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How to stay safe from cyber criminals: 30 tips

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In light of the recent massive data breach, and October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Capitec Bank has outlined thirty tips to keep consumers from becoming targets.

As the world increasingly finds itself at the mercy of clever card crooks – one in three people polled in an ACI Worldwide survey had fallen victim to card crime over the past five years – South Africans are earning themselves the dubious title of being one of the nations where risky behaviour is most prevalent.

According to the report, South Africans are some of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to leaving their phones unlocked when they’re not using them (28% of South Africans surveyed), throwing documents with account numbers in the bin (26%) and using a public computer without security software for banking online (18%).

Francois Viviers, Executive of Marketing and Communications at Capitec Bank, says that while financial institutions have teams dedicated to protecting their clients against fraud, criminals move quickly and frequently invent new ways to defraud clients and corporates. “The banking industry is very proactive in trying to put in place measures to help clients. However, clients are advised to do all they can to protect themselves against crime. Getting to know the types of crime they are at risk of and learning what risky behaviours to avoid, are good starting points.”

To help keep your money safe avoid becoming a victim, Capitec outlines the main types of crime and offers tips for consumers to protect themselves.

1.        ‘Card not present’ tips

CNP means neither you nor your card need to be present for fraudulent activity to occur, either online or telephonically. If a criminal has your stolen card or even just your card details (for a successful CNP transaction the card number, expiry date and CVV number are required), then they can make unauthorised purchases using your account.

Top tips to avoid CNP and other types of card theft:

1.       Keep your card in sight when you are paying for items

2.       Memorise your PIN – don’t share it with anyone or write it down and carry it around with you

3.       Choose an unusual PIN – not 1111 or your birthday

4.       Lock your phone

5.       Don’t respond to competition SMSs or MMSs

6.       Check the URL of every site you visit – never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link. Rather type in the URL yourself

7.       Avoid doing Internet banking in public areas like Internet Cafés

8.       Ask your bank to set up your cellphone notification service

9.       Change your passwords regularly. Don’t have the same password for everything. Password managers are often used to help manage multiple passwords

10.   Don’t throw away papers or documents with your account numbers on them. Store them in a safe place or dispose of them in such a way that they are unreadable

11.   Get familiar with your bank’s online banking service and app. If anything looks different or the URL looks suspicious, do not log in and report it to the bank immediately

12.   Reduce your card limits via the app to the absolute minimum required value. You can always increase your temporary limit via the app for larger transactions

 

2.       Phishing  

How it happens: The ACI report showed that 5% of South Africans responded to calls or emails asking for banking details in 2016. We’ve all received emails like this: Dear client, we have logged 2 or more login attempts for your account and have reason to suspect fraudulent activity. You must click through to this link and follow the steps to ensure your account is secure. While some phishing emails are obvious, the more subtle, official-looking ones make most of us hesitate and consider clicking through.

Top tips to avoid being phished:

1.       Don’t open emails from senders you don’t recognise

2.       Be wary of emails that are not personalised, have spelling errors and a sense of urgency

3.       Don’t confirm any personal or financial information over the Internet

4.       Hover your mouse over any link to see where it is going to take you

5.       Never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link in an email – rather type in the URL yourself

6.       Get reputable antivirus software and check your bank statements regularly for signs of fraud

7.       Report phishing attempts to your bank. Most banks provide an email address for their clients e.g. phishing@capitecbank.co.za

 

Vishing or telephonic phishing

How it happens: In July 2017, South Africans were warned against a vishing scam involving fake ‘employees’ from cellphone companies calling clients to confirm their details in order to block suspicious SIM swap requests. Of course, the caller already had most of the client’s information via a phishing email, and was vishing to try and get the last confidential info necessary to make a SIM swap.

Top tips to avoid being vished:

1.       Never give out confidential information like your PIN or CVV code over the phone

2.       Be suspicious of unknown callers

3.       ID spoofing is becoming increasingly easy, so don’t automatically trust caller ID

4.       Google the phone number – legitimate numbers are usually linked to credible businesses

5.       If the caller claims to work for your bank, hang up and try calling back using the number provided on your bank’s website

 

ATM incidents

How it happens: This is how a card fraud criminal (who made over R15k a day before being caught) describes his process: He goes to an ATM, pretends to draw cash, puts the machine into cardless mode and leaves his slip behind as he walks away. His victim goes to the same ATM and puts in her PIN, which he watches and remembers. She struggles to get her card to work because the ATMin cardless mode. The thief asks to reclaim his receipt, walks up to her and offers to help ‘fix’ the ATM. He cancels cardless mode, asks the victim for her card and pretends to insert it. While her eyes are on the screen, he steals the card and conceals it with his wallet.

Top tips to avoid being an ATM scam victim:

1.       Be alert at all times – criminals choose people who look distracted

2.       Look out for anyone standing close to you

3.       Never accept assistance at an ATM unless it’s from someone who works there

4.       Don’t insert your card if the screen looks strange or unfamiliar

5.       If the ATM looks like it has been tampered with, stop what you’re doing and ask a staff member for assistance

6.       If your transaction is disturbed in any way, cancel it and report the incident immediately. Change your PIN or cancel the card. If you card is lost or stolen, cancel it immediately

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AI, IoT, and language of bees can save the world

A groundbreaking project is combining artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to learn the language of bees, and save the planet, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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It is early afternoon and hundreds of bees are returning to a hive somewhere near Reading in England. They are no different to millions of bees anywhere else in the world, bringing the nectar of flowers back to their queen.

But the hive to which they bring their tribute is no ordinary apiary.

Look closer, and one spots a network of wires leading into the structure. They connect up to a cluster of sensors, and run into a box beneath the hive carrying the logo of a company called Arnia: a name synonymous with hive monitoring systems for the past decade. The Arnia sensors monitor colony acoustics, brood temperature, humidity, hive weight, bee counts and weather conditions around the apiary.

On the back of the hive, a second box is emblazoned with the logo of BuzzBox. It is a solar-powered, Wi-Fi device that transmits audio, temperature, and humidity signals, includes a theft alarm, and acts as a mini weather station.

In combination, the cluster of instruments provides an instant picture of the health of the bee hive. But that is only the beginning.

What we are looking at is a beehive connected to the Internet of Things: connected devices and sensors that collect data from the environment and send it into the cloud, where it can be analysed and used to monitor that environment or help improve biodiversity, which in turn improves crop and food production.

The hives are integrated into the World Bee Project, a global honey bee monitoring initiative. Its mission is to “inform and implement actions to improve pollinator habitats, create more sustainable ecosystems, and improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods by establishing a globally-coordinated monitoring programme for honeybees and eventually for key pollinator groups”.

The World Bee Project is working with database software leader Oracle to transmit massive volume of data collected from its hives into the Oracle Cloud. Here it is combined with numerous other data sources, from weather patterns to pollen counts across the ecosystem in which the bees collect the nectar they turn into honey. Then, artificial intelligence software – with the assistance of human analysts – is used to interpret the behaviour of the hive, and patterns of flight, and from there assess the ecosystem.

Click here to read more about how the Internet of Things is used to interpret the language of bees.

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Download speeds ramp up in SA

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All four South African mobile network operators have improved their average download speed experience by at least 1 Mbps in the past six months.

This is one of the main findings in the latest South Africa Mobile Network Experience report by Opensignal, the mobile analytics company. It has analysed the mobile experience in the country, updating a study last conducted in February 2019. While a quick look at its South Africa awards table suggests not much has changed since the last report, it’s far from stagnating. 

Opensignal reports the following improvements across its measurements:

  • MTN remains the leader in our 4G Availability measurements, with a score of 83.6%. But the other three operators are all now within 2 percentage points of the 80% milestone — with Telkom’s users seeing the biggest increase of over 8 points.
  • All four operators improved their Download Speed Experience scores by at least 1 Mbps. But growth in our Upload Speed Experience scores has stagnated, with only winner Vodacom seeing an incremental increase.
  • MTN and Vodacom remain tied for our Video Experience award, and both have increased their scores in the past six months, putting them on the cusp of Very Good (65-75) ratings. Cell C also increased its score to tip over into a Good ranking (55-65).
  • MTN scored over 90% in 4G Availability in two of South Africa’s biggest cities and was just shy of this milestone in the others. Meanwhile, MTN and Vodacom have now passed the 20 Mbps mark in Download Speed Experience in three cities each.

A quick look at the awards table would suggest not much has changed in South Africa since the last report in February. MTN won the 4G Availability award again, Vodacom kept hold of the medals for Upload Speed and Latency Experience, while the two operators tied for Download Speed and Video Experience just as they did six months ago.

But far from stagnating, we’re seeing improvements across most of the measurements. All four of South Africa’s national operators — Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom — are now closing in on 80% 4G Availability nationally, while at the urban level, MTN has passed the 90% mark in two cities. And in Download Speed Experience, our users on all four operators’ networks saw their scores increase at least 8%.

In this report, Open Signal has analyzed the scores for all four national operators across all their metrics over the 90 days from the start of May 2019, including South Africa’s five biggest cities — Cape Town, Durban, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Tshwane.

MTN has been top of Open Signal’s South African 4G Availability leaderboard for a couple of years now, and the operator remains dominant with a winning score over 4 percentage points ahead of its rivals. But it was users on Telkom’s network who saw the most impressive boost in 4G Availability, as its score jumped by well over 8 percentage points.

This leap has put Telkom into a three-way draw for second place with Cell C and Vodacom, who both saw their scores increase by at least 3 percentage points.

While MTN is the only operator to have passed 80% in national 4G Availability, the other three players are all less than 2 percentage points away from this milestone. Based on the current rate of improvement, Open Signal fully expects to see all four operators pass the 80% mark in its next report — which will provide testament to the rapid maturing of the South African mobile market.

MTN and Vodacom remain neck-and-neck in the Video Experience analysis, with both operators scoring 65 (out of 100). And the two rivals both saw their scores rise by around 3 points since our last report, meaning the two continue to share our Video Experience award. Cell C and Telkom remain in third and fourth place, but both saw larger increases — of 5 and 4 points respectively — to narrow the gap on the leaders.

The increase in MTN and Vodacom’s Video Experience scores means the two operators are on the cusp of Very Good (65-75) ratings in this metric — with the users on their networks enjoying fast loading video times and almost non-existent stalling, even at higher resolutions. By comparison, Cell C’s score earned it a Good rating (55-65), while Telkom remains in Fair (40-55) territory — meaning users watching video on Telkom’s network, in particular, will likely struggle with longer load times and frequent stuttering, even at lower resolutions.

In terms of 4G-only Video Experience, Cell C’s score has increased enough to tip it over into a Very Good rating — now featuring three operators achieving 4G network scores with a Very Good ranking. And as 4G Availability continues to increase, the overall Video Experience scores will continue to climb, making mobile video viewing more of a viable proposition across all networks. And in a country where fixed-line broadband connections are relatively rare and the large majority of South Africans only connect to the internet via cellular, this improvement has the potential to transform people’s lives.

Read more from Open Signal’s report here.

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