Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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A CALL FOR EXTRA VIGILANCE AS CYBER CRIMINALS EXPLOIT COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly transformed how we interact as individuals and in groups. In particular, there has been an appreciable migration of several meetings, lectures and other forms of interactions to online platforms.

Furthermore, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM notes that the implicit requirement of social distancing has increased the adoption of online platforms and e-payment systems. This, no doubt, he said, is a positive development that will support our implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria. However, this migration to home-based unsecure digital platforms, often with outdated security systems, can make users more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The Cybersecurity Teams of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (MCDE) have intercepted the following cases, amongst others:

  1. Phishing attacks aimed at infecting systems or extracting sensitive information;
  2. Campaigns that defraud citizens by offering essential products and services at suspicious prices;
  3. Fake news and misinformation aimed at spreading panic, creating instability and promoting distrust; and
  4. Video-teleconferencing (VTC) hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”).

The Honourable Minister of MCDE urges everyone to be extra-cautious and reinforce security measures while interacting online, especially when carrying out banking transactions online. It is important to observe basic cyberspace rules such as:

  1. Ignoring suspicious online offers;
  2. Being circumspect in sharing VTC details;
  3. Using complex passwords;
  4. Keeping software up to date; and
  5. Refraining from sharing unverified information.

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to keeping Nigerians safe online. To this end, we were informed that the Ministry and its parastatals will issue regular cybersecurity advisories.

Source: commtech.gov.ng

THE NEXT GENERATION OF MOBILE BROADBAND: 5G

As the world responds to a pandemic the likes of which has not been seen in over a hundred years, the Internet is agog with conspiracy theories, and tales of the apocalypse being disseminated at a speed which is hitherto unrivalled.  One of such conspiracy theories is around the introduction of the 5G mobile connectivity and the fear that it is linked somewhat to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It must be noted that the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has stated that there is no correlation between 5G Technology and COVID-19 while adding that 5G is an advancement on today’s 4G technology, designed to transform the world positively. The Commission, through its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu also informed Nigerians that there is currently no deployment of 5G in Nigeria. To read more of the NCC clarification, please click on the link https://www.ncc.gov.ng/media-centre/news-headlines/814-ncc-clears-doubts-over-5g-covid-19-and-security

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband. It will provide exponential speed, hence faster downloads and uploads. It will also drastically decrease latency which refers to the time it takes for devices to communicate with wireless connections. Although work on mobile 5G has been on for nearly 10 years, it only started being rolled out to a few cities worldwide last year. A little bit of history is helpful to understand just how much of a difference 5G will bring to the world of mobile technology.

1G was the first generation of cell phone technology, which was analogue, delivered on phones which had poor voice quality and short battery life. 2G brought with it a new set of standards governing wireless telephone calls. It was digital, an improvement which allowed cellular phones to provide data along with voice. Fundamental services such as SMS, roaming, conference calls and real-time billing were introduced with 2G. The maximum speed of 2G is 50Kbps on General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or 1 Mbps with Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE). The next generation, 3G, made it possible to surf the net directly on our mobile phones, opening up web browsing, video downloading, and picture sharing to mention a few. True 3G has maximum speeds of up to 21.6 Mbps. The fourth generation, 4G, was introduced to deliver speeds that enabled video streaming and support a large ecosystem of applications which require sustained, reliable connectivity. The purpose of 4G was to provide high speed, high quality and high capacity to users. It also improved security and reduced the cost of voice and data services. 4G, the fourth generation, is the bedrock of gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing and cloud computing.

5G is the fifth-generation broadband. It promises significantly faster data rates, higher connection density, much lower latency, among other improvements. Some of the plans for 5G include device-to-device communication, better battery consumption, and improved overall wireless coverage. The max speed of 5G is aimed at being as fast as 35.46 Gbps, which is over 35 times faster than 4G.

Some of the advantages of 5G include:

  • Significantly improved broadband speed and latency
  • Infrastructural efficiency
  • Remote control capabilities for heavy machinery
  • Full vehicular automation
  • Improved healthcare delivery
  • The Internet of Things

It is hoped that the world will recognise that 5G broadband will bring great development and it will ensure that humanity can unfold its greatest potential until now, preparing us for innovation such as we had hitherto only dreamed about.

AS THE WORLD GOES ONLINE, WORKING REMOTELY

The CoronaVirus (official name: COVID-19) epidemic has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. The virus is reported to have originated from Wuhan in China. As of the 17th of March 2020, more than 198,177 people in at least 165 countries had been infected with COVID-19. In order to protect people and curb the spread of this dreaded infection, there is ongoing global education and awareness about the virus, its spread, advice on crowd movements/gathering, border closures in many countries, limited international travel, work from home directives by countries, organisations etc.

The world economy is under threat. Across the globe, there are fears of shortages as factories and shops are closing/closed to stop the spread of the virus. There is a sharp decline in economic activities worldwide. There are fears of recession and governments are being advised to shore up their reserves to protect their economies.

The virus is unrelenting in its reach, even as The Canadian Prime Minister is billed to be in isolation for fourteen days this month because his wife tested positive for the virus.  Although the mortality statistics reports are skewed more towards the elderly and those who suffer chronic illnesses, it is still a debilitating illness with no immediate cure in sight. Money is being pumped into vaccine research at the moment, but it is feared, this might not be ready within a short period.

Whilst progress to curtail the spread had been made in some countries in Asia, the spread of the virus appears to have garnered life in the United States of America, Europe and Africa.

As a result of this disease, the world has gone “remote”. Some of the well-known preventive measures being undertaken include:

  1. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has called off the Lesser Hajj and restricted inbound flights from some countries
  2. The Pope’s messages were delivered via Tv screens at the Vatican on the 7th March 2020
  3. Football matches are being played in stadiums without spectators or cancelled
  4. Many global events are being conducted virtually, including the ICANN67 meeting for which NiRA staff and Directors were billed to travel to Mexico.

Now more than ever, the Internet has become the best platform for all to conduct their businesses. Whether it is buying and selling, service provision, education or governance, online interactions have become imperative in a world which is battling one of the most pervasive epidemics in recent times. Any business that knows its onions will recognise the times and ensure that they can be found online, with their business conducted, payments made and feedback provided virtually.

This is the time for you to get a .ng domain name, which will assist you to project your business online, and keep your lights on, no matter how much isolation the world experiences as a result of this pandemic. This is also a good time to check that your domain is being hosted locally, with the global economy reeling from the effects of the pandemic on various market indices. Making payments in a foreign currency will definitely cost you more this week than it did last week, for example.

Get your .ng domain name today, take your business online. 

Our hearts go out to all the people who have contracted this virus, and to every family missing them because they are in isolation. We pray that the Almighty grants them quick recovery. Our hearts also go out to those who have lost dear ones,  or those whose businesses or jobs have been negatively impacted.

Finally, let us keep our hands germ-free at all times and should you feel ill and suspect you are infected by the virus,  isolate yourself and call these NCDC emergency hotlines: 08000-970000-10 and 08000corona. An ounce of prevention, they say, is better than a pound of cure. We pray for God’s protection against this insidious virus.

We are urging all to be safe, and stay up to date with information from the National Centre for Disease Control’s information regarding this outbreak. The information can be found at https://ncdc.gov.ng/diseases/sitreps/?cat=14&name=An%20update%20of%20COVID-19%20outbreak%20in%20Nigeria.

 

Muhammed Rudman

President, NiRA

.NG DOMAIN NAME REPORT FEBRUARY 2020

VALEDICTORY/SEND FORTH CEREMONY IN HONOUR OF PROF. ADENIKE OYINOLA OSOFISAN

Wednesday, 4th of March 2020 marked another memorable day in NiRA as a member of the NiRA Board of Trustees’ (BOT), Professor Adenike Oyinlola Osofisan had a Valedictory/Send forth Ceremony celebrated in her honour at the Distance Learning Centre of the University of Ibadan, Oyo state. The ceremony, which also marked Prof. Osofisan's 70th birthday, was organised by the Department of Computer Science of the University and  Doctoral students of Prof. Osofisan.

Representatives from NiRA who witnessed the event included two members of the NiRA Board of Trustees, Dr. Chris Nwannena and Mr. Shina Badaru and staff from the NiRA Secretariat, Mrs. Edith Udeagu, Mr. Ikechukwu Ezeji, Mr. Taiwo Oyeyemi and Mr. Dele Awotunde. Members of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the university community and family members were present at the event.

During her valedictory speech, Prof. Osofisan thanked the staff and students of the Computer Science Department as well as all her doctoral students for putting together the event in her honour. She delivered a speech titled “The Story of my Stewardship – Reminiscences” during which she recounted how she joined the services of the University as a Youth Corps member in August 1976. Her services as a Help Desk Officer/Programmer at the University of Ibadan Computing Center/Information Technology and Media Services (ITeMS) was rewarded with a one-year temporary appointment at the end of her Youth Service year. She travelled to Georgia Institute of Technology for her Master’s in Computer Science in August 1978 and took up a lectureship with The Polytechnic Ibadan upon her return in 1979.

In 1985, she began her doctoral studies in Computer Science at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and successfully completed her studies in 1989, becoming the first person to earn both a bachelor’s and doctoral degree in Computer Science from any Nigerian University and the first Nigerian woman to earn a doctoral degree in Computer Science.  Prof. Osofisan rose through the ranks till she reached the peak in the polytechnic system as a Senior Principal Lecturer, Head of Department and Dean of the Faculty of Science.

In 1999, She began another phase of her career as the Head of Department of Computer Science at the University of Ibadan. Under her watch, the department grew from four to twenty-one teaching staff and developed a vibrant post-graduate programme that has produced up to thirty-nine PhD graduates. Among this group, she personally supervised nineteen PhDs while the twentieth is work in progress. Prof. Osofisan pioneered research in the areas of Internet Technology, Data Mining and Machine Learning as well as Data Warehousing and Human-Computer Interaction. She is the author of over eighty influential publications in the field of Computer Science that appeared in reputable local and international journals and conferences. She also served as the first Director of the University of Ibadan Business School between 2012 and 2014.

Within and outside the University, Prof. Osofisan is committed to the service of her community and humanity. She was elected the first President of the Nigerian Women in IT in 2003. She served as the President and Council Chairman of the Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) between July 2005 and June 2009, the first woman to serve in such a capacity. She served on the executive council of the Nigeria Computer Society for ten years. She has at various times served as Chairperson of various sensitive committees of the Nigeria Computer Society. In appreciation to a lifetime of service, the community honoured her with numerous awards. She is a Fellow and Life Member of the Nigeria Computer Society.

Prof. Adenike Osofisan was one of the only twenty-two women in Nigeria inducted to the Women Hall of Fame on June 10, 2019. Having excelled in a field in which there is male domination, Prof. Osofisan is an icon in the community promoting girls involvement in STEM and a strong advocate for attracting the girl child into Information Technology fields.

The Board of Trustees, Executive Board of Directors, Executive Secretary and the entire NiRA ecosystem wish Prof. Adenike Osofisan a Happy 70th Birthday and are proud to be associated with her laudable achievements.