Germany’s Federal Cyber Agency says Yahoo Inc has not cooperated with its investigation into a series of hacks that compromised over one billion of the U.S. company’s email users between 2013 and 2016.
“Yahoo’s Dublin-based Europe, Middle East and Africa unit refused to give the BSI any information.
“It referred all questions to the Irish Data Protection Commission, without, however, giving it the authority to provide information to the BSI,’’ Germany’s BSI computer security agency said.
The agency said it decided to go public after Yahoo repeatedly failed to respond to efforts to look into the data breaches and garner lessons to prevent similar lapses.
BSI also urged internationally active Internet service providers to work more closely with it when German customers were affected by cyber attacks and other computer security issues.
Yahoo did not respond to requests for comment, while Ireland’s data protection agency was not immediately available.
The BSI’s statement came at a time of heightened German government concerns about Russian meddling in national elections in September, after cyber attacks on the French and U.S. presidential elections which have been linked to Russia.
The U.S. Justice Department in March charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts.
The charge, however marking the first time the U.S. government had criminally charged Russian spies for cyber offences.
However, Moscow has denied any involvement in hacking.
The BSI said it did not yet have any concrete information about the data breaches because of Yahoo’s lack of cooperation.
“Users should therefore be very careful about which services they want to use in the future and to whom they entrust their data,’’ BSI President Arne Schoenbohm said in a statement.
The BSI chief reiterated his recommendation that German consumers consider switching to other email service providers.
Schoenbohm added that certifications such as those offered with C5-class cloud service security were valuable for customers.
C5 is a German government scheme to encourage cloud-based internet service providers to attest they use various safeguards against cyber attacks.
Late 2016 Yahoo, which has agreed to be acquired by U.S. telecoms giant Verizon and is set to be merged with AOL to form a new business known as Oath, revealed a data breach dating back to 2013 of one billion user accounts.
The various disclosures led Verizon to cut the amount it was willing to pay for Yahoo by 350 million dollars on its previously agreed 4.83 billion dollars deal.
Yahoo has said it expects the merger into Verizon to close in June.
BSI said an additional 32 million Yahoo users were affected by cyber breaches in 2015 and 2016.
However, a spokesman for the agency said he was unaware of any additional breaches in 2017.
NASRDA Harps On Space Technology For Precision Agriculture
The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) says it is engaging space science technology to boost agricultural products for food security in the country.
Dr Rakiya Babamaaji, the Head, Natural Resources Management Division of NASRDA, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during an interview with newsmen.
Babamaaji explained that space science technology could be deployed into agriculture through the application of Geospatial technology that involved Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System application.
She said that geospatial technology could be used to map and monitor the location of natural resources, take inventory of vegetation and for smart agriculture and water resources management among others.
She further said the Agency had in May, commenced a Space-Based Smart Agriculture for Food Security in Nigeria.
Babamaaji said that the programme was in line with government’s mandate to ensure food security and enable the country achieve Sustainable Development Goal Two, aimed at ending hunger and increasing availability of food.
“We are trying to use space technology in agriculture and we have a programme called Space Base Smart Agriculture for Food Security in Nigeria which will address food availability.
“Under the programme, there is the Crop Watch project, a platform used to monitor agricultural activities across the country using geospatial technology.
“Under this project, we are going to gather all the spatial data available with restrictions to agriculture, so that farmers can know what is happening in their farms, from the cropping to monitoring the farmland.
“The project will provide the farmers with the climate data, letting them know when to plant, when to apply fertilizer, different soil type in terms of fertility,’’ she said.
“We want to achieve this by engaging farmers on their phones, use of jingles in the radio which could possibly be transmitted in the three major languages and English to reach rural farmers.”
The official said they were working with relevant stakeholders in the country, including the China Academy of Science and China Remote Sensing Centre as technical partners towards achieving the Crop Watch project.
Babamaaji also said the programme would be addressing the Value Supply Chain, whereby challenges faced by farmers from the beginning of the farming season to harvest time would be reviewed.
“We are trying to look at the challenges that prevent them from achieving maximum production in their farming activities and we have chosen a farm in Kuje and in Nasarawa to start this assessment.’’
Babamaaji, however, decried the dearth of data, funding to support the project and lack of awareness among farmers on the importance of space technology to farming.
She recalled that the management of the agency has been advocating for new and advanced satellites that would aid provision of data and help to plan better towards enhanced precision agriculture.
“Most of the farmers don’t know the importance of using satellite or geospatial technology in agriculture, so there is need for us to create more awareness on that.’’
She said that the agency was taking seriously the deployment of space science technology in other sectors to advance good governance and the socio-economic development of the nation.
FG, Konga Partner On Job Creation
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has commended Konga, an e-commerce platform, for partnering with the Federal Government to generate creative employment for millions of Nigerian youths.
According to a statement released by Konga yesterday the Minister commended the company while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to seal their partnership in Abuja.
Dare is quoted as saying that Konga, as a digital platform, had the immense capacity to help re-write Nigeria’s unemployment narrative.
”We at the Ministry of Youth and Sports are of the view that public-private partnerships remain the way forward when it comes to the onerous task of creating opportunities for our youths.
“ This belief has come to the fore with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and has also been reinforced by a recent World Bank report.
‘‘We are delighted to have a technology-driven partner such as Konga partnering with us on this programme.
“ Also, we are confident that through this MoU which we have signed today, we will be re-writing the narrative for millions of Nigerian youths who are the beneficiaries of this project, “the minister is quoted as saying.
Chairman, Konga Group, Mr Leo-Stan Ekeh, who also lauded the ministry for its proactive zeal, said that Konga was driven by youths.
He said that they had the capacity to deliver world-class corporates, even with all the structural challenges confronting in country.
Ekeh noted that this was the right time for Nigerian youths to use their intellectual capital and digital skills to defend the nation and become global citizens.
He urged Nigerian youths to alter their destiny, while also stressing that their passion in this century must pay their bills.
Also, Mr Nick Imudia, Chief Executive Officer, Konga Group, affirmed that the partnership would afford Konga a chance to create millionaires across Nigeria within a short space of time.
‘‘Konga today provides employment directly and indirectly through partnerships for over 250,000 Nigerians.
“Through this partnership, we are looking to not only offer more hardworking and ambitious Nigerian youths a chance to earn good money and create wealth; we are also keen to create millionaires who will become their own bosses and employ others, “Imudia said.
He noted that in addition to opportunities which abound in joining their fast-growing database of Konga affiliates and merchants, more deserving youths would also get job opportunities across the multiple entities within the Konga Group.
Imudia said the company was currently conducting a pilot with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and had taken on board about 350 youths already, adding that they were all doing very well.
Our source reports that Konga unveiled an initiative under its Jobs category, a youth empowerment and job creation scheme of the Konga Group.
Specifically, the partnership will see Konga deploy its world-class assets, huge resources and cutting-edge technology backbone.
The scheme is targeted at the employed, unemployed and under-employed Nigerian youths across board.
NOTAP Restates Commitment To Protection Of Intellectual Property Rights
The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has restated its commitment to uphold intellectual property rights as a tool for economic advancement and nation building.
Dr DanAzumi Ibrahim, the Director-General (D-G) NOTAP said this yesterday in Abuja in celebration of the African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property.
Ibrahim told newsmen that in realisation of the importance of intellectual property to national development, NOTAP was committed to protecting the latent creativities and inventive spirit of young inventors and innovators.
“Intellectual property is one of the ways through which rapid development of a nation can be achieved.
“Promotion of the development of indigenous technology will further help in sensitising and facilitating domestication and development of intellectual property right (IPRs) system in the continent.
“It will reawaken the creative ability of the people in the continent to eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development.’’
The D-G highlighted the correlation between invention, innovation and development of societies and economies adding that a nations that concentrates on inventive talents becomes potential sources of high innovation and modern technology.
Ibrahim said that the agency was able to stop capital flight and strengthen the weak IP culture through its refusal to approve the importation of technological services that could be rendered by Nigerian technologists.
“Most times, when Nigerian entrepreneurs enter into technology transfer agreements with their foreign counterparts, the agreements are drafted in such a way that indigenous technologists/service providers do not benefit.
“Rather expatriates will be deployed to execute jobs that Nigerian technologists are competent enough to handle.
“Through NOTAP’s interventions, poorly drafted patents are not approved unless redrafted to take care of indigenous technologists/skills and strengthen our intellectual property culture,” he stated.
Ibrahim said that the office was actively involved in patent protection from filing, examination, granting and publication; and ensured the conditions were favorable to indigenous inventors.
To further strengthen intellectual culture, the D-G said that NOTAP had embarked on establishments of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in tertiary and research institutions across the country.
“NOTAP currently has over 50 IPTTOs that will spur the inventive and innovative prowess of researchers in the institutions and strengthen the poor innovative and intellectual property protection culture.
“IPTTO will facilitate the galvanisation of research results for onward commercialization and bridge the gap existing between the academia and the Industry.
He explained that the establishment of IPTTOs was in order to link education to industry due to the disconnection between both, which had led to shelving of research efforts with little or no contribution to industrialisation.
“Through IPTTOs, we have promoted Intellectual Property (IP), innovation and demand driven research in knowledge based institutions as we as contribute to the needs of industry through the technology value chain,’’ Ibrahim said.
He promised to continue to work closely with other government agencies and private bodies to ensure intellectual property was respected.
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