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Fawry denies data breach
Egyptian fintech giant Fawry has denied rumours that its systems were breached.
On Friday, the company released a statement noting that a comprehensive review of its systems has shown no security breaches.
What rumours? Last Thursday, cybersecurity monitors HackManac and FalconFeeds reported that ransomware group Lockbit had added Fawry to its list of targets. Screenshots provided by both cybersecurity firms also showed that the cybercrime group had given Fawry a November 28 deadline to pay a ransom or risk having its data released to the dark web.
Image source: HackManac
Lockbit, a cybercrime group active since 2019, is considered the world’s most active ransomware group. From June 2022 to July 2023 alone, the group accounted for 28% of the total ransomware attacks—about 1,046 victims—including Pendragon LLC. More recently, the group attacked international space contractor Boeing. It’s estimated that Lockbit has extorted over $100 million from victims in the US alone.
Fawry crashes: After the threats were made public, the myFawry app, later on Thursday, crashed. The company, in its statement, claims that the crash was due to a bank run as customers rushed to withdraw funds and close their accounts.
Officials from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) also confirmed that the fintech had suffered no data breaches.
Per Fawry’s founder and CEO Ashraf Sabry, “Our systems could have been attacked and we are investigating the matter … but what is certain after reviewing the systems is that no data were hacked or withdrawn.”
Zoom out: Following the scare, Fawry’s shares dipped by 4.6% on Thursday. The fintech, yesterday, reinstated its payments app and smart wallets and promised to verify the threats published.
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MTN Nigeria blames network glitch for debt cancellation
Image source: Zikoko Memes
If any of our Nigerian readers woke up on Saturday morning to find that their BNPL airtime debts on MTN had been cleared, we have news for you: all na scam. 💀
What’s up? After several MTN users received confirmation messages that their debts on the network had been cleared, the telecoms announced that the disappearing debts were due to a system glitch.
In an official statement, the telecom said that the glitch affected balance enquiries for some subscribers. “As a result, some customers may receive error messages showing that their balances have been cleared. This is not the case and all balances will reflect accurate figures once the problem is resolved. Our engineers are currently working to ensure this. Please accept our apologies. We regret the inconvenience.”
No debts have been forgiven and all customers will have to repay.
God forgives, but companies don’t: Already, Nigerians had taken to social media to commend the telecoms for its ingenuity, with tweets like this one stating that loan apps and other telecoms should follow suit and forgive all debts. 💀
It’s unlikely that this will happen as financial institutions across the country often report huge losses in non-performing loans. In 2022, for example, Kuda Bank lost about ₦2.6 billion ($2.6 million) to non-performing loans.
Given this, Nigerians who are looking for forgiveness of any kind may have only the sky to look up to. 🤲🏾
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South African prisoners can now use computers in cells
Image source: YungNollywood
South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that prisoners who are registered students have the right to have and use computers in their cells…as long as it’s for study.
How did this happen? A prisoner, Mbalenhle Sydney Ntuli, who is serving a 20-year sentence for robbery complained that his right to education was being infringed.
Per Ntuli’s reps, he was struggling to complete a data processing course because he could not have computers in his cell where he spends most of his time. The plaintiffs argued that this contravenes Section 29 of South Africa’s Bill of Rights which provides prisoners with the right to future education.
The minister of justice and the commissioner of correctional services countered, stating that this could constitute a security threat. Per the agents, computers could be paired with modems and allow the prisoners access to the internet. SCA Judge Unterhalter, however, countered stating that the prisoners’ use of computers can not pose an additional threat. “Prisoners who have smuggled cell phones into prison already have unauthorised access to the outside world. Whatever security risk that poses is already in place,” he said.
A unanimous vote: The SCA unanimously voted that preventing the use of computers in cells is unconstitutional. The judges, however, gave conditions for use. The prisoners must be registered students; the computers must be used without modems; the computers are also subject to inspections, and breach of these rules, will lead to withdrawal of the computer. The prisoners must also provide the computers themselves as the prisons are under no obligation to bear the costs of the computers.
South Africa’s correctional services also have 12 months to revise all policies depriving prisoners of these rights.
Wrap-up: The case brings to mind the age-long argument about the purpose of punishment: retribution or rehabilitation. If convicts—who aren’t serving life sentences—are to be integrated into society, does society have a duty to ensure they’re equipped with the necessary skills to survive? Will failing to do this lead them back to a life of crime?
The Humane AI Pin: What about it?
Last week, former employees of Apple—including ex-chief technology officer Imran Chaudri and ex-director of iOS engineering Bethany Bongiorno—unveiled a wearable artificial intelligence device: the Humane AI pin.
If you’ve been on social media, you’ve probably noticed a buzz about the pin. So here’s what you need to know
Image source: TechCrunch
The Humane AI pin is a small, square device that can be clipped to clothing or other surfaces with magnets. It has a built-in camera, microphone, speaker, and laser projector. The AI Pin is controlled by a combination of voice control, touch gestures, and the laser projector. It has a small battery, and a clip-able battery booster that makes the device “last all day”.
It runs on Android OS, has a 13-megapixel camera, and comes with a phone number, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth.
The device costs $699 and will be available in the US by November 16. There’s also a $24/month fee for data, calling and texting.
What can it do? For starters, it has a laser projector that can be used to display information on a nearby surface, such as a wall or table or even your palm.
It can be used to record videos, take photos, play music, send texts,and even browse the internet for any purpose. The Pin has no apps; CEO Bongiorno states that the device is based on AI experiences that are cloud-based. This means when you ask the PIN to do anything, it automatically finds an AI service for that task.
The demo also shows that the Pin can translate speech, and respond in the same, mirroring the tone and cadence of the wearer.
Presently, the Pin has computer vision which allows it to identify objects, measure them, and even purchase them. The company is also planning to add navigational technology to it over time.
To hear Wired describe it, it’s a smartphone but more portable…and smarter. 🤷🏾♂️
Side bar: Humane AI has raised $230 million so far with investors like Open AI founder Sam Altman and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. The company is also valued at $850 million.
The bigger picture, literally: So far, there have been a few practical use cases for the Humane AI Pin, including uses for persons with disabilities. Humane’s mission for the Pin is to reduce screen dependency, and help people live in the moment, but there’s some scepticism about its use. For one, many people say it doesn’t do anything a smartphone can’t do; I personally think that it holds promise, it feels like a really helpful personal assistant that will not forget to send an email/text. What do you think?
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The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 13:50 PM WAT, November 12, 2023.
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South Africa has given its final ruling on the disbursement of funds from now-defunct crypto company Mirror Trading International (MTI). Over the past year, liquidators of the firm have petitioned the court on what exchange rate to use in the conversion of funds. Per MyBroadBand, Judge Alan Maher ruled that if MTI is an illegal scheme, then investment agreements are void ab initio. Investors can then claim using the bitcoin rate at deposit and calculate withdrawals based on the rate at extraction.
Liquidators can reclaim withdrawals from net winners and losers—those who withdrew funds and made or didn’t make profit—covering transactions six months pre-liquidation and those with undue preference. Net winners initially have no claim; liquidators can pursue a claim after reclaiming dispositions.
The judge also ruled that if the investment agreements are not void, then the value of bitcoin claims must be calculated on the date of liquidation.
- Interested in discovering how tech is driving Africa’s economic boom? Then the 2023 Africa Tech Festival is for you. With over 200+ speakers including South Africa’s minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe, the event is set for November 13–16, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa. Tickets are available here, and you can get 15% off paid passes with the code “TECHCABAL15”.
- Kwarabuild is hosting no its annual tech conference from November 10–13, 2023. The event will feature global technology organisations, educational institutions, development organisations and state offices working together for ICT, job creation and youth empowerment to bring skills, knowledge and opportunities to Nigeria’s youth. Tickets are available here.
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