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Government now top target of cyber attackers

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Research has revealed that cyberattacks on the government has sector doubled in 2016, hiking to 14% from 7% of all cyber security attacks in 2015. 

The manufacturing sector came in at third place at 13%, while the retail sector, which topped the list of all cybersecurity attacks on all sectors in 2015 moved down into fourth place (11%).
This is according to Dimension Data’s Executive’s Guide to the NTT Security 2017 Global Threat Intelligence Report, which was compiled from data collected by NTT Security and other NTT operating companies including Dimension Data, from the networks of 10,000 clients across five continents, 3.5 trillion security logs, 6.2 billion attempted attacks, and global ¹honeypots and ² sandboxes located in over 100 different countries.
The report pinpoints a number of global geo-political events which could have contributed to the government sector being a cybersecurity attack target. These include:

§  the US presidential election campaign

§  a new US administration with a more aggressive stance toward China and North Korea

§  China adopting a more aggressive policy stance in securing its vital ‘core interests’

§  US and European Union-led economic sanctions against Russia

§  Russian state-sponsored actors continuing cyber operations against Western targets

§  growing negative sentiment in the Middle East against the West’s aggression towards Syria

Matthew Gyde, Dimension Data’s Group Executive – Security said, “Governments all over the world are constantly under the threat of sophisticated attacks launched by rival nation-states, terrorist groups, hacktivists, and cyber criminals.  That’s because government agencies hold vast amounts of sensitive information – from personnel records, budgetary data, and sensitive communications, to intelligence findings. What’s interesting is that this year we saw numerous incidents involving insider threats

Commenting on the financial services industry, Gyde said the ongoing attacks in the financial services industry is no surprise. “These organisations have large amounts of digital assets and sensitive customer data. Gaining access to them enables cybercriminals to monetise personally identifiable information and credit card data in the underground economy.”

Other highlights in the report are:

·         63% of all cyberattacks originated from IP addresses in the US, followed by the UK (4%), and China (3%). The US is the predominant location of cloud-hosted infrastructure globally. Threat actors often utilise public cloud to orchestrate attacks due to the low cost and stability of this infrastructure.

·         The Internet of Things (IoT) and operating technology (OT) devices must be considered as both a potential source and target of attack. Of the IoT attacks detected in 2016, some 66% were attempting to discover specific devices such as a particular model of video camera,
3% were seeking a web server or other type of server, while 2% were attempting to attack a database.

·         The top cybersecurity threats facing digital businesses are phishing, social engineering, and ransomware; business email compromise; IoT and distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks; and attacks targeting end-users.

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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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