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FLUTTERWAVE DENIES MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGATIONS BY KENYAN AUTHORITIES

Nigerian fintech, Flutterwave, has denied allegations of money laundering leveled against it by the Kenyan Asset Recovery Agency (ARA).

It was reported earlier that a Kenyan high court froze the tech company’s accounts and those of other companies over alleged money laundering.

However, in a statement on Thursday, the company said the allegations are entirely false.

“Claims of financial improprieties involving the company in Kenya are entirely false, and we have the records to verify this. We are a financial technology company that maintains the highest regulatory standards in our operations. Our Anti-money laundering (AML) practices and operations are regularly audited by one of the big four firms. We remain pro-active in our engagements with regulatory bodies to continue to stay compliant,” said Flutterwave in a statement.

The Kenyan high court froze fifty-six bank accounts belonging to Flutterwave and other businesses connected with Nigerian nationals over money laundering allegations.

The accounts involved are in dollars, pound sterling, euros, and Kenya shillings, with a total holding of Sh7 billion ($59 million) suspected to be money laundering proceeds by foreign nationals.

On their part, ARA explained that investigations established that the bank account operations had suspicious activities where funds could be received from specific foreign entities, which raised suspicion, and the funds were then transferred to related accounts as opposed to settlement to merchants.

“Flutterwave is operating a payment service platform without authorisation from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), and there’s little to no record of transactions from customers paying for goods and services,” ARA claimed.

A full hearing is expected to come up in November 2022.

MICROSOFT RAISES ALARM OVER NEW ANDROID MALWARE

Researchers at Microsoft have warned Android users of a malware called ‘toll fraud’ that disguises as normal apps on the Google Play Store and drains users’ wallets once installed.

 Microsoft describes toll fraud malware as a subcategory of billing fraud in which malicious applications subscribe users to premium services without their knowledge or consent.

According to the company, this type of malware is said to be one of the most prevalent types of Android malware and has continued to evolve.

Toll fraud has unique behaviours compared to other subcategories of billing fraud, which include SMS and call fraud. Whereas SMS fraud or call fraud uses a simple attack flow to send messages or calls to a premium number, toll fraud has a complex multi-step attack flow that malware developers continue to improve.

Explaining how the malware operates, the researchers in a Microsoft blog said, “We saw new capabilities related to how this threat targets users of specific network operators. It performs its routines only if the device is subscribed to any of its target network operators. It also, by default, uses cellular connection for its activities and forces devices to connect to the mobile network even if a Wi-Fi connection is available.”

They added, “Once the connection to a target network is confirmed, it stealthily initiates a fraudulent subscription and confirms it without the user’s consent, in some cases even intercepting the one-time password (OTP) to do so. It then suppresses SMS notifications related to the subscription to prevent the user from becoming aware of the fraudulent transaction and unsubscribing from the service.”

ELON MUSK PULLS OUT OF TWITTER DEAL

On Friday, Musk sent a letter to Twitter saying he plans to terminate their merger agreement, claiming the company is in material breach of the deal and accusing Twitter of “false and misleading representations upon which Musk relied when entering into the merger agreement.”

According to Musk’s lawyers, he pulled out of the deal due to Twitter’s alleged failure to provide accurate information about the amount of bot and spam accounts on the platform.

Twitter has claimed that less than 5 per cent of its total accounts are bogus, but Musk has stated on numerous occasions that he believes this number to be much higher.

After agreeing to the $44 billion deal in April, Musk began intimating that he was not happy with the current state of the deal on his Twitter and in official filings, adding that he specifically doubted Twitter’s claims that only about five per cent of its accounts were spam accounts. Musk had declared that the deal was “on hold” in May.

There had been speculation that the concerns were a way to get Twitter to renegotiate the deal’s purchase price, but Twitter has been adamant that it was not budging from the agreed-upon purchase price.

Twitter board chairperson, Bret Taylor, has said the company plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement.

A breakup fee of $1 billion is what Musk would have to pay if he walked away. But the contract’s clause says that Twitter could force him to pay the $44 billion if he decides to withdraw now.

After the report went viral, Twitter’s shares slid on Thursday by about 4 per cent in after-market trades.

REPORT: B2B PAYMENTS IN AFRICA SLOWED BY HIGH TRANSACTION COSTS

According to a new report, high transaction costs and manual processes are the biggest hindrances to the growth of business-to-business (B2B payments) in Africa.

The report by Duplo, a fintech company dedicated to developing solutions for B2B transactions across Africa, explained that the challenging factors were derived from a survey conducted among more than 1,000 business owners from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt.

In the report, both challenges (high transaction costs and manual processes) dominated the list of challenges shared with a 50.5 per cent occurrence rate in respondents’ feedback (high transaction cost; 32.1 per cent, manual processes; 18.4 per cent.)

From the statistics gathered, 29.2 per cent of users of B2B platforms indicate that they will stick with service providers that ensure ease of use above all factors. About 27.7 per cent settled for reliability above all other considerations, while 18.4 per cent will opt for a service provider that guarantees high speed.

9.8 per cent picked digitised solutions as a priority, while 9.7 per cent listed affordable processing cost as a leading point of consideration. Also, 5.2 per cent of the respondents said they would rather pick B2B platforms that provided customised offerings.

The report also revealed that across Africa, bank transfers are fast becoming the most common medium for making and receiving payments between businesses, far more commonly used than cash, cheques, and mobile money together.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents chose bank transfers as one of the ways they made payments to other businesses, compared to 60 per cent for cash, 23 per cent for cheques, and 17 per cent for mobile money.

MED-DIRECT AFRICA LAUNCHES E-PHARMACY IN NIGERIA

Med-Direct Africa has introduced e-pharmacy services in the country, targeted at reducing the prices of quality drugs in Nigeria while delivering essential medical supplies with speed to the last mile nationwide.

The online pharmacy services will be available to all Nigerians irrespective of where they reside to ensure everyone can access genuine and affordable medicines online, including high-value and life-saving prescription drugs with swift delivery to their location of preference.

Med-Direct Africa’s e-pharmacy services will also oversee last-mile deliveries for donor agencies, while Nigerians in the Diaspora can take advantage of its digital platform to supply quality drugs cheaper than they can buy overseas for their relatives situated in Nigeria.

The e-pharmacy services are available via an online pharmaceutical platform, enabling customers to purchase medicines, health supplements and nutraceuticals, among other essential medical supplies, without needing to visit a physical pharmacy.

According to the company, they will pay quality attention to prescription drugs, including high-value and life-saving drugs, to ensure genuine drugs are supplied to those who need it before they exhaust what they have, no matter where they reside.

“We shall also handle last-mile deliveries for public-spirited Nigerians and Donor Agencies, while Nigerians in the Diaspora can also take advantage of our reach to supply quality drugs cheaper than they can buy overseas for their relatives. We are dealing directly with manufacturers and distributors backed with the highest level of technologies and structured analytics to deliver without fail. We are prepared,” stated the firm’s head of retail operations, Mr Ifeanyi Ogbolu.

Tech Personality of The Week

IFEOLUWA DARE-JOHNSON

Healthtracka is a digital health platform that offers health screening tests and ensures that test results are carefully reviewed, confirmed accurately by medical professionals, and made available to clients within 48 hours.

The business recently raised $1.5 million in seed funding five months after it participated in the Techstars Toronto accelerator program held in October 2021.

Since starting operations, Healthtracka has recorded huge impacts that have affected many health and finances. Ifeoluwa, who believes people should not wait until they are 40 or 50 years old before checking their health status, is making life easier with Healthtracka’s seamless health services.

In a few years, Ifeoluwa hopes to expand its operations by bringing Healthtracka’s lab to every doorstep in Africa. They operate in Nigeria, with strong partnerships established in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

Dare-Johnson revealed further that Healthtracka would launch a new line of products, including an API infrastructure for healthcare providers to offer home services to their patients.



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