A spyware traced to an Israeli intelligence firm has injected vulnerabilities into WhatsApp’s phone call function on iPhone and Android devices.
Attackers used the malicious agent to transmit private user data by calling the user and infecting the call whether or not the call was picked-up, according to the Financial Times which broke the news on Monday night.
Oftentimes, the spyware would erase incoming calls register, making it more difficult for users to detect.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook and used by more than 1.5 billion people, has advised users to immediately upgrade to its latest version which contains a new patch that fixed the vulnerability. An additional update was published on Monday.
The company first detected the problem last week and quickly addressed it with its internal infrastructure. It also notified the United States Department of Justice of the breach, Financial Times reported.
As part of urgent measures to contain the breach and prevent further theft of user data, a ‘CVE’ advisory was also released for cybersecurity experts on Monday, informing them about the devices that were worse hit.
WhatsApp did not immediately disclose the extent of damage already caused by the spyware.
“The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” WhatsApp said in a statement. “We have briefed a number of human rights organisations to share the information we can and to work with them to notify civil society.”
The Israeli-based NSO, which Financial Times identified as responsible for the attach, denied the allegations in a statement on Monday, saying it was investigating the matter.
“NSO would not, or could not, use its technology in its own right to target any person or organisation, including this individual,” it said to the Financial Times. The organisation often limits sales of its spyware, Pegasus, to state intelligence agencies.
The spyware’s capabilities are widely deemed virulent by experts. It could extract all of the data already on any targeted device, including text messages, contacts, GPS location, email, browser history.
WhatsApp has been widely popular across the world for its easy-to-use interface and and end-to-end encryption. Journalists, activists and dissidents have become comfortable with the application’s communication guarantees, and WhatsApp said the Israeli spyware did not affect the encryption functionality.
Stanbic IBTC Showcases Strong CSI Through Together4ALimb Initiative, Others
As a socially responsible organisation, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC is big on positively impacting lives within its host communities in Nigeria through its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives.
Stanbic IBTC’s CSI is hinged on three core pillars: education, health, and economic empowerment, and aims to meaningfully contribute to enhancing the wellbeing of Nigerian communities, especially at the grassroots.
One of such is the Together4ALimb initiative, where the company provides support to enhance the quality of life of children with missing limbs. Through the provision of prosthetics and educational trust funds worth millions of naira, Stanbic IBTC ensures these young people can live a normal and productive life like their counterparts.
The Organisation understands the need to make an impact in the lives of children living with missing limbs, either by birth or via accidents, and is determined to do so through its signature CSI. It is important to give these children hope for the future, and enable them see the endless possibilities for greatness in life, irrespective of societal prejudices they face owing to their circumstances, which could pose a threat to the achievement of their dreams and aspirations. The educational trust support provides a platform for young people to access quality education needed to enable them maximize their potential and become whatever they want to be.
The signature CSI comes with an awareness drive, “Together4ALimb charity walk”, which is designed to draw attention to this health challenge and hopefully garner financial and government support for survivors. The annual Together4ALimb walk has recorded over 5,000 participants since inception.
Stanbic IBTC reiterates its commitment to empowering and creating better narratives for communities in Nigeria. In 2021, the Organisation took on several value-driven charitable initiatives such as school renovations, orphanage, nursing homes and special needs centre visitations, , all targeted at empowering and enriching the lives of less privileged Nigerians.
A memorable CSI initiative taken on last year by the organization was a visit to the Ketu Special Children Centre, where the organisation presented medical and physiotherapy equipment to the facility. The donations made will go a long way to help improve the wellbeing of children living with cerebral palsy, a condition which causes other health issues like vision impairment, hearing and speech problems, and learning disabilities.
Other CSI initiatives taken on by Stanbic IBTC last year include the presentation of hospital equipment to Batagarawa Primary Health Care, Katsina; presentation of a CT Scan room and other medical facilities to Mother and Child Hospital, Kano State; the donation of medical items to Mother and Child Hospital, Ebonyi State; the commissioning of a borehole donated to the LEA Primary School FCT Abuja; renovation of the Antenatal Care Unit at General Hospital, Mushin, Lagos, as well as empowering young people via financial knowledge on the World Savings Day in various schools nationwide and mentoring sessions for students at Estate Senior Grammar School, Ilupeju, amongst others
Stanbic IBTC is focused on delivering relevant and impactful CSI projects in communities where development is most needed. In 2022, Stanbic IBTC promises to deliver more social and economic initiatives to facilitate growth and improve the welfare of the Nigerian communities, especially those in rural areas.
Future Face Africa: Ecobank Leads As 18 Models Qualify for Grand Finale in Lagos
Ecobank Nigeria says it is a proud partner of the Future Face Africa (FFA) model talent search as preparation reaches concluding phase to host the grand finale of the competition in Lagos, Nigeria. After a rigorous selection process involving physical castings in 8 African countries, as well as thousands of digital applications from all over the world, the Future Face Africa judges have selected 18 finalists who will be flown into Lagos, for a shot at turning their modelling aspirations into a reality.
The Grand Finale event will be taking place on Sunday, 30th January 2022 at Eko Hotel & Suites, where models will be competing for a chance to win a 2-year modelling contract with a top international modelling agency, as well as a $5,000 USD cash prize.
Commending the FFA project, Head Marketing and Corporate Communication, Ecobank Nigeria, Babajide Sipe said Ecobank has increasingly shown that it means well in its intent to promote Africa’s finest in lifestyle vis-a-viz giving talented young people the opportunity for global stardom and to become African Fashion Icons.
“Future Face Africa aligns with Ecobank’s commitment to providing a veritable platform for actualizing the dreams of many young talents who will participate in the competition by gracing the international stage and ultimately interested in the fashion and beauty industry”.
Future Face Africa, no doubt Africa’s largest model search competition is headed by Elizabeth Isiorho, a pioneer in the African modelling industry and the founder of Beth Model Management Africa, Africa’s largest modelling agency, and the organisation behind Future Face Africa. Over the past 17 years, Beth Model Management has served as an industry pacesetter, helping to launch the careers of dozens of internationally placed models, and has cultivated some of the best talents in the industry, such as Mayowa Nicholas and Davidson Obennebo.
Elizabeth Isiorho previously organised Elite Model Look Nigeria, but after a 2-year hiatus, re-emerged with Future Face Africa to expand her model search beyond the borders of Nigeria alone, and offer a wider range of hopefuls a chance at success.
FFA will be giving opportunities to people from various countries, backgrounds and skin tones, aiming to go beyond the buzzwords of “diversity” and “inclusivity” to create an initiative that truly celebrates the range of beauty that the industry has to offer.
FFA will be equipping selected models with the knowledge and skills to achieve international success and to have long-lasting careers in a very competitive industry. For these models, Future Face Africa will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could change their lives forever.
Nestlé Wins 2022 Top Employer Award, Promises More Safety, Wellbeing Practices
The 2022 Top Employers have been announced and Nestlé has been recognised as a Top Employer in Nigeria.
Being certified as a Top Employer showcases an organisation’s dedication to a better world of work, exhibited through excellent HR policies and people practices.
Mr. Wassim Elhusseini, MD/CEO of Nestlé Nigeria PLC says, “We are pleased with the recognition as a Top Employer 2022 and will continue to focus on the wellbeing and safety of our people who are indeed our greatest assets.”
The Top Employers Institute programme certifies organisations based on the participation and results of their HR Best Practices Survey. The survey covers six HR domains consisting of 20 topics including People Strategy, Work Environment, Talent Acquisition, Learning, Well-being, Diversity & Inclusion and more.
David Plink, CEO, Top Employers Institute says: “Reflecting on the demanding year that has, like the year before it, impacted organisations across the world, Nestlé Nigeria has continued to show that it prioritises maintaining excellent people practices in the workplace. The company continues to meet the challenges of the changing world of work while working tirelessly to make a positive impact on the lives of their workforce.
We are pleased to celebrate and applaud the organisations that have been certified as Top Employers in their respective countries this year.”