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How to become cyber resilient

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Despite the many cybercrimes we saw last year, many companies are not prepared in event of an attack. Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and organisations need to train staff to ensure a security-savvy workforce.

This year, we have seen some of the most high-profile victims of cybercrime across the world, including the NHS in the UK, and the attack of Equifax that impacted of millions of people in several countries. The damage has not only cost companies’ money, it has also hit their reputations hard. Yet despite the impending threats and, as cybercriminals only become more commonplace and grow in severity and scale, it’s worrying that a significant number of companies feel unprepared to deal with such an attack.

While cybersecurity can be a large – and sometimes overwhelming – investment in both time and money, it’s the “new normal in what companies need to do in order to protect themselves” as Stephen Cobb, Senior Security Researcher at ESET, has commented.  And training for staff needs to be a big part of this “new normal”

Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and organisations need to train staff to ensure they have a more empowered and security-savvy workforce.

Here are our tips for all organisations to consider:

  1. Know your enemy

For the workforce to protect itself against a wide range of threats, it first needs to know the enemy. Information about the most common threats like malware, phishing, ransomware and social engineering, as well as how they operate, could help allow employees to understand the problem and help them be less susceptible.

  1. Consider password safety

Frustration over creating and remembering passwords mean the vast majority of people use the same password for everything. It’s not just the same password for every account, but using the same password for everyone else.  The type of prompts users receive when creating passwords don’t help, and often mean people use easy and insecure passwords.

  1. Think before your click

This is one of the most underestimated threats – a form of psychological manipulation where cybercriminals trick people into handing over personal and sensitive information, usually through deceptive and fraudulent means.

Here is one of the most common phishing scenarios: you receive an email that appears to be from your bank. It asks you to politely check the settings of your account and, via the included link, provide your credentials and further information.  But it’s not your bank that will receive your personal details – it will be the cybercriminals behind this attack.

  1. Remember that security is everyone’s responsibility

Every piece of awareness and information needs to be matched to actions for employees, regardless of department or level within your company. The C-suite, especially, needs to adhere to the rules, as they are often the juiciest target for cybercriminals.  Making colleagues realise not only how their actions can be detrimental for the entire company, but also spelling out how simple steps can keep everyone protected will create a sense of collective responsibility and help build collective security.

While companies need to wake up to threats from hackers, becoming cyber-resilient is a straightforward process. Realising that remaining secure is everyone’s responsibility means training staff in even the most basic skills should be a top priority.

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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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