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Flipping a coin on cybersecurity?

By PAUL STAFFORD, cybersecurity expert at Mimecast

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Would you gamble flipping a coin for the effectiveness of your cybersecurity plan? Heads: you’re able to prevent – or recover from – a cyberattack. Tails: you fall victim to a cybercriminal, lose critical business data, suffer immense business productivity and reputational losses — not to mention struggle to recover data and systems.

If that seems unthinkable, consider this: fewer than half of all South African respondents surveyed in Mimecast’s latest global State of Email Security Report have a cyber resilience strategy in place. And this is despite the 44% that say they believe they’ll experience a negative business impact from an email-borne attack in 2019.

Planning for the inevitable

In fact, the report found that nearly 10% of businesses believed a negative business impact was ‘inevitable’. What happens when that inevitability comes to pass? For 38% of South African firms that did fall victim to a cyberattack in the past twelve months, that negative business impact took the form of data loss; for one in five, it was damage to their reputation.

Twenty percent suffered direct financial losses, while nearly a third suffered business downtime that affected productivity and, potentially, profit.

This kind of disruption can have devastating consequences to the profitable running of a business. Look at the recent example of Johannesburg’s City Power, which fell victim to a ransomware attack in July. Suffering downtime from a cyberattack can have far-reaching consequences for organisations in the public and private sectors.

Revenue takes a knock. Trust is affected. Some never recover.

In a time when most IT leaders recognise it’s a matter of when – not if – they’ll be hit by a cyberattack, and the cost of a successful attack is potentially ruinous to your organisation, what can CSOs and CISOs do?

Building greater resilience

Organisations should strive for stronger cyber resilience. This means putting comprehensive security controls in place to detect and prevent cyber threats; powerful business continuity tools to maintain productivity during an attack; automated backup and recovery capabilities that quickly restore critical data and systems after an attack; and a focus on empowering employees with ongoing cybersecurity awareness training.

The combination of these elements provide protection before a cyberattack, minimises opportunities for human error to undermine security efforts, and reduces the time needed to recover while minimising data and productivity losses in the wake of a successful attack.

And it all starts with email. Email remains the number one business application and the most common attack vector for cybercriminals. Nine in ten cyberattacks use email as its primary channel of attack; and yet, organisations still don’t have the right measures in place to ensure this channel of communication is adequately protected.

Developing a comprehensive cyber resilience strategy should involve board-level buy-in, regular awareness training for all employees, and the correct mix of policies and technologies to provide protection before, during and after a cyberattack.

Building resilience together

On August 29th, IT and security professionals will come together to discuss strategies and share experiences of how we can build a more resilient world. The Cyber Resilience Summit is presented by Mimecast and will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre. Offering more than 16 sessions with multiple tracks covering cyber resilience, the regulatory landscape, technology innovation, security and more.

For more information and to register to attend, please visit www.cyberresiliencesummit.com/website/4569/home

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The Outer Worlds creates a twist on lone hero RPGs

With The Outer Worlds being released just under a month ago, BRYAN TURNER played it extensively to shell out exactly what makes it so special.

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The Outer Worlds makes it difficult to turn the console off. It took a while to pinpoint exactly what makes it so more-ish. Eventually, it became clear that it’s not one aspect, but rather several facets that make this game great. We’ve separated this game into its parts.

It comes as no surprise that Obsidian Entertainment, the makers of Fallout New Vegas and Star Wars: Knights of the Fallen Empire, was behind The Outer Worlds. It blends two distinct flavours of gaming – the chaos of Fallout with the intergalactic travel from Star Wars. This makes The Outer Worlds feel familiar but fresh at the same time.

At first, the game felt similar to the Fallout RPG series, particularly Fallout New Vegas, where the player is conveniently more powerful than the other players that exist in the world into which they venture. In Fallout, worlds are generally lawless, and players must navigate their character towards the alignment or “good or bad status” they want the player to be. The plot has scenarios that only a certain type of alignment can be, whether the character is the Restorer of Faith or the Architect of Doom.

The Outer Worlds follows a similar kind of style, but replaces the wasteland with a picture of the far future. Players start off as a passenger who gets unfrozen on a ship that holds a few of Earth’s brightest minds. The main campaign goal is to help unfreeze the other passengers. Instead, players are found in a hyper-capitalist world where workers are extremely disposable. Enormous companies go by names like “Auntie Cleos” but set extremely oppressive policies to keep their workers in line. From this, one can tell that dark humour is rife throughout this game.

These kinds of immersive RPGs, naturally, pack so many side quests into their world that it’s easy to forget the player’s main objective. These side quests are very reminiscent of the Fallout series, because they feature many ways of getting the job done, whether it be fighting, convincing or sneaking. One can even have companions, which present players with even more quest lines.

Not everything is a remix of other games. Companions have a direct effect on a character’s skill set, because the main characters are not always skilled in what players need. For example, we brought along Parvati in a quest where we needed more support with engineering skills, which is a skill we neglected to level up in the main character.

There’s also the ability to have a special combat skill, which becomes very handy in situations where there are many enemies around. Of course, it not only buys players time, but delivers more damage to opponents. Some special combat skills even stun non-targeted opponents, which really helps.

Gear and perks have also been designed from scratch, and it shows. It’s far more intuitive than we’ve seen in other RPGs so far and it makes for a much better experience that saves time on upgrading gear and perks so players can actually play the game.

I’m a huge fan of the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS, as Fallout players know it. The system allows players to target various limbs or parts of the opponent with precision aim, ensuring a better shot. While The Outer Worlds doesn’t use this, it features a slow-motion aiming system which can be considered an equivalent.

The travel system allows for travel from planet to planet, and they’re all distinctly mapped. While many are filled with enemies and marauders in empty wastelands, there are also major cities. The art style and careful attention to detail with the colour make this contrast distinguishable.

One of our biggest compliments is the completeness of this game. Many games have recently shipped glorified beta versions of their games because they’re pressed for time. The Outer Worlds, however, didn’t present a single bug within 20 hours of gameplay.

Overall, it’s a very enjoyable game, and fans of the Fallout, Star Wars RPGs, and Mass Effect series’ should definitely take a look at what The Outer Worlds has to offer.

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FNB takes shot at Bank Zero

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With expectation building for the launch of Bank Zero by legendary banker Michael Jordaan, his previous employer seems to have taken a strategic shot with the launch of its latest service. 

FNB has launched Easy Zero, a fully-fledged digital bank account with a card to allow customers to transact easily without paying a monthly fee. The mobile account was formerly known as eWallet eXtra.

The revamped digital account will now have a branded FNB bank card, providing customers with free card swipes, cost-effective transactional and ATM cash withdrawal fees. The card now gives customers more options to access their money. In addition, customers will also get free prepaid purchases and free cash deposits of up to R1,500 per month.

FNB Easy CEO Philani Potwana said: “We are aware of the day-to-day financial pressure that our consumers face, and Easy Zero is a direct response to their needs. The account is in line with our strategy to broaden financial inclusion to the unbanked and underbanked. We believe that the ability to operate the account digitally will allow customers to operate it at virtually no cost or minimal cost depending on transactional behaviour.

“We see Easy Zero being a digital bank account of choice for customers who do not have regular income or have limited banking needs. This is partly the reason debit orders are not allowed on the digital account as customers in this segment have limited debit orders. However, for those customers that have a need for debit orders they can still use our competitively priced Easy PAYU and Easy Smart Bundle accounts.”

Through Easy Zero, customers will be able to send money to anyone with a valid SA cellphone number, and skip the queues to pay people and accounts. Easy Zero account holders can also view their bank account balance and transaction history on their mobile phone at any time, from anywhere.

“The success of our digital account, with over 140,000 active customers, shows that anyone who owns a mobile phone can be banked in minutes using a mobile device,” says Potwana. “This showcases our ability to adapt to the ever-changing consumer landscape to cater for the needs of customers through platform innovation. ”

FNB is also offering Easy Zero digital account holders a toll-free number (0800 079 599) where easy customers can call for help on any of their banking needs. To open an Easy Zero account, dial *120*277# on a mobile phone and follow the prompts.

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