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Phishing for Apple IDs

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Kaspersky Lab has published a phishing report that analysed the dramatic increase of cybercriminal campaigns designed to steal users’ Apple IDs and account information by creating fraudulent phishing sites that try to imitate the official apple.com site.

Cybercriminals are using the fake Apple sites to try and trick users into submitting their Apple ID credentials, which would enable the criminals to steal the account login and access the victim’s personal data, information and credit card numbers stored on their iCloud and iTunes accounts.

From January 2012 through May 2013, Kaspersky Lab’s cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) detected an average of 200,000 attempts per day of users trying to access the phishing sites, which were triggered each time a user running Kaspersky Lab’s products was directed to one of the fraudulent sites.

The increase in average detections is a marked increase compared to 2011, which averaged only 1000 detections per day. Kaspersky Lab’s web antivirus module successfully detected and prevented its users from accessing the sites: however, the increase in detections shows how these scams are becoming more commonly used by cybercriminals for phishing campaigns.

Kaspersky Lab’s experts analysed the cybercriminals’ behaviour and patterns on a daily and monthly basis, noticing that fluctuations and increases in phishing attempts often coincided with large events from Apple. For example, on December 6, 2012, immediately following the opening of iTunes stores in India, Turkey, Russia, South Africa and an additional 52 countries, Kaspersky Lab detected an all-time record of more than 900,000 phishing attempts directing to fake Apple sites in a single day.

Phishing Emails Posing as Apple:

The main distribution method used by cybercriminals to direct users to the fraudulent Apple sites are predominantly phishing emails posing as Apple Support with fake alias names in the ‚”Sender‚” field, such asservices@apple.com. The messages would typically request users to verify their account by clicking on a link and entering their Apple ID information. These emails are deceptively clever and professionally designed in order to make them appear authentic, including the use of Apple’s logo and presenting the message with similar formatting, colouring and style that Apple uses.

Another variation of these phishing emails are designed to steal Apple customers’ credit card information. This is done by sending users an email requesting that they verify or update the credit card credentials attached to their Apple IDs, which can be done by clicking on a link in the message. The link directs the user to a phishing site that imitates how Apple requests credit card information from their customers to fool users into inputting their credit card information and other personal information.

Guidance to Users – Identifying Phishing Websites and Emails:

One way to distinguish between real websites and counterfeit ones created for phishing purposes is to look at the address bar of the website. While most counterfeit sites have the word ‚”apple.com‚” as part of their address (URL), the address would not be verified by Apple and would include additional text in the URL.

However, identifying phishing sites becomes harder when users can’t see the full URL address, which is typically the case when iOS users are running Safari on their iPhone or iPad devices. When users click on links from email messages on iOS devices the complete URL address is hidden from them when the page is downloaded and opened through Safari.

How Apple Users can Protect Themselves against Phishing Scams:

Users should verify email address aliases from Apple by checking the original sender address first. On a computer this can be done by mousing over the sender address field, which reveals the sender alias’ true email address. When using a mobile device, users should touch the email alias from the sender, which expands the alias to show the full address of the sender.

To guard against fraud attempts, Apple also provides a two-step authentication process for Apple IDs. This process involves sending a four-digit code to one or more previously selected devices belonging to the user. This serves as an additional verification and prevents undesired changes being made on the ‚”my Apple ID‚” site or, for example, third parties making unauthorised purchases using your Apple ID.

Unfortunately, this does not yet prevent cybercriminals from using stolen credit card data. Users should not follow links in questionable emails to access websites. Instead, they should manually enter website addresses into browser windows. Users who still want to use such links should carefully check their content and the address of the website they link to. In addition, Mac users should use a security software package likeKaspersky Security for Mac as standard. This will protect Mac users in real-time against viruses, trojans, spyware, phishing attempts and harmful websites, as well as preventing Macs from distributing Windows malware to friends and colleagues.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Triggerfish launches free digital learning Academy online

Platform designed for anyone wanting to understand more about career opportunities in animation.

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Triggerfish, in partnership with Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has launched Triggerfish Academy, a free digital learning platform for anyone wanting to understand more about the career opportunities and how to get started in the field of animation. 

The website features 25 free video tutorials, quizzes and animation exercises introducing animation as a career and the principles of storytelling, storyboarding and animation, as well as several additional resources to help guide aspiring animators into a career in animation. 

“The South African animation industry is growing – and so is the demand for skilled animators globally,” said Noemie Njangiru, head of Culture and Development at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, pointing to  the success of recent Triggerfish projects like the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes; Mama K’s Team 4, recently announced by Netflix as their first original animated series from Africa; and this year’s New York Children’s Festival and Shanghai International Film and TV Festival winner Zog.  

Njangiru also highlighted the opportunities for animation outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine, and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality

The course was created by Tim Argall, currently the animation director on Triggerfish’s third feature film, Seal Team. He’s roped in many of the South African animation industry’s brightest stars, from Malcolm Wope, character designer on Mama K’s Team 4, and Annike Pienaar, now working at Illumination in Paris on Sing 2, to Daniel Snaddon, co-director of the multi-award-winning BBC adaptations Stick Man and Zog, and Faghrie Coenraad, lead dressing and finaling artist on the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes, as well as Triggerfish head of production Mike Buckland. The featured talent share not just their skills but also their stories, from how they broke the news they wanted to be animators to their parents, to common myths about the animation industry. 

“As kids, animation is part of our lives, so we don’t really think about the idea that animation is actually somebody’s job,” said Argall. “When I was a kid, I loved animation and I loved to draw. I remember when I was about 12, I thought: ‘I really want to see my drawings come to life. I want to be an animator.’ But I had no idea where to even begin.” 

Triggerfish Academy is his attempt to make it easier for the next generation of African animators: an accessible starter kit for anyone considering a career in animation. 

“By the end of working through this course, you’ll have all the background you need to know whether animation is a good choice for your career,” said Njangiru.  

Aspiring animators can also use Triggerfish Academyto learn how to write and animate their own short story, then post their animation on the Academy’s Facebook group for feedback and advice from professional animators. 

Triggerfish Academy is set up so that youth can play with it directly, but it’s also been designed to double as an activity plan for teachers, NGOs and after school programmes to use. Schools, organisations and other animation studios who are interested in using it can contact Triggerfish for additional free classroom resources.

Triggerfish Academy is just one of a number of Triggerfish initiatives to train and diversify the next generation of African animators, like sponsoring bursaries to The Animation School; the Mama K’s Team 4 Writers Lab with Netflix; the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and Industry; Animate Africa webinars; Draw For Life; and the Triggerfish Foundation schools outreach programme. For more information, visit www.triggerfish.com/academy.  

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Dell aims to unlock tech for start-ups

The upcoming Dell Technologies Forum in Johannesburg will show that cost and scale are no longer barriers for a mid-size businesses to adopt enterprise-grade tech

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Today’s medium-sized companies enjoy reinvigorated access to business technology. The powerful systems that raised the game of enterprises are now also open to smaller, agile, start-up and niche businesses.

“When you look at medium and start-up businesses, those companies have very similar needs to a large company, but not necessarily the internal resources to always pull it off,” said Sabine Dedering, Regional Sales Director at Dell Technologies South Africa. “Dell Technologies worldwide has a lot of focus on the medium business. This includes South Africa, where we established a dedicated medium business team about a year ago.”

Medium-sized businesses – internationally defined as those typically between 100 and 1,000 IT users – do not  necessarily have smaller IT footprints than their enterprise peers. Some manage large and complicated accounts or service enormous user-bases among their customers. In the big picture, they deal with the same complex market demands that the large players do, but until recently often had to make do with much less in access to technology due to constrained resources such as limited IT teams and budgets.

This balance shifted dramatically with the advent of cloud, scalable services and hyper-converged infrastructure. Yet despite the doors opening, the traditional gatekeepers – other vendors and their partners – still habitually focus on enterprise players. It undermines the new possibilities technology can offer to medium businesses, a world that often marchesto the beat of its own drums.

“These are not small customers,” said Dedering. “Sometimes they are market leaders in a specific niche. But they don’t have thousands of people. You get your traditional companies that may have a few hundred employees. They provide a certain service on a regional basis or in a niche market and might never grow much beyond that because that’s what they do really well.”

Everyday everyone faces the same thing: Challenges. With support from Dell Technologies, those Medium business and start-up customers can prevent work disruptions, streamline operations, and increase productivity, using scalable, fast technology optimised for the way their business works.

Ambitions to use modern enterprise-grade technologies can be purely functional, such as hunting for efficiencies and streamlining processes. But they can also include the adoption of emerging technologies such as machine learning, mobile workforces, predictive analytics, real-time data, Internet of Things (IoT), automation and active business continuity. These capabilities are available because their services are able to fit the mould of the business, instead of traditional monolithic technology systems that dictate cost and availability.

Accessing tech’s best

But just because the technology is more accessible doesn’t make its adoption seamless. That still requires a business-first view and as such a reliable partner. As mentioned earlier, too many vendor ecosystems obsess over large enterprises. But Dell Technologies has seen the demand from medium businesses and is actively meeting them on their terms.

This can be put to the test: there will be a stand dedicated to medium businesses at the upcoming Dell Technologies Forum in Johannesburg. Visitors will be able to meet Sabine Dedering and her team:

“First and foremost, we will have a chat and understand their business requirements. Then we will connect them with the experts at the Forum and showcase the different technologies available that could be relevant to them. For us, the main focus will be to understand our medium business customers, understand their business and how our expertise can help transform their business. We explore what types of services we can wrap around their requirements to make it easier for them to leverage technology the way other bigger companies may be.”

Finance is part of this conversation: Dell Technologies is pioneering a number of finance models that are very flexible and customised around customers’ cash flow.

Medium-sized businesses don’t need different technologies than what enterprises use. Nor are they excluded anymore: the barriers of costs, complexity and scale have collapsedto open the market, aligning to the limited resources that medium-sized companies have to manage. Every business has its own unique requirements.

* Dedering and her team will be at the Medium Business stand, hosted at the Dell Technologies Forum on 27 June, at the Sandton Convention Centre. Attendance is free but attendees must register beforehand at https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-za/events/forum2019/Johannesburg/index.htm.

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