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Security

  • This is why it’s important to get personal with your data

    With more than 230 000 new instances of malicious software produced daily, companies are under pressure to ensure the security of their data. Adding to the complexity of the challenge is the evolving legislative environment with the likes of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the local Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) putting the focus on maintaining the integrity of personal customer data. Research has found that the global average cost of a data breach is more than R56-million and the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information is more than R2000. The...

  • Value your online privacy? Don’t leave it to laws and regulations

    Over the past few months, a spate of high-profile security breaches and scandals (most notably Facebook-Cambridge Analytica) have made the average person far more aware of how their data is used online. With the EU’s data protection regulations (GDPR) coming into effect in the midst of all this, many would’ve been hopeful that their data might be used more responsibly. The regulations, which came into effect on 25 May, compel organisations to amend their practices, be more transparent around what data they process and do better at protecting personal information. They should not, however, be seen as a silver bullet when it...

  • Security breaches: stop thinking about if and start thinking about when

    There’s hardly a week that goes by without news that a major organisation has been hit by a significant online security breach, with thousands of customer records compromised in the process. Many of these organisations are major players in their fields and have large budgets assigned to keeping customer data safe. These breaches highlight the need for organisations to put as much effort into preparing a response for when a breach happens as they do trying to prevent them happening in the first place. Think about it as the virtual equivalent of a fire drill. You might do everything in your...

  • Firewalls are the iron barricades of business cybersecurity

    As more organisations prioritise digitalisation, the protection of internal and on-site data tends to slip down the priority list. But this is a mistake, one that could seriously cost a business in the event that they suffer a data breach. The hard reality, unfortunately, is that no company is safe from being attacked by cybercriminals today. Last year’s WannaCry ransomware incident was a rude awakening for many organisations, targeting devices running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting sensitive business data, and demanding huge ransom payments in Bitcoin cryptocurrency to return control to the systems’ rightful owners. In all, a massive...

  • Mobile crypto mining malware is a growing smartphone threat

    According to a report by Kaspersky, the number of internet users affected by cryptocurrency mining software has jumped by a considerable margin this year, when compared to last. The report published by the Russian security firm suggests that the prevalence of malicious software that uses consumers' computers and smartphones to mine cryptocurrency is "steadily growing". "The total number of users who encountered this form of mining rose from 1 899 236 in 2016-2017, to 2 735 611 in 2017-2018," the company elaborated. Both periods began in April and ended March in their respective years. Additionally, smartphones are becoming more pronounced targets of...

  • Don’t be fooled: 2018 FIFA World Cup scams you should be weary of

    We're just a few weeks away from the global phenomenon of watching men kick an inflatable bladder around a patch of grass, and cyber criminals have never been more excited. The FIFA World Cup, taking place in Russia this year beginning on 14 June, is an event that brings together billions of humans online. And taking advantage of these humans through online scams is an attractive proposition for some. According to security firm ESET, a number of scams have already been spotted in the wild. A majority of these dupes have taken the form of emails with documents attached, while others are...

  • The case for security-as-a-service for budding SMEs

    It isn’t a case of if a small to medium enterprise, startup, entrepreneur and genius business idea will be hacked. No, today it is a case of when. Ransomware, fraud, hacks, breaches -- the list is fairly endless, especially as cybercrime continues to evolve at a rapid rate. Research undertaken by Barclays Bank in the UK has found that cyber fraud costs the SME around £1000 (R17 000) every, single time, and cost more than 50 000 jobs. he impact is vast and the reality, according to Experian, is that around 51% of small businesses don’t have a response plan in...

  • It’s 2018, and fake Facebook sites are still fooling people online

    People are still falling for fake sites pretending to be Facebook, research from Kaspersky Labs suggests. In 2018 thus far, the Russian security company blocked "3.7 million attempts to visit fraudulent social network pages". Notably, 58.7% of these attacks were attempting to direct users to fake FB pages. That's a pretty substantial slice of the pie, considering that VKontakte -- Russia's version of Facebook -- was responsible for 20.8%, and LinkedIn 12.9%. "At the beginning of the year, Facebook was the most popular social networking brand for fraudsters to abuse, and Facebook pages were frequently faked by cybercriminals to try and steal...

  • Twitter goof potentially exposes all 336m user passwords

    As if Twitter users didn't have enough to think about this week (thanks Kanye), it sprung an even bigger surprise on its users late Thursday night. The social network prompted all of its 336-million users to change their passwords, after it discovered that its employees could potentially see them. Twitter's calling it a "bug", but it was seemingly a flaw in the way the firm logged passwords. We recently found a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. We fixed the bug and have no indication of a breach or misuse by anyone. As a precaution, consider changing your...

  • Gmail’s spewing out spam, and nobody seems to know why

    All the hype surrounding Gmail may be thanks to its first redesign in some seven years, but not all is well with Google's mail service. According to a number of reports, Gmail users on Sunday found a number of spam messages sent from their accounts. "My email account has sent out 3 spam emails in the past hour to a list of about 10 addresses that I don’t recongnize," wrote one user on Google's Product forum. Changing passwords didn't help this particular user either, nor did marking the mails as spam. "Please help, what else can I do to ensure my account...

  • 7 security strategies to protect everyone from data breaches

    Recent reports of large data breaches are alarming for everyone. Customers worry about the implications of having their financial and personal information hijacked. The organisations that were compromised worry about both the near-term and the long-term effects on their business and other organisations worry if they will be next. Two things are certain, though. The cost of a data breach is going to be really expensive, and it’s not going to be the last time it happens. The big question everyone is asking is, what do I do about this? Perform a risk assessment A thorough risk assessment helps ensure you are focussed...

  • Privacy as we know it is dead (but data security matters more than ever)

    Over the last few days, as the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica disaster continues to make waves, there has been a huge increase in deleted Facebook profiles. Elon Musk made waves when he deleted his company pages for both Tesla and SpaceX, after first claiming surprise that either of his companies was on Facebook in the first place. This move has given the #deletefacebook even more momentum. Is deleting Facebook really the answer to the latest data scandal, however? And, more importantly for brands using social media, is privacy even a real thing anymore? The concept of privacy has been hotly...

  • ‘Small number’ of Boeing’s computer systems hit by WannaCry malware

    Remember WannaCry? It was 2017's big security story, infecting more than a quarter-million Windows computers at its most prolific point. But its prominence died down after tech doctors quelled its spread. But like a bad case of influenza, it's definitely not dead, and reports suggest aircraft manufacturer Boeing found that out the hard way on Wednesday. According to the Seattle Times, the firm's 777 assembly line in North Carolina was affected, but it was contained to a small number of machines. "The vulnerability was limited to a few machines. We deployed software patches. There was no interruption to the 777 jet program...

  • ‘Offensive language’ may get you banned from Microsoft’s Skype, Xbox Live

    From 1 May 2018, using "offensive language" on Microsoft's online services could get you banned, this after the company updated its Services Agreement. Although the change was implemented on 1 March 2018, civil rights advocate Jonathan Corbett spotted the change this week. "In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited," Microsoft wrote in a brief summation of the changes. Further digging into the actual change, explains that users are not allowed to "publicly display or use the Services to share any inappropriate content or other material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography,...

  • Watch out for the latest OTP scam plaguing MTN’s network

    If excessive spam calls weren't enough, South Africans will now need need to guard against a new MTN scam plaguing the network. Using OTPs, or one-time PIN numbers, scammers can gain access to a users' MTN account, purchase airtime and data, and then transfer said purchases to another number. According to MTN, fraudsters gain the OTP from users directly, asking them to provide it during spam calls. "Unfortunately, fraudsters are everywhere and we want to be sure all our customers are protected at all times, across our entire business," explained Jacqui O'Sullivan, the company's corporate affairs executive. "Our systems are designed to safeguard...