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10 ways to ruin the day for a cybercriminal

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As technology evolves our lives become easier. But it also means that cybercriminals can do that much more damage should they gain access to our personal information. CAREY VAN VLAANDEREN, CEO at ESET South Africa offers some tips on how to avoid being hacked.

1. Update your security solution, applications, and operating system

This is of vital importance, as software updates often include solutions to security defects that have been found.  This way, if your system or application has any flaws, they will be resolved by the updates, meaning an attacker will not be able to exploit any kind of known vulnerability in your system.

2. Install security solutions on your devices

Computers, smartphones, tablets and any other devices that allow security software to be installed should be protected. It is important not to use pirated software because, besides being illegal, it is unlikely to offer proper protection.

Tools like firewalls and antivirus software will defend you from various threats, including Trojans and other types of malware, as well through various detection technologies, which help prevent leaks or information threats.

3. Make backups

As well as making backup copies regularly, you should ensure that they are kept in a safe place: putting them on an external drive should be sufficient. Be sure not to leave them constantly connected, because if your computer becomes infected with any kind of ransomware, your backup files could become encrypted too, even if they are stored in the cloud.

If your computer becomes infected and you have kept your backup in a safe place, you will easily be able to restore your information after you disinfect your system.

4. Report phishing emails and websites

One of the most frequently used methods for carrying out fraud is the old trick of setting up fake websites. Receiving an email from a sender that looks familiar, with a link that directs you to a fake portal, is a technique often employed by cybercriminals.

To prevent this from happening, it is very important to report phishing websites from whichever browser you are using, and also report them to your antivirus provider if it does not already recognise the site as a malicious portal.

If the phishing website is a financial one, you could get in touch with the organisation affected so they can start the process of getting rid of it.  This way, you will be helping to protect the community by warning people about the dangers of visiting fake sites.  We do our bit at The ESET LATAM Research Lab by reporting the cases we receive.

5. Change your passwords

There are many ways in which your password can be compromised.  Make sure you have a strong password, change it regularly, and don’t use the same one for multiple accounts.

These three pillars will help keep they key to your digital identity secure.

6. Activate two-factor authentication

Even if you follow each of these recommended practices to protect your passwords, they could still become compromised. However, two-factor authentication, which is available on most social networks and online services, will significantly increase your levels of security.

If a cybercriminal manages to steal your password, they will not be able to do any significant damage, as they will still need to input a code generated by this additional layer of security.

7. Check the privacy of your social network

All too often we’ve seen users sharing an excessive amount of sensitive information on social networks.

This problem is exacerbated if their posts are public. Platforms like Facebook allow you to set up groups where you can share information and limit who views it.

It is also important not to grant access to users you don’t know and to review the permission that you have in place around your personal information.

8. Check the status of your bank accounts

You can never check your balance too often, as by doing so you may detect an irregularity or unknown transaction.  If your card has been cloned or you have fallen victim to banking malware, regularly checking your account tis the best way for you to keep tabs on any attacks that may have happened – and minimize the damage.

9. Make sure you aren’t subscribed to any premium SMS services

The number of hoaxes circulating on WhatsApp continues to increase, with one single campaign having the ability to yield more than 10 million victims.  This often ends up with users being caught off guard and subscribing to numbers that send SMS messages which change the recipient a fee to receive them.

To prevent this, many countries allow you to check whether you are subscribed to any such services on your phone provider’s website.

10. Be aware of your environment

Understanding how hoaxes work is the best way to avoid falling victim to one.  At the same time, sharing your knowledge will make you a friend of IT security, and by protecting the devices of other people who use the same network as you, you will also be taking care of your own property and the information stored on your computer.

Undoubtedly, if you follow these tips, you will be able to increase your security of your devices and create obstacles for cybercriminals, which in most cases will prevent attacks, as increasing the complexity of these operations will most likely put them off attempting them.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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