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Digital festival is back in JHB

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From 6 to 16 September, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will once again transform Johannesburg into a celebration of technology, creativity, collaboration and innovation from across the African continent.

With its theme of ‘brave tech hearts beat as one’ the 2017 festival is centred on pioneering uniquely African technology and creativity in an electrifying ten-day programme to showcase the power of innovative collaboration.

The Tshimologong Precinct located at 47 Juta Street in Braamfontein will be at the heart of festivities to include opportunities for attendees to meet, play and share at a variety of seminars, talks, exhibitions, workshops, hack-a-thons, music, films, artists, games, innovation riots and much more.

Now in its fourth successful year, Fak’ugesi was originally founded by Prof Christo Doherty and Tegan Bristow from Wits Digital Arts, together with Prof Barry Dwolatzky from the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE). From the isiZulu term meaning “add power” or “put on the electricity”, Fak’ugesi acts as a platform that brings together diverse digital and technology sectors to collaborate and share skills in digital media and technology innovation.

In the spirit of exploring the importance of technology across sectors, from engineering, to gaming, to music, to public life and social development, the primary sponsors for Fak’ugesi 2017 are the Tshimologong Precinct, Ericsson, IBM Research | Africa and Red Bull.  Secondary sponsors include UN Habitat, City of Johannesburg and Maxum Digital (Innovation Hub). They are joined by the festival’s cultural partners Pro Helvetia & ANT Fund, British Council ConnectZA, French Institute, Canada 150, University of Dundee, Wits School of the Arts, NEoN Festival and Weheartbeat.

2017 Festival Director, Tegan Bristow, says this year’s Fak’ugesi Festival promises to deliver an exceptional line up geared towards bringing tech innovation to people in a fun, accessible and playful way. “Some incredible highlights at this year’s festival will include the Fak’ugesi Conference, the hugely popular Making Weekend, as well as our annual Market Hack event at the Nieghbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. We’re also thrilled to announce an exciting new curatorial partnership titled Fak’ugesi Beats, a beats, music and technology focus curated by We Heart Beat, who will go on to lead festival finale Beats Bloc Party as part of their larger program.”

Just some of the key events in this year’s ‘brave tech hearts beat as one’ Fak’ugesi Festival include:

8 September: Digital Africa Exhibition Opening & Festival Launch

8 to 10 September: Making Weekend, a free workshop programme to promote and celebrate skills development and skills exchange in the digital and technological space, catering to a variety of ages and experience levels. This will include a special focus on community driven urban design via Mixed Reality and Minecraft with Ericsson, UN Habitat and the City of Johannesburg.

11 to 13 September: Daring Curating, International Forum for Art and Technology in Africa, drawing the festival’s theme of bravery and collaboration, this forum brings together practitioners at all levels of professional experience to debate  issues around curating Art and Technology in Africa.

13 to 16 September: A MAZE, welcomes African and international game developers, digital artists, forward thinkers, entrepreneurs, and digital activists to South Africa to exchange tools, skills, and ideas in the fields of independent games and playful media.

14 September: Fak’ugesi Conference, this unmissable one-day event will highlight the important conversations on the role of collaboration and interdisciplinary practice for creativity, technology and innovation in Africa.

16 September: Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, curated by We Heart Beat and featuring ColabNowNow by British Council ConnectZA together with Canada 150.

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Wannacry still alive

One and a half years after its epidemic, WannaCry ransomware tops the list of the most widespread cryptor families and the ransomware has attacked 74,621 unique users worldwide.

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These attacks accounted for 28.72% of all users targeted by cryptors in Q3 2018. The percentage has risen over the last year, demonstrating more than two thirds growth against Q3 2017, when its share in cryptor attacks was 16.78%. This is just one of the main findings from Kaspersky Lab’s Q3 IT threat evolution report. 

A series of cyberattacks with WannaCry cryptor occurred in May 2017 and is still considered to be one of the biggest ransomware epidemics in history. Even though Windows released a patch for its operating system to close the vulnerability exploited by EternalBlue 2 months prior to the start of the attacks, WannaCry still affected hundreds of thousands devices around the globe. As cryptors do, WannaCry turned files on victims’ computers into encrypted data and demanded ransom for decryption keys (created by threat actors to decipher the files and transform them back into the original data) making it impossible to operate the infected device.

The consequences of the WannaCry epidemic were devastating: as the victims were mainly organisations with networked systems – the work of businesses, factories and hospitals was paralysed. Even though this case demonstrated the dangers cryptors pose, and most of PCs around the world have been updated to resist the EternalBlue exploit, the statistics show that criminals still try to exploit those computers that weren’t patched and there are still plenty of them around the globe.

Overall, Kaspersky Lab security solution protected 259,867 unique users from cryptors attacks, showing a substantial rise of 39% since Q2 2018, when the figure was 158,921. The growth was rapid yet steady, with a monthly observed increase in the number of users.

The rising share of WannaCry attacks is another reminder that epidemics don’t end as fast as they start – there are always long-running consequences. In the case of cryptors, attacks can be so severe that it is necessary to take preventive measures and patch the device, rather than deal with encrypted files later,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

 To reduce the risk of infection by WannaCry and other cryptors, users are advised to:

  • Always update your operating system to eliminate recent vulnerabilities and use a robust security solution with updated databases. It is also important to use the security solution that has specialised technologies to protect your data from ransomware, as Kaspersky Lab’s solutions do. Even if the newest yet unknown malware does manage to sneak through, Kaspersky Lab’s System Watcher technology is able to block and roll back all malicious changes made on a device, including the encryption of files.
  • If you have bad luck and all your files are encrypted with cryptomalware, it is not recommended to pay cybercriminals, as it encourages them to continue their dirty business and infect more people’s devices. It is better to find a decryptor on the Internet – some of them are available for free here: https://noransom.kaspersky.com/

·         It is also important to always have fresh backup copies of your files to be able to replace them in case they are lost (e.g. due to malware or a broken device), and store them not only on the physical object but also in cloud storage for greater reliability (don’t forget to protect your cloud storage with strong hack-proof password!)

·         If you’re a business, enhance your preferred third-party security solution with the newest version of the free Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool.

·         To protect the corporate environment, educate your employees and IT teams, keep sensitive data separate, restrict access, and always back up everything.

·         Use a dedicated security solution, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business that is powered by behaviour detection and able to roll back malicious actions. It should also include Vulnerability and Patch management features that automatically eliminates vulnerabilities and installs updates. This reduces the risk of vulnerabilities in popular software being used by cybercriminals.

·         Last, but not least, remember that ransomware is a criminal offence. You shouldn’t pay. If you become a victim, report it to your local law enforcement agency.

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Nokia 6.1 gets slice of Pie

HMD Global has announced that the Nokia 6.1 will start receiving Android 9 Pie – the second smartphone in the portfolio to receive the latest version of Android less than a month after the update arrived on the Nokia 7 plus.

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Packed with Google’s newest software and building on the features of Android 8.0 Oreo, Android 9 Pie’s focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning gives owners a more customised and tailored experience.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, the Nokia 6.1 is over 60% faster than its predecessor. Also, now offering enhanced Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics, USB-C fast-charging, Nokia spatial audio and pure, secure and up-to-date Android Oreo.

The Nokia 6.1 has been selected by Google to join the Android One family and therefore users get exclusive access to Apps Actions – a feature only available to Android One and Google Pixel devices.  App Actions helps users get things done faster by predicting their next move and displaying the right action on right away.

Now with Android 9 Pie, the Nokia 6.1’s already impressive battery life is further complimented with the introduction of Adaptive Battery, an update that uses deep learning to understand usage patterns and prioritise battery power on the most important apps.

Other key features of Android 9

·       Slices – Identifies relevant information on favourite apps to make them more easily accessible when needed

·       Adaptive Brightness – Automatically adapts phone brightness by learning from interactions with different settings

·       New system navigation – Features a single home button that provides intelligent predictions and suggestions (user enabled)

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