Mobile Trojans steal users’ money through WAP-billing services

Mobile Trojan clickers that are stealing money from Android users through WAP-billing have been discovered by Kaspersky Lab researchers. The trend is becoming common with thousands of affected users in different countries across the globe.

Mobile TrojanWireless Application Protocol (WAP) billing has been widely used by mobile network operators for paid services and subscriptions for many years. This form of mobile payment charges costs directly to the user’s mobile phone bill, without the need for bank card registration or a sign-up process. A user is usually redirected to a different web page via a button and offered a range of additional services.

By clicking on it, the user activates a subscription, and his mobile account is charged. In this current threat scenario, all of these actions can be easily implemented by a Trojan, which performs in secret and clicks on every page by itself. In addition, a simple registration of domains in a mobile operator’s billing system, allows fraudsters to relatively easy connect their website to a WAP-billing service. As a result, money from a victim’s account flows directly to the hackers’ accounts.

“We haven’t seen these types of Trojans for a while. The fact that they have become so popular lately might indicate that cybercriminals have started to use other verified techniques, such as WAP-billing, to exploit users. Moreover, a premium rate SMS Trojan is more difficult to create. It is also interesting that malware has targeted mainly Russia and India, which could be connected to the state of their internal, local telecoms markets. However, we have also detected the Trojans in South Africa and Egypt”, says Roman Unuchek, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

Read more

Innovations reboot Africa

Image result for mobile in africaTechnology in the last two decades had revolutionised the whole of industrial segment. A look back reveals the incredible story of what was once treated as a threat to workforce has now taken the centre stage globally.  Technology has integrated itself to industry and people in no time. Started with email becoming popular in the 90’s, followed by telecom- from a stationed equipment on the desk, it swiftly and silently revamped the telecom with pagers and now to mobiles. It didn’t stop there; use of robots in industry, followed by automation and with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) now to unmanned remote controlled drones, the technology is ever changing.

As mobile has become a standard feature and accessible to all classes of people, the efforts are made in developing mobile based industry applications. Automation and mobile applications have enabled industrial segments to simplify the process and made access it from anywhere in the world.

Technology adaptations central to Africa’s future
The story is no different in Africa, a continent which was written off by many of the developed countries a decade ago is not too far behind in technology adaptations. While the other parts of the globe witnessed step by step advancements, Africa was fortunate enough to bypass several steps and get the matured applications. All thanks to the delays in reaching Africa.

Kenya’s Co-op Bank mobile app loans hit Sh8.7 billion

Co-operative Bank says the number of mobile loans it is processing daily doubled in the past year to 1,000 bids in the period to June 2017, highlighting Kenya’s growing uptake of mobile-based lending.

Image result for mobile banking coop bankThe lender attributed this to the ease and convenience of getting credit via the M-Co-op Cash mobile app that has seen the average loan size on the platform grow to Sh19,000 from Sh12,800 in the half-year to June 2016.

Co-op Bank group chief executive Gideon Muriuki said it has so far issued cumulative loans worth Sh8.7 billion through the M-Co-op Cash platform since launch of the app in August 2014.

“The mobile loans are both affordable and delivery is real-time, and accessible via mobile phones,” said Mr Muriuki in an interview.

“We are focused primarily on offering advances for our salaried customers and top-up loans for our business customers with other loan facilities.”

M-Co-op Cash disburses loans of between Sh100 and Sh200,000 repayable within a month, and is available across all mobile money platforms such as M-Pesa and Airtel Money.

Read more

Facebook’s Free Basics app fails at digital equality?

Image result for Free Basics appIn Africa, internet costs are out of reach for most, thus having the internet at a low cost or partially free to access basic vital information is important. Free Basics – a mobile app created by Facebook – has since its 2015 launch been hailed by the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as the “first step towards digital equality” due to its audacious plan to “introduce” millions of people to the internet, many of whom live in developing countries such as Kenya and Ghana.

Facebook claims to be bridging this gap by providing mobile phone users in developing countries with an app that gives them access to a few online services, among them Facebook. This is not the whole internet – it does not allow users to click links or load videos – but it is something.

But while Free Basics may be “free” in terms of money, it comes at another cost that Facebook is loathe to acknowledge, despite concerns raised by digital rights experts and activists. The app gives users access to only a tiny set of services, a clear violation of net neutrality. And it collects data about users and their activities on the app, without telling them how this data will be used.

Despite Facebook’s marketing campaigns, which depict Free Basics as a bridge to the information age, we found a stark difference between what the service is lauded for (mostly by Facebook itself) and how it actually works.

The app shows a lack of understanding of local nuances and needs, bears significant shortcomings in its features, and collects ample data about its users. Read more