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Gaming Expo returns to Canal Walk

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Canal Walk’s Gaming Expo, backed by BT Games and Good Hope FM, is to return for the third year.

Taking place in Centre Court at Canal Walk Shopping Centre (CWSC) from 24 to Sunday 29 October, it offers gamers, eSports fans, and Cosplayers 12 hours per day to immerse themselves in the latest the industry has to offer.

The Football Tournament, a highlight for the past two years, will see PlayStation and BT Games present the winner with a R10 000 cash prize and a PlayStation 4 PRO console worth R8000. The runner-up will receive R5000, a copy of GT Sport and R3000. EEntrants must register online (at Friday and Saturday). The top players from each qualifier stage will return for the semi-final and grand finals on the  Sunday.

October is a big month for the gaming industry, with a number of new releases from all the console houses.  For Super Mario fans, Nintendo will be launching the latest in the series, Super Mario Odyssey (due out on 27 October), on its globally successful new console, the Nintendo Switch.  Other new titles for the Switch include Pokken Tournament, Mario Kart and FIFA 18. Expect to try out other new releases across varying genre’s and for various consoles – from South Park to Assassin’s Creed Origins from Just Dance 2018 to Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

Virtual Reality followers will have their share of the latest offerings to experience.  BT Games has confirmed that GT Sport will be playable for the first time in Cape Town using PSVR. Gaming merchandise like collectable figures will be available at the show.

Cosplay returns to the centre stage, with a competition on Saturday 28.  Cosplay (a contraction of “costume” and “play”), is more than just dressing up.  It is a creative form of self-expression and requires hours of designing, sewing and making of incredible outfits.

“The appetite for gaming and game-related products and materials is voracious,” said Vanessa Herbst, Marketing Manager, Canal Walk Shopping Centre. “We saw this last year with a packed-out centre, from the sports competitions to children dancing and even taking on their parents in the old arcade games such as Pacman, which will also make a welcome return in this year’s event.

“It’s very clear that we are living in a digital world, so we have made every effort to compile a broad array of exhibits to appeal to as many aspects of the digital gaming spectrum as possible  in this year’s show.”

Says Karl Klöpfer, Head of Marketing at BT Games, “We are also conscious that it has been a tough economic year for many people, so once again we will offer big savings on consoles, games and related items during this Expo, in time for the upcoming festive season. There will be special offers for gamers who pre-order selected upcoming games, and free gifts with selected purchases. Expect killer deals, like Xbox One or PS4 consoles from R3999 and deals on hot new games too! Expect lots of fun competitions and many give-aways all week long.”

Confirmed exhibitors include Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Megarom Interactive, Electronic Arts and a number of others, with more announcements to follow that will showcase just how broad the industry of gaming has become and how it appeals to people from all walks of life.

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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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