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How to stay safe from cyber criminals: 30 tips

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In light of the recent massive data breach, and October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Capitec Bank has outlined thirty tips to keep consumers from becoming targets.

As the world increasingly finds itself at the mercy of clever card crooks – one in three people polled in an ACI Worldwide survey had fallen victim to card crime over the past five years – South Africans are earning themselves the dubious title of being one of the nations where risky behaviour is most prevalent.

According to the report, South Africans are some of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to leaving their phones unlocked when they’re not using them (28% of South Africans surveyed), throwing documents with account numbers in the bin (26%) and using a public computer without security software for banking online (18%).

Francois Viviers, Executive of Marketing and Communications at Capitec Bank, says that while financial institutions have teams dedicated to protecting their clients against fraud, criminals move quickly and frequently invent new ways to defraud clients and corporates. “The banking industry is very proactive in trying to put in place measures to help clients. However, clients are advised to do all they can to protect themselves against crime. Getting to know the types of crime they are at risk of and learning what risky behaviours to avoid, are good starting points.”

To help keep your money safe avoid becoming a victim, Capitec outlines the main types of crime and offers tips for consumers to protect themselves.

1.        ‘Card not present’ tips

CNP means neither you nor your card need to be present for fraudulent activity to occur, either online or telephonically. If a criminal has your stolen card or even just your card details (for a successful CNP transaction the card number, expiry date and CVV number are required), then they can make unauthorised purchases using your account.

Top tips to avoid CNP and other types of card theft:

1.       Keep your card in sight when you are paying for items

2.       Memorise your PIN – don’t share it with anyone or write it down and carry it around with you

3.       Choose an unusual PIN – not 1111 or your birthday

4.       Lock your phone

5.       Don’t respond to competition SMSs or MMSs

6.       Check the URL of every site you visit – never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link. Rather type in the URL yourself

7.       Avoid doing Internet banking in public areas like Internet Cafés

8.       Ask your bank to set up your cellphone notification service

9.       Change your passwords regularly. Don’t have the same password for everything. Password managers are often used to help manage multiple passwords

10.   Don’t throw away papers or documents with your account numbers on them. Store them in a safe place or dispose of them in such a way that they are unreadable

11.   Get familiar with your bank’s online banking service and app. If anything looks different or the URL looks suspicious, do not log in and report it to the bank immediately

12.   Reduce your card limits via the app to the absolute minimum required value. You can always increase your temporary limit via the app for larger transactions

 

2.       Phishing  

How it happens: The ACI report showed that 5% of South Africans responded to calls or emails asking for banking details in 2016. We’ve all received emails like this: Dear client, we have logged 2 or more login attempts for your account and have reason to suspect fraudulent activity. You must click through to this link and follow the steps to ensure your account is secure. While some phishing emails are obvious, the more subtle, official-looking ones make most of us hesitate and consider clicking through.

Top tips to avoid being phished:

1.       Don’t open emails from senders you don’t recognise

2.       Be wary of emails that are not personalised, have spelling errors and a sense of urgency

3.       Don’t confirm any personal or financial information over the Internet

4.       Hover your mouse over any link to see where it is going to take you

5.       Never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link in an email – rather type in the URL yourself

6.       Get reputable antivirus software and check your bank statements regularly for signs of fraud

7.       Report phishing attempts to your bank. Most banks provide an email address for their clients e.g. phishing@capitecbank.co.za

 

Vishing or telephonic phishing

How it happens: In July 2017, South Africans were warned against a vishing scam involving fake ‘employees’ from cellphone companies calling clients to confirm their details in order to block suspicious SIM swap requests. Of course, the caller already had most of the client’s information via a phishing email, and was vishing to try and get the last confidential info necessary to make a SIM swap.

Top tips to avoid being vished:

1.       Never give out confidential information like your PIN or CVV code over the phone

2.       Be suspicious of unknown callers

3.       ID spoofing is becoming increasingly easy, so don’t automatically trust caller ID

4.       Google the phone number – legitimate numbers are usually linked to credible businesses

5.       If the caller claims to work for your bank, hang up and try calling back using the number provided on your bank’s website

 

ATM incidents

How it happens: This is how a card fraud criminal (who made over R15k a day before being caught) describes his process: He goes to an ATM, pretends to draw cash, puts the machine into cardless mode and leaves his slip behind as he walks away. His victim goes to the same ATM and puts in her PIN, which he watches and remembers. She struggles to get her card to work because the ATMin cardless mode. The thief asks to reclaim his receipt, walks up to her and offers to help ‘fix’ the ATM. He cancels cardless mode, asks the victim for her card and pretends to insert it. While her eyes are on the screen, he steals the card and conceals it with his wallet.

Top tips to avoid being an ATM scam victim:

1.       Be alert at all times – criminals choose people who look distracted

2.       Look out for anyone standing close to you

3.       Never accept assistance at an ATM unless it’s from someone who works there

4.       Don’t insert your card if the screen looks strange or unfamiliar

5.       If the ATM looks like it has been tampered with, stop what you’re doing and ask a staff member for assistance

6.       If your transaction is disturbed in any way, cancel it and report the incident immediately. Change your PIN or cancel the card. If you card is lost or stolen, cancel it immediately

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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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