Domain Name Registrars (RaRs) hoping to capture a slice of the new (‘dotAfrica’) .africa gTLD (geographic Top Level Domain) will have to comply with three requirements prior to being allowed to submit a domain name application.
Trademark owners have already started applying for .africa domain names matching their protected trademark rights. This is done during the Sunrise Phase, which precedes the public launch of the domain during General Availability (GA) Phase (from 4 July 2017) where domain names are allocated on a “first-come-first-served” basis.
RaRs are the customer-facing entities through which the public typically purchases domain names.
According to Lucky Masilela, CEO of ZA Central Registry NPC (ZACR), the Sunrise Phase is technically different from the General Availability Phase during the launch plan of a new domain name space. “During the Sunrise Phase, domain names are allocated in terms of a limited rights protection process and not on a first-come, first-served basis. This is intended to provide priority protection to established and verifiable brands.
“In order to receive Sunrise Applications from our customer-facing partners, we need to ensure that certain minimum criteria are met.” They are as follows:
1) RaRs need to be ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) accredited, i.e., be able to provide the Registry with an official registration number issued by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority);
2) Finally, in order to actually submit a valid Sunrise Application, RaRs will most likely need to engage with the Trademark Clearing House (http://www.trademark-clearinghouse.com/) and/or the Mark Validation System (http://markvalidation.co.za). This is to ensure that Sunrise Applications submitted to the Registry actually correspond to a validated trademark right.
3) RaRs have to integrate with the .africa Registry System and this means either completing the onboarding process from scratch or activating your ability to provision .africa domain names within your current account held with the Registry. Part of this process requires ICANN Accredited Registrars to accept the .africa Terms and Conditions applicable to RaRs. More information on the criteria is published on the Registrar Portal http://nic.africa/en/home/.
The aforementioned processes are explained in greater detail on http://nic.africa. RaRs are encouraged to log into their Registrar Portal Account.
.Africa is the new top-level domain for the African continent. “It is an African initiative created by Africans for the international Internet Community. In order to ensure responsible growth, we will place special emphasis on securing the rights of intellectual property owners during the Sunrise Period. Ensuring that RaRs comply with the prescribed requirements is key to a successful Sunrise Period,” concluded Mr Masilela.
Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall
Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics
Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.
Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.
Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.
Key report findings include:
- The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
- But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
- Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.
Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.
“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”
Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”
New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones
Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.
Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.
Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides.
But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world
In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.
Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.
Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.
Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.