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Stay cyber safe this holiday

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As cyber criminal activity peaks during the holiday season, it becomes more difficult for online shoppers to remain safe. Executive Head of Forensic Services at Cell C, JACQUELINE FICK, gives some safety tips for online shopping.

Criminal activity often peaks over holiday seasons, mostly because people are in good spirits and let their guard down. Many of the things we do over this period also make for easy opportunities for criminals to capitalise on.

“The biggest myth we all believe is that cybercrime won’t happen to us, and we are far more exposed than we think and at the same time, the criminals are becoming smarter. But there are a few common-sense things we can do that will make it much more difficult for criminals to take advantage of us” says Jacqueline Fick, Executive Head of Forensic Services at Cell C.

1.    Social media:

Facebook and Twitter are how we let all our friends know about the incredible holidays we are experiencing. But it’s also a great source of information for criminals. An innocent location “check-in” post on a social media platform could easily be used as intelligence by criminals who are looking for an open house to target. Make sure that you check your privacy settings so your posts do not land in the wrong hands. If you prefer an open profile, “checking in” with your location should be avoided.

2.    Fakes are a holiday staple

Watch out for fake correspondence, pretending to be from an institution such as a bank or tax office.  These often pop up during this period because we are more focussed on fun than banking or other services. Do not click on links in such messages. Rather contact the institution through numbers listed on their websites.

3.    Never share your personal information.

Unless you are 100% of who you are handing your information to, never provide your personal details. If you think your details have been compromised, change all your passwords immediately and contact the relevant institutions.

4.    Public is public

Sometimes we will use a public internet café or even Wi-Fi hotspot to check our internet banking or purchase something online. Remember that these services are public services, and can be exposing your personal information without you even realising it. Using your own mobile data or a secure Wi-Fi connection is a safer way to complete these transactions.

5.    Be aware

Always take note of the Websites you use, as well as your transaction history. Scrutinise your credit card statement for odd transactions. Do not use your card or banking details on sites you don’t trust. If you see anything unusual on your statements contacting the bank should be your first port of call.

6.    Finally – always remember, if you wouldn’t do it in the real world, don’t do it online.

Cyber safety is a personal responsibility, said Fick: “Your bank or provider may have insurance for certain problems, but do not assume they are able to protect you entirely. Owning a digital device such as a phone is a great perk, but also a big responsibility. So be aware, be smart and you can be safe.”

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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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