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Consumers pass on privacy responsibility

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Consumers put responsibility for protecting their personal data firmly at the hands of the organisations holding their data, according to the 2016 Data Breaches and Customer Loyalty report released by Gemalto. 

According to the 9 000 consumers surveyed in across the world, 70% of the responsibility for protecting and securing customer data lies with companies and only 30% of the responsibility with themselves. Yet, less than a third (29%) of consumers believe companies are taking protection of their personal data very seriously. This comes as consumers become increasingly fearful of their data being stolen, with 58% believing it will happen to them in the future. Over 4.8 billion data records have been exposed since 2013, with identity theft being the leading type of data breach accounting for 64% of all data breaches.

Where consumers see most risk

Despite becoming more aware of the threats posed to them online, only one in 10 (11%) believe there are no apps or websites out there that pose great risk to them – and consumers are not changing their behaviour as a result:

  • 80% use social media, despite 59% believing these networks pose a great risk
  • 87% use online or mobile banking, with 34% believing they leave them vulnerable to cybercriminals
  • Consumers are also more likely to shop online during busy commercial periods such as Black Friday and Christmas (2% increase online versus -2% decrease in store), despite 21% admitting the threat of cybercrime increases significantly during these periods

Consumers attitudes on data breaches

Nearly six in 10 (58%) consumers believe they will be a victim of a breach at some point, and organisations need to be prepared for the loss of business such incidents may cause. The majority of consumers who currently use the following, say they would stop using a retailer (60%), bank (58%) or social media site (56%) if it suffered a breach, while 66% say they would be unlikely to do business with an organisation that experienced a breach where their financial and sensitive information was stolen.

How data breaches affect consumers

The study found that fraudulent use of financial information has affected 21% of consumers, with others experiencing fraudulent use of their personal details (15%) and identity theft (14%). Over a third (36%) of those who have been a victim of a breach attribute this to a fraudulent website. Clicking a bad link (34%) and phishing (33%) were the next highest methods consumers have been caught by. In keeping with the theme of blaming organisations, over a quarter (27%) attributed their breach to the company’s data security solutions failing.

Lack of security measures influence consumer confidence

The lack of consumer confidence could be due to the lack of strong security measures being implemented by businesses. Within online banking, passwords are still the most common authentication methods – used by 84% for online and 82% for mobile banking, and more advanced transaction security the next highest for both (50% and 48% respectively). Solutions like two-factor authentication (43% online and 42% mobile) and data encryption (31% online and 27% mobile) trail behind.

Similar results can be seen in both the retail space, with only 25% of respondents who use online retail accounts claiming two-factor authentication is used on all their apps and websites, and in social media, with only 21% using the authentication for all platforms. Only 16% of all respondents admitted to having a complete understanding of what data encryption is and does.

“Consumers have clearly made the decision that they are prepared to take risks when it comes to their security, but should anything go wrong they will blame the business,” says Jason Hart, CTO, Data Protection at Gemalto. “The modern-day consumer is all about convenience and they expect businesses to provide this, while also keeping their data safe. With the potential threat of consumers taking legal action against companies, businesses need to educate consumers about the steps they are taking to protect their data. Implementing and educating about advanced protocols like two-factor authentication and encryption solutions will show consumers that the protection of their personal data is being taken very seriously.”

Neil Cosser, Identity and Data Protection Manager for Africa at Gemalto, notes that the results mirror trends that Gemalto is seeing in the South African market, “As data breaches and threats become local realities, consumers are starting to take security and the protection of their sensitive data more seriously. This is making them increasingly critical of the measures put in place to protect them and their data. With cyber threats expected to increase and become more sophisticated in 2017, companies have to ensure they have robust effective solutions in place – to protect not only customer data, but also their own reputations,” he says.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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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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