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CITAD Wants National Policy For Community Networks

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The  Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has urged the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, to establish a mechanism for development of a National Policy for Community Networks.
The  Executive Director, CITAD, Yunusa Yau, who made the call during a press briefing in Abuja on recently, said a national policy for community networking was lacking, yet very crucial because of its numerous advantages.
He stated that  participants at their recent stakeholders meeting affirmed the viability of community networks as one of the innovative strategies being used by many countries to address connectivity gaps.
According to him, this was especially where mobile network operators have found too unprofitable, either because the populations are sparse, communities are poor or they are too hard to reach.
“The understanding is   that,  there is need for a new business models of small, flexible and nibble providers to fill the gaps that bigger players cannot fill,’’ he said.
Yau said participants also realised that using community networks to address connective gaps required a robust policy on community networks.
While acknowledging the various efforts of the Ministry to engender digital transformation in the country, he said with digital divide, the efforts of the Ministry might be difficult to achieve.
“In particular, a large number of people in rural areas are hard to reach and communities will be left behind as the experience has shown”, he said.
He also explained that when broadband was rolled out, that economic and accessibility factors were key hindrances to their affordability in those communities.
Yau also called on the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) to develop guidelines and regulations for the operation of community networks.
According to him, the agency should allow communities to access and use TV White Space for setting up community networks.
He enjoined the Galaxy Backbone Plc to provide communities with access to its backbone for use as community network getaways.
CITAD,  a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), also stressed the need for  the Universal Service Provision Fund to support the upgrading of many community digital centres they set up in the country to serve as nucleus of community networks.
He urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to work with communities at grassroots level to drive digital literacy, which, he said, is critical for utilisation of digital technology.
CITAD also called on private sector operators to support communities in building community networks.

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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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