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Intelligence map reveals holes in local Internet

Oracle has launched an Internet Intelligence Map that delivers unique insights into the impact of Internet disruptions.

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Oracle recently made its Internet Intelligence Map available to provide users with a simple, graphical way to track the health of the internet and gain insight into the impact of events such as natural disasters or state-imposed interruptions. The map is part of Oracle’s Internet Intelligence initiative, which provides insight and analysis on the state of global internet infrastructure. 

“The internet is the backbone of modern business, but it has changed a lot over the last ten years; as more workloads move to the cloud, business infrastructure is growing in scale, complexity and volatility,” says Niral Patel, Managing Director and Technology Leader, Oracle South Africa. “Add to this the Internet of Things (IoT), where connected devices now outnumber humans, and you’ll understand why today’s IT leaders including DevOps, administrators and architects have to closely monitor the internet if they are to build and deploy the next generation of cloud. They will need to understand the volatility of the internet, in terms of availability, performance and security, if they are to provide a high quality service to users, and avoid leaving their company exposed.”

Oracle’s Internet Intelligence Map provides users with a free simple, graphical way to track the health of the internet and gain insight into the impact of events such as outages, natural disasters or state-imposed interruptions. The map is part of Oracle’s Internet Intelligence initiative, which provides insight and analysis on the state of global internet infrastructure. 

Patel points out that South Africa’s broadband internet is delivered via several undersea cables, such as Seacom on Africa’s eastern coastline, the Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) linking South Africa with Kenya and Sudan, and the West Africa Cable System (WACS) spanning the west coast of Africa. 

“Subsea cable outages occur from time to time, which means South African internet users can experience higher latencies with a degradation of service. Although traffic can in most cases be routed via another cable system, a repair vessel needs to be mobilised and it can take a couple of days for it to reach the fault location, with weather and sea conditions impacting the time it takes for the fault to be repaired. 

“Volatility is the internet’s biggest challenge. We forget about the risk and vulnerabilities of infrastructure itself – the actual infrastructure we rely on to run our businesses. If your business relies on internet connectivity to ensure delivery of your services, understanding the health of the internet is very important.”

He has a clear warning for local businesses to be vigilant not only for local conditions, but global events too: “Many businesses don’t realise quite how reliant they are in today’s cloud era. They need better visibility into the health of the global internet so that they can understand how external events prevent them from reaching web-based applications and services. It is only when you have this insight that you can work around those issues to improve availability and performance and deliver a better experience for customers.”

For more than a decade, members of Oracle’s Internet Intelligence team have broken some of the biggest stories about the internet. From BGP hijacks to submarine cable breaks, Oracle’s Internet Intelligence team frequently publishes objective data and analysis that informs public understanding of the technical underpinnings of the internet and its effects on topics like geopolitics and e-commerce. With today’s news, Oracle is now making core analytic capabilities available to everyone via the Internet Intelligence Map. Using one of the world’s most comprehensive internet performance data sets and backed by years of research and analytics, Oracle has developed the premier resource and authority for reliable information on the functioning of the internet.

“The internet is the world’s most important network, yet it is incredibly volatile. Disruptions on the internet can affect companies, governments, and network operators in profound ways,” says Kyle York, vice president of product strategy for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and the general manager for Oracle’s Dyn Global Business Unit. “As a result, all of these stakeholders need better visibility into the health of the global internet. With this offering, we are delivering on our commitment to making it a better, more stable experience for all who rely on it.”

The Internet Intelligence Map presents country-level connectivity statistics based on traceroutes, BGP, and DNS query volumes on a single dashboard. By presenting these three dimensions of internet connectivity side-by-side, users can investigate the impact of an issue on internet connectivity worldwide. 

“It’s important to have a global view of the internet in order to understand how external events prevent users from reaching your web-based applications and services. It is only when you have this insight that you can work around those issues to improve availability and performance,” says Jim Davis, Founder and Principal Analyst of Edge Research Group.

The Internet Intelligence Map is just one of many advanced awareness and visibility tools that help Oracle improve the experience of the cloud by making it better and more reliable every day. This offering is powered by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, which offers a set of core infrastructure services to provide customers the ability to run any workload in the cloud. Only Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides the compute, storage, networking, and edge services necessary to deliver the end-to-end performance required of today’s modern enterprise.

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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