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Don’t date hackers!

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Spring brings a surge in activity for online dating services as many singles make a fresh start in their search for the perfect match.

There could be trouble ahead for some, however, as consumers looking for romance discount the threat of hackers, imposters and other cyber-criminals who may target the popular Internet sites.

When asked how worried they were that their personal data would be compromised online, a cyber survey of consumers released today by Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB), part of Munich Re, found singles showed little concern about using dating websites and apps.

“Online dating risks can include fraud, blackmail and invasion of privacy,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president for HSB, a provider of cyber insurance to consumers and businesses. “Yet, many people reveal their personal and even intimate information without thinking about digital security.”

Daters are cheated in so-called romance scams, when people they meet online ask for money or banking information. Often, they use phony dating profiles and may use the victim’s data to steal their identity, apply for credit cards, or threaten to expose personal facts or photos unless they’re paid.

People reported losing $143 million in romance schemes in 2018, the highest total of any type of consumer complaint tracked by the Federal Trade Commission. The FBI estimates that criminal complaints of online dating fraud tripled over five years to $230 million lost in 2016.

So, are people worried?

Although the HSB poll conducted by Zogby Analytics found respondents were most concerned that a virus, hacker or computer attack would damage their data, laptops or smartphones (68 percent “very or somewhat concerned”), they were far less anxious about dating sites and apps.

Only 37 percent were somewhat or very concerned their personal information would be exposed through online dating, and 35 percent were “not at all concerned.” That ranked near last of 24 categories — only defamation and lawsuits from online bullying were considered less of a threat.

Help Keep Your Data Safe When Online Dating

Consumers should be more cautious with the personal data they share through dating websites and apps. Here are some tips to help protect your privacy and security.

  • Be aware that scammers and cyber criminals will be trolling even reputable dating sites.
  • Strong passwords, passphrases and other basic cyber security measures are important. Use multi-factor identification when available.
  • Never visit dating sites on public, unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Install a VPN and disable GPS tracking when using dating apps to make it more difficult to identify your location.
  • Don’t share personal information through the messaging feature on a dating site, texting or emails. Do it in person if you decide to meet a date.
  • Use online search engines to check people out. Search for the person’s name, together with the word “scam” and do an image search for photos they share. Fraudsters are clever, but often lazy, using the same messages and images.
  • Don’t send money to anyone you meet through an online dating site or app. Don’t share your banking information, purchase tickets or make travel arrangements for dates.
  • Beware a “match” who avoids meeting in person.
  • Don’t share intimate images through an online dating site. Remember, anything shared electronically is stored indefinitely, long after a relationship may end.

Survey Methodology
Zogby Analytics was commissioned by Hartford Steam Boiler to conduct a survey in December 2018 of 1,510 adults in the United States. Based on a confidence interval of 95 percent, the results had a margin for error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. That means all other things being equal, the identical survey repeated would have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.

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Gaming gets rad at Rand Show

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With the opening of the 125th Rand Show at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, today, gamers and cosplayers have a new destination to strut their stuff.

A new addition to the show, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion, is offering anything from gaming and cosplay to dance-offs and  science displays.

The organisers provided the following information (although several million exclamation marks and exaggerations have been removed!):

Fortnite Tournament

There was a time when Gaming was a considered a solitary pastime, confined to single player consoles; but that truly is a thing of the past with a fully immersive Fortnite Tournament open to all Fortnite afficionados and even those just starting out. Players can battle it out over both show weekends, including a final on each weekend. Family fan clubs can also get in on the action with live broadcasts of the game as it happens across screens – a full-on Fortnite family affair. Sponsored by PlayStation, gamers are truly going to be spoiled and should get in on the action as fast as they can because R 100 000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

Smart Technology Centre will deliver a super-fast FibreMAX 500Mbps fibre link, wholly dedicated to the gaming pavilion to ensure that absolutely nothing ruins the thrill of the National Fortnite Tournament. 

“As the exclusive connectivity provider, we have gone all out to ensure an amazing experience for gamers,” says Dillynn Els of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner. “When it comes to gaming and the best experience possible, it’s all about ensuring we provide a dedicated, uncapped, unshaped connection that makes every second count.”

Keen players can come along and enter on the day, but don’t delay because space is limited.

Fortnite Inspired Dance Off

Visitors can come along and be entertained by the finalists in the Fortnite inspired dance-off. There will be daily dances to enjoy for the entire duration of the show.

Come and play – Cosplay, to be exact.

The stage is set for a celebration of creativity and imagination that is going to be literally out of this world. Super hero heavy weights and masters of the mysterious will be letting their creative vision loose and take part in various Cosplay Tournaments and a visually stunning Cosplay Masquerade. Come see what all the fuss is about and get lost in this world costumes, colour and creative talent.

Games, Games and Science

For those wanting to get their gaming on, there will be three free play areas sponsored by Xbox with a host of games available to play. Xbox will be giving away 3 Xbox 1’s and an awesome Xbox 1X, but you truly have to be in it to win it, so make sure you don’t miss out.

The Kalahari Scientist will be onstage delighting visitors with his explosive displays that are guaranteed to up the ooh and aah factor with audiences young and old.

But wait, there’s more

Along with the larger-than-life gaming entertainment offering, visitors will also get to be the first gamers on SA soil to get a sneak peak of PlayStation’s brand new Mortal Kombat 11. Don’t miss your chance to experience the continuation of this epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. The iconic showcasing brutal battles like never before, along with a host of customisable fighters with enhanced graphics and animations.

Other activities at the Pavilion include VR Experiences, a full-on NAG Nerf Arena, Gaming vendors with awesome gaming content, retailers selling gaming related products and software, and tutorials and workshops on how to improve your gaming skills, Celebrity Fortnite match off for charity.

With huge sponsors such as PlayStation, Xbox, MMS, NAG, SABC 2 and Smart Technology, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion is geared up to become a hot zone of entertainment.

Win big

In case the entertainment offering just doesn’t get the heart beats racing fast enough, an all-expenses paid trip to TwitchCon USA, sponsored by PlayStation, in conjunction with 94.7 Highveld Stereo, is waiting for one lucky visitor to grab it. Every ticket purchased into the Entertainment Gaming Pavilion qualifies as an entry, so bring the whole family along for the ride.

Tickets to the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion can be purchased at the show for R 20 which gives the ticket holder access for  two hours.

The pavilion will be open from 14h00 to 19h00 weekdays and 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends from 19 to 28 April 2019.

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Riaad Moosa show debuts on Vodacom Video Play

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Riaad Moosa’s comedy special, Life Begins, will be the first major local title to be released on Vodacom’s video-on-demand service, Video Play.

As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most renowned funny men. His one-man show is available for download on the platform from today, 26 April 2019. Life Begins is rated PG-16L

Vodacom’s says its affordable video-on-demand service, Video Play, has had an incredible uptake since its launch in August 2018, with over 2-million subscribers. 

“But with a proliferation of affordable video-on-demand platforms available to the South African market, what is it that gives Video Play the competitive edge?” it asked in a release this week. “Recognising the consumer’s need for flexibility and freedom of choice, Vodacom has ingeniously developed an adaptable subscription model that puts the power in consumers’ hands. Forget being tied down to a monthly subscription. Video Play gives consumers the liberty of choosing a daily, weekend or even monthly package. 

“Blockbuster movies can even be viewed for a once off cost, without subscription. Furthermore, these bundles can be purchased according to niche categories and genres, from Bollywood movies to gospel music.”

Consumers are able to pay for movies and series by using their airtime or adding it to their bill, eliminating the need for a credit card. Subscribers are also able to purchase video-specific data at a fraction of the regular price to consume constant content without overspending. Daily subscriptions start from R5 a day.

Zunaid Mahomed, Group Digital and Fixed Services Officer, says: “Video Play has enabled the company to provide a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. With the addition of Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins, we’re excited to offer consumers even more quality content and a wider variety of entertainment on demand than ever before. We’re putting quality entertainment, into the hands of anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection.”

Riaad Moosa describes his show as “very philosophical and existential”.

“It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head.  It’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude. Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement.”

To access Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins comedy special, register for Video via the Video Play website (www.videoplay.co.za).

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