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NITDA begins application process for MassChallenge programme

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced the opening of the application process for the Bridge to MassChallenge Nigeria Programme (B2MC).

Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency, said this on Tuesday in a statement she signed in Abuja.

It could be recalled that early in the year, NITDA signed a partnership arrangement with MassChallege, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators.

The partnership was aimed at stimulating economic vitality and job creation in Nigeria by catalysing entrepreneurial activity and supporting entrepreneurs as they develop and execute on game-changing ideas, digital technologies and discoveries.

Umar said the commencement of the application process followed a stakeholder engagement with key players in the ecosystem, which included the government, academia, entrepreneurs, corporate organisations, the media and influencers.

Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of NITDA, speaking at the official launch of the application process said a vibrant startup ecosystem was highly critical to the future of Nigeria and vital to finding solutions to the numerous challenges of the country.

“Innovation is a prominent way of creating prosperity for all and lifting countries out of poverty.

“NITDA and MassChallenge have continued to partner in this new initiative to foster the growth and success of the country’s startup ecosystem in line with the vision of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria,” he said.

Mrs Siobhan Dullea, CEO of MassChallenge, also in the statement said “MassChallenge is excited to be working with NITDA to help entrepreneurs in Nigeria grow locally while having access to the MassChallenge global network.

“We look forward to working with NITDA to continue to support and grow the Nigerian innovation ecosystem.”
Umar said that interested applicants and those wishing to learn more about the programme were encouraged to visit the B2MC Nigeria website.

She said that the applications for the B2MC Nigeria programme would close on Sept. 24.

She added that the application was open to entrepreneurs who wanted to take their businesses to the next level, while early-stage and growth-stage startups from all over the country working on innovative solutions from any industry were encouraged to apply.

“Successful applicants will participate in an intensive, four-month programme that encompasses both online and in-person portions where startups develop and implement project plans to further their localisation journeys.

“They will also receive tailored mentoring and coaching offered by NITDA and other local mentors, local and global mentors of the MassChallenge network and the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Umar said.

MassChallenge is a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators with its headquarter in U.S.

MassChallenge is committed to strengthening the global innovation ecosystem by supporting high-potential startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world.(NAN)

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GOOGLE EQUIANO SEA CABLE SYSTEM LANDS IN LAGOS

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GOOGLE EQUIANO SEA CABLE SYSTEM LANDS IN LAGOS
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•It will generate 1.6m jobs, $10b GDP for Nigeria, says Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday witnessed the virtual landing of the Google Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria, saying the country will enjoy a boost of 1.6 million jobs and $10 billion in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, on account of the new cable system.

He said with the landing of the sea cable system and other investments in high-speed internet, Lagos is about to witness an unprecedented digital revolution that will cement its global reputation as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation.

Speaking at the reception marking the landing of the Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria on Thursday at the Open Access Data Centre at Lekki in Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the new cable system is the latest element in the transformation of the physical infrastructure landscape, new roads, bridges, jetties, factories, municipal and national rail lines, among others being delivered by his administration and a host of partners and stakeholders across public and private sectors.

The landing of Equiano Sea Cable System will firmly position Nigeria as the regional connectivity and content hub for West Africa, attracting cloud operators, content providers, content distribution networks and their associated ecosystems.

It is significant and a demonstration of the seriousness with which Google LLC views Nigeria, the economic and demographic giant of Africa.

The new cable system is named after a Nigerian hero, Olaudah Equiano, who survived enslavement in the 18th century and went on to become a famous writer and anti-slavery activist.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said his administration is more than ever determined to deliver on its promise to make and maintain Lagos as a safe, livable, innovative and prosperous megacity.

He said: “I am told that this new Equiano cable system, landing today, will deliver twenty times as much network capacity as any of the existing systems serving Nigeria.

“This means much faster internet speed, reduced cost, and greater access for our people. The net effect of this is much-needed jobs and economic growth. The economic impact assessment for the project estimates that Nigeria will enjoy a boost of 1.6 million jobs and 10 billion dollars in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, on account of the new cable system.

“There is much to be excited about, at a time like this in the unfolding history of Lagos State and of Nigeria. We are seeing an unprecedented inflow of investments into every part of Lagos, from local and foreign investors who understand the immense business and commercial potential that the State symbolises.

“We say it often, that wherever Lagos goes, Nigeria and West Africa follow. With this in mind, as the government of Lagos State, we are more than ever determined to deliver on our promise to make and maintain Lagos as a safe, livable, innovative and prosperous megacity.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also commended Google LLC, the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) and other investors for identifying with his administration’s vision for a truly 21st century Lagos and a megacity all will forever be proud of.

“I congratulate Google LLC for envisioning this huge project, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) for helping implement it to the highest levels of excellence. Your partnership is commendable, and should be seen as a model by other players in the ecosystem, a testament to how much can be achieved when synergy is pursued.

“In addition to this cable system, I am told that WIOCC is presently completing, on this same site, a Tier III certified, Open Access Data Centre, which will also host the landing station for the Equiano cable. This data centre will be the most client-centric data centre, and the largest data center campus, in West Africa,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WIOCC, Chris Wood, described the landing of the submarine cables as a major investment for Nigeria’s digital economy and Lagos State in particular.

He said the submarine cables will deliver high-speed internet connectivity at a reduced cost

Wood also appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu for providing an enabling environment for the investment of this nature to birth in Lagos State.

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FEC Approves Science, Technology And Innovation Policy

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Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu,
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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the revised Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy instituted 10 years ago.

Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House reporters on the outcome of the virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the approval shows the Federal Government’s commitment to improving the standard of living of Nigerians.

“We believe that this will help our country to keep narrowing the gap between us and the technologically advanced countries of the world.

We should be able also to overtake the way nations like China have done,” the minister said.

“There’ve been tremendous advances in science, technology, and innovation all over the world and this necessitated the need for our science, technology and innovation policy which was put in place in 2012, 10 years ago, to be revised so that we can keep pace with new and emerging technologies.

“The main objective is for us to use science, technology, and innovation, to improve the standard of living of our citizens and ensure that we have a high quality of life for all Nigerians.

And this we can get if our nation becomes more prosperous, and our economy is more globally competitive.

“Again, we’ll like to see Nigeria using this policy, to be one of the top scientific powers in the world.

We believe that this will help our country to keep narrowing the gap between us and the technologically developed countries of the world.”

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NCC alerts telecom consumers on Flubot malware

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NCC alerts telecom consumers on Flubot malware
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted Nigerian telecom consumers of the existence of new, high-risk and extremely-damaging malware called Flubot.

A malware is a generic word used to describe a virus or software designed specially to “disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.”

According to the information received on Thursday, October 21, 2021, from the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), Flubot “targets Androids with fake security updates and App installations.”

The ngCERT affirmed that Flubot “impersonates Android mobile banking applications to draw fake web view on targeted applications” and its goal transcends stealing personal data and essentially targets stealing of credit card details or online banking credentials.

FluBot is circulated through Short Message Service (SMS) and can snoop “on incoming notifications, initiate calls, read or write SMSes, and transmit the victim’s contact list to its control centre.”

The malware attacks Android devices by pretending to be “FedEx, DHL, Correos, and Chrome applications” and compels unsuspecting users to alter the accessibility configurations on their devices in order to maintain continuous presence on devices.

The new malware undermines the security of devices by copying fake login screens of prominent banks, and the moment the users enter their login details on the fake pages, their data is harvested and transmitted to the malware operators’ control point from where the data is exploited by intercepting banking-related One Time Passwords (OTPs) and replacing the default SMS app on the targeted Android device.

Consequently, it secures admittance into the device through SMS and proceeds to transmit similar messages to other contacts that may be on the device it has attacked enticing them into downloading the fake app.

“It suffices to say that when Flubot infects a device, it can result in incalculable financial losses. Additionally, the malware creates a backdoor which grants access to the user’s device, thus enabling the invader or attacker to perform other criminal actions, including launching other variants of malware,” said a statement by Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC’s Director, Public Affairs.

In order to protect millions of telecom consumers and prevent criminal forces, irrespective of location, from using telecom platforms to perpetrate fraud and irredeemable damages, the NCC reiterated the advisory of ngCERT as follows:

1. Do not click on the link if you receive a suspicious text message, and do not install any app or security update the page asks you to install.

2. Use updated antivirus software that detects and prevents malware infections.

3. Apply critical patches to the system and application.

4. Use strong passwords and enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) over logins.

5. Back-up your data regularly.

6. If you have been affected by this campaign, you should reset your device to factory mode as soon as possible. This will delete any data on your phone, including personal data.

7. Do not restore from backups created after installing the app. You may contact ngCERT on incident@cert.gov.ng for technical assistance.

8. You will also need to change the passwords to all of your online accounts, with urgency, around your online bank accounts.

9. If you have concerns that your accounts may have been accessed by unauthorised people, contact your bank immediately.

“As the Commission intensifies efforts in ensuring increased broadband access, enabling telecoms consumers to carry out their legitimate activities more efficiently and effectively online, it also restates its commitment to empowering consumers through useful information and education to protect them from falling victims of all kinds of cyber-attack while online.

“This explains the rationale for the launch of telecom sector’s Centre for Computer Security Incident Response by NCC on 30th September, 2021,” he added.

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