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Digital transformation: 70% of projects will fail

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According to IDC, 66% of CEOs will have digital transformation at the heart of their corporate strategy, but 70% of siloed digital transformation initiatives will fail by 2018.

This means that if organisations are to implement successful security strategies, they will have to ensure that these initiatives are at the core of the overall digital transformation of the company.

Research released at the recent 2016 IDC IT Security Roadshow showed that CIOs put cyber security and privacy technologies at the top of the list of technology priorities to support digital transformation. 85 percent of South African organisations surveyed also stated that they have plans to implement advanced security solutions by 2017.

Trending threats

Says Ido Naor, Senior Researcher in the Global Research and Analysis team at Kaspersky Lab: “Ransomware attacks are definitely on the increase and this is something that Kaspersky Lab anticipated two to three years ago already. Couple this with new ransomware variants that keep multiplying themselves and the fact that attacks are not being limited to specific industries or necessarily have mitigation and you have a major battle on your hands.”

“We are also seeing growth in mainly Android malware, particularly when large events take place such as the Olympics in Rio and the Euro Cup, during which users are more likely to download apps to keep abreast with the latest news about the events.”

When the attacker becomes the target

Targeted attacks by organised groups also continue to evolve. Continues Naor: “A year ago at the Kaspersky Security Analyst summit, we revealed a very sophisticated group, which uses targeted attacks against  governments, military, telecoms, aerospace and more, called Equation, operating since 2001. Subsequent to that, a group that calls itself The Shadow Brokers announced that they had stolen malware code from the Equation Group, which led to the release of the tools and script they use and vulnerabilities they had discovered and kept in order to use again as part of their attack.”

So how do you protect yourself?

Awareness is still the most traditional, yet effective method of protecting an organisation. Adds Naor: “Ensure that every employee in the company is aware of the existence of malware in general and educate them about the growing danger of ransomware and what some of the scenarios are to look out for. Basically, it is about teaching users or employees not to open suspicious emails or click on links they are not familiar with or which are not intended specifically for them. Also teach them not to use their corporate email when registering for services online. In addition, IT and security managers should apply security procedures that restricts malware from spreading from one machine to the other, by enforcing user group policies and segmented networks within the corporate LAN.”

While awareness certainly has an important role to play, organisations of all sizes also have to invest in security solutions to protect themselves. “You need to ensure that every entry and exit point for your organisation is secure. This includes protection at the endpoint and on the server side. It is also important to monitor encryption attacks through components such as a system watcher, which will enable you to revert back to the place where the station is not compromised.”

But what about the general consumer?

The proliferation of mobile devices on the African continent and an increase in Android malware means that individuals can also be at risk. Firstly, mobile users should make sure their device is updated at all times and they are using the latest version of their operating system on their phone. Secondly, they should be aware of what types of applications they are downloading and ensure they only download apps from credible sources such as their relevant app store and not from links that are being distributed via email or on social networks.

“I would recommend watching what you download. As mentioned earlier, big events often rely on apps to disseminate information to visitors, which creates an opportunity for attackers. So, if you are going to download an event-specific app or a trending game like Pokémon GO, make sure you have downloaded the right app from a reputable, valid source and that you are not downloading something that looks similar.”

Nowadays one cannot even rely on reviews to determine authenticity as these apps will often have good reviews, because the hackers know how to buy reviews or get reviews from compromised victims.

Where to from here and beyond?

“I believe that every cycle of an emerging attack trend or cycle of threats takes time to eliminate. We do find that in some regions, cyber security is taken more seriously. It also depends on the industry affected, as we find that the telecommunications, military and government sectors take these breaches far more seriously than for example retail. On a general note, we know that cyber threats are around and that they are going to get more severe, but there are security companies out there that are doing all they can to protect users. Collaboration will be key in fighting the scourge, though. So, for example, when Facebook faced a malware issue, we worked with them to create a plug-in to clean your machine if you were infected. Our best arsenal in the fight against cyber attacks will be collaboration, constant research and continuously retracing the attackers to make sure fewer people will fall victim to these attacks.” says Naor.

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Samsung S10 in lock-step with its rivals?

Tonight Samsung will kick off the next round in the smartphone wars with the S10 range, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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When Samsung unveils the new S10 smartphone at an event in San Francisco today, it will mark the beginning of the 2019 round of World War S. That stands for smartphone wars, although Samsung would like it to be all about the S.

Ever since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung has held both technology and thought leadership in the handset world. Back then, Apple’s iPhone 5 was the last device from the American manufacturer that could lay claim to being the best smartphone in the world. With the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple entered an era of incremental improvement, playing catch-up, and succumbing to market trends driven by its competitors.

Six years later, Samsung is fighting off the same threat. Its Chinese rival, Huawei, suddenly wrested away leadership in the past year, with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro regarded as at last equal to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 – if not superior. Certainly, from a cost perspective, Huawei took the lead with its more competitive prices, and therefore more value for money.

Huawei also succeeded where Apple failed: introducing more economical versions of its flagship phones. The iPhone 5c, SE and XR have all been disappointments in the sales department, mainly because the price difference was not massive enough to attract lower-income users. In contrast, the Lite editions of the Huawei P9, P10 and P20 have been huge successes, especially in South Africa.

Today, for the first time in half a decade, Samsung goes into battle on a field laid out by its competitors. It is expected to launch the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 and S10 e, with the latter being the Samsung answer to the strategy of the iPhone XR and Huawei P20 Lite.

Does this mean Samsung is now in lock-step with its rivals, focused on matching their strategies rather than running ahead of them?

It may seem that way, but Samsung has a few tricks up its electronic sleeve. For example, it is possible it will use the S10 launch to announce its coming range of foldable phones, expected to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex. It previewed the technology at a developer conference in San Francisco last November, and this will be the ideal moment to reclaim technology leadership by going into production with foldables – even if the S10 range itself does not shoot out the lights.

However, the S10 handsets will look very different to their predecessors. First, before switching on the phone, they will be notable by the introduction of what is being called the punch-hole display, which breaks away from the current trend of having a notch at the top of the phone to house front-facing cameras and speakers. Instead, the punch-hole is a single round cut-out that will contain the front camera. It is the key element of Samsung’s “Infinity O” display – the O represents the punchhole – which will be the first truly edge-to-edge display, on the sides and top.

The S10 range will use the new Samsung user interface, One UI, also unveiled at the developer conference. It replaces the previous “skin”, unimaginatively called the Samsung Experience, to introduce a strong new interface brand.

One UI went live on the Note 8 last month, giving us a foretaste, and giving Samsung a chance to iron out the bugs in the field. It is a less cluttered interface, addressing one of the biggest complaints about most manufacturer skins. Only Nokia and Google Pixel handsets offer pure Android in the local market, but One UI is Samsung’s best compromise yet.

It introduces a new interaction area, in the bottom half, reachable with the thumb, with a viewing area at the top, allowing the user to work one-handed on the bottom area while still having apps or related content visible above. One UI also improves gesture navigation – the phone picks up hand movements without being touched – and notification management.

The S10 range will be the first phones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, at least for the South African and American markets. That makes it 5G compatible, for when this next generation of mobile broadband becomes available in these markets.

They will also be the first phones to feature Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of the Wi-Fi mobile wireless standard. It will perform better in congested areas, and data transfer will be up to 40% faster than the previous generation.

The phones will be the first to use ultrasound for fingerprint detection. If Samsung gets it right, this will make it the fastest in-screen fingerprint sensor on the market, and allows for a little leeway if one pushes the finger down slightly outside the fingerprint reader surface. It does mean, however, that screen protectors will have to be redesigned to avoid blocking the detection.

Not enough firsts? There are a few more.

Most notably, it will be the first phone range to feature 1 Terabyte (TB) storage – that’s a thousand Gigabytes (GB) – at least for the top-of-the-range devices. Samsung last month announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make 1TB built-in onboard flash storage. Today, it will deploy this massive advantage as it once again weaponises its technology in the fight for smartphone domination.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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IoT set to improve authentication

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By Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Solutions for CISMEA region at Gemalto

As it rapidly approaches maturity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue a transformational trajectory, introducing new efficiencies in multiple fields by allowing measurement and analysis on a scale that has never been possible before. From agriculture to logistics, from retail to hospitality, from traffic to health, from the home to the office, the applications for monitoring ”things” are limited only by the imagination.

And South African (and African) businesses are showing abundant imagination in their practical deployments of IoT solutions in multiple settings, creating a better tomorrow through almost universal measurement and the introduction of new levels of convenience – including how to access locations, devices and services securely.

Any company, whether South African or international, should bear in mind that understanding consumer expectations can be the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT devices and related smart services.

According to Gemalto’s latest Connected Living study, improving the way consumers authenticate themselves to services is one of the most anticipated benefits of IoT, highlighting a desire for a more seamless and secure IoT experience.

Consumers are interested in advanced ways of authenticating themselves through automatic (based on behavioral patterns) or biometric techniques, lessening the need to have to intervene manually, all in the name of a much more streamlined authentication process. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have already placed fingerprint and facial recognition high on the agenda. There is also a widespread positive sentiment towards IoT’s potential for improving the quality of home life through connected, smart appliances.

Personalised services is something else that wins consumers over. In fact, a fluid, personalised and unified experience with continuity of services, together with security and privacy, is critical for the successful implementation of any technology.

And those types of services are today quite possible. With everything being connected – from small gadgets to digital solutions for large enterprises – IoT is no longer just a buzzword. That much is clear in a piece from Vodacom IoT managing executive Deon Liebenberg. Writing for IOL Online, Liebenberg provides insight into the sheer range of applications for IoT: the 20 use cases he cites range from the obvious, like transport and logistics, to the connected home and wearables; he even suggests tagging pets with IoT transmitters, for those who always need to know the whereabouts of the family cat.

Low-cost tags fitted to cats, dogs, lamp posts, shipping containers or other items are just one part of the puzzle, however. There are other two pieces; arguably the most complex part is the availability of communication networks in areas where there aren’t any WiFi networks, or indeed, anything else.

And that’s where the bigger takeaway from Liebenberg’s piece and other IoT trends articles becomes apparent. The communication networks are there, as are those tags: dedicated IoT networks (like LoraWAN, SigFox and narrowband IoT) are all available in South Africa.

So, too, is the third and final essential component. Software which is able to process the data generated by the tag and transmitted over the IoT network and into the internet. In this regard, there’s no shortage of solutions available from cloud providers like AWS and Azure; electronics giant Siemens, too, is in on the action, having recently launched a new cloud-based IoT operating system to develop applications and services for process industries, including oil and gas and water management.

This combination means it is quite possible right now to enable just about any use case. Business owners, who will know best how IoT can add value in their organisation, can now see their ideas becoming reality. Most crucial of all, IoT solutions delivering new levels of efficiency and convenience are not only possible, they are able to be offered with the simple and effective security that will drive consumer acceptance.

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