The Managing Director of SystemSpecs, leading financial technology and human resources solutions powerhouse, Mr. John Obaro said as the pace of digital transformation ramps up with increased use of data and cloud technology by organisations and governments, there is need for a renewed focus on cybersecurity to ensure data protection and privacy. He said the increasing spate of cyber-attacks and the role of malicious insiders indicate that traditional approaches to data security are no longer sufficient. Therefore, individuals, organisations and governments must be one or more steps ahead of cyber attackers.
Obaro spoke recently during the second edition of the Art of Technology conference, tagged “Smart Data, Smarter Lagos” which held in Lagos.
Organised by the Lagos state government in conjunction with the private sector, the event facilitated multi-stakeholder discussions, exchanges and collaborations aimed at identifying and leveraging the outcomes of data and its insights to the development of smart cities.
According to Obaro, malicious actors now have access to billions of interconnected devices with ransomware, phishing, data leakage, hacking and insider threat as some of the most common global scourges to the cyberspace.
He listed artificial intelligence and deep learning, behavioural analytics, embedded hardware authentication, blockchain cyber security, and the zero-trust model as some of the various security technologies available to tackle the threats.
“Already, many progressive organisations that are security-conscious are adopting some of these measures to ensure they avert direct and third-party security breaches,” Obaro said.
The technology expert further highlighted data breaches, data loss, access control, denial of service, insecure interfaces and poor API implementations, as some of the security challenges faced by organisations and government today in the use of cloud. He, nevertheless, encouraged the continued use of big data, video analytics and predictive analysis in order to detect and resolve cyber security threats, predict and avoid the possibilities of intrusion and invasion, and take intelligence-based action, amongst other benefits.
John Obaro founded SystemSpecs, one of the oldest technology companies in Nigeria, 29 years ago. Since then, the company has grown into an African giant, expanding internationally and creating customer-centric solutions that include Remita, an innovative payment solution; HumanManager, a human resource and payroll management solution; and Paylink.ng, an ecommerce platform for SMEs.
Other speakers at the Art of Technology conference include Michael Seibel, CEO, Y-Combinator; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria; Lisa Da Silva, Principal Investment Officer, IFC; Demola Sogunle, CEO, Stanbic IBTC; and Tomi Davies, Collaborator-in-Chief, TVC Labs.
Creating a Secure Culture
Invest in the technology, embed the security, but don’t forget that people are your most important asset
Security. This is a word that can make a grown CFO tremble and an entire SOC crumble. It is the word that captures a complex landscape littered with complexity, cybercriminals and technology.
It defines how well an organisation adheres to a growing body of legislation – GDPR, POPIA and other data protection regulations – and how its reputation fares when a breach is revealed and information exposed. Security should be on every boardroom agenda, in ongoing employee training, and in investment into the right tools and solutions.
But, perhaps most importantly, security should be an inherent part of the company’s culture because it is this factor that ultimately determines its security risk and posture.
“There is a clear link between security culture and secure behaviour and that, in itself, correlates to a clear reduction in risk for the organisation,” says Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist, KnowBe4 Africa. “By improving your security culture, you are immediately improving employee behaviour and potentially plugging one of the biggest security gaps in every business – people.
People are often the weakest link. The ones who click on the link, who open the phishing email, who share their company passwords and who accidentally create vulnerabilities within the organisation.”
A recent study undertaken by KnowBe4 examined the behaviour and security culture of more than 97, 000 employees across 1, 115 organisations worldwide. The study dug down into the components and building blocks of security culture and unpacked how this has become a critical component for any robust security structure in a detailed whitepaper.
“IT leaders have always known exactly how important people are to the perfect security triumvirate – people, process and technology,” says Collard. “But, over the years, process and technology have been pushed to the forefront of investment and conversation, leaving the human element wide open and the business at risk.
The reason for this shift is multi-fold – it’s hard to engage with a diverse workforce and the security message is not always that exciting.”
Yet, the research found a very clear proof that a robust security culture reduces the risk of credential sharing and improves the entire organisation’s security posture. In fact, it found that there was a 52x difference between the behaviours of people sharing credentials in a poor security class and the best which highlighted how a focus on security culture can significantly change the way employees adopt secure practices and behaviours.
Which again underscores the value of setting up a security culture programme that explores the seven dimensions of security culture and how these can be improved within the organisation.
These seven dimensions include: attitude, behaviour, cognition, compliance, communication, norms and responsibility. And they provide the organisation with a solid framework within which to build an equally solid security culture that has longevity and relevance.
“The more that the business focuses on security culture, the more likely it is that employees will follow secure practices and adopt more secure behaviours,” concludes Collard. “This ground breaking research has provided a very clear and measurable link between security culture and secure behaviour and emphasises the value of investing into people, training and security communication best practice to ensure that this link is always maintained.”
FirstWave, Moja Access Sign Cloud-based Cybersecurity Deal
Leading Australian-headquartered, FirstWave has announced the signing of a three-year Level 1 Partner Agreement with Moja Access, part of CSquared Group, a pan-African technology company.
FirstWave provides safety through the most accessible and adaptive cloud-based cybersecurity solutions that are affordable and easy to implement. Its unique proprietary cloudplatform orchestration is available for service providers and enterprises of any size, anywhere.
Moja Access is the Kenya-based operating company of CSquared, with a goal to make commercially driven investments to improve and increase connectivity and internet access in Sub-Saharan Africa. Internet users across the African nations can now be protected on CSquared’s network from cyber intruders, on a consumption basis, at an affordable monthly price.
In the initial phase of this partnership, FirstWave has deployed its recently launched FirstCloud WebProtect DNS platform for each of CSquared’s four territories for use by CSquared’s operating companies and Level 2 partners. The partnership builds on other recent signings opening further opportunity for FirstWave’s cybersecurity-as-a-service portfolio in Africa, first revenues to flow immediately under ‘opt-out’ path to market.
CSquared currently operates fibre and last mile WiFi networks in several cities across Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia, with over 40 mobile operators and internet service providers relying on its infrastructure for serving mobile consumers and corporate customers. These four African nations had over 10 million Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and over 70 million internet users at the end of 2020.
FirstWave’s CEO, Neil Pollock, said, “I’m delighted to welcome CSquared Group’s Moja Access as our 8th Level 1 partner and see initial revenues already flowing from the partnership. CSquared is a fast-growing pan- African service provider backed by two large global corporations Google LLC and Mitsui & Co.
CSquared already delivers robust fibre connectivity and internet access to thousands of end-customers via its 40+ mobile operator and ISP clients. With revenues already delivered, the partnership has had a really positive start.”
Npower Dumps Mobile App after Hackers Breach Customer Accounts
Npower, one the UK’s big six energy providers serving serving 3.6 million residential and business accounts, has shut down its mobile app after hackers accessed customers’ accounts, inluding partial bank details.
Npower says customer accounts were accessed using login data obtained from other websites – a common technique used by hackers, known as ‘credential stuffing’.
The firm won’t say how many accounts were hacked, though it says not all accounts were affected and customers whose accounts were accessed have now been contacted.
Data at risk includes personal information, such as dates of birth and addresses, bank sort codes and the last four digits of account numbers, and contact preferences.
An Npower spokesperson says: “We immediately locked any online accounts that were affected, blocked suspicious IP addresses and deactivated the Npower app. We’ve also notified the Information Commissioner’s Office and Action Fraud. Protecting customers’ security and data is our top priority.”
Npower says it has shut down its app in the wake of the attack and does not intend to relaunch it.
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