This Week In Tech
The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has warned Nigerians to be mindful of their cyber safety.
They warned users against the recent viral trend on TikTok being used by Cyber attackers to spread malware.
The team revealed that through the viral TikTok challenge, Invisible Challenge, threat actors are spreading information-stealing malware known as the WASP (or W4SP) stealer.
The challenge sees people use a filter to make their body appear to see through, leaving just the silhouette visible.
The WASP stealer, which is high in probability with critical damage potential, is a persistent malware hosted on discord that its developer claims is undetectable.
“Attackers are uploading videos to TikTok with a link to software that they claim can reverse the filter’s effects,” NCC said. “Those who click on the link and attempt to download the software, known as ‘unfilter,’ are infected with the WASP stealer, which searches the infected device for passwords, crypto wallets, credit cards, and any other files that might be interesting, and sends all of it to the attacker.”
The advisory body urged users to avoid clicking on suspicious links and use anti-malware software on their devices. They also advised removing apps that they did not install.
The CSIRT is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large.
Appzone Rebrands, Powers Global Payments with Regulated Blockchain Network
One of Africa’s leading fintech software providers, Appzone, has rebranded to ‘Zone’, a regulated blockchain Payment Infrastructure company. By building Africa’s first layer-1 blockchain network, Zone will enable payments and the acceptance of digital currencies for Financial Service Providers globally. Zone’s regulated blockchain network enables direct transaction flow between financial service providers without an intermediary, bringing reduced transaction costs, instant dispute resolution, and absolute reliability across Africa’s payment borders and beyond.
As part of its evolution, Appzone is pivoting from its cloud-based SaaS infrastructure to offer payments processing services that support both fiat money and digital currencies to enable a hybrid interim period in finance where TradFi and DeFi will coexist seamlessly. In the case of fiat payments, Zone connects some of Africa’s most prominent Banks and fintechs within and across countries and utilises a native stable coin to provide real-time settlement for cross-border transactions.
Following the rebrand, Appzone’s Banking-as-a-Service business has been carved into a standalone company known as Qore to continue serving existing clients and growing the SaaS platform’s reach.
Speaking on the rebrand, Co-founder and CEO Zone, Obi Emetarom, said, “As Appzone, we launched the first core banking and omnichannel software on the cloud as well as the first multi-bank direct debit service based on single global mandates.”
According to Emetarom, the firm is utilising blockchain technology to connect every monetary store of value and enable dependable, frictionless, and universally interoperable payments.
“In doing this, we are building one global network to pay anyone through any means, in any currency, which will maximise financial inclusion and accelerate economic prosperity for Africa and the rest of the world,” he added.
Kuda Upgrades App for Users to Access More Services
Digital banking platform Kuda recently upgraded its app to make it easier for users to have more access to financial products and services, including investments and UK-to-Nigeria transfers.
Customers have been advised to upgrade their mobile application to the latest version to enable them to enjoy the new features embedded in the app.
According to a statement by the company, the newly launched money app for Africans in Nigeria and the UK offers convenient, easy access to frictionless and affordable financial services for users as transactions can be done faster and seamlessly.
To enjoy the new service, an existing account holder must upgrade their Kuda App via the Play Store or App Store on their smartphone to download the latest version of the app.
After that, customers need to sign in to the app with their registered email address and their old Kuda password once and then create a new password. Once this is done, the outdated version of the Kuda App will be disabled automatically, and the upgraded version with the new features will be installed.
New customers can also onboard by downloading the Kuda App from Play Store or App Store and registering by following the app’s registration prompts.
The old app will no longer be supported after January 9, 2023, so downloading the new app is important for continued access to the Kuda range of services.
The latest version offers users investment opportunities as those in Nigeria can now buy stocks in some of the world’s most successful companies and rising startups at a fraction of the usual cost. In a few minutes, customers can take a step away from local inflation toward financial freedom.
Kuda users in the UK can also send up to £10,000 to Nigeria daily at a transaction fee of just £3, and their Nigerian beneficiaries can receive the money as a transfer or pick up cash at one of several banks in Nigeria.
Apple Releases Three New Security Measures
Tech giant Apple has released three new security features: iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys for Apple ID, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud.
The new security solutions are specifically designed for high-value users who face extraordinary digital threats, Journalists, human rights activists, government members and others.
iMessage Contact Key Verification and Security Keys for Apple ID will be available globally in early 2023. The company assures it will expand cloud protection to all U.S. users by the end of 2022 and globally in 2023.
To strengthen security for users facing extraordinary digital threats, Apple will release iMessage Contact Verification globally in the coming months.
All Apple users’ SMS are secured via end-to-end encryption — only senders and recipients can read the messages. The encryption also extends to FaceTime to keep conversations private and secure. With iMessage Contact Key Verification, high-value users can further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend.
Twenty-three data categories, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos, will now be protected.
While some privacy and security experts applauded the move to encrypt data in the cloud for Apple users, the announcement did not come without controversy. It was reported that the FBI was still deeply concerned with Apple’s security features.
The FBI wants technology companies to provide encryption systems providers can decrypt when dealing with legal orders. The bureau added that “lawful access by design” is vital to conduct investigations and keep up with “adversary tradecraft.”
ChipperCash Lays off Workers
Chippercash, an African cross-border payments company valued at $2.2 billion last year, recently laid off a portion of its workforce.
In a LinkedIn post, Chipper Cash’s Vice President of Engineering, Erin Fusaro, confirmed the development.
“A significant number of Chipper staff were let go in a layoff. While I was not among them, many of my close colleagues and friends were. If you are looking for talented engineering leadership, engineers, technical program managers, analysts, or IT staff,” stated Fusaro.
The Chipper vice president added, “Please comment here, and I’ll do my best to start connecting people. To those let go today, please feel free and welcome to DM me. I will help you find a soft spot to land if I can.”
More than 50 employees were affected across multiple departments; the engineering team took the biggest hit, with around 60 per cent of those laid off coming from the department, according to people familiar with the matter.
Its recent move comes two weeks after it announced plans to acquire Zoona Transactions International (Zoona), a Zambian fintech firm, as part of its plans to expand its offerings by acquiring all the services under the Tilt Africa brand.
Chipper Cash is one of Africa’s unicorns, valued at $2.2 billion as of 2021. Last November, the fintech startup raised $150 million in a Series C extension round led by Sam Bankman-Fried’s now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX.
There are speculations that the downsizing of Chipper Cash may be linked to its relationship with FTX.
Tech Personality of The Week:
This week’s tech personality is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the crypto-based startup AFEN Blockchain, Deborah Ojengbede.
Ojengbede, a former banker, raised $1 million for her technology startup through the NFT initiative token sales round. She also oversees the Non-Fungible Tokens, NFT initiative.
AFEN is a leading platform for African Blockchain-related collaborations focusing on decentralised finance, arts, real estate, and education. It is the first government backed NFT initiative.
The startup held one of the quickest public sales in the cryptocurrency space in April 2021, raising over a million dollars in her token’s sales round.
Deborah now joins the list of women revolutionising the African Femtech space.
The startup is helping to build Blockchain infrastructure to reduce the deficit by innovating multiple blockchain products designed to prioritise the needs of African Blockchain users.
It aims to combine Blockchain’s immutable data structure and the backing of government bodies to provide legitimacy to products.
The Nigerian-based tech startup is set on a path to expose more people to crypto and support careers in Blockchain technology by enrolling newbies and startups to start training in any area of interest.
It also intends to revolutionise the real estate industry by authenticating homeownership and making peer-to-peer property sales possible on the Blockchain.
Ojengbede has launched two products: NftyTribe and BloomOne Academy.
BloomOne Academy was soft launched in February 2022 to empower African youths with Blockchain skills to help increase their impact and earning power.
NftyTribe BETA was launched in June 2022, a multi-chain NFT marketplace facilitating next-level experiences in exchanging NFTs.
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