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Don’t lose your head on Black Friday

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Fraud syndicates are likely preparing to pounce as shoppers throw caution to the wind in the Black Friday shopping frenzy, warns Ideco Biometrics CEO MARIUS COETZEE.

The Black Friday sale tradition is gaining momentum in South Africa, with leading retailers promising significant discounts from Friday, 24 November, through to Cyber Monday on 27 November.

For many consumers, the discounts will prove too tempting for caution as they happily part with their personal information and hand over their credit cards to snap up the deals on offer, says Ideco Biometrics CEO Marius Coetzee.

“Fraud syndicates are sophisticated and very well organised, with individuals and businesses losing billions of rands to fraudsters every year. The moment a consumer drops his or her guard, they risk having their personal and banking information duplicated or shared and misused to carry out fraudulent transactions or deplete the victim’s bank account,” Coetzee warns.

The key to safe shopping this Black Friday is to stay vigilant and watch your credit card, he says.

Online shopping can be safer than bricks and mortar shops

“It might surprise some shoppers to discover that online shopping can be safer than using your credit card at a restaurant or retail outlet.  When you hand over your physical credit card, it is very easy for fraudsters to ‘skim’ the card – presenting it to a card reader at the bottom of the point of sale device. This information can be shared across a syndicate within minutes, and by the time the victim becomes aware of the problem, their account could have been drained,” he says.

Coetzee recommends keeping an eye on your card throughout the transaction. “Giving your card to someone who walks away with it to a point of sale terminal is asking for problems.  Many reputable retailers now allow customers to conclude their own transactions by entering the card into the point of sale device. This is typically the safest option, allowing the consumer to stay in control of their own card and personal information.”

Guard your identity

While reputable online retailers go to great lengths to ensure a secure environment for transactions, there are some potential risks in buying online or over the ‘phone, mostly because of consumers’ willingness to share personal information with strangers.

“Your identity – your personal information – is the key to accessing your home and your bank account, so you have to be cautious about who you share it with,” says Coetzee.  One way to be sure you’re sharing your information with a trusted online retailer is to initiate the engagement and the purchase, he says.

“If you initiate the process by going to a reputable online retailer’s website or calling a company’s contact centre, you know who you’re engaging with. Whereas if you click on a link you’ve been sent via email to start shopping, or you share personal information with someone who calls you on the ‘phone, you have no way of knowing for sure who you are giving your information to.”

“It’s safest not to answer questions from people pushing a sales effort to you – rather ask them to confirm the information they have about you. If they don’t have your details, be careful of confirming your personal identity information,” he says.

“It’s commonly accepted that when you drop your guard is when fraudsters will strike. So on Black Friday, when everyone is distracted in the rush to grab the best deal, they need to exercise caution and guard their information,” he says.

Ideco, a pioneer in identity management solutions, is leading efforts to introduce advanced new identity management systems to South Africa to reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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