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Beware of WhatsApp flaw

WhatsApp has recently partnered with Google Drive, to release a new back up facility whereby WhatsApp users will get unlimited storage to back up chats, photos, and other media. While the new feature is great for space-saving, there is concern that it could leave WhatsApp chats and the data contained within them vulnerable to hackers.

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With the creation of business-related WhatsApp groups becoming something of a norm in today’s digitally-connected society, Simone Dickson, Director within the Technology and Sourcing practice at commercial law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, says that businesses need to be especially aware of the inherent data security risks associated with using these social platforms.

“As is the case with any social media platform today, businesses and their employees need to exercise discretion in what information is shared and made available, also ensuring that the host or provider of the social media platform has taken security measures acceptable to the business and appropriate to the risk. Awareness of who the business is actually engaging with is critical.”

Cyber breaches are a real risk, she explains, referring to the World Economic Forum 2018 Global Risks Report, which ranks large scale cyberattacks and major data breaches or fraud among top five most likely risks in next 10 years. “On an international level, UK market research company, Ipsos MORI undertook a cyber-security breaches survey in 2017 and identified that 46% of UK business experienced cybersecurity breaches in the last 12 months.

“There have also been a number of data breaches either in South Africa or affecting South African users which have hit the headlines as of late,” she adds. “The potential risks to businesses affected include damage to reputation, loss of shareholder and customer confidence, business interruption, loss of competitive edge, loss or damage to technology and infrastructure, possible regulatory scrutiny, fines and penalties and costs to remedy the breach.”

When asked what legal recourse is currently available locally, Dickson says that businesses would generally need to rely on common law remedies in the event of a breach, although this would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. “Whilst the Protection of Personal Information Act, No. 4 of 2013 (POPI) and Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill (Bill) do introduce statutory measures which will assist businesses in legal recourse in the event of cyber breaches, neither of these are fully in effect as yet.”

As such, she urges business owners to undertake effective due diligence on service providers providing them with social media platforms and online services. “This includes assessing levels of data security and deciding whether the platform is appropriate in the context for which it is going to be used.

“In the context of WhatsApp in particular, whilst this may be used effectively as a business tool, it is still ultimately user-based and not centrally controlled by the business itself. Accordingly, the rules of engagement and employee policies must be clearly established upfront. It is also essential to determine where data is to be hosted to consider which data protection laws are in place in the relevant jurisdiction.

“Where sensitive business data is shared via a social media platform (including any backups of such data), this should be subject to stringent security measures. Due to the prevalence of cybersecurity risk, this should be a board level agenda item with a dedicated focus. Businesses should also formulate a breach response plan in order to be fully prepared in the event of a data breach so as to allow for pro-active management rather than crisis driven responses,” Dickson explains.

She adds that data breaches are unfortunately inevitable and it is up to business to be aware of inherent risks and take pro-active steps to mitigate these risks. “Awareness and education is critical,” she says.

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Naspers feeds into Latin America’s tech funding

Movile will get $400m funding from the SA-based technology investment giant for iFood expansion.

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Movile is to receive US$500-million in funding for iFood in the largest tech funding in Latin America to date. Naspers and Innova Capital have committed to invest $400m of new capital into Movile to use for further investment in iFood, the leading online food delivery platform in Latin America, of which Movile is a majority shareholder.  

Movile and Just Eat have already invested $100m in iFood during 2018. iFood’s extraordinary growth and the vast market opportunity in Brazil and more broadly in Latin America has driven the increased investment commitment. 

iFood’s monthly orders in Brazil have fed more than 9 million customers in the past twelve months, 16 times the nearest online competitor, in terms of daily active users. This means its partner restaurants are serving the biggest population of consumers ordering food in Latin America. iFood has 50 000 restaurant partners and uses 120 000 couriers. 

The increased investment commitment from Naspers, Innova and Movile is expected to accelerate growth, speed up product development and innovation, and fuel geographical expansion for iFood across the region. The company’s vision is to gain deeper knowledge of consumers through artificial intelligence technology, to personalise the food delivery experience – and at a reduced price, because of improved logistics. 

“Movile is very fortunate to have long-term investors who have supported us for the past decade to help achieve our goal of transforming the lives of more than one billion people and thus we are able to continually back iFood to ensure it remains the market leader,” said Fabricio Bloisi, Movile CEO. 

“Our entire ecosystem of companies is focused on allocating resources and energy towards our one billion people goal. iFood is leading the way, fueling unprecedented growth through its innovative technology platform, providing consumers, couriers and restaurants with the best experience in food ordering and delivery.”  

Larry Illg, CEO of Naspers Ventures, said: “iFood has established itself as a technology leader in Latin America and its success stacks up with some of the most innovative food companies that are leading regions in North America, Europe and Asia.  We have been impressed by their execution in Brazil and remain committed to backing the company on its path to transform the entire food chain to better serve consumers.” 

Online food delivery is experiencing massive expansion globally. According to latest reported results, Grubhub grew daily average orders 39% year-on-year, reaching over 416 000 orders per day. In Latin America, iFood has reached 390 000 orders per day just in Brazil in the last week of October, compared with 183 000 in October 2017, representing 109% growth.

iFood CEO Carlos Moyses said: “We want our consumers to have an amazing delivery experience from the moment they order their food to the moment it arrives. Our partners – the restaurants and delivery fleet – make that happen by living our purpose of improving people’s lives using our services.

“iFood exists for our customers and, with an increased investment commitment of this size, we will be able to build out our state of the art technology platform, and increase our courier and restaurant partners to even better serve our current and future customers in Latin America.”

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Hide your sheep, Spyro is reigniting

Spyro, the iconic purple dragon that entertained living rooms worldwide in the late ‘90s, is making a return with the release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

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Spyro Reignited Trilogy introduces players to a fully remastered game collection with a re-imagined cast of characters, animations, environments, new lighting and recreated cinematics—all inHD.  Now fans can explore more than 100 lush environments filled with new detail, that brings the Dragon Realms and Avalar to life . The trilogy is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro and the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X.

South African distributors Megarom provided the followjng information:

In Spyro Reignited Trilogy, lead developer Toys For Bob is giving fans an all scaled-up version of the original three Spyro games that started it all, Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, but with a modern-day feel that makes it fresh and fun for today’s player. Adding to the fun, voice actor Tom Kenny is returning to the franchise as the voice of Spyro in all three remastered games. Longtime fans will be treated to Toys For Bob’s reimagined version of the classic soundtracks, in addition to an all-new title-screen theme from original soundtrack composer Stewart Copeland.

Additionally, the new game brings an in-game audio feature that allows players to switch between the original and the newly remastered soundtracks, for those who want a more classic gameplay experience. Players can simply fly in to the “options menu” at any time during gameplay, unleash their preferred nostalgic or scaled-up groove, and glide right back into the Spyro action without losing saved data.

“It’s been a real pleasure to bring back one of most iconic video game characters of all time through the Spyro Reignited Trilogy,” said Paul Yan, Co-Studio Head at Toys For Bob. “We’ve poured everything we’ve got into making sure every detail was done right to deliver a great Spyro experience for fans. We hope players will have as much fun revisiting the Spyro world and characters as we did remastering them.”

In the road up to the official release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, created a first-of-its-kind, life-sized, fire-breathing and talking Spyro Dragon drone. The drone took off from “Stone Hill” castle near New York City, spreading his wings across the U.S. to explore the cities and iconic landscapes that resemble levels and themes from the original Spyro games. As part of the tour, the Spyro drone chased sheep, fired up some BBQ and delivered an early copy of Spyro Reignited Trilogy to fellow O.G. and entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg. Highlights from the Spyro drone’s delivery to Snoop Dogg can be found here.

“Fans have been asking Activision to bring Spyro back for some time now. The response to Spyro Reignited Trilogy has been great thus far, and we’re absolutely thrilled that we’re able to continue to reimagine and reinvigorate some of the most iconic videogames and characters of all time with our remastered experiences,” said Steve Young, Chief Revenue Officer at Activision. “With this year being the 20th anniversary of Spyro, there’s no better time to pay homage to everyone’s favorite purple dragon.”

The Spyro community is invited to geek out and elevate their fandom even further through the elite global partnerships from the Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group (ABCPG). Collaborations with Funko, Traly Pins, Exquisite Gaming, KidRobot, USAopoly, Trends International, Rubber Road, and Changes have created new avenues for fans to share their love for the return of Spyro, the original roast master. Spyro consumer products across apparel, collectibles, figurines and more are now available at retailers worldwide. Fans can also take advantage of the GameStop exclusive Spyro TOTAKU Collection.

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