A low-cost Internet Service Provider (ISP) has now deployed over 120 access points in the Kawangware and Kibera slum areas of Nairobi. Many of these points are installed at schools, clinics and other community locations covering an area that is home to around one million low-income residents, of which approximately 200,000 are smartphone users. poa!’s service provides unlimited internet plans to the surrounding residents, offering them access from just Ksh 10 per hour or Ksh 50 per day, instead of the traditional data bundle pricing that charges people per Megabyte (MB).
Poa! Internet’s unique business model, which the firm calls ‘community Internet’, has achieved monumental revenue growth of over 400% since the beginning of 2017. This in comparison to an industry average revenue growth of just 12% for the country’s other ISPs, according to Communication Authority.
In this short space of time, Poa! has already connected over 21,000 subscribers, many of whom could never have previously afforded to access the internet in any meaningful way.
“Our business model has been structured in a completely novel way to open up real Internet access to low-income subscribers,” said Andy Halsall, the Chief Executive Officer at Poa! Internet. “Our mission from the outset was to move the country’s lowest income communities online, comprehensively and pervasively.”
Some 53% of the Poa!’s subscribers currently buy the 1-hour data plan for Ksh 10 an hour while 45% buy the Poa! daily 24-hour plan for just Ksh 50.
“We also believe that by offering completely unlimited internet within these communities, we open new possibilities in the local institutions that are hosting our hotspots in accessing teaching materials and online research, communicating with patients, and providing online medical services, and new business opportunities for surrounding residents.”
According to the management, close to 99% of all Poa! customers access the internet through mobile devices, attributed to the subsidised prices for smartphones in Kenya, which has seen the country achieve one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world.
In addition, the ISP has also created jobs for over 60 people from Kibera and Kawangware so far.
“Our model also focuses on employing people from these same areas to create new jobs as well, in areas where unemployment currently stands at 50 % or more,’’ said Andy.
Poa! Internet also provides connections to local businesses such as cyber cafés and movie shops therefore generating more jobs again by enabling expansion of the local economy.
“I have been able to receive a minimum of 50 clients a day as compared to the 10 I used to get when using a modem from another Internet provider,” said Alfred Ouma, who owns a cyber café at Zabibu Community Centre, in Olympic, Kibera.
Their internet is Wifi-based.
Malware sneaks into Google Play
It poses improved ability to bypass Google Play’s protection mechanisms, according to ESET
ESET, a leading global cyber security company, has discovered another set of malicious apps in the official Android app store.
Detected by ESET security systems as Android/TrojanDropper.Agent.BKY, the eight apps form a new family of legitimate-looking, multi-stage Android malware, and with delayed onset of malicious activity.
Eset has since notified Google’s security team about the issue. Google has removed all eight apps from its store; users with Google Play Protect enabled are protected via this mechanism.
Figure 1 – Six of the multi-stage downloaders discovered on Google Play
None of the apps, that have advanced anti-detection features had reached more than a few hundred downloads. The malware samples all employed a multi-stage architecture and encryption to stay under the radar. After being downloaded and installed, the apps tended not to request any suspicious permissions and even mimic the activity the user expects them to exhibit.
Along with this, the malicious app also decrypts and executes its first-stage payload which in turn decrypts and executes the second-stage payload, which was then stored in the assets of the initial app downloaded from Google Play. The steps remained invisible to the user and served as obfuscatory measures.
Figure 2 – Execution model of Android/TrojanDropper.Agent.BKY
The second-stage payload contained a hardcoded URL, from which it downloaded another malicious app (that is, the third-stage payload) without the victim’s knowledge. After a pre-defined delay of approximately five minutes, the user was then prompted to install the downloaded app.
The app downloaded by the second-stage payload, disguised as well-known software like Adobe Flash Player or as something legitimate-sounding yet completely fictional – for example “Android Update” or “Adobe Update”. In any case, the app’s purpose was to drop the final payload and obtain all the permissions that payload needed for its malicious actions.
Once installed and having the requested permissions granted, the malicious app serving as the third-stage payload decrypted and executed the fourth-stage – and final – payload.
In all the cases investigated by ESET, the final payload was a mobile banking trojan. Once installed, it behaved like a typical malicious app of this kind: with potential to present the user with fake login forms to steal credentials or credit card details.
One of the malicious apps downloaded its final payload using the bit.ly URL shortener. Thanks to this, ESET was able to obtain download stats: as of November 14, 2017, the link had been used almost 3000 times with the vast majority of hits coming from the Netherlands.
Figure 4 – Download stats for the final payload of one of the malicious apps, as of November 14, 2017
How to get rid of it
If you’ve downloaded any of these apps, you need to (i) deactivate admin rights for the installed payload, (ii) uninstall the surreptitiously-installed payload and (iii) uninstall the app downloaded from the Play Store.
To deactivate admin rights for the installed payload, go to Settings > (General) > Security > Device administrators and search for Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Update or Android Update.
To uninstall the installed payload, go to Settings > (General) > Application manager/Apps and search for the particular apps (Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Update or Android Update) to uninstall them.
To uninstall the malicious app downloaded from the Play store, go to Settings > (General) > Application manager/Apps and search for apps going by the following names: MEX Tools, Clear Android, Cleaner for Android, World News, WORLD NEWS, World News PRO.
Note that the settings structure may vary slightly depending on Android version.
How to stay protected
Unfortunately, multi-stage downloaders, with their improved obfuscation features, have a better chance of sneaking into official app stores than common Android malware does. Users who want to stay protected should not rely fully on the stores’ protections; instead, it’s crucial for users to check app ratings and comments, pay attention to what permissions they grant to apps, and run a quality security solution on their mobile devices.
3 features that set iPhone 8 apart
Redington Kenya Ltd – Telecom Distribution has launched iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in Kenya, which is said to be packed with unique innovations that improve user experience.
With the most Advanced Mobile Operating System iOS 11, the new iPhone features a new glass and aluminum design in three colours made out of strong glass, Retina HD displays with True Tone technology.
The camera gets even better with single and dual cameras featuring Portrait Lighting on iPhone 8 Plus, and wireless charging bringing a powerful new capability to the iPhone.
“Due to high demand in innovation and intelligence in smartphone technology, iPhones 8 and 8 Plus come in new colours, featuring new Retina HD displays and A11 Bionic chip, and is designed for the ultimate augmented reality experience that are precision engineered to resist water and dust” said Mr Sajan Thomas, Reginal Business Head EAST Africa Redington
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus introduce a sleek glass back design in three new finishes: space grey, silver and gold. The glass finish is made using a seven-layer color process for precise hue and opacity, delivering a rich depth of color with a color-matched aerospace-grade aluminum bezel.
“Free 10GB data bundle will be offered to those who purchase the iPhone 8 or 8 plus for a week while stocks last. Both phones will be available in stores starting on Friday 10th of November 2017 and will range from $1300 and $1450 respectively.” Added Mr. Sajan.
The Elite Digital Solutions store have put in place a payment plan for easier purchase of the iPhone 8 and 8 plus countrywide.
“For the first time ever, Elite Digital, Apple Premium Reseller will launch an EMI scheme for the new iPhones 8 and 8 Plus from as low as KSHs 9,950 per month. For orders made in the first week after launch, During the first week Elite will also provide FREE starter kit (Belkin wireless charger + iPhone compatible case +tempered glass)” said Ms. Aazra Kurii, Corporate Sales & Marketing, Elite Digital Solutions.
The Launch took place at The Elite Digital Solutions store at Sarit Center and Safaricom shop Westgate Mall in Westlands.
Hail the Huawei Y7 Prime!
Its features are a huge improvement – better camera, better security, faster operating system and enhanced capabilities, among others
As mobile technology evolves, user experience gets refined. Anyone using a newer version of the phone they had will confirm that indeed things only keep getting better with time.
This realisation comes when one gets up, close and intimate with the Y7 Prime. For those who have had a fairly long dalliance with the Huawei brand, including ownership and interaction with a couple of models within the same range of the stable, they will no doubt agree that indeed, things are getting better. It keeps evolving.
The Huawei Y7 Prime was officially launched globally in July this year; and in Kenya in September. Its features are a huge improvement – better camera, better security, faster operating system, enhanced capabilities, among others.
The Huawei Y7 Prime comes with a 5.5-inch screen with HD 720, 4,000mAH battery capacity with intelligent power-saving technology for longer use, even with the advanced and faster latest android 7.0 operating system; fingerprint scanner for better security and 12MP rear camera for quality photography.
The phone has a 5.5” display, for better viewing experience. Its curved, natural rounded corners, 2.5D beautiful arcs, make the device lie more naturally in the user’s hand. This makes using it a pleasurable experience.
Then there is the enhanced battery life. With its 4,000mAH battery capacity, intelligent and longer use is possible. A Y7 Prime user can never be that person who walk into a place and begin scouting for a power source. With our lives literally running from the palms of our hands today, it is critical that the phone is up and running for as long as it is possible. Only a long battery life will ensure that we stay in touch with the rest of the world, carry out all manner of financial transactions, and generally stay alive.
The Huawei Y7 Prime is faster, thanks to the more advanced android 7.0 operating system, based on the latest technology. When a phone’s fast operating system meets telcos’ 4G network, the experience can only be unbeatable. Of what use if fast mobile network if the phone’s system is sluggish?
The camera is perhaps one of the most central features of a phone. In many cases, it is the first thing an admirer of a new phone is likely to inquire about. The Y7 Prime has a 12MP rear camera and 1.25μm pixels. This delivers clear pictures of moments and experiences, and even photography in low light conditions is no longer a problem.
When all is said and done, we all want proper security for our phones. It is personal space after all. The content saved in there, the conversations in it, the access to our financial life and all other aspects of the phone need are a closely guarded affair. The Huawei Y7 Prime is packed with a fingerprint scanner for better security. Scientists say that fingerprints are unique to individuals.
In a nutshell, the Huawei Y7 Prime is the phone of today and the future. It is packed with the features and capabilities to enable a device user to get the most out of it.
Digital payment system makes life better for Nairobi residents
eJijiPAY, Nairobi’s electronic payments platform has improved the quality of life of Nairobi County citizens. Its seamless processes has not only increased compliance but also resulted in increased revenue collection by the county.
The eJijiPAY platform, launched in 2014, automates payments for parking, business licenses, land rates, rent, traders market fees, construction permits and health permits among other fees. Just recently, some other revenue streams such as morgue fees, off-street parking, and cess payments were automated as well.
“I am grateful for eJijiPAY,” says Miss Caroline Ogutu, who owns a Salon in Umoja. “The hustle of renewing my trade license is now a thing of the past. It took me less than 10 minutes to get provisional business permit this year. This exercise previously took me almost a month.”
The digital payment platform enables users to pay through mobile, web, banks and a network of over 10,000 JamboPay agents across the county. More than 2.5 million Nairobi citizens use the system daily. The convenience the system provides is what has resulted in its increased uptake over the years.
“I always pay for parking long before I get to CBD. Either while in traffic jams or when leaving my house, reason, I discovered you can pay online anytime anywhere, says Mr Kibuchi Mwai, a motorist who uses the service.
Nairobi is the first City in Africa to roll out a complete unaided cashless payment platform and Nairobi City County has won awards such as the CIO 100.
JamboPay says it has made several improvements on the system to stabilise it. Earlier this year, says Mr Danson Muchemi, the CEO and founder, the company acquired Nutanix, which has tremendously reduced downtime.
“We are continuously working to make it as seamless as possible,” said Mr Muchemi. “Our vision for JamboPay is not only to be the go-to app for payments, but also a universal digital wallet that helps consumers spend wherever and however they want to pay, regardless of device,” adds Muchemi.
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