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AppDate: Get deleted files back

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In this AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Disk Drill, KaChing Cashless parking, Opera’s Rovio content offering, JustWatch, USB Network Gate, Bang & Olufsen’s BeoHome Design App, MyFord Mobile app, Rush courier and Office Lens.

Disk Drill

Although Apple computers are renowned for being reliable devices that need little to no maintenance, things can go wrong. Disk Drill by CleverFiles allows users to recover lost files from flash drives, memory cards and internal hard drives on a Mac. The program is even able to recover entire partitions that may have disappeared or have been inadvertently deleted. Disk Drill is easy to use: simply click the scan button and wait while it gathers all storage information on the computer. Once done, click on the recently deleted files and hit the recover button. A few minutes later, they will reappear on your computer in their original location.

Platform: Apple OS X and above

Expect to pay: Three versions are available, a free limited Basic version, the Pro version for one user and three Macs for R1 400, and the Enterprise version for an unlimited number of computers or users for R6 400.

Stockists:  www.cleverfiles.com

 

KaChing Cashless parking

Finding money for parking after a long day of shopping is the absolute pits; inevitably the change you need is nowhere to be found and the parking ticket has mysteriously disappeared. Finding it or finding change can add another 30 minutes before you can get out of the shopping mall. A newly-launched app called KaChing removes these hassles. Once the app is downloaded to a phone, input the car’s number plate along with a voucher or credit card details, and you are set to drive in and out without any queuing at the ticket or pay machine. Additional cameras are installed at shopping centre exits and entrances that scan the number plate and automatically debit the loaded credit card or voucher. At the moment the KaChing service is only available at a few shopping malls around South Africa, but the company has plans to roll out the service to more later in the year.

Platform: Most modern smartphones.

Expect to pay: A free app download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Rovio content through Opera Apps Club

Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds, has partnered with Opera to bring its family of games to the Opera Apps Club service. Opera Apps Club subscribers will have access to four of Rovio’s blockbuster titles, including Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Stella and Bad Piggies. Subscribers will also benefit from exclusive deals, promotions and bonuses. These offers are not available in the current free versions of the games and therefore are exclusive to Opera Apps Club subscribers.

Platform: Any device running the Opera Apps Club.

Expect to pay: Free to download but users must be a member of the Opera Apps Club.

Stockists: Access the titles through the Opera Apps Club.

 

JustWatch

With a range of Video on Demand streaming services available in South Africa, it has now become quite difficult to keep up with what content is available on what service. Now, however, there is an app that will help viewers keep track. JustWatch allows one to filter out newly added movies and shows, and search across the various services by genre, IMDB rating or release date. The app even lets a user search for a certain movie based on the cheapest price. The app itself is very easy to use, with a neatly laid out user interface, and is able to search across Netflix, ShowMax, BoxOffice, iTunes, and Mubi, with more providers being added in the future.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

USB Network Gate

The USB Network Gate allows a user to remotely connect USB devices to a computer over a network. Should all your computer’s USB ports be taken, you can still remotely connect to a flash disk or USB camera. According to the company, this can even be done from another country, making it easy to print confidential documents to a remote printer, or access files from an external hard drive without having to lug it around.

Platform: Windows, Linux and OS X

Expect to pay: R1 300

Stockists:  http://www.eltima.com

 

Bang & Olufsen BeoHome Design App

Before going out to spend a good few thousand on one of Bang & Olufsen’s wireless sound systems, it may be a good idea to see how the system will look and function in your lounge. The BeoHome Design app allows a user to virtually place the speakers and sound systems wherever an iPad’s camera is pointed. The user can then select the speaker colour that best suits its surroundings. The app also offers the ability to select the best-sized TV and speaker stands, and lets one move furniture around using augmented reality.

Platform: iPad Mini 2, iPad Air and the iPad Pro.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

 

MyFord Mobile app

Although this isn’t exactly the app Pierce Brosnan was using to control his BMW 750iL from the backseat in Tomorrow Never Dies, it does offer some nifty features. The app is designed especially for Ford’s electric car range and can be used on most Android or Apple smartwatches. Once installed and connected to the car, users can view the current range and status of the car’s battery, remotely air condition the car’s cabin and remotely lock and unlock the car. The app will also display the vehicle’s mileage summary, display personal driving habits and even show the user where the car is parked with walking or driving directions to it. (A similar app is available for BMW electric cars)

Platform: Most Android or Apple smartwatches.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your watch.

 

Rush courier app

With Rush, South African consumers no longer need to stand in queues at the post office to get a parcel delivered. The app is installed on top of the WeChat platform and allows users to order a courier to their places of residence at the click of a button. Rush has partnered with Courier Guy, Courier IT, Skynet, RTT and Globeflight, and allows users to choose which company they want to use based on price, delivery time, speed or courier reputation. Rush also offers the choice to insure packages, with insurance underwritten by Hollard Insurance.

Platform: Most devices with WeChat pre-installed.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Office Lens

Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket as it makes pictures of whiteboards and docs readable, as well as trimming and enhancing them. It is then able to save them to OneNote, where they can be used as PDFs, Word and PowerPoint documents. The app includes OCR, so that written notes can be converted to characters and the text copied and embedded in documents.

Platform: Windows Phone 8 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Microsoft Windows Store.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Worldwide ICT spending poised to hit $4.3-Tn in 2020

Worldwide spending on ICT will increase by 3.6% this year over 2019, with commercial and public sector spending accounting for well over half the total

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A new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts worldwide spending on information and communications technology (ICT) will be $4.3 trillion in 2020, an increase of 3.6% over 2019. Commercial and public sector spending on information technology (hardware, software and IT services), telecommunications services, and business services will account for nearly $2.7 trillion of the total in 2020 with consumer spending making up the remainder.

Serena Da Rold, program manager in IDC’s Customer Insights and Analysis group, says: “The slow economy, weak business investment, and uncertain production expectations combined with protectionist policies and geopolitical tensions — including the US-China trade war, threats of US tariffs on EU automobiles and the EU’s expected response, and continued uncertainty around the Brexit deal — are still acting as inhibitors to ICT spending across regions. On the upside, our surveys indicate a strong focus on customer experience and on creating innovative products and services driving new ICT investments. Companies and organizations across industries are shifting gears in their digital transformation process, investing in cloud, mobility, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, and increasingly in DevOps and edge computing, to transform their business processes.”

IT spending will make up more than half of all ICT spending in 2020, led by purchases of devices (mainly mobile phones and PCs) and enterprise applications. However, when combined, the three IT services categories (managed services, project-oriented services, and support services) will deliver more than $750 billion in spending this year as organizations look to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. The application development & deployment category will provide the strongest spending growth over the 2019-2023 forecast period with a five-year compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of 11.1%.

Telecommunications services will represent more than one-third of all ICT spending in 2020. Mobile telecom services will be the largest category at more than $859 billion, followed by fixed telecom services. Both categories will see growth in the low single digits over the forecast period. Business services, including key horizontal business process outsourcing and business consulting, will be about half the size of the IT services market in 2020 with solid growth (8.2% CAGR) expected for business consulting.

Consumer ICT spending will grow at a much slower rate (0.7% CAGR) resulting in a gradual loss of share over the five-year forecast period. Consumer spending will be dominated by purchases of mobile telecom services (data and voice) and devices (such as smartphones, notebooks, and tablets).

Four industries – banking, discrete manufacturing, professional services, and telecommunications – will deliver 40% of all commercial ICT spending in 2020. IT services will represent a significant portion of the spending in all four industries, ranging from 50% in banking to 26% in professional services. From there, investment priorities will vary as banking and discrete manufacturing focus on applications while telecommunications and professional services invest in infrastructure. The industries that will deliver the fastest ICT spending growth over the five-year forecast are professional services (7.2% CAGR) and media (6.6% CAGR).

More than half of all commercial ICT spending in 2020 will come from very large businesses (more than 1,000 employees), while small businesses (10-99 employees) and medium businesses (100-499 employees) will account for nearly 28%. IT services will represent a significant portion of the overall spending for both market segments – 54% for very large businesses and 35% for small and medium businesses. Application and infrastructure spending will be about equal for very large businesses while small and medium businesses will invest more in applications.

“SMBs are increasingly embracing digital transformation to take advantage of both the opportunities it presents, and the disruption it can mitigate,” says Shari Lava, research director, Small and Medium Business Markets at IDC. “Digitally determined SMBs, defined as those that are making investments in digital transformation-related technology, are almost twice as likely to report double-digit revenue growth versus their technology indifferent peers.”

IDC’s Worldwide ICT Spending Guide Industry and Company Size is IDC’s flagship all-in-one data product capturing IT spending across more than 120 technology categories and 53 countries. This IDC Spending Guide will provide a granular view of the market for IT spending from a country, industry, company size, and technology perspective. This comprehensive database delivered via pivot table format or IDC’s custom query tool allows the user to easily extract meaningful information about various technology markets and industries by viewing data trends, relationships, and making data comparisons across more than three million data points.

The Worldwide Small and Medium Business Spending Guide provides detail on small and midsize business IT spending across 40 technology categories in nine geographic regions and 53 countries. Spending details are also provided for four company size categories: 1–9 employees, 10–99 employees, 100–499 employees, and 500–999 employees. Unlike any other research in the industry, the comprehensive spending guide was designed to help IT decision-makers to clearly understand the direction of SMB spending today and over the next five years.

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Hackers hit SA with fake VPN

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Kaspersky researchers have detected an unusual malicious campaign that uses phishing to mimic a popular VPN service. This helps spread AZORult, a Trojan stealer, under the guise of installers for Windows. The campaign, which kicked off at the end of November 2019 with the registration of a fake website, is currently active and focused on stealing personal information and cryptocurrency from infected users. This shows that cybercriminals are still hunting for cryptocurrency, despite reports that interest in the currency has died down. AZORult is highly active: in 2019 this malware targeted 78,189 users in Africa, with 16,975 users located in South Africa, 8,165 in Kenya and 1,965 in Nigeria. January 2020 has already seen the continuation of this dangerous trend, with 759 users hit in South Africa, 128 in Nigeria, and 639 in Kenya.

AZORult is one of the most commonly bought and sold stealers on Russian forums, due to its wide range of capabilities. This Trojan poses a serious threat to those whose computers may have been infected as it is capable of collecting various data, including browser history, login credentials, cookies, files from folders, cryptowallet files, and can also be used as a loader to download other malware.

In a world where privacy is heavily fought for, VPN services play an important role by enabling additional data protection and safe internet browsing. Yet cybercriminals try to abuse the growing popularity of VPNs by impersonating them, as is the case in this AZORult campaign. In the most recent campaign, the attackers created a copy of a VPN service’s website, which looks exactly the same as the original with the only exception being a different domain name.

Screenshot of a phishing copy of the targeted VPN service’s website

Links to the domain are spread through advertisements via different banner networks, a practice that is also called ‘malvertizing’. The victim visits the phishing website and is prompted to download a free VPN installer. Once a victim downloads a fake VPN installer for Windows, it drops a copy of AZORult botnet implant. As soon as the implant is run, it collects the infected device’s environment information and reports it to the server. Finally, the attacker steals cryptocurrency from locally available wallets (Electrum, Bitcoin, Etherium, and others), FTP logins, and its passwords from FileZilla, email credentials, information from locally installed browsers (including cookies), credentials from WinSCP, Pidgin messenger and others.

Upon the discovery of the campaign, Kaspersky immediately informed the VPN service in question about the issue and blocked the fake website.

“This campaign is a good example of how vulnerable our personal data is nowadays”, says Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) in Latin America in Latin America. “In order to protect it, users need to be cautious and be especially careful when surfing online. This case also shows why cybersecurity solutions are needed on every device. When it comes to phishing copies of websites, it is very difficult for the user to differentiate between a real and a fake version. Cybercriminals often capitalise on popular brands and this trend is not likely to die down. We strongly recommend using a VPN for protection of data exchange on the web, but it is also important to closely study where the VPN software is downloaded from.”

Kaspersky detects this threat as HEUR:Trojan-PSW.Win32.Azorult.gen

Read more about this AZORult campaign on Securelist.com.

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