Technology in Africa

  1. Nigeria Android phones 'hit hard by infected apps'

    Kunle Falayi

    BBC News, Lagos

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    One in nine Android mobile phones in Nigeria has malware-infected apps, according to mobile technology company Upstream which studied 415,000 transactions between November 2020 and January 2021.

    There were about 576 malicious apps in the country, its report said.

    Many of the apps are still active and have yet to be removed from Google Play store, it says.

    The report, which Upstream produced with its cybersecurity arm Secure D, identifies the top five apps with “suspicious behaviour” as:

    • XOS Launcher
    • HiOS Launcher
    • Phoenix Browser,
    • AHA Games and
    • Cobo Launcher Easily DIY Theme.

    On many Android phones sold in Nigeria, these apps come pre-installed. For instance, “com.android.fmradio", a radio player app is said to be responsible for 99.8 million fraudulent transactions.

    Only 2.6% of devices globally are reported to be harbouring high-risk apps, Upstream says.

    Some mobile markets are being targeted more than others by malicious actors, it says.

    The risk of fraud has increased as more businesses and individuals have been using the internet via smartphones during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the report.

    Upstream CEO Dimitris Maniatis says that digital novices in rural communities who depend on mobile phones to stay connected to the world may easily fall victim.

    Malware activities may be as simple as changing a mobile phone’s settings to something as dangerous as mining for passwords and personal information.

  2. Twitter to set up Africa HQ in Ghana

    The micro-blogging site Twitter has announced that its Africa head quarters will be in Ghana.

    Fittingly, the company's co-founder Jack Dorsey made the announcement on Twitter:

    View more on twitter

    Keeping to the theme, Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo replied on Twitter, revealing that he and Mr Dorsey had had a remote meeting last week.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

    African technology commentators may have bet on Twitter choosing Nigeria, Kenya or South Africa as all three countries have more established tech hubs.

    But Mr Dorsey said in his Twitter blog that Ghana’s recent appointment to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area "aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa".

  3. African payments company Flutterwave raises $170m

    Africa-focused payments company Flutterwave has raised $170m (£120m) from investors to expand its customer base and to develop new products.

    Flutterwave lets customers pay in their local currencies and allows people to send money from the US to a mobile money wallet, charging sellers a small service fee, which it shares with banks.

    The technology news site Tech Crunch says that this latest investment makes the company another African "unicorn" - a term for companies valued at more than $1bn.

    The success of this fundraising round is seen by some observers as the latest illustration of a growing interest in the payments market in Africa.

    In October US payments company Stripe bought Nigerian fintech business Paystack for $200m and in 2019 Visa bought a 20% stake in Nigerian payments company Interswitch, the main platform for the country’s business-to-business transactions.

    Flutterwave featured in our five tech trends to look out for in 2018.

    We predicted a gap in the payments industry may be filled because many people across Africa didn't have bank accounts, sending money via your phone had already proved a very successful alternative to cash but the problem was that there were too many different systems which did not always work with each other, meaning lots of people in Africa couldn't pay for products online.

    Find out more about Paystack:

    Video content

    Video caption: Paystack: Inside the mind of Nigerian start-up bought for $200m by Stripe
  4. Seven African countries begin drive to test for Covid-19 antibodies

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  7. Why are South Africans paying so much for their data?

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    Video caption: Data charges are 'excessive' compared with other countries on the continent

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  9. Can Africa create internet giants like Amazon or Alibaba ?

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