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The half-truth of social media

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One-in-ten bend the truth on social media to make themselves feel good – and men go even further, Kaspersky Lab study reveals.

People are turning to social media in order to show-off to friends, collect as many ‘likes’ as possible and to feel good about themselves. But in this quest for social validation people are playing with the truth and whitewashing their lives. New research from Kaspersky Lab shows that one-in-ten people would bend the truth on social media in order to get more people to like their posts. The research also shows that in their pursuit of likes, men are more likely than women to post their privacy away. Globally, one-in-ten (9%) men would post a photo of themselves naked compared to only 5% of women and 13% of men post photos of their friends wearing something revealing.

To attract attention and secure a significant number of likes, around one-in-ten people (12%) pretend to be somewhere or doing something that might not be strictly true. This rises to 14% of men, suggesting that many would rather get social media attention than share a realistic portrayal of their lives.

The research uncovers that men are sensitive about how many likes they get on social media and, in their hunt for likes, men are more likely than women to reveal something embarrassing or confidential about their co-workers, friends or employers. Thus, 14% of men said they would reveal something confidential about a co-worker, compared to 7% of women, 13% are willing to post something confidential about their employer, and 12% would reveal something embarrassing about a friend compared with 6% of women.

Men also get upset if they do not get the likes they hope for – 24% worry that if few people like their posts, their friends will think they are unpopular, compared to 17% of women. 29% of men also admitted that they get upset if somebody who matters to them doesn’t like their posts.

In the hunt for likes, men tend to go even further than women, posting things that present themselves and their friends in a compromising light, which according to Dr. Astrid Carolus, Media Psychologist at the University of Würzburg, “is in line with the assumption of men being rather less focused on social harmony and rather more willing to take risks.” Thus, 15% of men revealed they would post a photo of friends under the influence of alcohol compared to 8% of women, 12% of men would post a photo of themselves wearing something revealing, and 9% of men are even ready to post a photo of themselves naked compared to only 5% of women.

Evgeny Chereshnev, Head of Social Media at Kaspersky Lab agrees, but warns that this risky behaviour on social media can put people at risk. “In their search for social approval, people have stopped seeing the boundary between what it is okay to share, and what is better kept private,” he says. “But it is important to protect ourselves, as well as the privacy of others. The research shows that 58% of people feel uncomfortable and upset when their friends post photos of them that they do not want to be made public. All in all, people need to become more aware and cyber-savvy about the information they share on social media and install security software on their devices to protect themselves and their loved ones from cyberthreats.”

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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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