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300 000 IoT devices await hacker masters

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Westcon-Comstor is currently warning businesses about the new Hajime botnet, which has 300 000 obeying devices and is currently conquering the IoT world.

If you thought the IoT botnet Mirai was bad, Westcon-Comstor warns of Hajime, which currently has 300 000 obeying devices which is currently conquering the Internet of Things world.

Hajime is, according to Westcon-Comstor vendor partner Kaspersky “a mysterious evolving Internet of Things (IoT) malware that builds a huge peer-to-peer botnet”. Notably the botnet has of late been propagating extensively and infecting multiple devices worldwide, reports reveal that there are almost 300 000 malware-compromised devices.

“If the Mirai attack is still fresh in your minds, the fact that there are 300 000 malware-compromised devices, all ready to work as one to act under the instructions of their master without our knowledge, is a terrifying thought,” states Andrew Potgieter, Director Security Solutions at Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa. “While Hajime’s purpose is still unknown, it surely can’t be for the good of the world if it has been slowly growing in scale since it was first detected in October 2016.”

Not dissimilar to Mirai, Hajime is once again building a huge peer-to-peer botnet – a decentralised group of compromised machines discreetly performing spam or DDoS attacks. While Kaspersky Labs cites that there is no actual attacking code or capability they can see in Hajime and it is still only has a propagation module, the family of tools are different. Particularly in that they make use of different techniques – mainly brute-force attacks on device passwords – to infect devices, and then takes a number of steps to conceal itself from the compromised victim.

“The devices currently targeted by Hajime to date are reportedly Digital Video Recorders, followed by web-cameras and routers. But that said this particular threat doesn’t attack a specific device and will snoop out any device connected to the Internet. The name Hajime, means ‘beginning’ in Japanese, it is important we are forewarned so that this is not the beginning of another large scale cyber-attack that takes the world’s Internet down for a day,” adds Potgieter.

According to Kaspersky Lab researchers the infections they have noted to date have primarily come from Vietnam (over 20%), Taiwan (almost 13%) and Brazil (around 9%) at the time of their research and most of the compromised devices are located in Iran, Vietnam and Brazil.

“In order to get ahead of Hajime the basic principles apply and we urge all customers to change the passwords on all IoT and Internet-enabled devices. More importantly as Hajime uses brute force, passwords need to be clever and difficult to crack. Additionally, users must update their firmware on devices, if this is an option. Such simple tactics can stop an attack in its tracks.

“While we sit in wait to see what the purpose of Hajime is, it is better to be forewarned and forearmed,” says Potgieter.

 

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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