" cyber safety "

wifi blog

How safe are Public Wi-Fi Networks

Public Wi-Fi hotspots have popped up all over our cities, from restaurants and malls, to local parks. They are convenient and relatively easy to access, and tend to evoke that data saving scrooge inside us all. The City of Cape Town has even jumped on board and are beginning to provide public Wi-Fi hotspots for more and more suburbs with aim of having at least one hotspot per ward.

With so many of us connecting to these hotspots and the ever increasing threat from cybercriminals it is important to understand and be aware of the dangers of using public Wi-Fi.
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Mac-Viruses

Cyber Attacks are a real threat for South Africans

For as long as there have been computers there have been hackers trying to get into them, and government departments and large organisations were most often the victims.

These days, however, hacker intrusions are a growing concern for us all, from government departments and large corporations to smaller businesses and individuals. South African’s often consider themselves immune to these kinds of threats but in reality they too should be concerned. An increasing number of South Africans and South African businesses have been targeted over the past couple of years and have lost large sums of money in the process.

The most recent tool hackers are using to get into your system is Ransomware, named because hackers use malware to get into the users system, get hold of their data and block them from accessing it. Hackers then demand a ransom be paid to them for the safe return of the user’s data. Malware is downloaded onto your system in a number of ways, such as from an unsecured website download or the download of an email attachment. Hackers will use current trends to entice users into downloading malware, such as the popular new Star Wars film. Once the malware has been downloaded it will being encrypting the data so that when the user tries to gain access they will be blocked and a message from the hacker will appear on screen. Many times, particularly in the case of organisations or influential individuals hackers threaten to expose confidential information.

South African’s need to be aware of and take these threats more seriously, according to research done by Rick Couch & Associates, 70% of South Africans have fallen victim to cybercrime, as well as 47% of South African smartphone users. These statistics are concerning, particularly as cyber criminals are constantly working to find the most profitable opportunities. It is not enough to just have a standard AV solution installed on your system, users need take more aggressive action to prevent Ransomware attacks.

It is important to realise that it is not only large organisations that are being targeted, individuals have also been targeted in their personal capacity. Studies show that many individuals use Gmail for their personal affairs, often revealing personal details in mail to friends and family. What’s concerning is that people often make their Gmail passwords something easy to remember and consider it unnecessary to make the password highly secure. This is a dangerous misconception, as it makes hacking into such email accounts incredibly easy for cybercriminals, once in they will then be able to intercept conversations and entice users to reveal addresses, passwords, banking details and other personal information.

South African’s need to take these threats seriously and become more proactive in protecting themselves against cyber attacks.

Drones

How a drone can hack into your home network just by flying over it

Drones can be used to record incredible scenes for movies, follow thieves from above, save lives or carry out home deliveries at lightning speed. Unfortunately, this also opens doors for people to misuse them for malicious gain.

Researchers in Singapore have demonstrated how attackers using a drone with a mobile phone could easily intercept documents sent to a seemingly inaccessible Wi-Fi printer. The method they devised is actually intended to help organisations determine if they have vulnerable open Wi-Fi devices that can be accessed from the sky. But the same technique could also be used by  spies for corporate espionage.

To demonstrate that this threat is real and exists, the investigators paired a drone with a smartphone and developed two apps that were designed to intercept the communications of a printer from the outside.

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Panda-for-Mac

Panda Antivirus for Mac – Compatible with El Capitan

September 30th saw the launch of El Capitan, Apple’s new operating system for their Mac range. The good news is, Panda Antivirus for Mac is compatible with El Capitan!

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Advantages of Panda Antivirus for Mac

  • Blocks both malware for Mac OS X and malware for Windows.
  • It scans both files and emails.
  • It quarantines infected files.
  • It offers two kinds of scans: a real-time scan that continuously analyses Mac files, and another that performs monthly, on-demand scans.
  • You can even scan iPhones, iPads and iPod touch for malware.

Remember that Apple and its devices aren’t invincible. To avoid any unpleasant surprises such as XcodeGhost, you should consistantly update the operating system, download apps from the official store and use security software.

Learn more about about Panda Antivirus for Mac.

Android-Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow Protects against Ransomware

It’s becoming more and more common for malicious applications on Android to use ransomware as a means of attack. It is one of the most worrying threats to mobile users as it renders the device unusable until the fee is paid and is sometimes difficult to eliminate completely. Google is aware of this issue and has finally decided to face it head on.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is already available on selected terminals, makes it more difficult for cyber-criminals to hijack users’ phones. This is thanks to the company’s experts designing a more advanced operating system to manage the permissions asked by different applications.

Until now, users accepted all of the permission requests at once when they installed the apps. Due to this, seemingly inoffensive apps such as a simple flashlight were able to access features that were not related to its sole purpose. Not all of these apps were dangerous and for the most part companies were only trying to fine tune their advertising. However, by allowing access to other functions and domains on the mobile devices – users opened the door for malware to infect the device as well.

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Keeping tabs on your employees in a multi-device environment

The traditional desktop computer is no longer the only device we use to get work done. For the past few years workers have increasingly begun to use their own smartphones and tablets for work. According to a study carried out by Tech Pro Research, 74% of businesses allow, or are planning to allow, their employees to bring their own devices to the office.

Despite the benefits, such as being able to communicate easily with employees when they aren’t at their workstations, security remains a priority and with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) culture – it is important to stay on top of it.

The variety of devices used in the workplace and the resulting loss of control held by the business, means that cybercriminals are able to take advantage of the many vulnerabilities in mobile devices to access the company’s network.

 

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