Archive for Grudzień, 2011

IT Threat Evolution in Q3 2011 according to Kaspersky Lab

By admin, 13 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

From Malware in QR Codes to Targeted Attack on Corporations

Kaspersky Lab announces the publication of its IT Threat Evolution report for the third quarter of 2011. The company’s analysts noted a continued growth in cyber-attacks against some of the world’s biggest corporations throughout the period. When it comes to attacking smartphones, there were clear signs that cybercriminals have made Android their platform of choice. Increasingly sophisticated operations by malicious programs were also noted in Q3 along with some tried-and-tested methods – innocuous QR codes are now being used to conceal malware and computers are facing threats even before their operating systems start as cybercriminals revisit BIOS infection methods.

The third quarter of 2011 saw corporate networks targeted by unidentified hackers as well as attacks by the hacktivist group Anonymous. Targets included the Italian cyber police, several US police units, and FBI contractors. Hackers also targeted the defence contractors Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vanguard Defense. These and numerous other similar attacks resulted in malicious users gaining access to employee and customer data, internal documentation, correspondence and classified data.

In July 2011, the DigiNotar certificate authority’s servers were hacked, resulting in 531 rogue certificates being generated by cybercriminals. By using fake SSL certificates for websites, the cybercriminals could access data sent to or from those sites even if an encrypted connection was used. Among the many resources targeted in the DigiNotar case were government agencies in several countries as well as major Internet services such as Google, Yahoo!, Tor and Mozilla. DigiNotar eventually had to file for bankruptcy as a result of the hack.

“The DigiNotar attack was the second time a certificate authority had been hacked this year. Although the companies that issue root SSL certificates are required to pass a security audit, it is clear that the level of security at DigiNotar and its counterpart Comodo was far from perfect,” says Yury Namestnikov, Senior Virus Analyst at Kaspersky Lab and author of the report. “The DigiNotar case should serve as a warning for other market players to strengthen their security policies.”

Individual users should also be on their guard; the number of malicious programs for mobile devices is increasing at an alarming rate. In particular, the last quarter saw the share of all mobile malware in 2011 targeting Android OS reach 40%, firmly establishing this platform as the leading target of malicious programs.

 

The number of new signatures for mobile threats targeting a selection of platforms, Q1, Q2 & Q3 2011

The number of new signatures for mobile threats targeting a selection of platforms, Q1, Q2 & Q3 2011

 

Kaspersky Lab analysts had anticipated that cybercriminals would look for new ways to make money on Android malware, and it did not take long to happen. In July, an Android Trojan of the Zitmo family was detected that works together with its desktop counterpart Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zeus to allow cybercriminals to bypass the two-factor authentication used in many online banking systems.

Sometimes, malware can penetrate a mobile device in the most unexpected ways, such as via QR codes. A QR code is essentially a barcode but with a larger storage capacity. Cybercriminals are spreading SMS Trojans disguised as Android software by encoding malicious links in QR codes. After scanning the QR codes, mobile devices automatically download a malicious file which then sends SMS messages to premium-rate numbers.

Perhaps the most curious incident in Q3 saw hackers looking to the past for ideas when they realised that the protection afforded to today’s operating systems makes it virtually impossible to install a rootkit on a running system. Virus writers have once again turned to BIOS in an attempt to infect a system before it even boots up. It may be more than 10 years since the emergence of the infamous CIH virus (a.k.a. Chernobyl) that was capable of infecting BIOS, but the technology behind it is being employed once again.

The full version of the IT Threat Evolution report for Q3 2011 can be found at: www.securelist.com/en.

Versatile, high speed 3G connectivity without the need for data contracts – the VKOM 303USB from Nology

By admin, 13 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Being able to work on the move is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the modern business, and 3G has become the standard for mobile connectivity, but being locked into years’ worth of data contracts with a service provider is not always the ideal scenario. The VKOM 303USB 21Mbps 3.75 USB modem+ from Nology offers the perfect solution – high speed mobile internet without the need for an inflexible contract.

“Simply insert a data enabled SIM card, plug the USB modem into any PC or notebook and the auto-install driver will complete the installation. This compact, versatile device is compatible with all South African 3G networks and enables internet and email access wherever there is an available 3G network, using a SIM card from the network operator of your choice,” says Ross Griffiths, Product Manager at Nology. 

The VKOM 303USB is easy to use, with plug and play technology and auto-installation negating the need for installation downloads or software CDs. It provides high speed downloads of up to 21Mbps and high speed upload at speeds of up to 5.76Mbps, depending on the network and service provider’s capabilities. It also incorporates SMS functionality, enabling users to send and receive text messages to the SIM card number on their notebook or PC

“By inserting this compact modem into a broadband router with 3G support capability, users can also share connectivity with multiple users or devices. And because a data contract is not required, the VKOM 303USB is perfect as a failover system for ADSL and other connectivity options, allowing businesses to use 3G as and when necessary in an office environment,” Griffiths adds. 

By adding an external antenna, the VKOM 303USB delivers optimal signal strength for the fastest and best quality data signal possible. A MicroSD card slot on the device also enables it to be used as a USB Flash Drive for storing and moving documents and other files.

“Choice is a key factor for today’s consumer, and that includes a choice of connectivity options and a choice of which network operator’s services they wish to use. The VKOM 303USB modem enables users to avoid being locked in to services, allowing them to access 3G internet connectivity on the go without tying them down to a specific service provider,” says Riaan Leuschner, CEO of Nology.

The VKOM 303USB is available to channel partners from Nology and Platinum Micro.

Standard Bank benefits from Xerox Colour 1000 digital press machines

By admin, 9 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Bytes Document Solutions has supplied the Standard Bank Group with two Xerox Color 1000 digital press machines which have already resulted in faster turnaround times on print jobs for the financial services group.

Colin Bekker, senior manager in the Group’s Marketing and Design Services department, says all Standard Bank’s internal printing is done via the Marketing department, which includes a full-size design, production studio and a digital printing facility stocked with Xerox technology.

“We had two iGen3s but chose to replace one of them with two Xerox Colour 1000 digital press machines, which offer a fifth colour that functions as a varnish. It has already saved us a tremendous amount of time as the finishing and varnishing of items like brochures and business cards are now completed inline.”

Bytes Document Solutions (BDS) is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries and a division of Bytes Technology Group, a wholly owned division of JSE-listed Altron.

“Bytes Document Solutions worked with us to ensure we have the most appropriate equipment on the print floor,” Bekker says. “The most important thing in our planning was the demands of the bank. One of the things we’ve learnt is that we’re not into large volumes. We want targeted communications and these Xerox Color 1000 machines are ideally suited for that, as they allow flexibility and variation.”

We have many requests for short runs of DL and A5 type leaflets, which come off the Xerox Color 1000s already varnished, finished, folded and stacked. We use our remaining iGen3 for A4 or oversize printing, plus direct mail.
However, when we do have high-volume jobs, we run them on all the different machines.” Bytes has access to a storage area in our print room in which to store printer maintenance parts and this allows us to speed up service and reduce downtime.”

The service Bytes Document Solutions provides is a key component of Digital Printing’s success. “It certainly gives you the confidence of having back-up when you need it,” Bekker concludes.

Kaspersky Lab Expands Its Partnership with Scuderia Ferrari

By admin, 9 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management solutions, announces the expansion of their partnership with Scuderia Ferrari. At the final Formula One Grand Prix of the 2011 season in São Paulo the company unveiled a new contract with the world-renowned racing team for the next two years.

Kaspersky Lab and Ferrari

The partnership between Kaspersky Lab and Scuderia Ferrari, which has proved immensely successful for both companies, is steadily developing. The new stage of the partnership will see an increased Kaspersky Lab logo presence at all the Formula One races in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The presence of the company’s logo on Scuderia Ferrari racing cars will triple, featuring on the nose cone and on nose sides. The Kaspersky Lab logo will also be sported on the overalls of the Scuderia Ferrari drivers and on the team uniforms. This advance is in line with Kaspersky Lab’s global brand development strategy.

“We are delighted to further develop our partnership with Scuderia Ferrari. Our companies have many values in common: we both aim high, and never stop moving forward,” said Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab. “Our achievements are based on cutting-edge technologies, high-profile expertise and constant innovation, which result in the best-in-class quality of our respective products and the peak of reliability. Kaspersky Lab has been fighting cybercrime for over 14 years, always keeping abreast of the newest trends. So the notion of speed is very familiar to us, and we are only too happy to speed ahead on the nose cones of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One racing cars!”

Kaspersky Lab first entered the world of motor racing back in May 2010 at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. The first stage of the partnership saw the company sponsor the AF Corse team at the Le Mans Series along with assuming the position of ‘Official Supplier” to the Scuderia. Half a year later Kaspersky Lab became an ‘Official Sponsor’ of the team, which saw the Kaspersky Lab logo featuring on the Scuderia’s cars at both the Formula One while continuing to be on the 458 Italia GT2 competing in the Le Mans Series Championships.

A significant advancement of the partnership was made in March 2011 when the companies signed a licensing agreement that saw the release of a co-branded product: Kaspersky Internet Security Special Ferrari Edition. This security solution with a Ferrari-styled user interface and Ferrari Virtual Academy video simulator game has aligned Kaspersky Lab’s best-of-breed anti-malware technologies with the world-famous image of Scuderia Ferrari.

@lantic rolls out technology stores in Cape Town, Pretoria

By admin, 9 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

@lantic, the consumer and small business service provider within the Vox Telecom group, is expanding its retail footprint around South Africa, with two new stores opening in the past week.

“Our new retail stores are about offering our customers personal, face to face service for all their communication needs,” says @lantic’s Dederick Venter. “There are so many different options and products in the market that it can be very difficult to choose the right one. We focus on consumers and small businesses and are able to give expert advice and assistance tailored to their needs. We offer a choice of products from all the major telecommunication providers, as well as specialised solutions that we have developed ourselves.”

Products and services available in @lantic retail stores include ADSL, cellphone and 3G data services from all the major networks, the Vox Supafone, cloud based applications, email, antivirus services and many more.

There are already @lantic stores open in Potchefstroom, Amanzimtoti, Witbank, Heidelberg, Kroonstad and Thabazimbi, as well as two in Centurion. The two new stores, at the Canal Edge Walkway on Cape Town’s Tyger Waterfront, and in Pretoria at Moreleta Plaza, now offer service to Cape Town and Pretoria customers as well.

During the next year, says Venter, the rollout of retail stores will continue to Pretoria North, Nelspruit and Durban. “We’re focusing on some of the smaller cities and towns because that is where customers have the greatest need,” he says. “Customers want to discuss their needs with an expert, face to face in a comfortable environment, not just deal with a call centre. @lantic will be the friendly face of internet and communication solutions in every town where we have a presence.”

The company already has a network of over 100 franchises and 500 second-tier resellers, which will complement the stores. “Our franchises have built an excellent, loyal customer base around the country,” says Venter. “Now we’re improving the experience by offering walk in outlets where customers can experience the latest technology, stock up on accessories and get expert advice.”

Cloud PBX changes face of telecoms market

By admin, 9 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Next BMI-T PBX study expected to sport different structure, outcomes

“Things change, sometimes very quickly and not always out in the open,” says Rob Lith, Director of Connection Telecom. “So it is with hosted or cloud PBX solutions.”

Since BMI-TechKnowledge published the latest SA PBX market report (April 2011), there has been a marked growth of cloud solution models and vendors in this space, pointing to an increasing need to accommodate cloud in the next study.

As the research firm begins gathering input from vendors and integrators in preparation for the 2012 report, industry consensus is that it will likely have a very different structure and outcomes.

Early signs
Signs of these developments were already evident in the April report. In it, BMI-T observed that converged PBX (CBX) solutions, otherwise known as Voice-over-IP solutions, had moved beyond the early adopter phase and entered mainstream ICT budgets.

- At the high end (more than 128 ports), CBX solutions had begun claiming the market, with unit shipments approaching digital shipments.

- By comparison, within medium-sized companies (32 to 128 ports), CBX showed growing strength compared to analogue and digital platforms. CBX was the only category to grow amid a flattening of growth in overall shipments and a decline in digital PBX sales (recession-related).

- However, digital shipments still outstripped CBX shipments by far in this segment.

How far CBX?
So how far have enterprise evolved in their CBX adoption? Is hosted an option? What forms of hosted solutions – public or private – are preferred, and what vendors will win? Again, the research offers clues to the future:

- At the high end of the CBX market, Cisco had increased its lead considerably (from 40% in 2008 to 69% in 2010) at the expense of all the other vendors that are traditionally strong in the enterprise – Mitel, LG/Marconi Ericsson, Siemens, Alcatel Lucent and 3Com.

- Within the medium-sized segment, Mitel and NEC-Philips were the big winners.

The value of hosted solutions
But hosted solutions are a growing threat to Cisco’s strength. In the poll, vendors reported perceiving cloud as a threat.

Platforms like Telviva* offer a high level of local expertise and support, cost-effectiveness, greater choice over system components than proprietary vendors can typically offer, managed service levels, and upgrade assurance.

It is these factors that will probably lead to the inclusion of hosted solutions in the next report.

Implications of including cloud
In leaving out cloud, the study excludes perhaps 20% of volume shipments in the important CBX market. Indeed, it concedes that in its measurement of handsets, it has left out third-party vendors such as Polycom**.

Other than the expected increase in the sample group of 14 PBX/CBX vendors and providers for next year’s study, the inclusion of cloud may also lead to a change in categories. Traditionally, the PBX market has been segmented into number of ports, but the flexibility of cloud solutions will mean the end of this classification.

Additionally, the tradition of excluding PBX spend from total market spend in telecoms will also fall by the wayside, as PBX/CBXs are an integral part of telecoms spend.

New meaning
In view of strong new market undercurrents, the accepted view of the PBX/CBX market in South Africa could change significantly in the next year. This is to be welcomed, as new realities inject new vigour into strategic planning in this industry.

 

* Telviva is the Connection Telecom PBX platform
** Connection Telecom is a Polycom Field Verified Partner – Open Source Solutions

Why labour broking works in the software development industry

By admin, 9 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

By Chris Wilkins, CEO, DVT

A study by the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town has shown that 20% of all jobs created in South Africa since 1994 have been for temporary employees and were generated by labour brokers. In all, labour brokers have generated about 600 000 to 700 000 jobs over the past 17 years. This is about the same number of jobs that have been created by the country’s construction sector, and more than double the number generated by manufacturing, which created 271000 jobs over the same period.

Chris Wilkins

Chris Wilkins

Nonetheless, despite its important role in employment creation, labour broking has a bad name. But the general practice, definition and implications of labour broking are vastly different across different industries.

In the software development business, the term labour broking refers to the practice of well educated, high-end software professionals touting their trade as independent consultants. This is a choice of career that is made by the professional, and the professional alone. The shortage of good skills ensures that there is enough demand for the more entrepreneurial and ambitious in the industry, making this type of business a mainstream activity.

The benefits for the software industry as a whole are enormous, reflecting the completely different circumstances enjoyed by this sector compared to other industries. For the individual, the ability to operate as an independent consultant provides an opportunity to become an entrepreneur and small business owner. These professionals increase their personal income due to better rates, improve their job satisfaction through extra variety and choice, develop entrepreneurial and commercial skills, and enjoy flexible working hours because they can choose how often and when they work.

The benefits for companies include a ready supply of experienced and motivated professionals, an ability to purchase the exact skill for the right period of time, an accurate match of skills and needs in an industry where salary costs are high, and an ability to service ad hoc and costly projects efficiently. This makes the cost of these projects attractive enough to invest in, thereby driving up demand for other, associated jobs.

Therefore, in the software development and associated services industries, what is termed labour broking is, in fact, an invaluable and established part of regular business. The individuals themselves can decide whether to take permanent employment or become a independent consultants. There is a high demand for software development skills, which means equal opportunity for finding a permanent job or becoming an independent consultant.

In addition, independent consulting in software development is a global phenomenon. It’s often the career vehicle of choice for younger, mobile professionals who want to find non-permanent work in other countries so that they can gain international experience and exposure for a limited period of time.

In short, independent consulting or labour broking in the software industry is not only valuable to individuals and companies alike, it is also a mechanism to trigger the creation of other jobs as a result of cost savings and flexible work practices in an industry that continues to cry out for specialised skills.

Nology shows commitment to customers with ISO 9000 accreditation

By admin, 9 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Nology, a leading distributor of quality, security-driven broadband, networking and communication hardware and solutions in South Africa, is proud to announce that Nology Solutions, the solutions and services arm of the company, has achieved the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001:2008 service accreditation.

ISO 9001 is the practical accreditation of the ISO 9000 standard, which relates to quality management systems and is aimed at ensuring that organisations meet the needs of their customers and stakeholders. One of the most important criteria for achieving this certification is that the organisation must ensure that customer requirements are understood and met with the goal of improving customer satisfaction, and quality must be managed and controlled across various areas of the organisation.

“ISO 9001 is a broad accreditation that covers international standards for aspects such as design and development, which are important areas of the Nology Solutions business,” says Mandy Govender, Chief Operations Officer at Nology. “By obtaining this certification we are assuring our customers that our products have gone through stringent processes and are of only the best quality, and we are ensuring that our customer service processes, such as complaints, services and feedback, subscribe to global best practice.”

Attaining the ISO certification is something that is of strategic and operational importance to Nology as an organisation, since customer service has always been an important area that requires continuous improvement and refinement. Quality assurance is another area of focus, and in preparation for the ISO audit the company embarked on drive towards documenting and improving both processes and infrastructure. Areas such as vendor processes, customer complaints, sales and marketing were streamlined, documented and enhanced with relevant technology, including a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to provide greater visibility of customer interactions.

“Once we had documented all of the necessary procedures and put in place the correct checks and balances, we undertook an internal audit process in preparation for the official accreditation audit. This helped us to verify that our procedures were compliant with ISO standards, and enabled us to make observations from our findings and identify areas for further improvement,” says Govender.

Obtaining the ISO 9001 accreditation not only involved improving processes and streamlining procedures, it also required that a quality management system (QMS) with all relevant documentation was in place. According to the ISO requirements, this necessitates the buy-in and involvement of top level management to oversee the creation of the QMS, communicate the requirements for the standard throughout the organisation, establish the quality policy and the quality objectives, provide adequate resources for the operation of the QMS and review the operation of the QMS.

“We managed to complete all of the necessary processes and procedures well within the prescribed deadlines, closing off our findings and obtaining our certification within three weeks of the audits,” Govender adds. “This achievement is due largely to the buy-in we had from the very top of the organisation, with the Board of Directors becoming personally involved in checking findings, making recommendations and providing feedback. Having executive buy-in also streamlined the change management process, which ensured good uptake of the ISO compliant processes.”

“Nology strives to be a leader in the converged communication space, and if we want to be seen as leaders, we need to align ourselves with international best practices and standards. Internal and operational excellence is a strong focus for us and forms an important part of our strategy,” says Riaan Leuschner, CEO of Nology.

“The ISO 9001:2008 accreditation is our commitment to ourselves as a company and to all of our customers that we will deliver the highest quality products and the best levels of service possible. The staff at Nology are what made our achievement of this accreditation possible, and we are excited to continue on our path of continual excellence and improvement,” he concludes.

Mxit responds to its community’s need for relevant, unbiased information

By admin, 9 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Social networking is becoming an increasingly important and powerful way for young adults the world over to share their thoughts and feelings towards anything from political instability to what they will be doing this holiday season.

It only takes looking at what is happening in the Arab world to understand the impact that the socially connected have on all levels of society. 

Mxit, as Africa’s largest social network, maintains that online social environments have a responsibility to provide their communities with the type of free and frank information that allows users to make informed decisions on critical issues.

The mobile social platform today responded to its community’s need for information by making The Daily Maverick, one of the country’s most respected independent news portals, available to its users.

“Information, or access to fair, unbiased commentary is a critical component to include in social networks because it helps young adults form an educated position on issues that could have an profound effect on their future,” says Alan Knott Craig, Mxit’s CEO.

Mxit regularly surveys its community of over 50 million registered users to establish their awareness of and sentiment towards important issues.  It has effectively become the voice of young adults on the continent and Knott Craig believes that the inclusion of excellent reporting will provide the network with greater depth and help to increase the value and power of debate.

Styli Charalambous, CEO of The Daily Maverick and iMaverick, says:  “We’re extremely excited to make the Daily Maverick’s unique analysis and reporting available to Mxit users. We pride ourselves on providing a better understanding of the important issues affecting South Africa and the more people we can share the message with, the better.

“No matter your age or background, the issues we tackle are relevant to the overall well-being of the nation and affect everyone. Mxit allows us to get our work in front of so many more people than we could have reached on our own,” says Charalambous.

Vox Supafone: A Great Choice for Businesses

By admin, 8 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Vox Telepreneur is offering customers an unbeatable deal this holiday season: A top-of-the-range cordless VOIP phone, R500 of free minutes and a lower phone bill every month for just R899 including delivery to anywhere in South Africa. Ideal for Business and home use, Vox Supafone is available directly from www.vox.co.za. The Supafone uses the customer’s ADSL line and the Vox network to make high-quality, low-cost calls over the Internet – and calls between Vox phones are completely free.

“South Africans deserve more choice,” says Vox Telepreneur’s Brad Gatter. “At Vox we believe in giving our customers choice, plus the additional benefits of no contracts, cheaper calls and money back on incoming calls. With this package, a customer is billed in arrears once their R500 worth of minutes has been exhausted”

“Vox Supafone is also a cost-effective business tool”, says Gatter: “With lower phone call costs, and, because inter-branch calls are free, drastically reduces costs for companies with multiple branches!”

“In addition”, says Gatter, the Vox rates are highly competitive: “As well as getting free calls to other Vox customers, you only pay 39c* a minute for local and national calls, and 96c* a minute for calls to mobile phones. We even pay back 15c a minute on incoming calls – so if you receive a lot more calls than you make, you could end up with a zero bill or even receive money back.”

The Supafone package includes a base station and two cordless handsets, with the option of adding up to six handsets for small offices. Customers can use a single ADSL line to surf the net and make phone calls at the same time. “It’s a no-brainer, EVERYBODY with an ADSL line should be benefitting from the Supafone,” says Gatter.

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