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NCC to conduct mock auction of 5G technology December 10

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The Nigeria Communication Commission NCC, has set December 10, 2021, to conduct a mock auction of the 5G Technology, explaining that the technology would turn Nigeria into a big global economics and technological competitor.

Speaking during a Capacity Building for Media Practitioners, in Kano, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Garba Umar Dambatta, said, Nigeria’s promising 5G plan has the objectives of ensuring efficient assignment of spectrum for 5G deployment, creating an enabling environment for investment in the telecom industry, ensuring effective deployment of 5G to cover major urban cities by 2025, among others.

He said in line with the objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2025 for a Digital Nigeria, and the positioning of Nigeria as an early adopter of digital technology in the growing global digital economy, the successful and timely deployment of 5G is crucial.

“In view of its characteristics such as enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable low latency and speed, 5G is expected to facilitate several emerging technologies, including Internet of Things, Machine-to-Machine communication, among others.”

Professor Dambatta hinted that it is expected that the roll-out of the 5G will be carried out in phases beginning with major cities in the country where there is need for high-quality broadband.

“You will recall that, the Commission commenced the process for the auction of the 5G spectrum in the last quarter of the year and had, since then, carried out the following activities with the following important timelines”

The Executive Vice Chairman added that by October 7, 2021, the Commission had exposed the Draft Information Memorandum (IM) on the auction of the 5G spectrum on its website (www.ncc.gov.ng) and issued a public notice in major channels, including print, electronic and broadcast media.

“Comments on the draft IM were received by the Commission up until October 28, 2021. The IM is a document that defines the process for the licensing of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band by the Nigerian Communications Commission (the Commission).”

He said on November 3, 2021, the Commission held a stakeholders’ engagement forum in Lagos at which comments received from a broad segment of stakeholders, including the major operators, were exhaustively discussed and considered.

Adding that by November 10, 2021, the Commission published the Final IM, and Stakeholders’ comments thereon on its website and the national dailies, and set the deadline for the submission of bids on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

Professor Dambatta said as a responsive regulator, and following concerns expressed by industry stakeholders and potential bidders for the 5G Spectrum, including MTN, about the possibility of meeting the deadline in light of the flight disruptions, and relying on the provision of the IM, the Commission announced an extension of the deadline from Wednesday, November 24, 2021 to Monday, November 29, 2021.

On December 1, 2021, the Commission announced that at the close of the bid submission date of November 29, 2021, three companies, namely MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd and Airtel Networks Ltd had successfully submitted their bids in line with the requirements of the IM.

On Friday, December 10, the Commission will carry out the Mock Auction of the 5G in preparation for the Main Auction, which will take place on Monday, December 13, 2021 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

He added that it is expected that the two slots to be auctioned will be picked up by successful bidders at the end of the auction on Monday, December 13, and following that, the stage will be set for the next phase of 5G roll-out commencing in 2022.

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NCC warns Nigerians on two new ways hackers steal information through phone charging, Facebook

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The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Cyber Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has independently identified two cyber vulnerabilities and advised Nigerian telecom consumers on the measures to be taken to get protected from the cyber-attacks.

The CSIRT, in its first-ever security advisories less than three months after its creation, has solely identified the two cyber-attacks targeting the consumers and proffer solutions that can help telecom consumers from falling victims to the two cyber vulnerabilities.

The first is described as Juice Jacking, which can gain access into consumers’ devices when charging mobile phones at public charging stations and it applies to all mobile phones. The other is a Facebook for Android Friend Acceptance Vulnerability, which targets only Android Operating System.

According to CSIRT security Advisory 0001 released on January 26, 2022, with Juice Jacking, attackers have found a new way to gain unauthorized entry into unsuspecting mobile phone users’ devices when they charge their mobile phones at public charging stations.

Many public spaces, restaurants, malls and even in the public trains do offer complementary services to their customers in a bid to enhance customer services, one of which is providing charging ports or sockets.

However, an attacker can leverage this courtesy to load a payload in the charging station or on the cables they would leave plugged in at the stations.

Once unsuspecting persons plug their phones at the charging station or the cable left by the attacker, the payload is automatically downloaded on the victims’ phone. This payload then gives the attacker remote access to the mobile phone, allowing them to monitor data transmitted as text, or audio using the microphone.

The attacker can even watch the victim in real time if the victims’ camera is not covered. The attacker is also given full access to the gallery and also to the phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) location.

When an attacker gains access to a user’s Mobile phone, he gets remote access to the User’s phone which leads to breach in Confidentiality, Violation of Data Integrity and bypass of Authentication Mechanisms. Symptoms of attack may include sudden spike in battery consumption, device operating slower than usual, apps taking a long time to load, and when they load they crash frequently and cause abnormal data usage.

The NCC-CSIRT, however, proffered solutions to this attack to include using ‘charging only USB cable’, to avoid Universal Serial Bus (USB) data connection; using one’s AC charging adaptor in public space; and not granting trust to portable devices prompt for USB data connection.

Other preventive measures against Juice Jacking include installing Antivirus and updating them to the latest definitions always; keeping mobile devices up to date with the latest patches; using one’s own power bank; keeping mobile phone off when charging in public places; as well as ensuring use of one’s own charger, if one must charge in public.

On the other hand, the NCC-CSIRT Advisory 0001 of January 27, 2022, warns that Facebook for Android is vulnerable to a permission issue which gives privilege to anyone with physical access to the android device to accept friend requests without unlocking the phone. The products affected include Versions 329.0.0.29.120 of Android OS.

With this, the attacker will be able to add the victim as a friend and collect personal information of the victim, such as Email, Date of Birth, Check-ins, Mobile phone number, Address, Pictures and other information that the victim may have shared, which would only be visible to his/her friends.

However, to be protected from the Facebook-associated vulnerability, NCC-CSIRT in the security advisory recommends to users to disable the feature from their device’s lock screen notification settings.

The NCC-CSIRT was inaugurated in October, 2021 to provide guidance and direction for the constituents in dealing with issues relating to the security of critical infrastructure in their possession, and periodically assess, review and collate the threat landscape, risks, and opportunities affecting the communications sector, in order to provide advice to relevant stakeholders in those regards.

As the telecoms-industry specific intervention, the objective of which aligns with the objective of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) document published by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the NCC-CSIRT ensures continuous improvement of processes and communication frameworks to guarantee secure and collaborative exchange of timely information while responding to cyber threats within the sector.

In recent times, NCC-CSIRT has raised a series of cyber-vulnerability awareness based on security advisories it receives from the Nigerian Cybersecurity Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), which is the national body for the implementation of the NCPS objective. However, Juice Jacking and Facebook for Android Friend Acceptance Vulnerabilities are the two first-ever cyber vulnerabilities published by the NCC-CSIRT.

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Pantami: Nigeria’s digital economy will soon be among world’s best

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The Cable Report

Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, says Nigeria’s digital economy will soon be ranked among the best in the world.

Pantami said this on Tuesday at the second national conference of the School of Science and Technology (SOST) at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi.

He said the theme of the conference, ‘The Role of Science, Technology and Innovations in a Digital Economy: Towards Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, was timely in relation to the objective of digital economy.

“It is quite important because our nation Nigeria is at a point where it is evolving into one of the nations that will in the next couple of years be regarded as one of the leading digital economies in the world,” NAN quoted Pantami as saying.Advertisement

“This is the desire of the ministry and President Muhammadu Buhari that all agencies under the ministry of communications and digital economy, private sector and stakeholder companies are working towards Nigeria’s digital economy.

“Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are seen as the main enablers of realising some, if not all, of SDGs such as ending hunger through agrictech, no poverty through ICT, good health, among others.”

Represented by Muhammad Abubakar, managing director of Galaxy Backbone Plc, the minister defined digital economy as economic activity resulting from billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data and processes.Advertisement

He said the country’s digital economy is taking shape and undermining conventional notions about how businesses are structured, how firms interact and how consumers obtain services, information and goods.

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Nigerians are safe with 5G network – FG clarifies

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The Executive Vice Chairman of the National Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta on Monday in Abuja again clarified that Nigerians are safe with the introduction of the Fifth Generation Network, otherwise known as 5G network.

This was even as he also disclosed that with the launch of Computer Incidence Response Team, telecommunications network across the country are secured against any form of cyber attack.

The Senate had in May 2020 directed the federal government to suspend the planned deployment of the 5G network in the country following the fears that it would constitute health hazards to human lives.

Resolution of the upper legislative chamber followed a motion sponsored by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central), who in her lead debate said there were growing concerns on the ongoing discussion about the current status of 5G network in Nigeria, especially in regards to the question, “if Nigeria is presently connected to 5G.”

But the NCC boss, while appearing before the National Assembly joint Committee on Communications to defend his commission’s 2022 budget proposal, maintained that there’s no any harm associated with the new technology.

“Concerning the fear about the 5G spectrum, we share the same concern because it is justify and we have been sensitizing Nigerians about the safety of the new technology. The 5G network we are going to launch has no harm.”

“Up till date, there is no credible evidence about the health hazard of the 5G technology, therefore it is safe,” he stressed.

According to him, the 5G Spectrum network is good for the economy and the nation’s social transformation.

On the 2022 budget, the NCC boss gave a total of N632.39billion proposal as revenue generation by the commission, explaining that the revenue would be realised through the sale of network and fines, among others.

For the commission’s main budget, a sum of N86.2billion is proposed for recurrent expenditures, N29.36billion for capital while N2.55billion is earmarked for special projects.

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