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Year in Calling reveals top spam call countries

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More than 10-billion calls were made this year via the Truecaller spam-avoidance app, according to the company’s annual ‘Year in Calling’ statistics.

The new report, released earlier this month, gives a dive into the rise of spam calls throughout the year in different parts of the world.

The Year in Calling report has anonymously aggregated data from the app’s most popular features showcasing fun facts like what countries are the most talkative. Truecaller says the 10 billion calls made this year are up fivefold from last year. Over 40-million unique spam numbers were identified by Truecaller users.

In comparison to their 2016 report, Truecaller has added its newest feature, SMS messaging. Launched in April, Truecaller’s SMS app has added an an extra sense of protection from known spammers that plague phones with unnecessary advertisements, scams, or harassment. The unique features of the SMS app filter junk SMS into a separate folder for the user to quickly switch back and forth to view how many spam messages Truecaller identified. Since launch, Truecaller users has sent over 639 million SMS, and has helped its users to identify and block over 3 billion spam SMS.

top-20-countries

The report also revealed:

  • Somalia is for the second year in a row the country that makes the most calls per person. The average Truecaller Somalian user makes roughly 19 calls per day, and receives 14 calls. In contrast, Argentina doesn’t seem to talk very much on the phone – they slide in last place with their incoming and outgoing calls
  • The top tags around the world are banks, doctors, telcos, real estate brokers, and taxis. The tags most popular last year was restaurants and hotels
  • The country that sent the most SMS around the world was Tanzania. The average user from Tanzania sends approximately 10 SMSs per day, and receives about 16. Chile sent the least.
  • It seems that 2017 was the year of the telcos, because one number in Nigeria, which was connected with a telco, made 38 million calls. In India, another telco made 31 million calls from just one number
  • Another telco sent over 53 million spam SMSs to their customers in India

Throughout the year, Truecaller has been releasing Truecaller Insights data reports which dive into various statistics of spam call patterns like Top Countries Affected by Spam Calls, e-commerce competition, banking, and other insights.

* To read the full report, visit: https://blog.truecaller.com/2017/12/12/a-year-in-calling-how-the-world-communicated-using-truecaller-in-2017/

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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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