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Stop posting confidential details online, experts urge women


“In so many spheres, women are still the minority especially in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics STEM"

By Funmilola Gboteku

Some experts have urged female business owners to stop posting their confidential details on the internet to avoid being hacked by cybercriminals.

They made this known during a webinar organised by the Women Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) in collaboration with Oracle Academy to celebrate 2022 International Women’s Day.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.

Programme Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oracle Academy, Bekere Amassoma, urged female entrepreneurs to separate their business account from the one used for personal transactions in order to protect it from hackers.

She said: “As much as technology is an enabler, we need to know that it comes with certain risks.

“If we do not adhere to safety rules online, business owners as well as individuals could get scammed by cyber criminals.

“We can leverage on technology to boost our businesses and get customers outside our location, but at the same time one needs to ensure that it is done in a safe way.

“To avoid being a victim of hackers, we need to keep our confidential details, our location and ATM card details out of the internet,” Amassoma said.

The Oracle official said that there had been instances where people made their location known online and the details of their whereabout were used to kidnap or steal from them.

She also noted that it was essential for business owners to use the two factor authentication on their WhatsApp account to prevent it from being hijacked by cyber criminals.

Amassoma added that entepreneurs should also avoid clicking on suspicious links and beware of using free and public WiFi.

Also speaking, Kasia Garcia, Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence Lead at IBM, said that to protect companies from cyber threats, it was necessary to install anti-virus softwares on all devices.

She said organisations need to do regular back up for their files so that in the event that the company received any attack it would still have its files intact.

Garcia noted that organisation or business owner should be very careful when using their cards for payment online.

“When you are using your card for payment on an E-commerce website never select the option that says remember card’.”

“Do not make any purchase unless the page is reliable, you can identify a secure page once the URL has a padlock icon. This indicates that the website as a digital security certificate,” she said.

Garcia added that business owners should not conduct banking transactions over public WiFi.

She also stressed the need for businesses and individuals to change passwords every three months to make it difficult for hackers.

Victoria Bassey, who works at the Reporting and Business Intelligence Department, Systemspecs Ltd., stressed the need for businesses to use technology to give their brand visibility.

She said businesses could use e-commerce platform to sell their products.

Bassey added that it was essential to make timely decision to scale up ones business.

The Marketing Director Africa, Oracle Academy, Janet Kamau, said that how a business was perceived could influence how consumers purchase one’s brand.

She said that both organisations and businesses needed to have a strong brand to deliver results.

“For your organisation to grow you need to win support, meaning a board of directors that are ready to assist at any given time,” Kamau said.

In her opening remark, Mrs Oreoluwa Lesi, Director of Women Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), said that it was time for women to think of a strategic way to break gender bias based on discrimination and inequality all over the world.

She said: “In so many spheres, women are still the minority especially in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“The numbers are pretty clear across the world, only 35 per cent of STEM disciplines have women.

“In Nigeria, the number is even less; we have just 22 per cent of women studying courses related to STEM. The numbers are also similar in the workplace only 20 per cent of them are in the technology workforce.

“To close this gap we have a lot to do. We should not only support women to do STEM courses but also guide them when they get into the workforce,” Lesi said.

She said: “We want to see more women in successful and powerful positions, that is how we can break the bias.

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