Category Archive ICT

Nigeria Will Partner Google In ICT Training For Youths – Minister

The Federal Government will avail itself of the opportunity being provided by global organisations like Google to train the teeming technology savvy youths in various level of ICT capacity development deployed by Google, as this will further open up the accessibility of turning around the nation’s economy and making ICT the mainstay.

The minister commending the commitment of Google Nigeria to implement ambitious reforms and bring about macroeconomic stability in the context of the country’s ongoing Smart Digital Nigeria transition process stressed that the efforts are bearing tangible results and have laid the foundation for a credible path to fiscal sustainability and collaboration.

He added that Google, being one of the tech giants in computing and the web, has been at the centre of this digital penetration, with the popularity of its open platforms, powering lots of smartphones with android and other digital tools. “A lot has changed in Nigeria since the huge wave of Internet and mobile adoption globally. Today, access to smart phones and the web is growing.  Indeed, there are about 149 million mobile subscribers and 97 million internet users, 76 per cent of them can access the internet on their phones.

“The growth in adoption of these trends amongst Nigerians presents huge opportunities for businesses which is important for Government’s ambition on economic diversification. However, only a small number of Individuals and enterprises are currently taking full advantage of new digital opportunities available.’’

“It is also worthy to note that through critical partnerships and collaborations, support of Government and leveraging on Google’s strong community relationships, the goal to train one million people in Nigeria and Africa at large has reached its target. The plan to train more Africans in digital skills in the coming year is therefore commendable.

“It is also instructive to note that the web is a driver of economic growth, and is transforming society as a whole. People must be equipped, through training and re-skilling to make use of the tools and take advantage of it for entrepreneurship, employment and e-inclusion.



Microsoft To Offer Television Services To Rural Areas

Microsoft to employ unused TV channels to offer rural broadband according to a TECH CRUNCH report

Every internet company these days has a plan for connecting people who don’t otherwise have reliable connectivity – Microsoft’s play will use unused TV broadcast channels, also called ‘white spaces,’ to get broadband internet to rural communities in the U.S.

The technology isn’t new – Microsoft and others have been trying to tackle the problem since at least 2008. Use of these white spaces has a couple of advantages over traditional means of delivering broadband, because it offers similar reliability when compared to Wi-Fi, but can reach much further with lower power requirements. Plus, white space tech offers better coverage than cellular since it isn’t as impeded by radio blocking impediments like concrete walls.

Microsoft still has some hurdles to climb, including getting buy-in from local regulators regarding their ability to make use of these unused channels. It also has to counter arguments from broadcasters that argue use of these channels will interfere with their TV signals.

Finally, it has to overcome a signficant cost hurdle – hardware for use with white space-based broadband is expensive, though Microsoft told the Times that it will be able to get pricing down for hardware it’ll demonstrate at an event today to below $200.

Nigeria: FG Set For Nationwide Roll-out Of Digital Switch Over

In Nigeria

The federal government has announced its readiness to roll out the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting in all the six geo-political zones in the country in the next few weeks, as a practical demonstration of its commitment to the project.

The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in Quincy, US, during a meeting with the executives of Gates Air, a market leader in transmission solutions for broadcast network operators.

The minister said the DSO, which was first launched in Jos in April 2016, is ready to be rolled out in six states across the country – Kaduna, Kwara, Delta, Enugu, Gombe and Osun – covering the six geo-political zones.

Alhaji Mohammed said the meeting with the US company, which is a key player in the DSO process, further confirms the government’s commitment to the project, which has also been launched in Abuja.

‘’The DSO is very important to this administration, because of the limitless potentials that it represents. For us as a government, DSO goes beyond just receiving digital transmission but an avenue to create jobs and ignite the huge creative potentials of our youths. It is also a solution to some of the intractable problems affecting the creative industry, including piracy and distribution,’’ he said.

The minister, who led a Nigerian team that includes the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on DSO, Hon. Sunday Katung, and the director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), MalamIshaqKawuModibbo, inspected the facilities at the company’s sprawling factory, where several equipment meant for the DSO roll-out are currently being manufactured.

Cyber Threat: African Countries Among The Riskiest In The World

Five African nations led by Zambia and Nigeria are among the top ten the list of countries prone to cyber-attacks according to the latest Global Threat Impact Index released yesterday by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd in Lagos.

Zambia has the highest risk profile, with Nigeria in second position. Uganda, Malawi and South African are ranked 7th, 8th and 9th respectively. South Africa, in particular, demonstrated a significant jump in ranking, having moved up from 22nd position since last month.

The Index also revealed that more than one in four organisations globally was affected by the Fireball or WannaCry attacks in May.

Two of the top three malware families that impacted networks globally were zero-day, previously unseen attacks. Fireball impacted one in five organisations worldwide, with second-placed RoughTed impacting 16 per cent and third-placed WannaCry affecting nearly eight per cent of organisations globally.

Cyber Threat

Cyber Attacks

The two malware variants, Fireball and WannaCry, rapidly spread worldwide throughout the month of May.

The most prevalent malware highlight the wide range of attack vectors and targets cyber-criminals are utilising, impacting all stages of the infection chain. Fireball takes over target browsers and turns them into zombies, which it can then use for a wide range of actions including dropping additional malware, or stealing valuable credentials.

By contrast, RoughTed is a large-scale malvertising campaign, and WannaCry takes advantage of a Windows SMB exploit called EternalBlue in order to propagate within and between networks. WannaCry was particularly high profile, bringing down a myriad of networks worldwide.

In addition to the top three, there were also other new variants of malware seen within the top ten of the index including Jaff (8th) another form of ransomware, demonstrating how profitable this particular attack vector is proving for malicious parties.

cyber threats

The Secret Origin Story Of The Iphone

It happened slowly at first. One day there’d be an empty chair where a star engineer used to sit. A key member of the team, gone. Nobody could tell you exactly where they went.

“I had been hearing rumblings about, well, it was unclear what was being built, but it was clear that a lot of the best engineers from the best teams had been slurped over to this mysterious team,” says Evan Doll, who was then a software engineer at Apple.

Here’s what was happening to those star engineers. First, a couple of managers had shown up in their office unannounced and closed the door behind them. Managers like Henri Lamiraux, a director of software engineering, and Richard Williamson, a director of software.

One such star engineer was Andre Boule. He’d been at the company only a few months.

“Henri and I walked into his office,” Williamson recalls, “and we said, ‘Andre, you don’t really know us, but we’ve heard a lot about you, and we know you’re a brilliant engineer, and we want you to come work with us on a project we can’t tell you about. And we want you to do it now. Today.’ ”

Boule was incredulous, then suspicious. “Andre said, ‘Can I have some time to think about it?’ ” Williamson says. “And we said, ‘No.’ ” They wouldn’t, and couldn’t, give him any more details. Still, by the end of the day, Boule had signed on. “We did that again and again across the company,” Williamson says. Some engineers who liked their jobs just fine said no, and they stayed in Cupertino. Those who said yes, like Boule, went to work on the iPhone.

And their lives would never be the same — at least, not for the next two and a half years. Not only would they be working overtime to hammer together the most influential piece of consumer technology of their generation, but they’d be doing little else. Their personal lives would disappear, and they wouldn’t be able to talk about what they were working on. Steve Jobs “didn’t want anyone to leak it if they left the company,” says Tony Fadell, one of the top Apple executives who helped build the iPhone. “He didn’t want anyone to say anything. He just didn’t want — he was just naturally paranoid.”

he iPhone began as a Steve Jobs–approved project at Apple around the end of 2004. But its DNA began coiling long before that.

“I think a lot of people look at the form factor and they think it’s not just like any other computer, but it is — it’s just like any other computer,” Williamson says. “In fact, it’s more complex, in terms of software, than many other computers. The operating system on this is as sophisticated as the operating system on any modern computer. But it is an evolution of the operating system we’ve been developing over the last thirty years.”

Like many mass-adopted, highly profitable technologies, the iPhone has a number of competing origin stories. There were as many as five different phone or phone-related projects — from tiny research endeavors to full-blown corporate partnerships — bubbling up at Apple by the middle of the 2000s. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in my efforts to pull the iPhone apart, literally and figuratively, it’s that there are rarely concrete beginnings to any particular products or technologies — they evolve from varying previous ideas and concepts and inventions and are prodded and iterated into newness by restless minds and profit motives. Even when the company’s executives were under oath in a federal trial, they couldn’t name just one starting place.

“There were many things that led to the development of the iPhone at Apple,” Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in 2012. “First, Apple had been known for years for being the creator of the Mac, the computer, and it was great, but it had small market share,” he said. “And then we had a big hit called the iPod. It was the iPod hardware and the iTunes software. And this really changed everybody’s view of Apple, both inside and outside the company. And people started asking, Well, if you can have a big hit with the iPod, what else can you do? And people were suggesting every idea, make a camera, make a car, crazy stuff.”

Read More On The Verge

Google to block ‘annoying’ ads in browser

Google is working to block “annoying” ads in its Chrome browser, part of a broader effort by industry players to filter out certain types of marketing messages that draw complaints.

“We believe online ads should be better. That’s why we joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving online ads,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president for advertising in a blog post Thursday.

“In dialogue with the Coalition and other industry groups, we plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018.”

Google’s move, in the works for some time, could end up reducing some ads served and impact its own revenue, but it aims to improve the overall web experience and discourage third-party ad-blockers that could have a more dramatic impact.

Ramaswamy noted that “annoying” ads prompt some people to use ad-blockers that stop all advertising content, hurting revenue for content creators.

“The vast majority of online content creators fund their work with advertising,” Ramaswamy said.

“That means they want the ads that run on their sites to be compelling, useful and engaging — ones that people actually want to see and interact with.”

But he noted that “it’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web — like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page.”

Google is a founding member of the Coalition, which was formed last year and aims to maintain the online advertising ecosystem while eliminating ads that many find irritating.

Google building

Google Office

Ethiopia Cuts Off Internet Access To Stop Exam Leaks

Ethiopia has cut off internet access nationwide until at least June 8 to try to stop cheats from posting high school exam papers on social media, a government official said on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of students will take the tests throughout the Horn of Africa country with Grade 10 exams taking place from May 31 until June 2, and Grade 12 tests from June 5 until June 8.

Last year, exam papers were widely posted online, prompting the government to reschedule the tests, which are the main public exams for 16- and 18-year-olds to secure places at university and on vocational courses.

“The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year,” Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia’s Office for Government Communications Affairs, told Reuters.

“We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings.”

It is not the first time that Addis Ababa has pulled the plug on the internet. At the height of protests in late 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia imposed a blanket ban for weeks before disrupting only social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

At that time, rights group Amnesty International slammed the disruption as an “intent on stifling expression and free exchange of information”.

Critics say Ethiopia, an important Horn of Africa ally of the West sandwiched between volatile Somalia and Sudan, often clamps down on freedoms under the guise of national security. The government denies the accusations.

Examinations process

Nigeria: Fresh Vista for ICT Literacy Through DBI Campuses

It has been proven and commonly accepted that information and communication technology (ICT) is the engine room of the 21st century and beyond as it charts the economic, religious, cultural, legal and social life of nations, particularly those of developing countries.

ICT has embedded itself deeply into the everyday life of people all over the world and Nigeria is not an exception, with millions of people, a higher percentage being the youth, accessing and using various facets of ICT such as computers, the internet, electronic mail and the world wide web (www) on a daily basis.

No doubt, ICT is a major driver of various sectors of development; the technology cuts across other sectors like the telecoms sub-sector, agriculture, medicine, oil and gas, banking, education, trade and investment and science amongst others.

Conscious of the importance of ICT in national development, the Federal Government has shown firm commitment to diversifying the economy by providing more infrastructure for ICT literacy to equip the massive youth population across the country with the requisite skills that can be deployed for transformation of various sectors of the economy.

One of such ventures is the on-going drive to convert the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), a subsidiary of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which is currently a Nigerian international centre for information and communications studies to a full blown ICT university.

This is even as the DBI Kano has been converted to innovation enterprise institute. The approval was conveyed to it by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

Speaking at the maiden matriculation ceremony of DBI’s national innovation diploma programme in Kano, the executive vice chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the matriculation of the 24 students into five specialized ICT’s diploma programme was part of NCC’s efforts to promote the adoption and use of ICT for national development.

Danbatta listed the specialized areas of the diploma programme to include software engineering, computer hardware engineering, networking and security, telecommunications and multimedia technology as approved by the National Board for Technical Education NBTE.

He said the programme was deliberately designed to offer a rich blend of the theoretical knowledge and practical skills by combining classroom work with intensive laboratory and workshop modules which would prepare and equip the students for direct entry into related fields of any university in the country.

According to him, “Nigeria is in dire need of ICT skills to solve the myriad of problems facing her agriculture, health, education, security, power and other sectors. This is the only way the country can become a mainstream player in the new digital age”.

The EVC added: “The matriculation is in furtherance of our mandate to equip Nigerians in different fields of ICT, to which the institute was granted approval as an innovative enterprise institute by the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Board for Technical Education in 2016 to award National Innovation Diploma and these are the first set of students being matriculated for the 2016/2017 academic calendar”.

He urged the matriculating students to embrace the opportunity of obtaining a certificate in National Innovation Diploma program seriously as they would be equipped with the required ICT knowledge and skills to perform optimally with their counterparts in other parts of the world.

Earlier, the executive governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said his administration would provide scholarship to 100 youths in the state to bridge the ICT gap, saying 60 males and 40 females would be the initial beneficiaries.

Ganduje lauded the NCC boss for considering Kano as one of the centres for this programme, saying the initiative of the NCC led by Danbatta resulting in the approval by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to make DBI, Kano campus as an innovation enterprise institute is highly commendable. The state, he said, would take advantage of that as part of efforts to promote ICT diffusion especially in the rural areas across the 44 local councils.