WayForward@ITREALMS

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ICT: Shaky start, glorious ending (2)

Enhances Voice SMS & Mobile Lite:
Also, during the year under review, the Second National Operator (SNO) Globacom, enhanced its Voice Short Messaging Service (Voice-SMS) with additional five new features, namely ‘Save, Replay, Forward, Group Messaging and Reply,’ while the validity for each Voice-SMS allows for messages to be held until after 10 days within which the recipient could still listen to them.

MTN Nigeria on the other hand launched its Mobile Lite in the six geo-political zones of the country. Mobile Lite is a mobile assistance centres, which the operator said is to take customer care to another level. Just as MTN currently has about 2000 Connect Stores, and had plans to raise the figure to 6000 by next year.

Fraudulent promos, sites worry operators:
Operators of telecommunications across the networks in the country in 2009 expressed worries over the sudden large amount of fraudulent websites and promotions as well as the use of their trademarks for fraudulent purposes by scrupulous people.

Leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom raised alarm over the usage of their concluded promos or even the on-going ones to engage subscribers fraudulently.

Alerting telecom users on its network on the fake promo website, Globacom officials on the activities of fraudsters who are exploring both concluded Glo Win n Rule promo to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians.

Then Executive Director, Legal Services at Globacom, Mrs. Gladys Talabi had said the unscrupulous persons have designed a fake website, www.glowinners.com to defraud un-suspecting innocent Nigerians.

“What they do is to send SMS to innocent subscribers informing them that they have won huge sums of money in the ongoing Glo Win & Rule promo. They then ask the subscriber to call a number or go to the promo website to provide detailed information required to claim their prizes,” Mrs. Talabi said.

According to her, such information may then form the pool of resources which the swindlers could use to exploit the innocent subscribers, explaining that on the fake website, the scammers wrote: ‘’If you have received a message from our SMS Gateway as one of the promo winners, you are requested to verify your code here.”

Hence, officials of the telecom company disassociated Globacom from the website, promising that it would work with relevant government agencies to combat the menace of cyber crime.

“Apart from this, when subscribers are called to inform them of their winning, they are directed to go to Globacom office nearest to them, where they meet Glo staff openly to verify their ownership of the line and to confirm their identity only. Besides this, no other personal information is requested,” Mrs. Talabi stressed.

MTN warns ...
In a related development, MTN Nigeria said it does not use Short Messaging Services (SMS) to call up winners, insisting that subscribers who won in any of its promos are called like Globacom, to inform of their win and directed to approach any of its Friendship Centres nationwide, which are painted in the company’s colours.

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade, accompanied by the Corporate Services Executive, Mr. Wale Goodluck, at a recent media parley, warned Nigerian subscribers on the network to be wary of fraudulent promotions being perpetuated by a few Nigerians, insisting that MTN does not have any promo tagged ‘Yello Hunt’ for now.

Akingbade also said MTN concluded its successful Treasure Hunt last February and subscribers needed to be warned because the operator has never used SMS to notify any winner in its promo, but maintained that any campaign by MTN is carried out to compensate loyal customers and prizes presented publicly.

He insisted that MTN has no reason whatsoever to demand sending of recharge cards for winners to redeem their prizes. “Nigerians must be wary of what scammers are doing. MTN runs promos to reward customers and when people win, we call them and not via text messages,” he asserted, stressing that the subscribers must ignore any such SMS even if the scammers use his name or the names of any of MTN’s management staff as the sender.

Malaysia hosts IMPACT:
At the international level, the global headquarters of the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) was inaugurated in Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to house the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) currently presided over by Mr. Mohd Noor Amin.

GCA is an international framework for cooperation aimed at finding strategic solutions to boost confidence and security in an increasingly networked information society, spearheaded by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The IMPACT headquarters was inaugurated by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, who is also chairman of IMPACT’s International Advisory Board, and ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun TourĂ©.

IMPACT is the world’s first global public-private initiative against cyber-threats. This collaboration between ITU and IMPACT provides ITU’s 191 members states with the expertise, facilities, real-time information, and rapid access to resources to effectively address the world’s most serious cyber-threats. It will also provide training and skills development on the technical, legal and policy aspects of cybersecurity.

Global issue deserves global approach:

For the ITU chief scribe, Dr. Hamadoun Touré, cybersecurity is one of the most critical issues of this century, thus it is a global issue, demanding a truly global approach.

“And it is therefore gratifying to see - and to be part of - this growing coalition against cyber-threats worldwide. The collaboration with IMPACT complements our efforts in strengthening cybersecurity and we look forward to expanding the cooperation between governments, the private sector and educational institutions,” he said.

Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU, Mr. Sanjay Acharya, informed that while the GCA will be housed at the IMPACT Centre, ITU will have a ‘virtual showcase’ in Geneva of the early warning system, crisis management and real-time analysis of global cyber threats.

“IMPACT initiatives, such as the Global Response Centre as well as training and skills development, security assurance, research, and international cooperation will be conducted under the auspices of the GCA,” he said.

On top of this, ITU said its Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) will facilitate the deployment of IMPACT services, such as the Global Response Centre (GRC), which aims at providing state-of-the-art cybersecurity capabilities for ITU member states to strengthen network security worldwide.

The first phase of physical deployment he said was launched in some 20 countries with further deployment in 50 countries expected this year.

Mr. Amin had noted that they were proud to announce that IMPACT’s operations have progressed positively since the inception of the board. “From 27 member countries during our launch in May 2008, the collaboration with ITU now allows the 191 ITU member states access to IMPACT’s facilities and enhanced international cooperation,” he said.

ADIPENG’09
For the first time ever, the hardware interest group in the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN) in collaboration with the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), held an international conference at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja in April 2009.

ITAN President, Dr Jimson Olufuye, while disclosing this said a delegation from WITSA led by its chairman, Mr. Dato’ Dan E. Khoo lead a team at the three-day meeting holding at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja between April 21-23, with theme: Advancing the Dynamics of ICT Policy Engineering for e-Government (ADIPENG-09).

He also said that the essence was to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Nigeria as part of nation’s benefit of its membership, inaugurate the WITSA/ITAN/NCS Government Advisory Group.

Accompanied then by the Regional Director, D-Link, Mr. Chris Uwaje, Mr. Olufuye noted that a handful of state governments, business entities and the Federal Government have IT policies, and there is no doubt that these policies needed to be taken to the next level for better government service delivery on the e-platform for the people and for effective governance across the government and organisations.

According to him, it was an opportunity for states, local government and entities without an ICT policy to adapt better practices for a leapfrog experience, stressing that the international meeting would focus on ICT policy decision makers across all levels of government in the country.

Omatek-GICT brands 1000 teachers:
This came as the Ogun State government-owned Gateway ICT Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Omatek Ventures Distribution Limited, a subsidiary of Omatek Ventures Plc as part of the state government’s strategies to boost the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in its domain.

Head, ICT and Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Soji Akin-Bankole, said at the ceremony that the MOU marks a turning point in ICT development in Ogun State, pointing out that Omatek, has already entrenched itself in Ogun State and is recognized already by virtue of its wide distribution system to engender easy and convenient computer acquisition by all and sundry in the state.

Omatek, he said, would bring into the deal its competence in quality production cum after sales services, while GICT would act as the exclusive distributor of the co-branded Omatek-GICT laptops, desktops as well as other Omatek products in Ogun State, to over 1,000 teachers in the state.

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