According to the CIA Country Fact Book, Nigeria has nearly 85.5 million internet users. Mobile cellular subscriptions are slightly more than 184 million, an approximate 88 per 100 Nigerian inhabitants. Deloitte, a leading worldwide business services and consulting firm predicted that in 2020 Nigeria, like the rest of the world, would “witness unprecedented cyber-attacks and cybersecurity solutions.”
The real problem for Nigerian citizens is highlighted in this Stears Business online article. The average Nigerian, like citizens the world over, is accustomed to surrendering personal data in exchange for digital services. The problem in Nigeria is that there are no government mandates to prevent and report misuse or compromise of all that data.
The Stears article points out that “Nigeria is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to cyber-attacks.” As recently as 2018, “about 60% of Nigerian firms suffered an attack…” The bottom line is “Nigerian firms are being attacked, but no one is reporting what is stolen.”
The flip side of the issue is government censorship and control of internet access. According to Freedom House, after the February 2019 elections, the Nigerian government considered legislation to “restrict online speech” in response to the spread of misleading and false online information.
While civil libertarians, bloggers, and internet users mobilized to oppose the bill, the government continued to leverage existing criminal defamation laws to arrest people for online activities. Nigeria has also blocked websites promoting the independence of the Biafra region and previously shut down internet access in three northern states during the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency.
The good news is that Nigeria’s internet infrastructure is decentralized and complex. This promotes competition and makes it difficult for the government to systematically filter or censor internet use.
Nevertheless, there are troubling reports that Nigeria’s government accessed call records from service providers and arrested at least three reporters along with numerous bloggers for online activities. Also, journalists and news sites reported several distributed denial of service cyberattacks.
So, the struggle between Nigerian citizens and a government concerned with security means that hacking, privacy, and censorship issues will remain part of the Nigerian digital landscape indefinitely. Internet uses wanting to access Nigerian resources should use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
The best reasons to use a VPN in Nigeria
VPNs are an encrypted tunnel
A VPN guarantees the security of online browsing by means of an encrypted “tunnel,” which replaces dedicated lines and hardware. The “tunneling” is by means of a pathway where a packet of data is enclosed within another encrypted packet, which can neither be intercepted nor read without the encryption key at the destination.
The VPN shows the user’s address as that of the VPN server the user logged into—a secure server in Nigeria, for example. When the VPN routes the user to the that secure VPN site, the data is encrypted.
Hackers and other surveillance agencies will have a difficult time tracing and tracking the user, even if the destination site is not secure. This is due to location and IP masking provided by the VPN server.
VPNs provide privacy and online protection
Browsing without a VPN makes the user a sitting target for trackers. Without the privacy and online protection of a VPN, the internet service provider can observe and record the user’s browsing activity and habits and sell the data to marketers. Also, without a VPN, the user can be vulnerable to compromises on unprotected public networks through so-called “Man-in-the-Middle” (MITM) attacks.
Preventing MITM breaches
Protecting against MITM attacks is the top reason for using a VPN. This is especially so on public Wi-Fi networks. Cyber criminals use detection technology and clever tactics like employing fake websites and apps. The goal is to gain their victim’s user credentials and passwords. The interference can be real time, or through injection of malware to the victim’s device for later activation.
MITM hackers use a number of tech-savvy and clever strategies, which include the following:
- using so-called “pineapple” devices to find nearby unsecured user networks
- DNS spoofing to lure the user to fake websites
- using fake web applications to trick the victim into providing personal login credentials
- using “sniffer” software to detect online activity of their target users
- hijacking unencrypted session cookies, which show email login information
A VPN, then, acts as a mobile shield. It hides the user’s IP address and adds encryption to the mix. Even if the hacker were to intercept the connection, what is displayed is only indecipherable gibberish.
VPNs bypass geo-blocking
Most countries enforce copyright restrictions and allow online streaming services to permit access to local users only. A premium VPN service like Surfshark can defeat VPN blockers. It does that through location hopping seeking servers that to bypass government censorship and geo-blocking. Essentially, a VPN maintains the founding principle of the internet, which is free and open access to everyone.
VPNs defeat unfair pricing practices
Some online shopping services display different prices based on from where the shopper logs in. Those price variances can be as great as 150 percent. The common practice is to charge a user logging in from an affluent location the higher price, or the user could be directed to a site that has premium prices.
Looking for the best price for a flight to Abuja? The foregoing pricing practices are also employed by some airlines, their ticketing agents, as well as auto rental agencies and hotels. A traveler see could higher or lower ticket prices for the same trip, depending the IP address of the traveler. So, logging into a VPN server from a variety of VPN locations is a way to find the best traveling bargains.
The Advantages of Premium VPNs
Free VPNs are not the best choice
There are a variety of free VPN services to choose from. They offer free downloads with no subscription fees. Rather than charging the user, free services raise revenue through intrusive ads and engage in sometimes shady practices that exploit their users. Free VPNs can also make the user’s online experience less secure and slow down web performance.
Free VPNs are essentially stripped-down versions of their premium counterparts. However in contrast to premium services, free VPNs:
- monitor the user’s online activity and sell the logs to marketers
- make the user a secondary target for hackers through malware-infested ads
- slowdown browser performance/speed with popup ads broadband restrictions (i.e., throttling)
Premium VPNs are the optimum choice
On the other hand, for a low monthly subscription cost a premium VPN service provides the following advantages:
- a no-logs policy–The user is never tracked on line, nor is any record kept of the user’s internet browsing habits.
- state-of-the-art encryption and security protocols—A premium VPN includes 256-bit, military grade, unbreakable encryption.
- a “kill switch” which safeguards against data linkage—When the user’s connection drops off the line, the VPN disconnects the user from the internet automatically.
- effective bypassing of geo-blocking and VPN detectors—This is done through VPN server hopping.
A VPN Does Not Replace Online Security Measures
VPNs do not provide an absolute shield against cyber-attacks. Non-technical phishing and social engineering can bypass the best security where unwary users have been duped into downloading cleverly concealed malware.
So, a VPN is only one element of an overall security awareness that must include the following:
- using strong antivirus software, which the provider updates as new threats develop
- activating the built-in security settings already present on Windows and Mac operating systems
- avoiding entering public Wi-Fi networks unprotected by a VPN
- logging on to websites that only have the HTTPS header
- being on the lookout for email phishing and never clicking on suspicious attachments or links
- using a solid password strategy, e.g., lengthy passwords, with a different password for each secure entry point
- backing up everything every day as the final defense against malware attacks
Summary and Takeaways
Nigeria, like everywhere else, has been a target of phishing and malware attacks. This densely populated African nation has been a target of cyber-attacks, but has lacked transparency in both reporting breaches and enforcing online security. Also, the Nigerian government has a history of trying to impose web censorship.
So, when signing on to the Nigerian internet, users should always use a strong, premium VPN. A VPN protects the user’s online connection that masks the user’s location and IP address. A VPN also protects against surveillance, online tracking and man-in-the-middle attacks.
MITM attackers use clever tactics both live attacks and injecting malware on the user’s device. Live MITM attacks can dupe the user into signing into fake websites and disclosing login information. VPNs also bypass geo-blocking and defeat unfair pricing practices.
Premium VPNs have distinct advantages over free VPN services. Free VPNs can compromise the user’s online anonymity and expose their systems to malware. Free VPNs can slow down the user’s internet experience with popup ads and restricting the user’s broadband width.
Premium, subscription-based VPN’s, on the other hand, have “no-logs” policies. They neither collect nor log user data. Premium VPNs also employ best-in-class encryption and security protocols. They do a better job in defeating VPN blockers.
A VPN must be considered as an important, but not the only element of, overall online security preparedness. Users need to load antivirus software, use their operating system built-in security—firewalls, encryption, etc.– and stay away from unsecured public Wi-Fi portals without using a VPN. Finally, for best web security, users should only enter websites that have HTTPS as part of the address designation.
SME100Africa unveiled the 3 Queens campaign with Omoni Oboli, Rashidat Adebisi and Tara Fela Durotoye and empowers female entrepreneurs with N1 million grant
To commemorate International Women’s day 2021, SME100Africa held its annual conference on the 4th of March 2021.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality
To commemorate International Women’s day 2021, SME100Africa held its annual conference on the 4th of March 2021. The keynote address for the conference was given by Funke Bucknor-Obruthe the founder and CEO of Zapphaire Events. Other speakers at the annual conference included Oby Ugboma (C.O.O Chapelhill Denham) Mrs Basirat Akin Bashiru (Assistant Director, LIRS), Fade Ogunro (CEO Bookings Africa), Akinlolu Akinyele (Head Energy and Emerging Corperate groups) to mention a few. There were also special digital marketing and financial literacy sessions supported by Axamansard. Axa Mansard also sponsored the pitch competition that saw 30 female entrepreneurs in Nigeria pitch their business to win one million Naira (N1,000,000.00). Mariam Lawani of Greenhill Recycling Limited won the pitch competition.
Also to commemorate the International Women’s day SME100Africa unveils the 3 Queens Campaign featuring
A Creative – Omoni Oboli. Award-winning Movie Producer, Director and Actor (Special guest SME100Africa International Women’s day 2016).
A Career Executive – Rashidat Adebisi -Chief Client Officer Axa Mansard ( Keynote speaker SME100Africa International women’s day 2020).
An Entrepreneur– Tara Fela Durotoye – CEO House of Tara ( Keynote Speaker SME100Africa International Women’s day 2019)
They discussed their journey on how they overcame challenges in the past 20 years (2 decades) and what needs to be done in their various industries to achieve a gender-equal world.
The talk show hosted by Seyitan Atigarin touches on strength, hope, dream, innovation and the fight to achieve your dreams irrespective of what society has to say; these women have changed the narrative in their various industries and are women leaders; their hard work, resilience and drive have given them the ability to sustain their craft and their position in their industries. They go into detail about how the pandemic affected them and their industries as well as how they were able to let creativity in and shine throughout. Click to watch https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=irfb2g0k3wc&feature=youtu.be
FirstBank unveils FirstSME account, reiterates its commitment to the continued growth of SMEs
Opportunities available to holders of FirstSME account include the SMEConnect initiative where SMEs can access unique propositions.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced its SME specific accounts designed to reinforce the Bank’s role in putting SME’s at an advantage whilst contributing to national growth and development.
The SME accounts – which are in two variants – FirstSME Classic and FirstSME Deluxe – are offered to SMEs, irrespective of industry, and tailored to have SMEs exposed to a wide range of services and opportunities that are essential for their continued growth and role in contributing to national development. The advantages and features of these accounts include; access to Temporary OverDrafts (TODs) and other facilities subject to meeting Risk Adjustment Capital (RAC) of each product; immediate enrollment on all digital platform; free access to FirstBank SME events; free access to extensive business promotional and networking opportunities on the SMEConnect portal; access to a wide range of discounted and promotional offers.
Amongst the many opportunities available to holders of FirstSME account is the SMEConnect initiative of FirstBank which is a platform through which SMEs access the Bank’s unique propositions that will equip them with the essential tools needed for the growth of their business. The SMEConnect portal is also designed to help SMEs identify various gaps that hinder their business growth. With FirstBank’s over 126 years of impacting the economy, the Bank’s SME innovative Business Diagnostics Tool will also help proffer tailored solutions, whilst creating avenues for business improvement, profitability and sustainability.
Following extensive research by the Bank, 7 strategic pillars have been considered essential for the sustainability and growth of SMEs. The 7 pillars – connect to infrastructure, connect to talent, capacity building, connect to policy and regulation, connect to resources, connect to market as well as connect to finance.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, “FirstBank is delighted to unlock several opportunities for SMEs to thrive. Our FirstSME account is one of the numerous opportunities designed to empower SMEs to continually drive impact as the backbone and contributors to employment and economic growth.
Being woven into the fabric of the society for close to 127 years means that we remain at the forefront of providing the desired financial products and services to fit the needs unique to the SMEs as well as facilitating the requisite tools and resources to efficiently and effectively drive business sustainability and expansion strategies essential to taking SMEs to the next level’’
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 126 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 86,300 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 10million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
Access our Live Feed portal for the latest company earnings as they drop.
- Seplat falls into a loss in FY 2020
- 2020 FY Results: Cornerstone Insurance Plc reports a 61.1% decline in profit
- Ellah Lakes increases operating expenses by 33.36% in HY 2020
- 2020 FY Results: Nigerian Breweries reports a 54.3% decline in profits in 2020
- Abbey Mortgage Bank projects N51.08 million profit in Q2 2020.