Software Security Elusive As Nigeria Risks Huge Losses To Hackers - Sundiata Tech


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Monday, May 28, 2018

Software Security Elusive As Nigeria Risks Huge Losses To Hackers

Having witnessed exponential growth over the years on the back of rising smartphone, tablet and wearable device ownership and a significant improvement in broadband internet services, industry watchers fear that the mismanagement and non-regulation of mobile application development in Nigeria’s mobile app market can lead to exploitation by software hackers and cyber criminals.

They say that Nigerian software developers are more concerned about the acceptance and sale of innovations, rather than the protection of their intellectual property.

In 2013, when the Nigerian mobile app market was valued at $1 billion at the mobile app summit, James Rutherford of Nokia Corporation said; “the sub-$100 smartphone is steadily becoming a reality globally. Low end smartphones are increasingly available and these types of mobile phone will likely grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent over the coming years.”

This forecast became even more evident in reports by GFK retail and technology Nigeria, which listed Nigeria as the third highest tech device growth market globally in 2015, with 13 percent growth between 2014 and 2015. According to the report, sales of technology devices rose from $5.1 billion in 2014 to $5.7 billion in 2015.

Today, according to 2018 figures from Jumia’s mobile report, mobile phone penetration stands at 84 percent of Nigeria’s population. Fifty-three percent (97.2 million) of those are smartphone users.

Analysts say that the increase in popularity of smartphones creates an open avenue for hackers and cybercriminals to move from the traditional desktop and laptop online fraud to the mobile online space which virtual has a more open access to personal and financial information, such as mobile banking apps, social media apps and the likes.

Femi Fadairo, Head, Industry Security, Nigeria Inter- Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), said at a Cyber-security and Banking Fraud Summit, that Nigerians are becoming too comfortable transacting on electronic channels through their mobile phones, without taking pre-cautionary measures and so it has become necessary for software/app developers to protect their apps.

“Online fraud is moving to mobile because so many people do not have anti-virus or anti- malware installed on their phones. We are so lax with our mobile phones, compared to all the steps we take to make sure that our desktops and laptops are safe.

“There are so many apps that we download without even knowing what we are downloading.” Fadairo added.

The decline in prices of gadgets has opened access to cheap smartphones for all, including ICT illiterates and fuelled the speedy adaptation of mobile applications.

With app developers earning 50-70 percent of retail price via the app store platforms of Apple, Windows, Google, Blackberry, Nokia and others, incubating young genuine developers could have significant multiplier effect domestically.

“Online fraudsters find the easiest channels to operate on and cannot be bothered with spending so much time trying to hack into protected web portals. Currently, the mobile phone seems to be the easiest channel, especially with most people having their banking apps, emails, contacts, pictures and other important information on their smartphones,” said Tunde Ogunniyi, Head of Card and E-banking at Ecobank.

In the same vein, David Isiavwe, General Manager, Union Bank, said that online fraudsters are moving to newer and easier portals to conduct criminal activities and the traditional web fraud is gradually dying. NIBBS statistics show that “ATM recorded the highest volume of frauds in 2015 followed by POS. This relationship may not be unconnected to the fact that fraudsters leverage on both platform to utilise the proceeds of fraud. The third most utilised channel is the web.”

Global mobile app store revenues are projected to reach $90 billion by 2018, primarily driven by growth of mobile subscriber base, strong mobile broadband penetration and rising sales of smartphones. As such, industry watchers are concerned about the security and regulation of app development and download, especially in Nigeria where there is a high rate of cybercrime.


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