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Hackers rob SA of 1 billion data points

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Cyber crime is costing South African industry a fortune as data leaks hamper business growth, writes DUNCAN ALFREDS.|Cyber crime is costing South African industry a fortune as data leaks hamper business growth, writes DUNCAN ALFREDS.

According to a study by tech firm IBM, one billion pieces of personal data were lost in SA in 2014, leading to a cost of R432 256 000. But cyber thieves have escalated their activities in 2015, already costing local businesses R465 412 000, or an increase of 7.67%.

The IBM Q1 Xforce report and earlier Ponemon Institute reports found that all metrics related to the impact of cyber crime had increased significantly.

The cost in lost business increased from R16 332 400 to R19 279 600. The cost of a forensic investigation jumped from R9 332 800 to R12 157 200 and even the cost per lost record increased marginally from R1 953 to R2 088.

Industries at risk

The IBM study found that while SA was relatively young in terms of the country’s exposure to internet-based crime, cyber crooks were taking a closer look at the local environment.

“South Africa faces unique challenges, and with global trends flowing down, it is critical that businesses understand their vulnerabilities and make sure they are protected,” said the study.

Industries such as health and education faced the most serious risk of data loss, according to the research.

Data loss in the health sector amounted to R4 506.34 per record, while education came in at R3 723.24, followed by pharmaceuticals (R2 730.48), finance (R2 668.32) and communications (R2 221.44).

“We trust these institutions to have sufficient security in place to protect the consumer. This is where the problem starts. Without handing over our identity to a total stranger we cannot transact. The very legislation that was designed to protect us is actually exposing us to the threat of identity theft,” Independent Identity Verification expert Dawid Jacobs recently told Fin24.

“The internet is a very efficient way for the fraudster to operate. They stay anonymous.  More recently people have become victims through dating websites,” said Jacobs, referring to the hack of dating website AshleyMadison.com.

That breach saw 37 million records being stolen leading some to speculate about the motives of the hackers as the site specialises in facilitating affairs.

IBM said that in organisations a security conscious culture could go a long way to mitigating cyber breaches.

“All it takes is one careless employee to undo a chief security officer’s master plan. That’s why every employee must work in partnership with security professionals to ensure the safety of corporate data is built into the culture of the organisation.”

Fin24

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http://www.fin24.com/Tech/News/Hackers-rob-SA-of-1-billion-data-points-IBM-20150804

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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