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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.

“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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Rack Centre to create West Africa’s largest data centre in $100m expansion

Rack Centre’s expansion programme will increase capacity to a total net lettable white space of 6000 square metres.

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Leading carrier neutral data centre operator in West Africa, Rack Centre, has announced an expansion programme that will increase capacity to a total net lettable white space of 6000 square metres, which will pave way for 13MW of  IT power capacity in its Lagos campus.

This was disclosed in a press release by the company, which was seen by Nairametrics.

The expansion is expected to bring carrier neutral scale to West Africa, and this is in response to increasing demand for data centre space from cloud uptake, telecommunication investment and outsourcing of IT facilities by enterprises in the region.

READ: Multichoice, StarTimes, others’ reception increase by 23% in Nigeria- Report

The funding for this expansion will come from a $250m pan-African data centre platform, established by Actis and Convergence Partners, a leading ICT infrastructure investor in Africa.

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In addition to the expansion in  Rack Centre, the platform is also actively developing additional buy and build opportunities across Africa, to establish a network of carrier neutral data centres aimed at catering to carrier, cloud and hyperscale customers. 

Back story:  It is noteworthy that on March 2020, in a bid to pave way for the expansion programme, Actis, a London private equity firm, announced an investment in Rack Centre, taking a controlling stake in the business alongside Jagal.

READ: Are we heading towards a food crisis?

Why this matters

Nigeria is a key entry point for global telecommunications, content, and cloud players seeking access to the region. Despite the potentials of the country; with 138 million internet subscribers, more than any country in Africa or Europe, and the largest population and GDP in Africa, a lack of cost-effective, energy-efficient IT infrastructure, has been a constraint to doing business in the region. 

However, in a bid to create unrestricted connectivity between customers, telecommunication carriers, and internet exchange points within its data centres in the region, as a unique scale carrier neutral player, Rack Centre brings global best practice to Nigeria, as the first carrier neutral data centre in the region, to achieve Uptime Institute Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF).

READ: Lagos announces N10 billion public-private partnership for aquaculture centre

The global leaders that the platform has engaged include:

  • Tim Parsonson, Co-founder, Teraco Data Environments – the largest carrier neutral operator in Africa, who joins the Board as Chairperson on the board.
  • Frank Hassett, a veteran of the global data centre industry and previous Vice President of Infrastructure, at Equinix, brings over 1300MW of build and operate experience, to assist with hyperscale expansion.

While speaking on the expansion of capacity, Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners, said;  “Africa is at the start of a critical time in its development, as the 4th industrial revolution offers the chance to leapfrog many of Africa’s challenges, and harness the immense potential of its people. Convergence Partners is delighted to partner with Actis in accelerating the growth of high quality data centre infrastructure, an indispensable part of the foundation of this revolution in the region.”

Dr Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre, emphasized that the group is proud of the quality and scale bar which they have set in the region.

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“We are proud of the quality and scale bar we have set in the region and are scaling to be the de-facto digital data hub for West Africa

“Mass adoption of digital working models and content distribution is driving growing investment in the region and Rack Centre offers a world class location to house these IT and telecoms facilities,” Coker said.

Supporting this ambition, engineering consultancy Arup, have been appointed for the project.  The leadership status of Arup is uncontested,  having designed over 2,000MW of IT capacity for industry-leading tech giants, and co-location providers across the globe.

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Tech News

TikTok’s owner seeks $60 billion valuation in US deal as Oracle, Walmart take stakes

Oracle and Walmart have rights to buy 12.5% and 7.5% respectively of a newly established TikTok Global.

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Tiktok world’s most valuable startup is worth more than $100 billion

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance is seeking a valuation of $60 billion for its video-sharing app, as Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc take stakes in the technology firm’s US operations to address the security concerns of the Trump administration.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Oracle and Walmart have rights to buy 12.5% and 7.5% respectively of a newly established TikTok Global under an agreement that has gotten the approval of President Donald Trump.

The duo US firms would be paying a combined amount of $12 billion for their stakes if they reach an agreement with TikTok for the asking price of $60 billion.

READ: Oracle wins bid to acquire TikTok’s US operations after Microsoft offer was rejected

The final valuation had not been set as the parties worked out the equity and measures for data security.

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It was also stated that China is yet to approve the deal, although regulators are said to have expressed support for any transaction in which BtyeDance still maintains control of its valuable recommendation algorithms and other proprietary technology.

It would be recalled that President Donald Trump, had threatened to ban the ByteDance owned TikTok, over national security concerns, but which some analysts see as part of the row between US and China. This pressured ByteDance into the deal as they looked to avoid the ban by the US government.

READ: ByteDance, Tiktok’s parent company, now worth over $100 billion

The US officials had expressed concern that the personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app were being passed on to the Chinese government.

ByteDance turned down the proposal of a full buyout from Microsoft Corp but rather agreed to Oracle’s offer in which the Chinese parent company will still maintain a majority stake in the technology firm.

Trump told reporters on Saturday, ‘’I approve the deal in concept. If they get it done, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s ok too.’’

READ: President Trump dumps plan to force foreign students to leave the US

Trump’s new stance appears to conflict with his earlier executive order for China’s ByteDance to divest from the video-sharing app’s operations in the United States.

ByteDance is in a race to avoid a ban on TikTok after the US Commerce Department said on Friday that it would block new downloads and updates to the app from Sunday.

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According to market researcher, CB Insights, ByteDance is the most valued private start-up in the world at $140 billion. Under the proposed deal, ByteDance may end up owning as much as 80% of TikTok Global, which include the app’s operations in the US and the rest of the world excluding China. Venture firms like Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic may also acquire equity in the new business.

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Tech News

President Trump approves Oracle, Walmart deal with TikTok

Trump approved in principle a deal in which major Oracle and Walmart would partner with TikTok.

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President Trump approves Oracle, Walmart deal with TikTok, US gives reasons it warned citizens against travelling to Nigeria, lists 12 high risk states, Donald Trump, What does Iran’s war with America mean for Africa?, US to stop issuing visa for Birth Tourism, Trump Travel Ban List: Why Nigeria should be excluded  , US spends over $5b in health assistance to Nigeria in 20 years, gives $32.8m for covid-19, Oil Is Back

President Trump on Saturday night disclosed that he had approved in principle a deal in which major Oracle and Walmart would partner with TikTok in the U.S, thereby allowing the fast-growing social app to maintain operation in the world’s largest economy.

“I have given the deal my blessing if they get it done that’s great if they don’t that’s okay too,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before departing for North Carolina. “I approved the deal in concept.”

Trump further disclosed the new firm will likely be registered in Texas.

READ: TiKTok to take legal actions against President Trump’s ban

Shortly after Trump’s comments, Oracle announced it was chosen as TikTok’s secure cloud provider and will become a minority investor with a 12.5% stake. Walmart and TikTok could not be immediately reached for comment. Trump said the companies would unveil the full scope of the deal soon.

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Oracle CEO Safra Catz spoke elaborately on the deal saying; “We are a hundred percent confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world.

“This greatly improved security and guaranteed privacy will enable the continued rapid growth of the TikTok user community to benefit all stakeholders.”

READ: BAND, fastest growing crypto gains 5,620% in 7 months

BackStory

Nairametrics, a few days ago broke the news on the proposed plan, awaiting President Trump’s approval, which included Oracle owning a minority stake that will be lower than 20% of the new global TikTok. Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer by revenue will also take a stake, though its amount remains unknown.

While the Chinese authorities have asserted it’s right to obstruct the sale of vital technologies, it is likely to approve the deal as long as it doesn’t involve the transfer of the artificial intelligence algorithms that drive TikTok’s service.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

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