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Over-55s more clueless online

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A recent report has revealed that despite using antivirus applications, many online users over 55 years sometimes behave insecurely and often become victims of fraud.

The latest research from Kaspersky Lab and B2B International has raised concerns about the safety of over-55s online. The findings of the research, in a report entitled: ‘Older and wiser? A look at the threats faced by over-55s online,’ demonstrates that this age group can behave insecurely online and often become victims of fraud.

The findings are worrying, because the research, which questioned 12,546 Internet users across the globe, suggests that the older generation is actually a very attractive target for cybercriminals. When they are online, many over-55s shop, bank and communicate with loved ones without effectively protecting themselves, and the things that are most important to them, from cybercriminals.

Despite the fact that this age group is more likely to install security software on their computers, they are less likely to protect their mobile devices or amend their behaviour online to stay safe. For example, they use high privacy settings on social media and in their browser less than other age groups (30% vs. 38%). They are also unlikely to use the security functions that come with their devices (such as ‘find my device’) or VPN – 28% and 10% respectively compared to 42% and 16% respectively of users across all ages.

The older generation is using the Internet for many aspects of their lives – increasing their vulnerability to cybercriminals if they continue to go online without taking precautions. They are using the Internet to communicate with others – 94% of over-55s email regularly. They are also going online to complete day-to-day tasks. This age group is more likely than others to conduct financial transactions over the Internet, with 90% of over-55s shopping and banking online (compared to an average 84% of users across all age groups).

Yet despite all of this, only half of over-55s (49%) worry about their vulnerability when purchasing products online and the vast majority (86%) do not believe they are a target for cybercriminals. Worryingly, four in ten (40%) have put themselves at risk by sharing financial details in the public domain (compared with 15% across all age groups).

Their lack of cyber-savviness is making over-55s less prepared for the dangers of the online world. As a result, this generation is being victimised by cybercriminals. According to the report, 20% of Internet users overall have older relatives that have encountered malicious software, and 14% have older relatives that have fallen for fake prize draws online. In addition, 13% have older relatives that have shared too much personal information about themselves online and 12% have older relatives that have become the victim of an online scam, seen inappropriate/explicit content, or communicated with dangerous strangers online.

Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab, says, “On the one hand, it’s great to see that so many over-55s are using the Internet to shop, bank and stay connected with loved ones. The report shows clearly that this generation is embracing a connected life, and all of the opportunities that come with it. On the other hand, however, it’s clear that the over-55s are not doing enough to protect themselves properly. Worryingly, they don’t even believe they are a target for cybercriminals, but they are putting themselves in danger time and again.

“At Kaspersky Lab, we are urging older Internet users to become more aware of the dangers they face online, and to act in a more cyber-savvy manner. We are also encouraging younger Internet users to help their older relatives and friends to better protect themselves from the very real threats posed by cybercriminals. Being vigilant online, as well as installing reliable security solutions and ensuring high privacy settings on all devices used to access the Internet, will ensure a happy and healthy connected life,” he says.

To find out more about older users’ online behaviour and the threats they face online, please visit this page.

You can also check your own level of cyber-savviness here: https://blog.kaspersky.com/cyber-savvy-quiz/.

 

To read more tips on how to protect yourself online, click here: https://blog.kaspersky.com/tag/cybersavvy.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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