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Industry News

  • Edward Snowden reminds us all that he was right after WannaCry fallout

    It's hard being right all the time, especially if you're Edward Snowden. The infamous whistleblower who curently calls Russia home spoke on Monday via video link at a Washington DC security conference. And he just couldn't help reminding everyone that the NSA sucks. "They knew about this flaw in U.S. software, U.S. infrastructure, hospitals around the world, these auto plants and so on and so forth, but they did not report it to Microsoft until after the NSA learned that that flaw had been stolen by some outside group," the former CIA contractor noted, according to a Newsweek transcript. WannaCry infected over 300...

  • WordPress debuts new TV ads in limited trial run

    Content publishing platform WordPress has this week debuted its first television advertisements. This is the first push in the company's larger marketing budget for 2017. WordPress co-founder and CEO of Automattic Matt Mullenweg noted that the company will be increasing its public advertising, presumably to compete against the likes of Wix and Squarespace. On his personal blog, he also explained that the company still has "lots to learn" in the television advertising space. "There is lots to learn and much to follow, but we have our first TV ads up in six markets to test. Each shares a story of a business...

  • Airbnb adds R2.4bn to SA economy in 2016, hosts 400 000 visitors

    Airbnb has this week published its annual economic report, which sheds some light on the home sharing platform's economic impact on various global economies. South Africa happens to be one of these economies. Publishing its effect on South Africa's economy just prior to the Tourism Indaba taking place in Durban in May, the company makes some notable claims. For one, it suggest that it generated around R2.4-billion for the South African economy in 2016, considering the expenditure of guests and the income accrued by the 16 000 hosts last year. R817-million of that income was earned by local households. The company also notes...

  • Could WannaCry ransomware be linked to North Korea?

    WannaCry, the ransomware package that wreaked havoc across the world's Windows machinery this past weekend, might have links to North Korea, security experts revealed. The ransomware swept across the world last Friday, infecting over a quarter-million Windows machines across 150 countries. It remains a threat, but infection rates have somewhat slowed. According to a report published by Reuters, South Korean security researchers found coding similarities in WannaCry's earlier versions, and a different malware used by the Lazarus Group -- a hacking collective with ties to North Korea. These findings have also been noted by Google security researcher Neel Mehta, Symantec and Kaspersky. Shared...

  • WannaCry ransomware infects a quarter million computers in 150 countries

    WannaCry wins 2017's prize for most ominously named ransomware, and it has seemingly lived up to its name. A worldwide attack involving the ransomware swept through personal computers, companies and government institutions beginning on Friday 12 May. By Sunday, over 230 000 computers in more than 150 countries, including South Africa, were infected. Straight out of an episode of Mr. Robot, WannaCry (Wcry, WannaCrypt, WanaCrypt0r 2.0, or Wanna Decryptor) is a malicious software package that infects computers running Microsoft Windows. It's spread using an exploit developed by the NSA called EternalBlue which was leaked by a hacker collective in April. While Microsoft...

  • Is artificial intelligence making the data analyst redundant?

    It is all too apparent that every industry is being radically impacted upon and even deeply disrupted by, digitalisation, while existing and familiar roles are being transformed, making way for new opportunities to emerge. One such role that is being challenged to prove its worth, is the analyst, in no small part due to Big Data, analytics, and the most exciting, cutting edge development at the moment, artificial intelligence. This convergence of forces begs the question: Are analysts no longer needed? Arguing in the affirmative is the fact that machines can process data at speeds that far surpass human capability, and...

  • Apple showcases Table Mountain, Muizenberg in iPhone 7 tutorial videos

    As smartphones become more complicated, manufacturers are finding novel ways to educate their consumers. Apple's new video campaign does just that, shedding light on some of the basic ways to shoot with an iPhone 7. But there's something particularly noticeable about some of these videos. Especially for South Africans. Available to view on Apple's official site and on YouTube, the video series showcases a few landmarks that Cape Town residents would instantly recognise. One is undeniably Table Mountain, looking across from Lion's Head. Another is of Muizenberg Beach's famous colourful changing huts. While those two are definitely filmed on South African soil, we...

  • Apple’s now valued $270bn more than Microsoft, $145bn more than Alphabet

    While its latest quarterly figures were less than impressive, Apple's persistent market growth remains undoubted. The Cupertino-based technology company is the first in the United States to smash though the US$800-billion market cap barrier, sitting at US$802.8-billion at the time of writing. That fatter market cap is primarily thanks to its strong performance during Tuesday's trading, with shares gaining 0.6% in value to end the day at US$153. That number might not sound large, but multiply that by its 5.21-billion shares... More impressively though is when the company hit this figure. Apple's US$800-billion market cap cements its place as the world's valuable publicly-traded...

  • Apple’s latest acquisition monitors the things you do in bed

    Smart tracking technology has taken off in recent years, with wearables and internet of things gadgets featuring more prominently in homes across the world. One of the companies better placed in this space than most is Apple. Recently hitting its fattest market cap figures ever, the Cupertino-based tech giant has reportedly acquired sleep tracking company Beddit for an undisclosed fee. First reported by CNBC, the acquisition was innocuously announced by Beddit itself in a subtle change to its on-site privacy page. "Beddit has been acquired by Apple. Your personal data will be collected, used and disclosed in accordance with the Apple Privacy...

  • 15+ SA journalists you should follow on Twitter [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. Twitter, although not exactly lucrative for its creators, is a fantastic tool for journalists. From sourcing stories to tweeting their final copies for all to read, Twitter has become an essential tool in the journalist's tote bag. But the social network is actually changing the face of journalism and story-telling itself. How, I hear you ask? Twitter has become...

  • 3 hilarious (but scary) printer security stories from the internet [Native]

    Printers might seem like innocuous little office gadgets that do one job and one job alone, but they've become more vulnerable thanks to the internet. While human beings' reliance on the web expands, so does the ability for baddies to crack their security protocols. With that in mind, here are three previous moments in history that printers were the victims of rather comical, if not potentially catastrophic, security stories. -> YOUR PRINTER HAS BEEN PWNED <- In February 2017, a hacker using the alias Stackoverflowin took control of over 150 000 printers across the globe to probe a point. And to distribute memes. Although...

  • 15 classic Star Wars GIFs to use this #MayTheFourth

    We know the pressure you're under today. While mashing away at your keyboard trying to get those reports and submissions prepared, you're also trying to find that perfect Star Wars GIF to use on Twitter or Facebook for #MayTheFourth. But no need to worry. We've got you covered. Trawling the length and breadth of GIF repository Giphy, we've listed some of the most iconic moments in the Star Wars saga captured in pure rolling-image format magic. These's are some of the classic GIFs you should probably think about using today. It's a trap via GIPHY Sensual Yoda via GIPHY Angrykin Skywalker via GIPHY Toodles, Lando via GIPHY Deal with it,...

  • BBM launches DiscoverTV streaming media service for Africa

    Messaging service BBM now has its own streaming video service. Dubbed DiscoverTV, the service aims to provide Africa's 1.1-billion smartphone users with "a wide variety of award-winning short form shows, selected from a diverse range of mobile movies, channels, cartoons and documentaries", the company explains in a press release. This content is available from within the BBM mobile app's Discover menu. Alongside the content, the payment payment methods are also better suited to the continent's mobile-first market. Users pay R1 per day for "unlimited access" to their favourite channel, but can use the service for free for the first month. BBM DiscoverTV is the...

  • Google Docs’ latest phishing scam was bad news for journalists

    A Google Docs phishing attack, that paraded as a genuine link to a shared document, caused widespread panic on the internet Wednesday. On the same day that Facebook's WhatsApp was down for the count, some Google users (Fortune's Jeff John Roberts suggests that the scam was targeted at journalists) received an email with a seemingly normal Google Docs link. Closer inspection revealed a few oddities. The sender of the mail is the rather hilarious "hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com" but the consequences of clicking the mail aren't. Taking unsuspecting users to a faux OAUTH authentication page, suggesting that Google Docs requires authorisation to open the document. The...

  • SoundCloud now features Spotify-like personal, curated playlists

    SoundCloud has long been known as a portal for recording artists to upload their tracks, and listeners to indulge in them gratis. But it's also becoming a key player in the content discovery race. The company's new feature, dubbed The Upload, takes a leaf out of Spotify's personal playlist curation handbook. SoundCloud will now provide listeners with a "regularly updated, bespoke playlist of new music relevant to you". "With a constantly expanding mix of music uploaded to SoundCloud every day, we've now made it easier to filter through it all," the company writes in its blog. SoundCloud now features a Spotify-like curated, regularly...