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.
Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets
Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.
Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.
Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps.
Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.
Vodafone Smart Kicka 4
At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.
The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018.
Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games.
Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.
Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer.
The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past.
Huawei Y3 (2018)
The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are.
Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.
Comparing the 3
All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker.
Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.
SA gets digital archive
As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive.
The southafrica.co.za site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.
Designed as a nation building, educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.
The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.
At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.
Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.
“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.
Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island. The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.