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ICT Sector Lifted Nigeria Out Of Recession In 2021 – Minister

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector was highly instrumental to the lifting of the Nigerian economy out of recession in 2021.
Mohammed made the revelation  at a media parley in Lagos, recently
The Tide reports that Nigeria slipped into recession in November 2020 after its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted for the second consecutive quarter.
Mohammed, however, said that Quarter 4 of the 2020 Report on the nation’s GDP revealed that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.
According to him, in the report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the breakdown of the different sectors showed that the ICT sector recorded 14.7 per cent growth rate.
The minister said the ICT growth rate was greater than the combined 14.21 per cent growth of the second to seventh fastest-growing sectors of the economy in 2020.
“The telecommunications sector alone recorded a growth rate of 15.90 per cent, representing its highest growth rate in the last 10 years.
“In the NBS report for the Q1 2021, the ICT sector maintained its position as the fastest-growing sector of the economy.
“This, therefore, indicates that the Digital Economy sector has proven to be vital for the diversification of the Nigerian economy,’, he said.
The minister noted that the feat was recorded through the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy hinged on eight strategic pillars.
He said that as part of efforts aimed at implementing the policy, some projects were implemented nationwide including ICT Innovation Hubs, Digital Skills for Entrepreneurs and Innovators and Community IT Training Centers.
Others, according to him, were Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centers (TIKC), School Knowledge Centers (SKC), Digital Economy Centers and Emergency Communication Centres (ECC).
Mohammed added that over 300 of the centres had been established all over the country.
The minister also said that in 2021, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy conducted a transparent bidding process for the provision of the 5G Network service.
He said the auction for the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum for the 5G network service was won by Mafab Communications Ltd and MTN Nigeria Plc.
He explained that the 5G network service would ensure increased capacity download speed by up to 20 times and decrease latency.

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Commission Raises Alarm On New Hackers’ Tricks

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted telecom consumers and members of the public on an ongoing cyber-vulnerability which allows a nearby hacker to unlock vehicles, start their engines wirelessly and make away with them.
The NCC’s Director of Public Affairs (DPA), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Adinde quoted the latest advisory released by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) established by the NCC.
“The fact that car remotes were categorised as short-range devices that make use of Radio Frequency (RF) to lock and unlock cars informed the need to alert Nigerians on this emergent danger.
“The vulnerability is a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack or, more specifically, a replay attack in which an attacker intercepts the RF signals normally sent from a remote key fob to the car.
“It manipulates these signals and re-sends them/ later/ to/ unlock the car at will.With this latest type of cyber-attack, it is also possible to manipulate the captured commands and re-transmit them to achieve a different outcome altogether”, the statement revealed.
It explained further that “Multiple researchers disclosed a vulnerability, which is said to be used by a nearby/ attacker to unlock/ some Honda and Acura car models and start their engines wirelessly.
“The attack”, it continued, “consists of a threat actor capturing the RF signals sent from your key fob to the car/ and resending these signals to take control of your car’s remote keyless entry system”.
The DPA, however, said the NCC-CSIRT, in the advisory had offered some precautionary measures or solutions that could be adopted by car owners to prevent falling victim.
According to the cyber-alert unit of the Commission, when affected, the only mitigation was to reset ones  key fob at the dealer’s.
“Besides, the affected car manufacturer may provide a security mechanism that will generate fresh codes for each authentication request, this makes it difficult for an attacker to ‘replay’ the codes thereafter.
“Additionally, vulnerable car users should store their key fobs in signal-blocking/ ’Faraday pouches’ when not in use”, the statement added.
Adinde advised car owners in these categories to choose Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) as opposed to Remote Keyless Entry (RKE), which would make it harder for an attacker to read the signal due to the fact that criminals would need to be at close range to carry out their nefarious acts.
He explained that the PKE is an automotive security system that operates automatically when the user is in proximity to the vehicle, unlocking the door on approach or when the door handle is pulled.
He also said that the user locks it when walking away or touches the car on exit.
He added that the RKE system, on the other hand, represents the standard solution for conveniently locking and unlocking a vehicle’s doors and luggage compartment by remote control.
In a related advisory, he said the NCC, based on another detection by CSIRT, wishes to inform the public about the resurgence of Joker Trojan-Infected Android Apps on Google Play Store.

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Agency’s  Head Makes  Case For Biosafety Law

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Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, has said that successful operations of biosafety laws in Nigeria will bring significant benefits to farmers and aid rapid economic transformations.
Mustapha said this at the Modern Biotechnology and Biosafety Regulation Sensitisation Workshop organised for NABDA’s Board Members by Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Nigeria Chapter in Abuja recently.
“Successful operations of biosafety laws in the country ensures that Nigeria’s well over 70 million farmers will keep reaping continuously, the significant benefits of agricultural biotechnology.
“This is similar to economic transformations currently experienced in Argentina, Brazil, India, Sudan, Togo, Ethiopia and South Africa that have all adopted this modern approach to boost their food and cash crop production,’’ he said.
The Director-General stated that by having a National Biosafety Management Agency in place to ensure safe and responsible practice of the technology, the country would have commenced a silent revolution towards attaining laudable goals.
Mustapha listed these goals to include, transforming agriculture from subsistence to commercial and business levels.
He said farmers all over the world were witnessing improved yield, which also means improved access to food, not only for their families, but also  producing excess for export.
“It should be noted that the adoption of higher yielding biotech crops by farmers across the world will continue to deliver substantial agronomic, environmental, economic, health and social benefits to farmers and society at large,” he said.
He said another goal is to address food security challenges of growing population by not only making food available in sufficient quantity, but in quality, to meet dietary needs for active and healthy lifestyle.
Mustapha also mentioned empowering agricultural research institutes to continue with their work on biotech crops and ultimately commercialise the positive outcome of their research findings for farmers’ benefit.
He further said another goal was consolidating the diversification of economy from oil revenue to a more sustainable revenue generation from massive food/cash crop activities supported by modern agricultural biotechnology.
“The importance of this to a country like Nigeria known as a non-importer of major food items, moving from that to becoming an exporter nation of agricultural produce cannot be overemphasised,” he said.
The NABDA boss said the workshop was to empower and provide an update on the recent developments in the agricultural and biosafety regulation sectors and across the country at large.
“Our expectation is that as stakeholders in this sector, you will join us in the campaign for the enhancement of food security, climate change mitigation, nutritional enhancement, and flattening the curve of Covid-19”, he said.

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HP Boosts Data Scientists’ Productivity With Mobile Work Stations

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An American multinational IT company, HP Inc., has unveiled new ZBook mobile workstations, the HP ZBook Studio G9, HP ZBook Fury G9, and Thunderbolt G4 Dock to help boost productivity for data scientists.
The Global Head, Advanced Compute and Solutions, HP Inc., Jim Nottingham,   in a statement, said professionals needed  power to  create with speed and fluidity, no matter where they were.
He said today’s Z by HP announcement, blends cutting-edge technology with the versatility of a combined ecosystem to make every creative idea a reality.
Nottingham said: “Creative professionals want personalised hardware and software experiences that provide them the freedom to pursue their passions and create without their technology or location holding them back.
He said the new ZBook Fury G9 and ZBook Studio G9 would help media and entertainment artistes, product development professionals and data scientists tackle multiple heavy workflows.
“Powered by a desktop-class Intel® 55-watt CPU and up to a professional-grade NVIDIA RTX™ A5500 Laptop GPU or AMD Radeon™ Pro GPUs, the ZBook Fury is so powerful that it makes creators and technical professionals forget it is a laptop.
“They deliver performance, stabilisation and optimisation for the most popular creative applications”, he said.
Nottingham continued that the HP Thunderbolt G4 Dock on the hand seamlessly connects the entire Z ecosystem, boosting security, productivity and connectivity, which allows users to take control of their desks and reduce cables.
He said 66 per cent of employees report that they preferred to use a dock at home.
“The HP Thunderbolt G4 Dock brings up to 280 Watts of power and has the ability to fully charge any laptop or mobile workstation with superfast Thunderbolt 4 technology,” he said.

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