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Missed a strange call? Don’t respond

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If you woke up to several unattended calls from an unknown number, what would you do? Call back? Text? Ignore? Contact your service provider?

The fashion in which the calls come in – one-ring then drop, and with the several missed calls – creates an air of urgency about it which you have to wonder how the caller got your contact.

The urge to call back a missed call becomes irresistible. Especially when they are numerous missed calls from a strange international caller. However, to some, it makes more sense to call their service provider.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, when most people’s minds were tuned to the rhythm of love, random international callers with +243 prefixes contacted several Kenyan Safaricom subscribers, taking psychological advantage of the moment of affection.

Alan Mwenda, one of those contacted, reached out to Safaricom – the service provider, but he was advised to “share such numbers on SMS to 333 (free) for investigation and look up the “One Ring Scam.”  However, the telco is yet to share their stance.

But, what really was happening? How potential is this type of cyber security threat? Who exactly are these callers?

One ring and drop nature of the calls has been dubbed ‘Wangiri’ by America’s Federal Communications Commission report that derived it from the calls’ characteristic nature of calling and hanging up immediately, leaving a missed call notification from an international caller.

Mr Fred Wahome, vice chair of Kenya Cybersecurity and Forensic Association and an information security expert explains: “The calls are computer generated. It takes one to have an algorithm that can generate random numbers with their target telco’s prefix, say, between 070 and 079 as the instance with Safaricom, then the computer makes random calls to the unsuspecting subscribers.”

He adds, “The goal is not always to make you answer the call. It is persuading you to call back.”

Calling the fraudster would activate the exorbitant charges which then generates cash to the fraudsters. The best way to deal with such, according to him, is to ignore the allure of returning the call.

Service providers, he says, are mostly not able to track down these numbers as call data records may not have recorded them, because the computer generated algorithms make massive calls simultaneously to their subscribers.

When the victim calls back, then that would be considered as cyber fraud.

Dr Bright Mawudor, a cybersecurity expert at Internet Solutions Kenya says that the number, if at all not an algorithm, could be calling from anywhere in the world and not necessarily from Kinshasa.”

The ‘international caller’, he explains, could have purported to be calling from Kinshasa. “It could even have come from right here in Kenya. They usually change the phone dialing proxies to fool target user accounts, and make their attack plans easier to execute,” he expounds.

Vodafone, a global mobile communications provider, operating in 26 countries advises subscribers not to return international calls that they don’t recognise.

When befell by the same fate, the report also prescribes various means to ensure that would be employed to minimalise chances of the getting scammed.

Users must check out for the identity of the caller before receiving any call, even international, dismiss the temptation to answer or call back missed calls from unusual international numbers.

“You should ask your service provider to block incoming international calls on your line after any suspected attempt to breach your phone security.”

In 2017, Kenya’s digital economy lost Sh21.1 billion to cybercrime, which increased by 39.8 per cent in 2018 to Sh29.5 billion according to pan-African based cyber-security and business consultancy Serianu.

Heavy finances have been invested in cyber security infrastructure, but the menace keeps chopping off millions of shillings from companies’ profits, and stealing sensitive data from targeted senior employees.

By Nation.co.ke

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Visually impaired man with gifted hands sets sights on ‘shoe empire’

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They say, disability is not inability. All over the world, there are millions of people who have overcome physical challenges to succeed in life.

Not far from the expansive tea plantations of Kericho, one man has inspired many due to his ability to overcome odds and make the best out of every situation.

Bernard Maina Kipkorir, who lost his eyesight due to meningitis in 2007, is a fighter working his way up the ladder. Perhaps, a millionaire in the making.

Kipkorir, 38, believes in hard work and instead of sitting for hours waiting for alms by the roadside, due to his challenges, he makes shoes and sandals from cow hides.

He’s so good at his job that, without his white cane, you wouldn’t notice his blindness.

Kipkorir’s woes began in February 2007 when he started developing migraines.

When he consulted a doctor at the Kericho District Hospital, all seemed well.

“My head felt as if it was being hammered,” he says.

But after more visits to the doctor, he got admitted to the Kericho Home Nursing Hospital where he spent five months in the intensive care unit, and another two undergoing physiotherapy. It was then that he started losing his eyesight.

“I couldn’t comprehend the goings on in my body, and I even lost the sense of time,”

Kipkorir says. Having lost vision in his left eye, he began adjusting to his new life. However, the condition recurred in October 2008 and he was admitted to the Kisii Level 6 Hospital, from where he was diagnosed with meningitis.

Kipkorir was then transferred to the Kenyatta National Hospital, where he also lost vision in his right eye while receiving treatment.

“After I was discharged, my doctor referred me to the social services and protection office for counselling and help. It’s then that I opted to go back to school to learn how to live again.”

With all resources at home depleted, the officers and his family held a fundraiser to raise his college fees. He finally enrolled at the Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind in 2010.

He studied braille and learnt about independent living skills as a blind person.

New shoe designs

In 2011, he joined the shoe making department and from that year up to 2017, he progressed from Grade III to Grade I.

Kipkorir has a national grade test certificate from the National Industrial Training Authority under the Ministry of Labour. While in college, his met his love, Jackline Langat.

They have two children, Joyline Cheptoo and Jayden Kipchirchir.

“I have many challenges,” Kipkorir says. “The main one is capital to expand my business.

I need Sh120,000 to stabilise.” He also plans to go back to college to learn “the new shoe designs. It will help me boost my sales”.

His wife, Jackline, treasures her husband. “My peers ridiculed me when I married him, but I don’t think my life would have been any different or better.

He is a blessing to us; he works hard and provides for us. We never lack,” she says.

By Nation.co.ke

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Coronavirus: Terry Mungai’s statement on Ashleys’ closure

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Ashleys Hair and Beauty Academy has shut down indefinitely in a bid to avoid further spread of the deadly coronavirus disease that has, as of Tuesday, March 31, seen 59 people test positive in Kenya.

In a statement issued by the Ashleys Kenya Limited founder and CEO Terry Mungai, the academy will remain closed until the pandemic is contained.

“To our friends and partners, you have walked this journey with us, over the last 24 years, as your number one spot for all your styling and grooming needs. You have cheered us on as we have scaled the heights and we, in turn, have consistently given you the cherished personal and professional services you can only find at Ashleys.

“It is thus, with the utmost difficulty that we have chosen to take the socially-responsible decision to temporarily close down all our branches in order to fully tackle the present challenge of the Corona Virus,” read part of the statement.

She further called for unity and highlighted Kenya’s steadfast spirit as she buttressed precautionary measures to tackle the disease.

“As a nation, we have been shaken before but we have always triumphed through the times of uncertainty. We are confident with God’s help and other this nations leadership, we shall emerge victorious once again. For now, stay safe, stay at home and keep us all in your thoughts and prayers as we shall too.”

Flair By Betty

By shutting down, Ashleys has joined a list of other beauty businesses that have had to close shop due to the pandemic with the most recent being Flair By Betty.

In a statement, the Flair By Betty CEO Betty Kyallo announced the closure of the parlour assuring that her customers and staffs safety came first.

“This special communication comes in the wake of the effects of the novel of coronavirus. It is indeed a difficult time for our beautiful country, continent and the world but we pray and hope for the best in the coming days.

“I believe the health and well being of our clients and staff is supreme and should be jealously guarded. With that in mind, we have decided to suspend operations as per government guidance until we get clearance that business can continue as usual,” read part of the statement.

AFROSIRI salon

Singer Wahu on her part, instead of a complete shutdown, resolved to make adjustments.

Announcing the changes in an Instagram post, the AFROSIRI CEO encouraged clients to get lasting hairstyles that will ensure they stay at home for, at least 3 weeks, before having to visit a salon again.

“For this season, we advice all our esteemed @afrosirisalon clients to wear a hairdo that will last at least 3 weeks (21 days), and to wear short neat nails. For the next couple of weeks, we are open on Wednesday- Saturday and shall serve clients on appointment, ensuring that no more than 5 clients are in the salon at any one time.

“We have also stepped up our sterilising procedures, and ensure all clients and staff alike practice regular hand hygiene (washing and sanitizing on entry/re-entry into the salon, washing and sanitizing of hands before the commencement of service and on completion of the same. We are also serving immune-boosting teas to all our clients. Service is by appointment only to ensure that we maintain the 5 client rule,” wrote Wahu.

By SDE

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How to overcome a season of crisis

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BY GEORGE WACHIURI

A wise man once said that there is a season for everything under the sun – even when we can’t see the sun. Seasons are part of life just like day and night or winter and summer. Seasons of crisis, for instance the current Covid-19 pandemic, come to necessitate change. Crises are not permanent but the question is: How do we overcome such a season of crisis? Here are 7 tips:

1. Seasons guarantee change: A crisis can build brand new markets, remove the old and welcome the new and change the way of doing things. The change could be new innovations, bigger businesses, change of cultures, believes or behaviour change.

2. Crisis gives hope for tomorrow: When it is too dark, light is soon on its way. When you are jobless, you hope for a job soon. When temporary out of cash, you hope for hay days.

3. Nothing remain the same: Seasons come and go. Corona hit China and now China is almost certainly back on track. Seasons are very temporary. For those currently earning a percentage of their salary or no salary at all in different organisations, this is a situation that will not remain the same.

4. A Season of crisis gives incentives to plan for the future: The crisis phase come and go and we must plan for the next phase. The future is more promising than the present.

5. A Crisis Season is Transient: The beauty about it is that days and weeks are moving. Soon, the crisis season will be over. We should not panic too quickly. We need to stand still, think and innovate.

6. Never respond permanently to a temporarily problem: Suicide, for example, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. We can do better than committing suicide, giving up, or doing something that we might regret soon after the tough days are gone.

7. Keep a positive eye on opportunities brought by a crisis: See the opportunities created during a crisis and seize them if you can. Look at the bigger picture and position yourself approximately.

The author, is a leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group.

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 66 77 99 Email: diaspora@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/OptivenEnterprises/featured

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