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Cyber-criminals exploiting World Cup Fever

A software technology company has identified a phishing campaign linked to the start of the FIFA World Cup where cyber-criminals attempt to lure would-be victims into downloading a schedule of fixtures and a result tracker

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A software technology company has identified a phishing campaign linked to the start of the FIFA World Cup where cyber-criminals attempt to lure would-be victims into downloading a schedule of fixtures and a result tracker.

When opened, the attachment uses a malware variant called ‘DownloaderGuide,’ a known downloader of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that is most commonly used as an installer for applications such as toolbars, adware or system optimizers. Check Point researchers have found that in total the campaign includes different executable files, all of which were sent in emails using the subject: “World_Cup_2018_Schedule_and_Scoresheet_CB-DL-Manager.”

The campaign was first identified on May 30, 2018, peaking on June 5, however during the past week it has gained new momentum with new instances emerging as the competition starts.

“Events that attract huge amounts of popular interest are seen by cyber-criminals as a golden opportunity to launch new campaigns,” said Check Point’s Threat Intelligence Group Manager, Maya Horowitz. “With so much anticipation and hype around the World Cup, cyber-criminals are banking on employees being less vigilant in opening unsolicited emails and attachments. As such, it is critical that organizations take steps to remind their employees of security best practices to help prevent these attacks being successful.

“In addition to this, organisations should also take steps to ensure that phishing campaigns don’t reach inboxes in the first place. This should include employing a multi-layered cybersecurity strategy that protects against both established malware families’ cyber-attacks and brand new threats and prevents it from spreading across the network in the result of the initial campaign being successful.”

With Check Point anticipating a further range of online scams and phishing attacks during the month-long tournament, it has also issued the following guidance for individuals to protect themselves from cyber threats during the 2018 FIFA World Cup:

1. Keep software updated – Ensure that your PC or device’s operating system, security software, apps and web browsers are all updated with the latest versions as this will form an effective defense against malware, viruses and other online threats.

2. Beware of fake websites – At previous large public events, cyber-criminals have created fake websites and domains, covering everything from merchandising to news and live streaming, which appear to be official but can be used to deliver malware to, or capture sensitive information from unsuspecting visitors.

3. Beware of emails from unknown senders – Cyber-criminals will likely send a variety of phishing emails during the tournament, offering a range of free offers or entries into draws for match tickets. This could be in the form of hyperlinks or attachments that will either download malware onto machines or attempt to steal your personal data. It is best to avoid opening emails or attachments from an unrecognized sender.

4. Beware of public Wi-Fi hotspots – With matches taking place throughout the day, many will be tempted to use public Wi-Fi hotspots to watch games on mobile devices. However, insecure hotspots are easy targets for hackers to compromise and intercept personal data such as emails and passwords, or plant malware on mobile devices.

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Applications open for 2024 Africa’s Business Heroes competition

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Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition in continuation of its sixth annual continental search for 10 entrepreneurs who strive to make a positive impact in their local communities.

Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnerships & Programs, Africa’s Business Heroes, who made the announcement, said since its inception in 2019, ABH had spotlighted and supported some of Africa’s brightest entrepreneurial minds, noting that this year’s edition would be no different.

In a statement on Monday, Baitie noted that the ABH top 10 finalists also known as “Heroes” have, over the last five years, created 123,000 direct and indirect jobs in Africa, while serving over 37.5 million customers in Africa and beyond and have raised over $153 million.

“As ABH enters its sixth year, it is calling on entrepreneurs across Africa to pitch on the biggest entrepreneurial stage in the continent,” he said.

Applications are open to entrepreneurs from all 54 countries, from all business sectors, of all ages and genders.

“Along with invaluable benefits such as training, exposure and networking opportunities, the top 10 finalists will also compete for their share of $1.5 million in grant money.

“Over the past five years, we’ve had the privilege of witnessing the incredible growth of our Heroes. Many of our Heroes have leveraged the grant funds to expand their geographic footprint, hire talent, grow their operations and invest in new products and services.

”It’s been heart-warming to see our Heroes collaborate with each other and to tap into the ABH network of judges and experts.

“We are motivated to continue to play our part in supporting the African entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are calling on all eligible African entrepreneurs who are creating positive impact to join us in this journey!”

Baitie added that applications for the ABH 2024 are open from until May 19, with the top 50 finalists to be announced in July.

The final winners will be unveiled at the Grand Finale in November, Baitie concluded.

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MainOne lands optic submarine cable in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State

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Data centre and connectivity solutions provider, MainOne, has landed Africa’s first ever
optic submarine cable in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State.

MainOne, a subsidiary of Equinix Company, announced the feat of the first and only submarine cable system in Nigeria outside of Lagos.

According to the Regional Business Head at MainOne, Abayomi Adebanjo, the collaboration between the company and the state marks a significant “milestone in enhancing broadband connectivity and driving economic development in the South-South, South-East and North-Central regions of Nigeria.”

The optic cable known as 2Africa, Adebanjo said, spans 45,000km in length and will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects which will interconnect Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps.

“The significance of 2Africa lies in its capacity to address critical internet needs and enhance reliability across vast expanses of Africa,” he said.

“Furthermore, 2Africa serves as a catalyst for the advancement of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband accessibility, extending its impact to billions of people.

“With a commitment to consistently deploy financial capital and project resources towards infrastructure investments, MainOne is dedicated to improving internet capacity and driving various aspects of development, including economic growth, digital transformation, healthcare, security, agriculture, and increased state revenue in South-South Nigeria.

“Akwa Ibom’s selection as a landing site underscores its strategic importance in Nigeria’s digital transformation journey and by offering cable diversity and resiliency, 2Africa contributes significantly to the country’s digital infrastructure resilience and MainOne’s role as the landing partner solidifies this endeavour,” he stated.

He added that MainOne will facilitate the establishment of a terrestrial metro fiber network in the state and the entire South-South Nigeria, seamlessly connecting enterprises and people in the region to the submarine cable system.

“By hosting the submarine cable system landing and the fiber cable interconnection, Akwa Ibom State, the South-South Region and Nigeria will unlock numerous economic and social benefits, fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation, and improved public service delivery,” Adebanjo said.

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