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Third of SA software unlicensed

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Computer users in South Africa are using unlicensed software at an alarming rate, despite the link between unlicensed software and cyberattacks, according to a new survey from BSA – The Software Alliance.

The survey, Seizing Opportunity Through License Compliance, found that in South Africa the percent of software installed on computers that was not properly licensed was 33 percent. This represents a one-point decrease compared with BSA’s prior findings in 2013.

South Africa is performing well compared to the rest of the region of Middle East and Africa, which has a rate of 57 percent unlicensed software use, falling by two points from 59 percent in 2013. The rate of access has been influenced in part by important trends under way across the continent. The driving force for the drop in the rate was the decrease of the consumer share of PC shipments,  enterprise oriented IP protection efforts, and a migration to subscription-based software.

“We are happy to see the rate of unlicensed software use has dropped again. We believe this progress is in part a result of the successful cooperation between the South African government and the software industry, including the recent joint initiative between BSA, the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and DALRO on raising awareness among South African companies on intellectual property and driving software license compliance” said Billa Coetsee, Chair of South African Committee of BSA. “However, as the report highlights, the value of unlicensed software in use in South Africa is $274 million, which is very high. We will have to continue building the success of our recent initiatives with government, other stakeholders and the business community.”

The survey, which canvassed consumers, IT managers, and enterprise PC users, reinforces that use of unlicensed software is still high, and that individuals and companies are playing with fire when they use unlicensed software. This is due to the strong connection between cyberattacks and the use of unlicensed software. Where unlicensed software is in use, the likelihood of encountering malware dramatically goes up. And the cost of dealing with malware incidents can be staggering. In 2015 alone, for example, cyberattacks cost businesses over $400 billion.

“As the report underscores, it is critically important for a company to be aware of what software is on the company network,” said BSA |The Software Alliance President and CEO Victoria A. Espinel. “Many CIOs don’t know the full extent of software deployed on their systems or if that software is legitimate.”

Among the other findings:

·        39 percent of software installed on computers around the world in 2015 was not properly licensed, representing only a modest decrease from 43 percent in BSA’s previous global rate  in 2013.

·        Even in certain critical industries, unlicensed use was surprisingly high. The survey found the worldwide rate is 25 percent for the banking, insurance and securities industries.

·        CIOs estimate that 15 percent of their employees load software on the network without their knowledge. But they are significantly underestimating the problem; nearly double that amount—26 percent of employees — say they are loading unauthorised software on the network.

Despite these numbers, the findings show a keen awareness of the problem:

·        CIOs said their highest concern was loss of data associated with such a security incident.

·        CIOs also said that avoiding security threats is a critical reason for ensuring the software running in their networks is legitimate and fully licensed.

·        In the broader survey of employees, 60 percent cited the security risk associated with unlicensed software as a critical reason to use legitimate, fully licensed software.

The report adds that companies can mitigate the cybersecurity risks of unlicensed software by ensuring all software is purchased from legitimate sources and establishing an in-house software asset management (SAM) program. Organisations that effectively deploy SAM will know what’s on their network, and whether it is legitimate and licensed; will optimise their use of software by deploying software that’s the best fit for their businesses; will have policies and procedures in place that govern procurement, deployment, and retirement of software; and will have integrated SAM fully into their business.

Highlights in this year’s survey, by region, include:

·        The region with the highest overall rate of unlicensed software was Asia-Pacific at 61 percent, a one-point decline compared with BSA’s previous findings in 2013.

·        The next-highest unlicensed software rate was in Central and Eastern Europe with 58 percent (falling three-points from the rate registered in 2013), and then the Middle East-Africa at 57 percent (dropping two-points since 2013).

·        North America continues to have the lowest regional rate at 17 percent, although this constitutes a significant commercial value of $10 billion.

·        In Western Europe the overall rate dropped one point to 28 percent.

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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