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Cybersafe Foundation, UK Govt help vulnerable groups, SMEs upskill on cybersecurity



Cybersafe Foundation UK Govt help vulnerable groups SMEs upskill on cybersecurity, SiliconNigeria

. Over 10million Nigerians reached via mass cyber hygiene awareness

. Set to continue project in 2021

A leading non-governmental organization in the information security ecosystem in Nigeria, CyberSafe Foundation and its partners – Foreign CommonWealth & Development Office (FCDO), have hit the set targets to equip digitally vulnerable groups and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the knowledge and skills required to identify, protect, detect, defend and respond to COVID-19 instigated cyber threats, enabling a safe digital community.

The UK Government, through its Prosperity Fund Digital Access Programme, signed a grant agreement with CyberSafe Foundation to carry out the “Safe Digital Community during COVID-19 Project” as part of UK’s cyber risk mitigation support to Nigeria’s COVID-19 response.

The grant agreement which was signed FCDO and CyberSafe Foundation on the 7th of September 2020, led to equipping digitally vulnerable groups and 1,504 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Safe Digital Community Project directly benefited 1,504 SMEs across 35 States in Nigeria, and upskilled 3,057 employees in cyber safety essentials.

For the digitally vulnerable groups including people with limited digital experience, the project helped raise their awareness in safe cyber hygiene, enhance their online security and enable a safer digital community, reaching over 10 million people.

Speaking on the project, the Executive Director, Cybersafe Foundation, Confidence Staveley,  thanked UKAID and 18 volunteer cyber security expert trainers for aligning with the Foundation to empower the participants, adding that through the ‘No Go Fall Maga’, cyber awareness comedy skits, more than 3.3 million people were educated on vishing, multi-factor authentication and phishing.

She said that beneficiaries cut across computing/technology, real estate, transport & services, oil & gas, retail/manufacturing, fashion, hospitality & leisure, healthcare, charity/NGO, education, consulting, financial services, amongst others.

Also, the partners executed massive work through the radio and did a novel cybersecurity awareness song in collaboration with Cobhams Asuquo which was played 3,973 times on 32 radio stations across Nigeria. In addition, 13 episodes of the “No Go Fall Maga” radio drama series created to drive awareness about cyber hygiene best practices, reached more than 5.2 million radio listeners.

During the project’s duration, an intensive social media mass awareness campaign saw close to 10 million people digesting 20 short cyber hygiene videos developed by the team.

Statistics also show that the SME upskilling and upscaling cyber security training garnered a lot of results. With 1,504 SMEs participating, 40.7% of the beneficiaries are female-owned.

Prior to the training, 57% of the beneficiaries could not identify a phishing email. However, post-training review indicates that 83% of them now understand prevalent attack vectors and preventive measures.

Interestingly, 76% have now implemented one or more security controls.  

Staveley who is visibly elated by the growing testimonials from participants, said, “the impact has been massive and we are prepared to sustain the tempo even in 2021. We are going to increase the number of SMEs by 100%; in other words, we are targeting 3,000 SMEs in this rerun and will continue to use social media and radio to drive cybersecurity awareness. We are calling for SMEs to join the new batch for training. They can register via this link”.

Commenting on the project, the UK Government’s Head of Digital Access Programme and Country Adviser, Idongesit Udoh, said, “The first run of the Safe Digital Community During COVID-19 project recorded enormous impact courtesy of the excellent delivery by Cybersafe Foundation. The project afforded approximately 3057 employees the opportunity to get cybersecurity training, raising the bar in cybersecurity preparedness for Small and Medium Scale Businesses in Nigeria, also impacting millions via social media and radio.””This project demonstrates the UK Government’s continued support for Nigeria and its digital sector, recognizing the tech ecosystem’s role in inclusive growth and development. A rerun of this project will sustain the huge impact recorded by the CSF on cyber awareness and extend cyber capacity building to more SMES across the country during this pandemic where there is increased cyber risk for small businesses”.  

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FirstWave, Moja Access Sign Cloud-based Cybersecurity Deal



FirstWave Moja Access Sign Cloud-based Cybersecurity Deal, SiliconNigeria

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.”

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Npower Dumps Mobile App After Hackers Breach Customer Accounts



Npower Dumps Mobile App After Hackers Breach Customer Accounts, SiliconNigeria

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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Data Leaks Surge 1,453% in 5 Years to 36bn Cases in 2020 Alone



Data Leaks Surge 1453% in 5 Years to 36bn Cases in 2020 Alone, SiliconNigeria

With a global pandemic, devastating wildfires, racial tension, and political divide, it is not surprising that 2020 was named the most challenging year in the past decades. The year has been grim for data privacy as well, with leaked personal data records reaching numbers the world has never seen before.

Atlas VPN analysis based on Risk Based Security data reveals that exposed data hit a record 36.1 billion in the first three quarters of 2020. The number of data records leaked this year is more than two times higher than in the entire year of 2019 and make up more than half (51%) of all exposed data in the past five years.

The first three quarters of 2020 saw a 332% increase in leaked data records compared to the same period last year when 8.35 billion records were exposed. Looking at the historical data, leaked data records surged by a whopping 1,453% from 2.33 billion through Q3 in 2016 to 36.1 billion in 2020.

A number of leaked data records already hit an all-time high in the second quarter of this year. However, the three months of Q3 brought in additional 8.43 billion records to the toll.

Let’s look at the data leak numbers quarter by quarter. From Q4 of 2019 to Q1 of 2020, leaked data numbers rose by 24%, from 6.84 billion to 8.45 billion — the most records exposed in any Q1 period over the past five years.

In Q2, the numbers of data leaked increased again, spiking by 128% to a historical high of 19.23 billion. Finally, in Q3, the number of exposed data records dropped by 56% to 8.43 billion. Nevertheless, the number is still higher than in any Q3 period since 2015.

A record-high number of data leaked this year is a result of 2,953 publicly reported data breaches. However, unlike leaked data records, data breaches dropped by 51% compared to the same period last year when 6,021 violations were reported.

The decrease in the number of breaches is caused by a general slowdown in such event reporting rather than the actual drop in breach activity. The global Covid-19 pandemic and remote work are likely to be one of the primary reasons for such a change in reporting behavior.

We can still expect to see bigger numbers by the end of this year as lagging sources reveal additional information. However, data breach levels are unlikely to reach those of 2019.

Looking at the breach data on a quarterly basis, it is evident that more frequent data breaches do not always result in a more significant amount of records leaked. Yet, breaches are growing in severity, exposing more and more records every year.

The first three months of 2020 had the most data breaches this year (1,337), which caused 8.45 billion leaked records. One breach that happened due to a misconfigured ElasticSearch cluster alone exposed 5.1 billion records. Eleven data breaches each were responsible for leaks of more than 100 million data records.

While Q2 saw the least amount of data breaches (848), these breaches resulted in the most records exposed (19.23 billion). The two largest breaches ever reported surfaced during the second quarter of 2020, accounting for more than 18 billion records put at risk.

Q3 had 768 breaches and 8.43 billion records leaked. Two breaches in the third quarter of 2020 exposed over 1 billion records each, while four breaches exposed over 100 million records per event.

The most commonly exposed data types are names (45%), emails (36%), and passwords (29%) — all the key information needed for accessing someone’s account.

Hacks are the leading cause of data breaches this year, while misconfigured databases and services are the main reason behind a staggering number of records exposed.


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