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Tech News

Be wary of webpages asking for access authorization – Cisco warns

Sadly, they are often not easy to identify, and even IT companies sometimes fall prey.

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Be wary of webpages asking for access authorization - Cisco warns

In the wake of increased activities of cyber criminals and phishers, Cisco has come up with a predictive intelligence report explaining why internet users should be careful when granting authorization online.

The predictive intelligence tips released by Cisco’s umbrella for IT companies and individuals are targeted at giving internet users the ability to identify and avoid cyber attacks, even before they are spotted by security companies.

An example given in the white paper was a phishing attack in May 2017, which compromised over a million Gmail accounts in a short while. The attack started off with an email invitation from a known contact asking for collaboration on a Google doc.

READ MORE: Twitter confesses to illegally using users phone numbers and emails

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As soon as the user clicked the “Open in Docs” link, he would be directed to an OAuth page asking the target to authorize the app.

Of course, this is a fake app spoofing Google Docs, but as soon as authorization is given, it has access to all email exchanges and contacts email addresses of the target. It uses the email addresses to spread its tentacles by sending similar messages to them in the user’s name. At this stage, the phisher also has access to the email inbox and can monitor email exchanges of the victim.

“IT security has historically focused on identifying attack artifacts such as malicious payloads after an attack is fully launched — and then attempting to defend against those specifically identified attacks.

“The first step in any type of attack, however, is to create attack infrastructure from which to launch that attack,” it says.

READ ALSO: Why Nigeria’s tech ecosystem shouldn’t be built exclusively with foreign capital

Just the way IT developers test a new service before launching it, attackers code a malicious payload, stage the server infrastructure on the internet, register domain names, and then test it on a few random targets. The success or otherwise will either send them back to the drawing board to re-strategise, or take them straight to the launch stage, where they mass-target.

Another key thing is that they often reuse the attack infrastructure used in previous cyber attacks, due to the time and cost involved in setting up another.

Sadly, they are often not easy to identify, and even IT companies sometimes fall prey.

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“One particular difficulty with present-day attacks is that there’s often nothing noticeably anomalous about the actual payloads moving between the attacker and the target. So attack infrastructure can’t always be quickly or accurately identified simply by tracing the origin of malicious payloads,” it reads.

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Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career.As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Nigeria’s Sparkle partners with Network International for virtual and physical payment cards

Nigeria’s Sparkle signs with payment experts Network International for virtual and physical payment cards.

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Nigerian fintech startup Sparkle, a digital ecosystem providing financial, lifestyle, and business support services, has partnered with Network International, to power its recently launched payment card offering.

This is coming months after collaborating with Visa to enable them to issue Visa cards to its users.

Founded by former Diamond Bank chief executive officer (CEO) and tech entrepreneur, Uzoma Dozie with the aim of providing seamless solutions to Nigerian individuals, SMEs, and retailers. Sparkle’s new virtual and plastic debit cards are targeted at SMEs and upwardly mobile, unbanked consumers across Nigeria, bringing them the convenience, flexibility, safety, and security of cashless payments across various channels.

What they are saying

  • According to Uzoma Dozie, “Digital adoption and customer experience are going to be dependent on the people, platform, and partnership. In the area of payment processing and data insights, Network International brings that to our platform, and we are truly excited about the future of the partnership and what it means for the enablement and transformational impact for Nigerians anywhere in the world who are connected to the Sparkle platform.”
  • Also speaking on this new partnership, Andrew Key, Managing Director – Africa, Network International, said, “We are delighted to strengthen our strategic alliance with Sparkle as it seeks to further disrupt the payments offering to consumers and retailers in Nigeria. Building on our two decades of experience within payments and deep insight of the African market, we look forward to deploying our trusted platform and best-in-class technology towards supporting digital and financial inclusion of Nigerian consumers and businesses.”

Sparkles’ collaboration with Network International is based on their shared commitment to further the adoption of digital payments among emerging markets across Africa and the Middle East. Its users can make in-app payments with the new virtual card, and also make e-commerce transactions with the cards attached to their Sparkle profile.

This collaboration will offer Sparkle access to the Network’s years of experience and expertise in creating card solutions for emerging markets. The company can also benefit from Network’s advanced digital infrastructure and robust security protocols, avoiding the need to invest in expensive card management infrastructure.

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Elon Musk to offer $100 million prize for best carbon capture technology

Elon Musk has announced a donation of $100 million prize money for the best technology that can capture carbon dioxide.

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Elon Musk needs $20 billion wealth gain to clinch world's richest man title

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk on Thursday took to Twitter to promise a $100 million prize for the development of the “best” carbon capture technology.

Elon Musk wrote in a tweet, “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” details next week.

Carbon capture technology is designed to prevent the release of CO2 generated through conventional power generation and industrial production processes by injecting the CO2 into suitable underground storage reservoirs.

According to Reuters, “Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air.”

Since the tweet was shared, it has garnered thousands of responses from people because of the jaw-dropping cash prize. A lot of people have started sharing their carbon capture ideas.

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The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.

Newly-sworn-in U.S. President, Joe Biden has pledged to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology as part of his sweeping plan to tackle climate change. On Thursday, he named Jennifer Wilcox, an expert in carbon removal technologies, as the principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Besides Tesla, Elon also heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.

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Google threatens to remove its search engine from Australia due to media code

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia due to the media code introduced by the government.

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Google made a whooping $4.7b from news content in 2018, Google Threatens To Remove Its Search Engine From Australia Due To Media Code

Google said that it will disable its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a media code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay local media companies for sharing their content.

The code requires Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach an agreement over the value of their content within three months.

It also requires the platforms to give the news businesses 14 days’ notice of algorithm changes, and non-discrimination provisions have been put in place to stop the tech giants from taking retaliatory action such as removing content or punishing organisations that participate in the code.

READ: Satoshi Nakamoto’s unspent BTCs worth $10.9 billion

Mel Silva, Google Australia and New Zealand VP told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee today that Google would shut off the search in Australia if the government’s proposed media bargaining code becomes law. According to her, “The code’s arbitration model with bias criteria presents an unmanageable financial and operational risk for Google”

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Australia announced the legislation last month after an investigation found Alphabet Inc-owned Google and social media giant Facebook held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

READ: Facebook Oversight Board to review decision to suspend Trump’s account

Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison said Australia would not respond to the threats as news media companies fired back at suggestions their content did not add value to the platforms. “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government, and that’s how things work here in Australia,” he said. “People who want to work with that, in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.”

READ: Betting on Bitcoin is better than investing in PayPal, Google, Facebook, Amazon

What you should know

  • Google’s threats follow similar remarks made by Facebook Australia’s managing director, Will Easton in September, who announced plans to remove news articles from the social media’s main app if the media code is passed by Parliament.
  • To avoid the operation of the code, Google and Facebook have no option but to cease linking to news altogether. If Google can’t reliably separate news results from other search results, then logically it may have to pull its entire search service from Australia.
  • Google’s threat to limit its services in Australia came just hours after the internet giant reached a content-payment deal with some French news publishers.
  • This new media code will affect millions of Australians who use Google Search and Facebook every month.

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