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5G inevitable as experts seek more efforts on cyber attacks, awareness

By Adeyemi Adepetun
30 September 2021   |   4:06 am
With the Federal Government certain about the January 2022 formal deployment of fifth-generation (5G) network in Nigeria, experts have called for more awareness and need to ensure improved cybersecurity in the country.

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• Internet pushes world from globalisation to distributed economy
With the Federal Government certain about the January 2022 formal deployment of fifth-generation (5G) network in Nigeria, experts have called for more awareness and need to ensure improved cybersecurity in the country.

The need for more awareness and deepened security architecture are coming to the fore because certain quarters in the country are still worried, hinging apprehension on the supposed health implications of deploying 5G. Others foresee possible rise in cyber activities, especially crimes.

Gathered at the third edition of the monthly Socio-Economic and Entrepreneurship Development Series (SEEDS) webinar, organised by Prime Business Africa (PBA), with the theme, ‘Tech Disruptions and Future of African Economies’, experts said measures should be taken to sensitise the public on the benefit of 5G.

Speaking on ‘5G: Africa Development’, the Nigerian Coordinator, Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Olusola Teniola, said 5G is crucial to economic growth in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Teniola, who said the technology is about enhanced mobile broadband for greater speed, wants the society to be excited about it because of its enormous potential.

He said the inevitability of 5G is much, offering a new, improved mobile technology for end users; providing necessary upgrade of the mobile infrastructure; complementing and co-existing with 4G well into the 2030s; supporting an ecosystem creating $2.2 trillion of economic value by 2034, and becoming the next-generation enabler of the digital economy.

Teniola, a former president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said 5G will boosts ICT and trade by 15 per cent; manufacturing and utilities by 34 per cent; public services, 16 per cent; agriculture and mining, seven per cent and professional and financial services by 28 per cent.

He said there has not been any health related issues emanating from the deployment of 5G, stressing that people should downplay any conspiracy theories and focus on harnessing the potential of the technology.

Speaking on ‘Cybersecurity: Impact on FinTech’, Chief Operating Officer, Callphone Limited, Precious Chiedozie Ekezie, said COVID-19 gave rise to the perfect opportunity for cyber attacks.

Ekezie said during the beginning stages of the pandemic, many individuals were concerned and unsure of what was going on and that majority of the country had never been through anything like that, the last major pandemic being the Spanish Flu in 1918.

“This provided attacker groups with the perfect scenario to socially engineer thousands of people by leveraging social engineering techniques to spark an emotional response from the recipient,” Ekezie stated.

She said attackers deployed phishing emails; scareware; Quid Pro Quo and spoofing to attack people.

According to her, from payments and remittances to lending and wealth management, FinTech continues to change the way we live and bank. Ekezie said but by virtue of their operations, FinTech companies constitute a particularly attractive target for cybercriminals and have to take the complex challenge of cybersecurity seriously.

“They must invest as much in cybersecurity as they expend on expanding their reach and scaling their operations,” she stressed.

With possible rise in cyber breaches as 5G takes off soon, Ekezie urged fintechs to implement a good Chargeback Alerts feature in order to be ahead of any variable that’ll affect chargeback ratio.

The Callphone Limited boss, who praised fintechs for their positive disruptions, said excellent customer service would be highly essential.

Host, PBA, Dr. Marcel Mbamalu, said fintech revenue is set to hit $543 million in 2022, adding that tech has made important improvements on human communication by completing the process with instant audience feedback, making the process a full continuum rather than unidirectional.

Mbamalu said with the disruptions, the audiences have become more active, owners and shapers of media contents and firms. “Tech has redefined freedom of ownership and expression, making also difficult at times to know the boundaries. For instance, new tech affords great freedoms that are inherent in the nature of the technologies, and which often conflict with the freedom that is correlative to duty, that is responsibility. Here lies the major negative disruptive influence of tech. With citizen journalism, i-reporting, social media platforms, mainstream media (on the Internet), it is difficult to define the media, it’s ownership, cross-industry regulatory framework, and the structure/social role of media as an institution of modern civilisation.”

The keynote speaker, Founder, General Partner of Future Africa, Co-founder and former MD of Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, said there has been titanic shift from globalisation to decentralisation, stressing that people now live in a distributed global economy.

Aboyeji said the big shift is not about disruption but democratisation, where access to prosperity is not at the ambit of people but by the power of the Internet.

He disclosed that the ability to export skill is growing and boosting distributed economy, offering more opportunities through the power of the net.