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Lucky 13th for Nintendo fans

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This Friday the 13th, Nintendo is aiming on overturning the superstition and misfortune that comes with it by announcing a range of new hardware and software releases.

While Friday 13th is considered by many to be a day shrouded in superstition and misfortune, Nintendo is aiming to overturn this notion and bring good fortune to South Africa’s handheld gaming fans this coming Friday. It has named the day #Nintendo3DSDay, and is marking it with a slew of new hardware and software releases.

At a time when the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has now sold over 50 million hardware units globally, the latest additions to the family, New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, make their South African debut on Friday 13th alongside two major software releases: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Capcom‘s Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Both titles are playable on all Nintendo 3DS systems, but feature added functionality when experienced on New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, such as more stable 3D and enhanced camera controls using the C Stick. Two limited edition hardware bundles, New Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask 3D Edition and New Nintendo 3DS XL Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Edition will also launch on Friday to celebrate these highly-anticipated titles.

Meanwhile, exclusively on Nintendo eShop, IronFall: Invasion, an intense single-player and six-person local & online multiplayer action-shooter from three talented developers, launches alongside familiar faces in Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe. In addition, a free video-on-demand streaming service named Nintendo Anime Channel becomes available for download from Nintendo eShop, with anime series from the likes of Kirby, Pokémon, and Inazuma Eleven.

“We are delighted to be releasing such an extensive Nintendo 3DS hardware and software line-up, and hope this offering demonstrates our commitment to providing the best and most varied gameplay experiences possible for handheld gaming fans,” said Laurent Fischer, Managing Director, European Marketing & PR at Nintendo of Europe.

Nintendo’s releases for #Nintendo3DSDay, Friday 13th February, in full:

New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL: The latest additions to the Nintendo 3DS family feature new control options, face-tracking 3D technology, built-in amiibo functionality, and enhanced processing power. New Nintendo 3DS is compact and light, with a screen 1.2 times bigger than the original Nintendo 3DS and has the option of extra customisation using replaceable cover plates. New Nintendo 3DS XL boasts a luxury look and a 4.88 inch screen for even more dynamic and immersive gameplay. A free update will also be released on 10th February for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS  that will enable amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. Collection to be used with the new systems.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D: The handheld remake of the beloved, dark and twisted Nintendo 64 game launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS family of systems.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask 3D Edition: A limited edition hardware bundle that includes a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and a New Nintendo 3DS XL system covered in artwork inspired by the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Special Edition:  A limited edition software offering which includes a copy of the game in its standalone packaging, a specially-designed SteelBook, a pin badge and a double-sided poster.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: As players explore the world of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, they will face off against many ferocious enemies with up to three other friends locally or, for the first time on Nintendo 3DS, online using a wireless broadband Internet connection. Ahead of launch day fans should check out Nintendo eShop and get their hands on the demo, to brush up their skills ready for the battle ahead.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Edition: A limited edition hardware bundle that includes a copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and a New Nintendo 3DS XL system with an iconic emblem from the game on its cover.

IronFall: Invasion: A three-year project by independent developers VD-DEV, IronFall: Invasion brings fast-paced single-player and six-person local & online multiplayer shooting action, with the gameplay perfectly suited for using the C Stick of New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL.

Kirby Fighters Deluxe: Based on the popular battle mode in Kirby: Triple Deluxe, this standalone 4-player battle action game contains expanded gameplay, new arenas and the ability to play as a team.

Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe: Bounce to the beat of catchy Kirby tunes playing as Kirby’s long-time rival King Dedede. This standalone rhythm action game includes content not found in Kirby: Triple Deluxe including all-new stages and new obstacles.

Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy +: Play as the legendary pilot Phoenix and control fighter jets that exist in real-life. The game includes compatibility with the New Nintendo 3DS system’s C Stick and ZR/ZL buttons for total control, while certain amiibo unlock aircraft skins themed after characters like Captain Falcon, Samus, Bowser and more.

Nintendo Anime Channel: A new video-on-demand service offering fans the chance to stream anime series from the likes of Pokémon, Kirby, and Inazuma Eleven, with new content being added regularly. Access to the service is granted simply by downloading a free application from Nintendo eShop.

New Themes for Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu: Fans looking to spruce up their HOME Menu with a new theme are in luck! New Basic and Simple Colour Set themes can be downloaded for free from the Theme Shop which can be accessed through the HOME Menu settings on your Nintendo 3DS system. Those purchasing either The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate or Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+  will receive a free bonus theme download if purchased from Nintendo eShop, with additional themes available for purchase.

The fun doesn’t end on when the sun sets on Friday 13th #Nintendo3DSDay though. More high-profile handheld games for Nintendo 3DS family of systems are scheduled for release in the coming weeks and months. These include: Pokémon Shuffle (launching in February), Cooking Mama: Bon Appétit! (6th March), Gardening Mama: Forest Friends(6th March), Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (20th March), Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Wildfire and Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Thunderflash, (27th March) Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, (2nd April) Code Name S.T.E.A.M. (15th May), and Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition (May).

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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How to rob a bank in the 21st century

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In the early 1980s, South Africans were gripped by tales of the most infamous bank robbery gangs the country had ever known: The Stander Gang. The gang would boldly walk into banks, brandishing weapons, demand cash and simply disappear. These days, a criminal doesn’t even have to be in the same country as the bank he or she intends to rob. Cyber criminals are quite capable of emptying bank accounts without even stepping out of their own homes.

As we become more and more aware of cybersecurity and the breaches that can occur, we’ve become more vigilant. Criminals, however, are still going to follow the money and even though security may be beefed up in many organisations, hackers are going to go for the weakest links. This makes it quintessential for consumers and enterprises to stay one step ahead of the game.

“Not only do these cyber bank criminals get away with the cash, they also end up damaging an organisation’s reputation and the integrity of its infrastructure,” says Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President of Trend Micro, Sub-Saharan Africa. “And sometimes, these breaches mean they get away with more than just cash – they can make off with data and personal information as well.”

Because the cyber criminals operate outside bricks and mortar, going for the cash register or robbing the customers is not where their misdeeds end. Bank employees – from the tellers to the CEO – are all fair game.

But how do they do it? Taking money out of an account is not the only way to steal money. Cyber criminals can zero in on the bank’s infrastructure, or hack into payment systems and even payment documents. Part of a successful operation for them may also include hacking into telecommunications to gain access to one-time pins or mobile networks.

“It’s not just about hacking,” says Siriniwasa.. “It’s also about the hackers trying to get an ‘inside man’ in the bank who could help them or even using a person’s personal details to get a new SIM so that they can have access to OTPs. Of course, they also use the tried and tested method of phishing which continues to be exceptionally effective – despite the education in the market to thwart it.”

The amounts of malware and available attacks to gain access to bank funds is strikingly vast and varies from using web injection script, social engineering and even targeting internal networks as well as points of sale systems. If there is an internet connection and a system you can be assured that there is a cybercriminal trying to crack it. The impact on the bank itself is also massive, with reputations left in tatters and customers moving their business elsewhere.

“We see that cyber criminals use multi-faceted attacks,” says Siriniwasa. “This means that we need to come at security from multiple angles as well. Every single layer of an organisation’s online perimeter need to be secured. Threat isolation is exceptionally important and having security with intrusion protection is vital. Again, vigilance on the part of staff and customers also goes a long way to preventing attacks. These criminals might not carry guns like Andre Stander and his gang, but they are just as dangerous – in fact – probably more so.”

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Beaten by big data? AI is the answer

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by ZAKES SOCIKWA, cloud big data and analytics lead at Oracle

In 2019, it’sestimated we’ll generate more data than we did in the previous 5,000 years. Data is fast becoming the most valuable asset of any modern organisation, and while most have access to their internal data, they continue to experience challenges in deriving maximum value through being able to effectively monetise the information that they hold.

The foundation of any analytics or Business Intelligence (BI) reporting capability is an efficient data collection system that ensures events/transactions are properly recorded, captured, processed and stored. Some of this information on its own might not provide any valuable insights, but if it is analysed together with other sources might yield interesting patterns.

Big data opens up possibilities of enhancing internal sources with unstructured data and information from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Furthermore, as we move to a digital age, more businesses are implementing customer experience solutions and there is a growing need for them to improve their service and personalise customer engagements.

The digital behaviour of customers, such as social media postings and the networks or platforms they engage with, further provides valuable information for data collection. Information gathering methods are being expanded to accommodate all types and formats of data, including images, videos, and more.

In the past, BI and Data Mining were left to highly technical and analytical individuals, but the introduction of data visualisation tools is democratising the analytics world. However, business users and report consumers often do not have a clear understanding of what they need or what is possible.

AI now embedded into day to day applications

To this end, artificial intelligence (AI) is finishing what business intelligence started. By gathering, contextualising, understanding, and acting on huge quantities of data, AI has given rise to a new breed of applications – one that’s continuously improving and adapting to the conditions around it. The more data that is available for the analysis, the better is the quality of the outcomes or predictions.

In addition, AI changes the productivity equation for many jobs by automating activities and adapting current jobs to solve more complex and time-consuming problems, from recruiters being able to source better candidates faster to financial analysts eliminating manual error-prone reporting.

This type of automation will not replace all jobs but will invent new ones. This enables businesses to reduce the time to complete tasks and the costs of maintenance, and will lead to the creation of higher-value jobs and new engagement models. Oracle predicts that by 2025, the productivity gains delivered by AI, emerging technologies, and augmented experiences could double compared to today’s operations.

According to the IDC, worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics (BDA) solutions was expected to total $166 billion in 2018, and forecast to reach $260 billion in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.9% over the 2017-2022 forecast period. It adds that two of the fastest growing BDA technology categories will be Cognitive/AI Software Platforms (36.5% CAGR) and Non-relational Analytic Data Stores (30.3% CAGR)¹.

Informed decisions, now and in the future

As new layers of technology are introduced and more complex data sources are added to the ecosystem, the need for a tightly integrated technology stack becomes a challenge. It is advisable to choose your technology components very carefully and always have the end state in mind.

More development on emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, IoT, virtual reality and others will probably be available on cloud first before coming on premise. For those organisations that are adopting public cloud, there are opportunities to consume the benefits of public cloud and drive down costs of doing business.

While the introduction of public cloud is posing a challenge on data sovereignty and other regulations, technology providers such as Oracle have developed a ‘Cloud at Customer’ model that provides the full benefits of public cloud – but located on premise, within an organisation’s own data centre.

The best organisations will innovate and optimise faster than the rest. Best decisions must be made around choice of technology, business processes, integration and architectures that are fit for business. In the information marketplace, speed and informed decision making will be key differentiators amongst competitors.

¹ IDC Press Release, Revenues for Big Data and Business Analytics Solutions Forecast to Reach $260 Billion in 2022, Led by the Banking and Manufacturing Industries, According to IDC, 15 August 2018

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