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AppDate: Absa brings Masterpass to banking app

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In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Absa’s MasterPass, Cell C MiAssist, NordVPN for Android, PokerConnect and QualityTime.

Absa Masterpass

Absa’s new Masterpass App is a digital wallet powered by Mastercard, enabling South Africans to make payments with their phones wherever Masterpass is accepted. Payments via the Absa Masterpass App currently gives people the power to make online purchases using the digital wallet on their smartphones, without needing to carry their bank cards with them. Absa customers will also soon be able to do in-store shopping using Absa Masterpass, with a variety of merchants presently being signed up. Consumers can store all their MasterCard or other branded credit, debit or cheque card information, and shipping and billing address details, securely in the Absa Masterpass digital wallet. This gives them the ability to make secure payments wherever they see the Masterpass logo, without the hassle of entering these details each time they purchase an item using their Masterpass digital wallet.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Cell C MiAssist

Cell C and Cellfind have partnered up to launch Cell C MiAssist. Like many of the emergency apps available, the Cell C MiAssist app gives users access to pre-defined contacts at the click of a button. Once the panic button is pushed, the app uses Cellfind’s location-based technology to provide contacts with the smartphone’s GPS co-ordinates. Dedicated crisis managers are on call 24/7 and will immediately dispatch a road or air ambulance to provide life support and take the patient to the nearest hospital. In addition to providing help on the road, a home assist feature helps customers deal with home emergencies and also provides a list of emergency plumbers, electricians, etc., when urgent action needs to be taken to minimise damage to the home.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: R45 per month

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

NordVPN for Android

NordVPN is a virtual private network specially designed for  Android. It is fairly easy to use as it requires no setup. All one has to do is select a destination on the interactive map to where an encrypted message needs to be sent. NordVPN offers in-app support via live chat and, besides being used to encrypt messages, can also be used to securely create a connection to video on demand services like Netflix.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: R114 per month

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store.

 

PokerConnect

PokerConnect is the first poker app that allows users to play across platforms offline through their PokerConnect app on the device – a great addition for players who have little or no Internet connectivity.  The PokerConnect app serves as a digital poker table and gamblers have the option of playing with real money or with chips. PokerConnect offers a single-player mode where one plays against the computer, or multi-player mode where up to ten players can sit in at a table.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

QualityTime

Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on your phone and on which apps you spend the most time? The QualityTime app measures this and provides a breakdown of the time you have spent on the phone. In addition to measuring the time a device has been used, it also lets one set break alarms for when a time-out from work is due. Users can also use QualityTime to turn off all notifications for a set period of time.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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