antivirus on their devices and promptly update it; use personal power banks; keep mobile phones off when charging in public places; and very importantly, use personal charger when charging in public spaces.

Speaking on the Facebook Android Friend Acceptance vulnerability, it said the cyber attack gives access to anyone holding the android device to accept friend requests without unlocking the phone. The products affected are Versions 329.0.0.29.120 of Android OS.

“With this, the attacker will be able to add the victim as a friend and collect personal information of the victim, such as Email, Date of Birth, Check-ins, Mobile phone number, Address, Pictures and other information that the victim may have shared, which would only be visible to his/her friends.”

The safety measure given to users for this cyber attack is to disable the feature from their device’s lock screen notification settings.

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Telecommunications

Nigeria’s Data Consumption Jumps 413.79%

Data consumption in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria rose by 413.79% in the last four years, according to the latest data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

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Broadband Penetration - Investors King

Data consumption in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria rose by 413.79% in the last four years, according to the latest data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

In the last four years, Nigeria’s internet population grew by 41.38 million while Nigeria’s internet data usage increased to 350,165.39 terabytes in 2021, up from 68,154.12 terabytes in 2018.

During the period under review, broadband penetration rose to 40.88% or 38.12 million users in 2021 from 19.97% or 78.04 million users in January 2018.

NCC data showed GSM internet subscribers grew by 41.39 million from 100.23 million in 2018 to 141.62 million in 2021.

This, experts attributed to growing smartphone penetration and more access to data in Africa’s largest economy.

“Smartphone penetration was up by one percentage point to 33 per cent and our data customer base grew by 14.5 per cent, now representing 34.3 per cent of our total customer base,” Airtel stated in a report.

“Data usage per customer reached 2.6 GB per customer (from 1.8 GB per customer) led by an increase in smartphone penetration and expansion of our home broadband and enterprise customers.

“This helped us grow data revenue 31.2 per cent in constant currency. Growing penetration and usage of 3G and 4G data customers helped us grow data ARPU 8.2 per cent. Fourth Generation data usage more than doubled in the year, contributing 62.2 per cent of total data usage on the network in Q4’21.”

The telecommunication giant further added that “Our improved 4G network contributed to an increase in smartphone penetration, in data customers and in up-take of large data volumes, resulting in greater data consumption per customer.”

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Telecommunications

Airtel Redeems $300 Million of its $1 Billion Guaranteed Senior Notes

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Airtel on Wednesday announced that its subsidiary, Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) B.V., has launched a cash tender offer to redeem about $300 million of its $1 billion of 5.35% Guaranteed Senior Notes due in 2024.

According to the telecommunications giant, the tender offer will expire on 19 July 2022, unless amended or extended by BAIN at its sole discretion. However, there is an early tender deadline of 5 July 2022 for noteholders wishing to tender their notes for preferential early tender consideration.

In a statement obtained by Investors King, Airtel said “All Notes accepted for purchase will be cancelled ahead of their maturity in May 2024. BAIN reserves the right at its sole discretion to amend or waive any of the terms of the tender offer.

“A further announcement will be made following completion of the tender offer. This early redemption will be made out of Group cash reserves and aligns with the continuation of our pursuit of a reduction of external foreign currency debt at Group level.”

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Airtel Acquires Additional 58 MHz Spectrum Worth $42 Million

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airtel africa - Investors King

Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunication provider has announced the purchase of 58 megahertz (MHz) spectrum worth $42 million for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In a document obtained by Investors King, Airtel revealed that the additional 58 MHz spectrum would be spread alongside 900, 1800, 2100, and 2600 bands across the 14 countries Airtel operates in Africa.

Airtel noted that this investment reflects its confidence in the tremendous opportunity inherent in Congo. It also authenticated the company’s support for the local communities and economies through furthering digital inclusion and connectivity.

The license for the paired spectrum in the 2100 band comes up for renewal in September 2032, while other licenses will be up for renewal in July 2036.

Investors King also gathered that the additional spectrum will support the 4G expansion in the market for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability by providing significant capacity to accommodate the continued strong data growth in Congo.

Accordingly, Airtel explained that Congo is the largest country according to their data portfolio, and the second-largest market by population.

This comes on the heels of the company’s full super-agent license granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about a month ago.

The final approval came a few months after approval-in-principle was granted in November 2021. Approval-in-principle is a temporary approval that is subject to meeting specific requirements over the next six months, Investors King reported.

Six months down the line, Airtel Africa has met all the requirements and finally received a full super-agent licence to expand its agency network across Nigeria.

“The licence allows us to create an agency network that can service the customers of licenced Nigerian banks, payment service banks and licenced mobile money operators in Nigeria,” Airtel Africa stated.

The clearance is in accordance with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s aim of increasing financial inclusion by bringing financial services to the country’s unbanked and underbanked.

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