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6 steps to email security

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With the holidays officially behind us, everyone is back at work and companies are in full swing again. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones. Would-be hackers are looking ahead to another lucrative year of cybercrime. Here are six steps you can take to secure your email.

2015 was a ‘successful’ year for cyber criminals with millions of data records being lost or stolen around the world.  In 2016 we can expect the attacks to continue and to see even more advanced attacks like spear-phishing where victims are specifically targeted using their personal information. And the level of sophistication the criminals use to dupe us is also rising. According to Mimecast research conducted in December, 55% of organisations saw an increase in the volume of whaling attacks – highly personalised emails targeting the finance and accounting departments within an organisation usually to extort cash.

“The barriers to entry for whaling attacks are dangerously low,” says Mimecast’s Managing Director Brandon Bekker. “As whaling becomes more successful for cyber criminals, we are likely to see a continued increase in their popularity, as hackers identify these attacks as an effective cash cow.”

So how can your organisation stay safe in the face of this dangerous new threat? Here are six email security tips to protect yourself.

Educate senior staff

Spear phishing and whaling attacks are so effective because they target named individuals within an organisation. Often appearing to come from a trusted colleague. Whaling in particular is the result of careful social engineering. While fostering a culture of security at all levels is important, it’s crucial to educate senior management, key staff and finance teams specifically on these new attacks aimed at them.

Defend your domain

Today’s phishing emails are so dangerous precisely because they appear to be authentic, right down to the embedded links. Domain-spoofing constitutes 70% of whaling attacks, so it’s important to use email security services that review domain links. Also consider registering top-level domains that look or sound like your own so that hackers can’t exploit a similar domain name in an attack.

Make your mark internally

Educated employees will be on the lookout for emails that come from outside sources, but what if they appear to come from someone significant within the organisation? Most whaling emails are designed to look like they come from the CEO or CFO. One simple trick to mitigate this is to use email stationery on all emails that alerts employees to emails originating outside the corporate network.

Consider all your platforms

Chances are your employees don’t just access their corporate emails from a secured company laptop. For many their mobile device is their preferred way of reading and responding to emails. Also the lines between personal and corporate devices are beginning to blur thanks to BYOD and your security practices need to account for that. Whatever email security technology and procedures you have in place, make sure they’re also optimised for mobile use.

Hack yourself

No security strategy is waterproof, particularly as threats and technology evolve. The trick is to find those gaps before the bad guys do.  It’s advisable to carry out regular tests within your organisation to identify vulnerabilities.  And don’t limit this to your IT systems – test your human firewall too. Look for ways to test your employee base regularly in a safe environment to support your security education programme.

Review and revise

Your security practices aren’t the only things that should be under close scrutiny. Conduct a thorough audit of your finance departments’ authentication procedures. Cyber criminals excel at taking advantage of unsafe processes, so consider revising how financial transactions with third parties are conducted. Requiring additional checks when transfer requests are made over email (or phone for that matter) could help tackle the whaling threat.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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Samsung unveils the quad-cam smartphone

Samsung recently unveiled its Galaxy A9, the world’s first smartphone with a rear quad camera.

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“As a global leader in smartphone innovation, we understand the demand for meaningful innovation in a fast-paced world driven by visual communication,” said Justin Hume, Director: Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. “Building on our legacy in smartphone camera development we’re introducing next-generation technology across our entire Galaxy portfolio to give more consumers the opportunity to experience cutting-edge innovation. We’re excited to deliver on this promise and debut world leading smartphone camera technology with the Galaxy A9.”

Samsung provided the following information (including the adjectives):

The Galaxy A9 allows you to capture dynamic and beautiful photos effortlessly. With four lenses, experience even more ways to unleash your creativity and capture, create and share stunning images.

·         Get close without compromise with 2x Optical Zoom for incredible and detailed close-up shots even from far away.

·         Capture the world in its fullest and without limit, with the Ultra Wide Lens, and shoot like a pro with the Scene Optimizer. Thanks to AI Scene Recognition, your camera is now smarter, and able to identify the subject and adjust settings accordingly for the best photo, in an instant.

·         Express your creativity with the Depth Lens, giving you the freedom to manually manage the photos’ depth of field and focus on the subject for stunning, professional looking images.

·         Capture clear and bright images in both bright and low light conditions with Galaxy A9’s 24MP Main Lens, for gorgeous photos at any time of the day.

The reliable 3,800mAh battery life on the Galaxy A9 lets you live without limits and enjoy outstanding long-lasting performance. You can now capture everything, without restriction, store more and delete less with the Galaxy A9’s 128GB storage and up to 512GB of expandable memory.

Designed to make life more convenient, the Galaxy A9 features Bixby, Samsung Pay and Samsung Health and you can take advantage of the many multi-tasking benefits the Galaxy A9 offers, including App Pair.

First Class Design

Building on Samsung’s heritage in first-class design, the Galaxy A9 is styled in three unique colors; Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink with a sleek and ergonomic design, that fits in one hand with a 3D Glass curved back for a high-quality comfortable feel. The Galaxy A9 will be available in South Africa from December.

Check out the specs on the next page.

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