New AI-powered, high-res maps to help humanitarian aid and relief agencies better assist people in need
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 9, 2019 – Facebook is working closely with key non-profit and research partners to use artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to address large-scale social, health and infrastructure challenges in sub Saharan Africa. These efforts range from rural electrification in Tanzania to vaccinating people in remote corners of Malawi.
Facebook is applying the processing muscle of its compute power, its extensive data science skills and its expertise in AI and machine learning to create the world’s most detailed and accurate maps of local populations. Facebook also partners with Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) to ensure that this effort leverages the best available administrative data for all countries involved.
The Boston-based Facebook team uses advanced computer vision and machine learning to combine satellite imagery from Digital Globe with public census data and other sources to create detailed population density maps of Africa. Using Facebook’s machine learning capabilities, Facebook started developing population density maps to provide better tools to support connectivity efforts around the world. No Facebook data has been or will be used in the project and the census and satellite data used contain no personally identifiable information.
High-resolution satellite imagery already exists for much of the world. However, prior to Facebook’s mapping project, it would have required countless hours for volunteers to comb through millions of square miles of pictures to identify which contained a tiny town or remote village.
The Facebook team used AI to solve that problem, efficiently crunching through data at a petabyte scale. For Africa alone, for example, the computer vision system examined 11.5 billion individual images to determine whether they contained a building. The team found approximately 110 million buildings in just a few days.
“Having started my career at USAID working on malaria control, I have witnessed first-hand the critical role that accurate data plays in the effectiveness of humanitarian efforts,” says Laura McGorman, a public policy manager at Facebook. “What’s exciting about projects like these that they provide an opportunity for our company to contribute to these efforts through our expertise in data and machine learning.”
In Malawi, the Missing Maps Project used these AI-powered maps to filter out the 97% of the terrain that is uninhabited. This helped to coordinate the efforts of 3,000 Red Cross volunteers in Malawi who visited roughly 100,000 houses in just three days to educate people about measles and rubella vaccines
“The maps from Facebook ensure we focus our volunteers’ time and resources on the places they’re most needed, improving the efficacy of our programs,” says Tyler Radford, executive director of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, which is part of the Missing Maps Project.
In addition to assisting the Red Cross and Missing Maps Project in Malawi, the maps have been used by aid groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap. In Tanzania, Facebook’s AI-powered maps helped kick-start efforts to bring renewable electrification to rural areas.
To understand which locations would benefit most from decentralized energy solutions, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team collaborated with the Reiner Lemoine Institut and Integration Environment and Energy to combine Facebook’s population maps with detailed data on settlement locations and structures from OpenStreetMap.
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team personnel then travelled to villages identified as high priority and conducted surveys to understand the populations’ electricity needs. The results of these surveys were provided to agencies involved in rural electrification, helping mini-grid operators choose the most appropriate locations to begin the work.
The Facebook population density maps project now aims to keep adding new continents and countries.
KnowBe4 Africa goes continental with Cyber Security Africa
KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 21, 2019- KnowBe4 Africa is proud to announce that we are partnering with Cyber Security Africa as our African distributor. KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa and offer a necessary solution to the threat of cybercrime in growing economies.
At the recent World Economic Forum in Cape Town, African business owners flagged cybersecurity as the biggest threat to a successful operation, with 94% of companies in Africa and the Middle East experiencing a cyberattack in the past year.
The distribution agreement between KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa will allow for relationship building as well as provide local support on the ground for channel partners and end users. Considering the rapid rate of digital transformation in African countries, it’s vital that employees develop a security culture that will benefit them both personally and professionally.
Cyber Security Africa was the top choice as a continental distributor and has quickly established itself as an industry-leading Value-Added Distributor with a single-minded focus – the mitigation of information security risk for their clients. They focus their attention on niche, generally complex and certainly relevant security solutions that can utilized by organisations of all sizes and sectors. Lead by Martin Britz, Cyber Security Africa prides itself on being small enough to remain agile and large enough to apply a dedicated approach to each client experience.
For this new venture, Martin is assisting in the North and Central African regions. Gayle Britz will serve as the KnowBe4 champion and care for the SADC region. She guides a highly experienced team that includes Femi Ibine in West Africa, Susan Ndungu and Gladys in East Africa along with Andrew Ajuchi in Nigeria. Together, the Cyber Security Africa team will be able to provide support to business in close to 20 countries across the continent.
Cyber Security Africa founder, Martin Britz, believes great things are on the horizon for the fledgling partnership. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our keen understanding of this ever-evolving cybersecurity industry, with all its technologies, innovations, threats and solutions, positions us as “future-proof” to clients, while maintaining availability to attend to their more immediate needs. The offering from KnowBe4 Africa is unique and it’s exciting to be able to offer local training content that will have big benefits for African businesses.”
Transforming security culture
At the heart of this partnership is an authentic desire to empower and protect the greatest assets of any business: its people. Both KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa focus on minimizing cyber risk for clients by educating their employees on how to spot threats like phishing, social engineering and training them with general information security practices. This fortifies the clients’ cybersecurity posture, saving them time and money while also drastically reducing the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.
Anna Collard, managing director of KnowBe4 Africa firmly believes in securing a human firewall and creating a culture of security awareness in the digital age. “The human factor has become very important to the security of the organisation. People need to understand that if they use technology, they have to be cognisant of the risks. Organisations can support this understanding by investing in training that’s relevant, targeted and memorable. Training that can sustainably transform the company’s security culture.”
Whether it’s an SME, a healthcare institution or even a manufacturing business, there’s no doubt that all organisations will come to understand the importance of security awareness training. We certainly know that Africa is ready to make smarter security decisions, every day.
The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Event Live in Johannesburg
The main challenge entrepreneurs are facing in Africa is not the lack of great ideas but the fear of turning ideas into reality. With unemployment in South Africa at an all time high, more and more people are trying to make their own way in the economy.
The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship events are about turning dreams into action. The series of events aims to enable digital entrepreneurship and the upcoming ‘Bitcoin Nights’ meet-up in Johannesburg on Thursday, 24 October at The Business Exchange Morningside, 150 Rivonia Road is a must-attend event for anyone interested in the digital assets space.
Business networking is the fast track to success and event sponsors such as Zcoin and OVEX believe that entrepreneurship is the way forward for South Africans. Jonathan Ovadia, Co-Founder and CEO at OVEX, a company helping to create an open, trustless and more efficient financial system says “the vision is to break down the barriers that prevent people from entering the traditional financial system. We believe that wealth-creating investment opportunities shouldn’t only be accessible to the wealthy, but should be available to all.”
The event is facilitated by the United Africa Blockchain Association (UABA), a non-profit leading blockchain education and adoption in sub-Saharan Africa. With the help of sponsors, The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Series’ goal is to provide relevant content on business and technology that helps people learn and grow professionally and personally.
The meet-ups provide a conducive environment for networking and ideas exchange, and attendees can look forward to free drinks, giveaways and prizes. Other sponsors include Divi, which makes it possible for anyone to participate in securing blockchains through their one-click masternodes, challenging the notion that you need technical expertise to participate in the blockchain ecosystem.
Centbee, a digital wallet company that believes in the power of people to create an abundant future and æternity, a new blockchain technology, designed to deliver efficiency, transparent governance and global scalability are also part of the sponsors who see huge potential in Africa and are actively championing the digital asset revolution.
The theme of the Johannesburg event focuses on the Digital Asset Economy and anyone interested in tech is welcome to attend FREE of charge and benefit from the networking opportunity and inspiring discussions. Speakers will include Adi Kaimowitz, President and CEO of Virtual Actuary, Maushami Chetty of Novate Legal; Mpho Dagada – Commisioner, 4th Industrial Revolution at the SA Presidency; and Yaliwe Soko, Chairperson at UABA.
The event aims to inspire participants to increase their appetite for entrepreneurship and get more knowledgeable about the growing trend in digital assets. Africa is a market ready to adopt new technology but lack of emphasis on digital entrepreneurship opportunities in Africa might result in missed economic opportunities for the next generation. “It’s important to encourage the youth to explore the option of entrepreneurship as a career path instead of waiting for employment opportunities which may never be available to them.
Initiatives such as the Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Series focus on creating awareness and demystifying what it means to run a digital enterprise,” said Heath Muchena, Founder of Proudly Associated, a company working with companies developing blockchain-powered technologies that have use cases focusing on emerging economy development to gain adoption across the continent.
Whether you’re a student, professional or fledgling entrepreneur, this event will provide valuable insights and an opportunity to learn, grow, network and be inspired all in one. The meet-up will be a relaxed, no-suits-or-ties sort of event so expect to learn and be entertained.
“The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Series connects up-and-coming entrepreneurs in all fields. It’s a fantastic way for those interested in tech and online businesses to build a solid support network,” said Grey Jabesi, host of the Grey Ave Podcast, Africa’s top rated podcast which focuses on survival skills for the 21st century.
By attending this FREE event, attendees will:
- Learn about new frontiers in digital innovation
- Find out how to leverage technology to broaden participation in the global digital economy
- Boost digital asset knowledge including digital asset acquisition and management
- Learn how to build a fully remote business
- Discover mentorship opportunities
- Interact with other entrepreneurs and build business networks
- Meet like-minded innovators and go-getters
- Be empowered!
Admission: FREE (Limited space so make sure you get there early.)
Date: Thursday, 24 October, 2019
Location: The Business Exchange,Block 4, 150 Rivonia Road, Morningside, Sandton, 2057 Johannesburg.
If you want to sponsor this event or for more information, contact:
Internet of Things (IoT): Kaspersky detects more than 100 million attacks on smart devices in H1 2019
Dan Demeter – Kaspersky (Image: Kaspersky)
This figure is around nine times more than the number found in H1 2018, when only around 12 million attacks were spotted originating from 69,000 IP addresses
LAGOS, Nigeria, October 16, 2019- Kaspersky honeypots networks of virtual copies of various internet connected devices and applications have detected 105 million attacks on IoT devices coming from 276,000 unique IP addresses in the first six months of the year. This figure is around nine times more than the number found in H1 2018, when only around 12 million attacks were spotted originating from 69,000 IP addresses. Capitalising on weak security of IoT products, cybercriminals are intensifying their attempts to create and monetise IoT botnets. This and other findings are a part of the ‘IoT: a malware story’ report on honeypot activity in H1 2019.
Cyberattacks on IoT devices are booming, as even though more and more people and organisations are purchasing ‘smart’ (network-connected and interactive) devices, such as routers or DVR security cameras, not everybody considers them worth protecting. Cybercriminals, however, are seeing more and more financial opportunities in exploiting such gadgets. They use networks of infected smart devices to conduct DDoS attacks or as a proxy for other types of malicious actions. To learn more about how such attacks work and how to prevent them, Kaspersky experts set up honeypots – decoy devices used to attract the attention of cybercriminals and analyse their activities.
Based on data analysis collected from honeypots, attacks on IoT devices are usually not sophisticated, but stealth-like, as users might not even notice their devices are being exploited. The malware family behind 39% of attacks – Mirai – is capable of using exploits, meaning that these botnets can slip through old, unpatched vulnerabilities to the device and control it. Another technique is password brute-forcing, which is the chosen method of the second most widespread malware family in the list – Nyadrop. Nyadrop was seen in 38.57% of attacks and often serves as a Mirai downloader. This family has been trending as one of the most active threats for a couple of years now. The third most common botnet threatening smart devices – Gafgyt with 2.12% – also uses brute-forcing.
In addition, the researchers were able to locate the regions that became sources of infection most often in H1 2019. These are China, with 30% of all attacks taking place in this country, Brazil saw 19% and this is followed by Egypt (12%). A year ago, in H1 2018 the situation was different, with Brazil leading with 28%, China being second with 14% and Japan following with 11%.
“As people become more and more surrounded by smart devices, we are witnessing how IoT attacks are intensifying. Judging by the enlarged number of attacks and criminals’ persistency, we can say that IoT is a fruitful area for attackers that use even the most primitive methods, like guessing password and login combinations. This is much easier than most people think: the most common combinations by far are usually “support/support”, followed by “admin/admin”, “default/default”. It’s quite easy to change the default password, so we urge everyone to take this simple step towards securing your smart devices” – said Dan Demeter, security researcher at Kaspersky.
To keep your devices safe, Kaspersky recommends users:
- Install updates for the firmware you use as soon as possible. Once a vulnerability is found, it can be fixed through patches within updates.
- Always change preinstalled passwords. Use complicated passwords that include both capital and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols if it’s possible.
- Reboot a device as soon as you think it’s acting strangely. It might help get rid of existing malware, but this doesn’t reduce the risk of getting another infection.
- Keep access to IoT devices restricted by a local VPN, allowing you to access them from your “home” network, instead of publicly exposing them on the internet.
Kaspersky recommends companies to take the following measures:
- Use threat data feeds to block network connections originating from malicious network addresses detected by security researchers.
- Make sure all devices software is up to date. Unpatched devices should be kept in a separate network inaccessible by unauthorised users.
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