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512 group members in a WhatsApp group and other essential WhatsApp updates in 2022

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Whatsapp is a messaging app that has been fully embraced by people. It makes communication swift and easy. It’s a messaging app that guarantees end-to-end encryption, clear video calls, and voice calls.

But in an era where there are messaging apps promising to give their users a wonderful messaging experience WhatsApp has decided to update its features to make its users happy.

Here are the top updates WhatsApp has rolled out to its users in 2022.

512 people in a group

WhatsApp users will from today 10th June 2022 be able to add up to 512 people to a group. This was a great rise from their previous 256 maximum earlier fixed by the platform. Whatsapp stated that the move took longer so as to ensure privacy and safe and secure communication.

Reaction to messages

You can long-press on the message you want to react to. The available emoji will pop up, and you can tap any of them to select. You’ll see the reaction emoji at the bottom of the message bubble, and so will the person on the other end. You can check who has reacted to a message by tapping on the emoji on a message bubble.

Improve WhatsApp voice note

Whatsapp voice not has been around for a while but WhatsApp has improved its features. You do not have to be on a particular chat to listen to the voice note you can reply to other messages as you listen.

In case you close the vice message you can resume from where you left it. It lets you pause when recording a message s that you can get your thoughts n order. With voice notes, you get a chance to listen to them before sending them. It has an amazing waveform visualization that represents sound on the voice message indicating the recording is on.

Leaving group chats silently

Whatsapp is still in talks on how to add a feature that allows you to leave a group chat silently without alerting other members. Imagine leaving a group and no other group member knows it apart from the group admin.

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Increase file transfer to 2GB

Right now if you want to send a file through WhatsApp the maximum should be 100mbs.More than that you have to back up the file on google drive before sending it.

With this upcoming update, the time the download of the file will be complete will be stipulated and it’s advisable to download over wifi.

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Hackers Make Tactical Change, Now Targeting Small Businesses

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TheBigIssue

Traditionally, cybercriminals have been targeting big companies with aim of demanding ransoms running into millions. Nonetheless, the trend no longer holds, as new studies have shown the shift in hackers’ interest from big companies to small and medium ones.

Studies have shown that hackers are shifting their focus to small online businesses which they believe are more vulnerable.

Experts have warned that these SMEs and payment portals, especially those relying on mobile payment solutions, are now facing high risks of cyber attacks coordinated by these hackers.

Speaking during the inaugural Africa Cybersecurity Congress held in Nairobi, Hadi Maeleb, Agora Group co-founder and CEO said the threats to online businesses were growing at a high rate.

Further, he stated that more than 90% of business owners are unaware that their enterprises are at risk, despite the high growth rate of the attacks.

“Cybercriminals are now targeting small businesses more as they have realized that these enterprises do believe they would be exposed due to their comparatively low turnovers until they lose their data and payments are compromised,” said Mr Maeleb.

With the adoption of e-commerce platforms, State agencies, financial institutions, healthcare, energy and utilities have persistently faced cyber-attacks in the recent past.

According to CAK- Communications Authority of Kenya’s first-quarter data (between January to March 2022), a total of 79.2 million cyber-attacks were reported. This has prompted the government to issue 28,848 advisories in an attempt to fight the rising attacks.

Invest in Cybersecurity

Mr Maeleb noted that business owners should invest in cybersecurity tools as there is no magical solution to cybercrime.

“This ‘democratization’ of cyberattacks is expected to push losses due to business interruption, financial theft, personal data breaches and even ransom payments over the Sh4 trillion mark by end of 2022,” he said.

At the peak of the pandemic, several states adopted tough lockdown measures such as social distancing, working from home, and online learning.

Also read: Why Buyers Are Now Running Away From Popular Used Toyota Cars

Hackers shifting focus to small businesses.

This adoption of digital solutions such as e-commerce, remote working and banking went up as Kenyans turned to online platforms to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Unfortunately for them, the business of cybercrime has evolved to a point where attacks like ransomware are now sold as a service,” he added.

Even though these measures triggered the adoption of digital platforms, they also increased vulnerability such as ransom, data breaches, harassment, cyberbullying, and data breaches.

Kenya’s ICT Policy which came into effect in 2006, is credited for creating an enabling environment for the growth and usage of technology.

Kenya’s ICT Policy which came into effect in 2006, is credited for creating an enabling environment for the growth and usage of technology.

To achieve Kenya’s Vision 2030 goal of a regional ICT hub, the tech sector was expected to contribute directly and indirectly to an additional 1.5% of Kenya’s GDP by 2017/2018.

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Lack Of Instant Payment Systems Is Failing Intra-African Commerce

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TheBigIssue

Even as the African continent eyes increased commerce and investment from a free trade area, one of the biggest challenges affecting trading within the region is the high cost of transacting payments from one region to another.

Through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), intra-Africa trade is projected to grow by 81% and the export volume by 29%. Additionally, over 60 million Africans will be lifted from extreme poverty.

Generally, these will raise the continent’s real income by 7% to $450 billion by 2035.

In East Africa, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has projected that AfCFTA will create at least eight million new jobs. Nevertheless, these will yield an estimated $35 billion in welfare gains.

However, the high cost of cross-border transactions may hump the prospects of the continental trade agreement, adding to the agitation of partial implementation of the terms of the same. There are also persisting non-tariff barriers which highly affect the intra-continental trade.

High cross-border payment rates compared to global rates

According to a pan-African organisation that advocates for financial inclusion, AfricaNenda, the average cost of cross-border payments in Africa is about 12-18 % of the transaction value. The rate is against a global average of 6-7%.

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According to Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank, Cumbersome transactions cost Africa about $5 billion in money transfer charges each year. This is so, despite Africa being home to at least 576 financial technology (Fintech) companies, according to Statista.

Furthermore, 11 of the 50 fastest growing companies in Africa in 2022, were fintech and financial services firms. This is as per the Financial Times ranking.

New Startups

New start-ups are cropping up almost every month, with aims to solve different problems of financial inclusion, from high costs of transactions to inaccessibility to credit and digital wallets.

Also Read: Instant payment systems are key for cross-Africa commerce.

Between 2017 and September 2021, these start-ups raised over $4.5 billion in funding. This figure is more than twice the amount raised by budding companies in any other sector in the period.

Interoperability

Nevertheless, interoperability — the ability of payment systems in different regions to exchange and make use of information — has remained an elephant in the room for these fintechs.

What makes it difficult for African fintechs to develop a solution for the interoperability problem threatening Africa’s trade integration?

Dr Robert Ochola, AfricaNenda’s CEO, said that although Africa is making significant strides towards creating a continent-wide interoperable payment system, there are still great challenges across regions that impede these efforts.

“Fintech companies alone cannot solve this problem without the regulatory framework that creates an interoperable layer of payment system for them to plug into,” Said Dr Ochola.

“Continental interoperability can only be achieved if the regional economic communities (RECs) in the continent develop functional inclusive payment systems, which will then provide a layer for fintech companies to enable cheaper cross-regional payments,” he added.

Also Read: Kenya’s economy to slow to 5.5% from 7.5%. World bank says.

Papps, the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System seek to enable payment transactions in local currencies between countries across Africa. The payment will happen instantly for cross-border transactions without the need for currency conversion. This will increase transparency on cross-border trade activity.

“There are security and monetary risks involved that must be effectively mitigated. Also, there are high costs and limited human capacity and knowledge sharing that slow the process,” he said.

Low average GDP per capita

According to AfricaNenda, low average GDP per capita (lower value of transactions ) makes instant payments per dollar more expensive and is among the key threats to developing interoperable instant payment systems on the continent.

“Ideally, transaction costs should be less than 1% to make cross-border trade even easier and increase financial inclusion,” Dr Ochola said.

Inclusive instant payment system.

The East African Community, West African Economic and Monetary Union, South African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa are currently working on an inclusive instant payment system.

Finally, a relatively low smartphone adoption, unaffordability of data, low access to electricity and comparably smaller markets are other challenges affecting the advancement in the payment system.

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The Ajira Digital Innovation Hubs

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The Ajira Digital innovation hubs are providing a platform.

For youths to access digital jobs from wherever they are.

Even at the grassroots, ensuring no one is left behind.

Uhurus Administration

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Administration has set up.

339 Youth Empowerment Centers in 200 Constituencies.

#Big4Agenda

Read more at https://thebigissue.co.ke

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