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Cell C drops data for black

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Cell C has launched data products designed specifically for streaming or downloading on the newly launched black entertainment platform.

“The cost of data has often been cited as a barrier to entry for customers wanting to stream or download content using their mobile data,” says Cell C Chief Executive Officer, Jose Dos Santos. “The black data products will address this challenge. Customers can access data from as little as 1c/MB or R7.50 per GIG.”

black brings to consumers a full 360-entertainment experience from video-on-demand through to live TV streaming, catering for both the local market, and those that enjoy international content. It will include live streaming of five top European football club channels, and services like; gaming, sports betting and ticketing. Customers can subscribe from as little as R5 per day and use prepaid airtime, in addition to debit/credit cards and vouchers to purchase content.

“This is about bringing more relevant content to more people in our country. And content can consume quite a large amount of data, which is why we are bringing various products at exceptional prices for consumers looking to access black via a mobile connection,” says Dos Santos.

blackDATA bundles

blackDATA bundles come in varying sizes from 1GB through to 200GB depending on the content consumption needs of customers. The inclusive blackDATA can only be used to stream or download content on black via the Cell C network (excludes national roaming).

Table of bundles:

Bundle Name Inclusive Data(GB) Bundle Price (incl. VAT) In Bundle Rate Validity
1GB blackData 1 R30.00 R0.03 30 days
2GB blackData 2 R60.00 R0.03 30 days
5GB blackData 5 R150.00 R0.03 30 days
10GB blackData 10 R250.00 R0.02 90 days
20GB  blackData 20 R399.00 R0.02 90 days
30GB blackDATA 30 R599.00 R0.02 90 days
50GB  blackData 50 R799.00 R0.02 180 days
100GB blackData 100 R999.00 R0.01 180 days
200GB blackData 200 R1499.00 R0.01 180 days

The new blackDATA bundles will be available to Cell C customers on prepaid and current contract plans (Pinnacle, Connector, SmartData, LTE-A or C-Fibre Connector). Customers on contract plans that do not qualify can migrate to one of the current plans in order to utilise blackDATA bundles.

blackDATA bundles can be purchased via the Cell C App, portal (www.cellc.co.za), USSD (by dialling *147#) or any Cell C store.

Purchasing a blackDATA bundle does not include access to content on black and customers will need to register for black. Registration can be done at www.black.co.za or through the GETblack app, which is available from the Google Play and Apple App stores.

In addition to the blackDATA bundles and to ensure an excellent experience on the black platform, Cell C has also instituted a 15c/MB out of bundle (OOB) rate for any usage on black. This rate will only apply once customers have depleted black specific or general Cell C data bundles. This OOB rate applies to all Cell C customers and is exclusive for data usage on black. The rate applies to usage on both the Cell C network and while on national roaming.

black data on contract

Alongside the bundles, Cell C customers that are already using, or signing up for a Pinnacle contract (100 and up), will automatically receive additional data for use on the black platform. Existing Pinnacle customers will receive their new inclusive blackDATA from 1 December 2017 in addition to their monthly allocation of minutes, data and SMS.  New Pinnacle customers (100 and up) will get their pro-rata blackDATA allocation when they activate a new contract from 15 November.

PRODUCT Pinnacle 100 Pinnacle 150 Pinnacle 250 Pinnacle 400 Pinnacle 600 Pinnacle 1000 Pinnacle Unlimited
Subscription R 129 R 199 R 299 R 399 R 499 R 699 R 999
Minutes (min) 100 150 250 400 600 1000 Unlimited

(FUP 5000)

SMS 100 150 250 400 600 1000 Unlimited

(FUP 5000)

Current Data 100 150 250 400 1GB 2GB 10GB
New Inclusive black Data 1GB 2GB 5GB 10GB 10GB 20GB 20GB
Free W-Fi Calling Minutes 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000

*Also included on Pinnacle 100 TopUp and above

“Customers can expect a few exciting promotional offers coming through the pipeline over the next few months specifically, and going forward,” says Dos Santos.

Launch promotional offers

Over and above the black data allocations on contract, and the blackDATA bundles, Cell C is launching several promotional offers available from 24 November until further notice on both prepaid and contract.

Prepaid customers on the SupaCharge, MegaBonus, Easychat and 66c prepaid tariff plans that recharge with between R50 and R99.99 will receive zero-rated data access to download or stream a movie rental or purchase for 2 days or up to 50GB, whichever comes first. Customers that recharge with R100 or more will get zero-rated data access to download or stream a movie rental or purchase for 5 days or up to 100GB. This promotion is only applicable to data usage on the Cell C network and excludes national roaming.

Contract customers that are on any of the Connector plans or the Pinnacle 100 and up Postpaid and TopUp packages will also receive zero-rated access to stream or download any movie rental or purchase within a calendar month or up to 150GB.  National roaming does not apply.

In addition, new Pinnacle 1000 and Pinnacle Unlimited customers (on 24-month contracts) will receive a free blackBOX (multimedia device) when they sign up.  This promotion is valid while stocks last.

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Crouching Yeti strikes

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Kaspersky Lab has uncovered infrastructure used by the Russian-speaking APT group Crouching Yeti, also known as Energetic Bear, which includes compromised servers across the world.

According to the research, numerous servers in different countries were hit since 2016, sometimes in order to gain access to other resources. Others, including those hosting Russian websites, were used as watering holes.

Crouching Yeti is a Russian-speaking advanced persistent threat (APT) group that Kaspersky Lab has been tracking since 2010. It is best known for targeting industrial sectors around the world, with a primary focus on energy facilities, for the main purpose of stealing valuable data from victim systems. One of the techniques the group has been widely using is through watering hole attacks: the attackers injected websites with a link redirecting visitors to a malicious server.

Recently Kaspersky Lab has discovered a number of servers, compromised by the group, belonging to different organisations based in Russia, the U.S., Turkey and European countries, and not limited to industrial companies. According to researchers, they were hit in 2016 and 2017 with different purposes. Thus, besides watering hole, in some cases they were used as intermediaries to conduct attacks on other resources.

In the process of analysing infected servers, researchers identified numerous websites and servers used by organisations in Russia, U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America that the attackers had scanned with various tools, possibly to find a server that could be used to establish a foothold for hosting the attackers’ tools and to subsequently develop an attack. Some of the sites scanned may have been of interest to the attackers as candidates for waterhole. The range of websites and servers that captured the attention of the intruders is extensive. Kaspersky Lab researchers found that the attackers had scanned numerous websites of different types, including online stores and services, public organisations, NGOs, manufacturing, etc.

Also, experts found that the group used publicly available malicious tools, designed for analyzing servers, and for seeking out and collecting information. In addition, a modified sshd file with a preinstalled backdoor was discovered. This was used to replace the original file and could be authorised with a ‘master password’.

“Crouching Yeti is a notorious Russian-speaking group that has been active for many years and is still successfully targeting industrial organisations through watering hole attacks, among other techniques. Our findings show that the group compromised servers not only for establishing watering holes, but also for further scanning, and they actively used open-sourced tools that made it much harder to identify them afterwards,” said Vladimir Dashchenko, Head of Vulnerability Research Group at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT.

“The group’s activities, such as initial data collection, the theft of authentication data, and the scanning of resources, are used to launch further attacks. The diversity of infected servers and scanned resources suggests the group may operate in the interests of the third parties,” he added.

Kaspersky Lab recommends that organisations implement a comprehensive framework against advanced threats comprising of dedicated security solutions for targeted attack detection and incident response, along with expert services and threat intelligence. As a part of Kaspersky Threat Management and Defense, our anti-targeted attack platform detects an attack at early stages by analysing suspicious network activity, while Kaspersky EDR brings improved endpoint visibility, investigation capabilities and response automation. These are enhanced with global threat intelligence and Kaspersky Lab’s expert services with specialisation in threat hunting and incident response.

More details on this recent Crouching Yeti activity can be found on the Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT website.

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R5m in software fines

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South African companies paid almost R5.2 million in damages for using unlicensed software in 2017 up from R3.6 million in 2016.

This is according to data from BSA | The Software Alliance, a non-profit, global trade association created to advance the goals of the software industry and its hardware partners.

The significant increase in unlicensed software payments – which includes settlements as well as the cost of acquiring new software to become compliant – is the result of more accurate leads from informers, says Darren Olivier, Partner at Adams & Adams, legal counsel for BSA. In 2017 BSA received 281 reports in South Africa alleging the use of unlicensed software products of BSA member companies – this up considerably up from 230 leads in 2016.

“BSA’s recent social media campaign also helped to create awareness among local companies about the need to comply with existing legislation in order to avoid legal action,” Olivier says.

The result has been a 13% increase in settlements paid in 2017, with the settlements total reaching almost R2.5 million.

While the average settlement paid by companies in 2017 was around R36 094, in some cases the amount owed was far greater, as is evidenced by Shereno Printers, a print and design company based in Gauteng, which ended up paying a hefty settlement amount of R260 000 last year in an out of court settlement.

The company’s case was in line with a broader trend, which saw the print and design industry as a whole rank among the top sectors plagued by unlicensed software.

Aside from settlements, companies also paid more than R2.6 million in licenses purchased to legalise their unlicensed software.

And the ramifications of software piracy extend beyond financial implications. “It also results in potential job losses and loss in tax revenue. This is not to mention the financial and reputational damage brought about by security breaches and lost data,” comments Olivier.

As unlicensed software has not been updated with the latest security features, it leaves businesses vulnerable to cyberattack, he explains.

This is a particular problem for companies operating in South Africa where economic crime has recently reached record levels, according to the Global Economic Crime Survey. Indeed, 77% of South African organisations have experienced some form of economic crime. What’s more, instances of cybercrime totalled 29% of economic crimes reported.

This in turn, raises questions around government policy and the adequacy of existing copyright legislation, which only enables the registration of copyright in films, but not in computer programs.

Olivier notes that it is likely the percentage of unlicensed software on South African computers has increased over the past year. “We received many more leads this year, which is an indicator that the amount of pirated software is greater than in previous years,” he comments.

Often unlicensed software is not so much a case of deliberate piracy as it is a result of poor software asset management (SAM).

“For this reason, the BSA encourages all businesses to ensure they have effective SAM practices in place. Companies should be able to confirm what software they are using and are licensed to use – this will help them to identify unlicensed software and can also bring about cost savings. Even the most basic SAM practices such as regular inventories and software use policies can help,” says Chair of the BSA SA Committee, Billa Coetsee.

With this in mind the BSA offers a range of SAM solutions, not only to help organisations reduce legal and security risks, but also to create business value.

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