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Thursday 2nd December, 2021

Telecoms

NCC Alerts Of New Malware, AbstractEmu, Attacking Android Devices

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted telecom consumers and the general public of the discovery of new Android malware.

The malware, named ‘AbstractEmu’, can gain access to smartphones, take complete control of infected smartphones and silently modify device settings while simultaneously taking steps to evade detection.

The NCC said in a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde that this discovery was announced recently by the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), the national agency established by the Federal Government to manage the risks of cyber threats in Nigeria, which also coordinates incident response and mitigation strategies to proactively prevent cyber-attacks against Nigeria

AbstractEmu has been found to be distributed via Google Play Store and third-party stores such as the Amazon Appstore and the Samsung Galaxy Store, as well as other lesser-known marketplaces like Aptoide and APKPure.

The advisory stated that a total of 19 Android applications that posed as utility apps and system tools like password managers, money managers, app launchers, and data saving apps have been reported to contain the rooting functionality of the malware.

The apps are said to have been prominently distributed via third-party stores such as the Amazon Appstore and the Samsung Galaxy Store, as well as other lesser-known marketplaces like Aptoide and APKPure.

The apps include All Passwords, Anti-ads Browser, Data Saver, Lite Launcher, My Phone, Night Light and Phone Plus, among others.

According to the report, rooting malware although rare, is very dangerous. By using the rooting process to gain privileged access to the Android operating system, the threat actor can silently grant itself dangerous permissions or install additional malware – steps that would normally require user interaction.

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Elevated privileges also give the malware access to other apps’ sensitive data, something not possible under normal circumstances.

The ngCERT advisory also captured the consequences of making their devices susceptible to AbstractEmu attacks. Once installed, the attack chain is designed to leverage one of five exploits for older Android security flaws that would allow it to gain root permissions.

It also takes over the device, installs additional malware, extracts sensitive data,  and transmits to a remote attack-controlled server.

Additionally, the malware can modify the phone settings to give the app the ability to reset the device password, or lock the device, through device admin; draw over other windows; install other packages; access accessibility services, and ignore battery optimization.

The malware also monitors notifications; captures screenshots; records device screen; disables Google Play Protect; as well as modifies permissions that grant access to contacts, call logs, Short Messaging Service (SMS), Geographic Positioning System (GPS), camera, and microphone.

The ngCERT also asserts in the advisory that, while the malicious apps were removed from Google Play Store, the other app stores are likely distributing them.

Consequently, the NCC wishes to reiterate a two-fold ngCERT advisory in order to mitigate the risks. The two-fold advisory include:

-Users should be wary of installing unknown or unusual apps, and look out for different behaviours as they use their phones.

-Reset your phone to factory settings when there is suspicion of unusual behaviours in your phone.

“The NCC, in exercise of its mandate and obligation to the consumers, will continue to sensitise and educate telecoms consumers on any cyber threat capable of inflicting low or high-impact harms on their devices, whether discovered through the ngCERT or the telecom sector’s Centre for Computer Security Incident Response managed by the Commission,” the statement read.

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Recall that the NCC, in October 2021, alerted telecom consumers of the existence of new, high-risk and extremely-damaging, Android device-targeting Malware called Flubot and outlined steps to prevent their devices from being attacked by the virus.

 

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Telecoms

NCC’s “SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU,” Campaign Debuts In Benin

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has once again expressed its commitment to reach all categories of telecom consumers, with the launch in Benin, of a consumer-centric outreach programme tagged, “Shine your eyes, no fall mugu,” which literally translates to, “Be alert, Don’t be a victim of fraudsters.”

The programme, an initiative of the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), is specially conceived and implemented using Nigerian pidgin, and it’s intended for a segment of the telecom consumer population who are more comfortable with localised communication that resonates with their reality.

The two-day programme, implemented in three phases, started with a roadshow that featured local artistes and comedians who displayed musical and other performances to amuse and entertain people to create awareness and sensitise telecom consumers about how cybercriminals may use telecom platforms to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

The last day of the two-day event featured a 20-minute radio talk in Nigerian pidgin, to further create awareness and like the roadshow, to invite telecom consumers to an enlightenment forum where presentations will be made about tricks deployed by cybercriminals to defraud people online.

The presentations also captured measures to be taken by consumers and members of the public in order not to fall victim to fraudsters who may use telecom platforms to perpetrate fraudulent acts.

Additionally, at today’s enlightenment forum, drama, audio narratives and other attractions thematised on the centrality of vigilance, alertness and caution in cyberspace by all users, will be featured.

The programme was facilitated by a local partner who supports NCC, by mobilising critical segments of the public through opinion leaders and social groups to participate in the events, in order for them to be armed with the right information they may require to explore the Internet safely.

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This programme, coming on the heels of NCC’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (which occurred in October), and the annual National Cybersecurity Conference, which took place on 3rd November 2021, is meant to reinforce the messages of cyber awareness, cyber vigilance, and cyber smartness to telecom consumers whenever they are online.

The roadshow commenced at Ekehuan Road, and the procession drove through Airport Road, to State Secretariat, Sapele Road and through the roundabout to Ring Road, to Akpakpava, Dawson Road and back to Ugbowo and Uselu Market.

The motorcade, the music, the displays by artistes and the underlying narration of the message of the outreach in Nigerian pidgin caught the attention of residents and passers-by who patiently listened to the messages.

Information, Communication and Education (IEC) materials were also shared with the public at every neighbourhood the procession stopped to display and educate the public.

 

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Regulator, Licensee Engagement Critical To Industry Growth, Development – Danbatta

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Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has said that the “Talk to the Regulator” Forum organised by the Commission is critical to industry growth and development.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Lagos edition of the “Talk To The Regulator” Forum on Thursday in Lagos, Danbatta said interactions like this sits squarely within the five pillars of the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024).

Recall that the NCC’s five pillars of Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024) include Regulatory Excellence, Promotion of Universal Broadband Access, the Development of the Digital Economy, Facilitation of Market Development, and Strategic Partnering.

Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu stated that the forum provides the Commission with a unique opportunity to engage telecom licensees in a collaborative atmosphere which, in turn, enables a joint examination of issues that are negatively affecting licence compliance and industry growth.

“Through regular interactions with our licensees, the Commission is able to gain valuable insights to enhance our regulatory output and drive excellence in consonance with the five pillars of our strategic vision for the industry as encapsulated in the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021-2025),” the EVC said.

He noted that eventhough analysts agree that the industry has continued to show improvements in key indices such as contribution to GDP (which grew to 14.42% in Q2 2021), active internet subscriptions (which reached over 140million at the end of September, 2021), teledensity (which reached 99.98% at the end of September,
2021), and Broadband penetration (which reached 40.01% of the population at the end of September, 201), the Commission is not resting on these achievements.

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“We are very much aware that not all our licensees are doing as well as they ought to be doing. Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, several are defaulting in the payment of their Annual Operating Levies (AOL), and the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high.

“The Commission will continue to roll-out forward-looking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees. We have also committed to the constant review of our licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh our regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives,” he said.

Danbatta stated further that the industry can only achieve the national interest objectives set out in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) and other policy instruments if most of the licensees are operating at optimal strength.

“We are, therefore, keenly aware of the need to listen to our licensees and address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives,” he said.

The EVC assured that the NCC Board and Management are fully committed to take comments on Board and to make necessary adjustments where possible.

“Indeed, the Commission’s leadership restated this commitmen during our recent Board and Management Retreat, and we consider this forum a good place to demonstrate that commitment,” Danbatta said

Themed: ‘Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction’, the two-day forum had in attendance on the opening day, stakeholders in the telecommunications industry including telecoms and Internet service providers across Lagos and members of the public.

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Telecoms

NCC Extends Deadline For Submission Of 3.5GHz Bid To Next Monday

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has extended the deadline for the submission of Bids and Initial Bid Deposit for the 3.5GHz spectrum auction to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.

Recall that the Commission had earlier scheduled the submission of responses in respect of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Band auction to close on Wednesday, November 24,2021.

The NCC, however, said on Wednesday in.a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde that “due to the challenges posed to air travels as witnessed recently and considering that it may have some impact on intending bidders regarding the submission of their bids, the Commission hereby extends the deadline for submission of bids and Initial Bid Deposits (IBDs) to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.”

The statemebt however, quoted Adinde as saying that all other events as scheduled in the Information Memorandum remain unchanged.

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