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How BB PRIV sets privacy bar

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BlackBerry Chief Security Officer, DAVID KLEIDERMACHER outlines how BlackBerry PRIV offers a no-compromise user experience to privacy-minded consumers and enterprises.

If you use an Android device today, chances are very good that it’s not protecting your privacy. According to a recent study by Cambridge University researchers, nearly 9 out of 10 Android devices are exposed to a critical vulnerability that puts your communications and personal data at risk.

It’s not a good situation. However, we at BlackBerry think we can do better. PRIV by BlackBerry will bring BlackBerry mobile privacy, security and productivity to the Android world. With full access to Google Mobile Services, the Google Play app store, the latest hardware specs, and a revolutionary slide-out, touch-enabled keyboard, PRIV offers a no-compromise user experience to privacy-minded consumers and enterprises.

But what does privacy really mean for BlackBerry and the PRIV? The BlackBerry secure and private smartphone experience is built on the following principles:

1. Deliver a comprehensive, state-of-the-art technical security approach through all layers of the smartphone stack.

While the PRIV user interface is simple and beautiful, BlackBerry has performed extensive surgery under the hood to augment Android’s privacy and security capabilities. BlackBerry also brings its patented picture-login to Android, representing the best combination of security strength and ease of use for any smartphone authentication scheme available on any mobile device today.

2. Ensure users have a rich choice of private communication and collaboration applications.

Starting with BBM, which has served billions of private messages and offers security and productivity features evolving from many years of user feedback, PRIV also supports innumerable third-party options from Google Play as well as a wide range of BlackBerry-authored communication and collaboration applications aimed at business users, including WatchDox private file sharing, BBM Meetings private conferences, and SecuSUITE private voice calls. BlackBerry’s communications suites have no back doors and use certified cryptography from BlackBerry Certicom.

3. Give users maximum visibility and control over their privacy-related posture and configuration.

BlackBerry has built privacy monitoring hooks deep within Android that provide users with powerful feedback and control over how applications make use of security-critical device resources. This includes the exclusive DTEK™ by BlackBerry warning system app, as well as other features. Privacy health is communicated in a simple and elegant manner, resulting in confidence instead of complexity.

4. Commit to user privacy beyond the hardware and software.

Android privacy and security is about much more than just the device. And it’s about more than the end-to-end infrastructure for reliable communication and over-the-air updates. BlackBerry’s world-renowned security incident response and research teams offer nation-state level sophisticated vulnerability assessment that helps us find and fix problems before they impact users. Android is a complex, rapidly changing, massively popular, open-source product, which makes it an attractive and fertile target for attackers. Such an environment demands world-class security incident response, and BlackBerry has a long history delivering that to customers with the highest value resources under their (and hence our) protection. BlackBerry’s vulnerability patch program is second to none in the industry.

As we get closer to launch, the PRIV by BlackBerry security and privacy blog series from myself and Alex Manea will dive deeper on these topics and more. Also visit our Android Security site to keep up-to-date about Android vulnerabilities, hacks, breaches, management tips and more.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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