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MWC: Robocall spam booms

Hiya estimates global spam calls grew 325% to 85 billion worldwide.

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The first Global Robocall Radar Report, released by Hiya at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, estimates that global spam calls grew 325% to 85 billion worldwide.

The data, based on an analysis of more than 12 billion calls per month worldwide, concluded that, while unwanted calls are prevalent in the United States, they are also growing rapidly at a global level.

Hiya’s Global Robocall Radar found that Spain, the UK, Italy, France, Argentina and the United States top the list of countries hit the hardest by nuisance and fraudulent calls.

“As spam calls continue to skyrocket globally, the demand for protection from unwanted phone calls has increased drastically,” said Alex Algard, CEO of Hiya. “By combining industry-leading call spam detection with a solution that ensures calls from legitimate businesses are properly identified, it’s our mission to make sure everyone across the world can confidently answer their phone again.”

With nearly 60 million monthly active users worldwide, Hiya protects consumers from unwanted calls in every country in the world. Global partnerships with carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and OEMs like Samsung have helped to elevate Hiya’s leadership position for identifying nuisance and fraudulent calls. In 2018 alone, Hiya identified more than 1.3 billion calls as spam, blocking more than 425 million of them.

Top 10 Countries With the Biggest Phone Spam Problem

For the top 10 countries with the biggest spam problem, below is a breakdown of the percentage of incoming calls that are not “saved to contacts” and are identified as spam (Spam Rate), in addition to the average number of monthly spam calls per user.

1). Spain:

  • Spam Rate: 24%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 9

2). UK:

  • Spam Rate: 22%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 7

3). Italy:

  • Spam Rate: 21%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 6

4). France:

  • Spam Rate: 20%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 7

5). Argentina:

  • Spam Rate: 10%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 3

6). United States: 

  • Spam Rate: 10%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 7

7). Mexico:

  • Spam Rate: 9%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 6

8). Brazil:

  • Spam Rate: 9%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 8

9). Chile:

  • Spam Rate: 9%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 4

10). Australia:

  • Spam Rate: 6%
  • Monthly Spam Calls Per User: 2

Most Prevalent Spam “Campaigns” Worldwide:

  • Bank Account Scam: Callers pretend to be an official representative of the bank and request sensitive information or items which will allow them to access the victim’s bank account.
  • Extortion/Kidnapping: These scammers call random phone numbers and demand payment for the return of a “kidnapped” family member or friend.
  • Credit Card Scam: Thieves will trick victims out of their personal information. They might call, posing as their bank, to “assist” while phishing for card details. Random scammers might even call hotel rooms acting as the front desk to “confirm” credit card details.
  • Wangiri Scam (“One Ring”): For years, the Wangiri scam, also known as the ‘One-Ring Scam,’ has been preying on victims and enticing them to call back international numbers. The victim in this case does not realize that they’re being charged for premium rates.
  • Neighbor Scam: Phone fraudsters use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software to mimic (also known as spoofing) the first few digits of a user’s phone number to trick consumers into thinking a nearby friend or business is calling.

Hiya analyzes more than 12 billion mobile calls per month globally and then leverages its proprietary rule-based algorithm to identify these calls for consumers. Hiya’s Global Robocall Radar is calculated by extrapolating the total number of unwanted robocalls detected among Hiya’s user base as compared to the entire global population of mobile subscribers.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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New AirPods and iMac in iStore this weekend

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iStore has announced availability of the new second generation AirPods and iMac, unveiled this week, in store this weekend.

The AirPods are priced from R2 899 and the new iMac from R23 499. Customers can also order these new products from iStore’s website.

“AirPods revolutionised the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love,” said iStore in its announcement. “The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free ‘Hey Siri’.”

AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new wireless charging case that works with Qi standard chargers. The wireless charging case can be ordered for R3 699. The case can be used with the first or second generation AirPods.

The iMac line now has up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. The new iMac is faster for everyday tasks, up to demanding pro workloads. It includes retina display, all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave.

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