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6 steps to email security

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With the holidays officially behind us, everyone is back at work and companies are in full swing again. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones. Would-be hackers are looking ahead to another lucrative year of cybercrime. Here are six steps you can take to secure your email.

2015 was a ‘successful’ year for cyber criminals with millions of data records being lost or stolen around the world.  In 2016 we can expect the attacks to continue and to see even more advanced attacks like spear-phishing where victims are specifically targeted using their personal information. And the level of sophistication the criminals use to dupe us is also rising. According to Mimecast research conducted in December, 55% of organisations saw an increase in the volume of whaling attacks – highly personalised emails targeting the finance and accounting departments within an organisation usually to extort cash.

“The barriers to entry for whaling attacks are dangerously low,” says Mimecast’s Managing Director Brandon Bekker. “As whaling becomes more successful for cyber criminals, we are likely to see a continued increase in their popularity, as hackers identify these attacks as an effective cash cow.”

So how can your organisation stay safe in the face of this dangerous new threat? Here are six email security tips to protect yourself.

Educate senior staff

Spear phishing and whaling attacks are so effective because they target named individuals within an organisation. Often appearing to come from a trusted colleague. Whaling in particular is the result of careful social engineering. While fostering a culture of security at all levels is important, it’s crucial to educate senior management, key staff and finance teams specifically on these new attacks aimed at them.

Defend your domain

Today’s phishing emails are so dangerous precisely because they appear to be authentic, right down to the embedded links. Domain-spoofing constitutes 70% of whaling attacks, so it’s important to use email security services that review domain links. Also consider registering top-level domains that look or sound like your own so that hackers can’t exploit a similar domain name in an attack.

Make your mark internally

Educated employees will be on the lookout for emails that come from outside sources, but what if they appear to come from someone significant within the organisation? Most whaling emails are designed to look like they come from the CEO or CFO. One simple trick to mitigate this is to use email stationery on all emails that alerts employees to emails originating outside the corporate network.

Consider all your platforms

Chances are your employees don’t just access their corporate emails from a secured company laptop. For many their mobile device is their preferred way of reading and responding to emails. Also the lines between personal and corporate devices are beginning to blur thanks to BYOD and your security practices need to account for that. Whatever email security technology and procedures you have in place, make sure they’re also optimised for mobile use.

Hack yourself

No security strategy is waterproof, particularly as threats and technology evolve. The trick is to find those gaps before the bad guys do.  It’s advisable to carry out regular tests within your organisation to identify vulnerabilities.  And don’t limit this to your IT systems – test your human firewall too. Look for ways to test your employee base regularly in a safe environment to support your security education programme.

Review and revise

Your security practices aren’t the only things that should be under close scrutiny. Conduct a thorough audit of your finance departments’ authentication procedures. Cyber criminals excel at taking advantage of unsafe processes, so consider revising how financial transactions with third parties are conducted. Requiring additional checks when transfer requests are made over email (or phone for that matter) could help tackle the whaling threat.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make in impact in gaming.

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AppDate: DStv jumps on music bandwagon

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights DStv’s JOOX, Cisco’s Security Connector, Diski Skills, Namola and Exhibid.

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DStv JOOX

DStv is now offering JOOX, a music streaming service owned by China’s Tencent, to DStv Premium, Compact Plus and Compact customers.

In addition to streaming local and international artists, JOOX allows one to switch to karaoke mode and learn the lyrics as well as create and share playlists. Users can add up to four friends or family to the service free of charge.

DStv Family, Access and EasyView customers can also log in to the free JOOX service directly through JOOX App, but will be unable to add additional friends and won’t be able to listen to add-free music.

Platform: Access the JOOX service directly from the services menu on DStv or download the JOOX app for an iOS or Android phone.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Cisco Security Connector

With all the malware, viruses and trojans doing the rounds, it is difficult for users and enterprises to ensure that they don’t become targets. Cisco, in collaboration with Apple, has brought out its Cisco Security Connector to protect users. The app is designed to give enterprises and users overall visibility and control over their network activity on iOS devices. It does this by ensuring compliance of mobile users and their enterprise-owned iOS devices during incident investigations, by identifying what happened, who it affected, and the risk of the exposure. It also protects iPhone and iPad users from accessing malicious sites on the Internet, whether on the corporate network, public Wi-Fi, or cellular networks. In turn, it prevents any viruses from entering a company’s network.

Platform: iPhones and iPads running iOS 11.3 or later

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

 

Diski Skills

The Goethe-Institut, in co-operation with augmented reality specialists Something Else Design Agency, has created a new card game which celebrates South African freestyle football culture, and brings it alive through augmented reality. Diski Skills is quick card game, set in a South African street football scenario, showing popular tricks such as the Shibobo, Tsamaya or Scara Turn. Each trick is rated in categories of attack, defence and swag – one wins the game by challenging an opponent strategically with the trick at hand. Through augmented reality, the cards come alive. Move a smartphone over a card and watch as the trick appears on the screen in a slow motion video. An educational value is added as players can study the tricks and learn more about the idea behind it.

 

The game will be launched on 27 October 2018 at the Goethe-Institut.

For more information visit: www.goethe.de

 

Namola

With  recent news of kidnappings on the rise, a lot more thought is going into keeping children safe. Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Have you actually asked them?

Namola, supported by Dialdirect Insurance, is a free mobile safety app. Namola’s simple interface makes it an ideal way for children to learn how to get help in an emergency. All they need to do is activate the app and push a button to get help that they need, even when their parents are not around.

Parents need to install the app on their child’s phone, hold down the request assistance button, program emergency numbers that will automatically be dialled when the emergency button is pushed, and teach their children how and when to use the app.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Exhibid

Exhibid could be thought of as Tinder, but for for art lovers. The interface looks very similar to the popular mobile dating app, in that users swipe left for a painting that doesn’t appeal to them, or swipe right for something they like. Once an art piece is liked by swiping right, one can start bidding or make an offer on it. The bid is automatically sent to the artist. Should he or she accept the offer, the buyer makes a payment through the app’s secure payment gateway and the two are put in contact to make arrangements for delivery.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

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