Archive for Czerwiec, 2012

Kaspersky Lab Experts Analyse Mac OS X Flashfake Malware: Improved Functions & Methods of Operation

By admin, 29 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

In April 2012, Kaspersky Lab’s experts released “The Anatomy of Flashfake, Part 1”, which was a detailed analysis of the Mac OS X malware’s infection and distribution mechanisms. The analysis shared technical details about how Flashfake (also known as Flashback) infected more than 748,000 Mac OS X computers by the end of April.  The malware was being used to conduct click-fraud scams, which was done by hijacking the search results of victims’ computers. 

Recently Kaspersky Lab’s experts released “The Anatomy of Flashfake Part 2”, which examines the malware’s additional functions and provides an in-depth analysis of the technical methods that the Flashfake cyber criminals are using to generate money through click-fraud scams.

Method of Operation

The Flashfake malicious program is made up of multiple modules that inject malicious code into the infected victim’s browser. Once the malicious code is injected, it connects the infected computer to the list of Flashfake’s active Command & Control (C&C) servers. Now when the victim uses Google’s search engine to browse websites, the legitimate advertisements and links on the websites are substituted with fraudulent ones by the Flashback C&C servers. By having users click on the fraudulent links or ads, the cyber criminals are tricking them into committing click-fraud.

Improved Functions

In March 2012, the Flashfake group created a new version of the dynamic library with more functions. Notably, this included a new search method for Flashfake C&C servers using Twitter, and most recently, Firefox browser add-on. The malicious Firefox browser add-on is disguised as an Adobe Flash Player add-on, and performs the same functionalities to communicate with the C&Cs and execute the click-fraud scam.

“Flashfake is currently the most widespread malicious program for Mac OS X, and this incident shows that Mac OS X is now a definitive target for cyber criminals moving forward,” said Costin Raiu, Director, Global Research & Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab. “Not only did cyber criminals evolve their attack methods to incorporate zero-day vulnerabilities, but they also created a program that is resilient. Flashback checks for anti-virus solutions, has integrated self-protection measures, and uses encryption to communicate with the C&Cs. The additional functionality for Twitter and Firefox also demonstrates their willingness to invest time and effort into improving the scale and efficiency of the malware.”

Although Flashfake had infected more than 748,000 Mac OS X computers by the end of April, the botnet’s size has significantly decreased. In May this year, the number of active bots was estimated at 112,528.

The full version of “The Anatomy of Flashfake Part 2,” by Sergey Golovanov, can be found here on Securelist.

Unbeatable Konica Minolta SA takes award seven times in a row

By admin, 29 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

Konica Minolta South Africa, a Bidvest company, has, for the seventh consecutive year, won the international Konica Minolta Distributor of the Year award, again outperforming more economically developed countries.

The annual award is presented by Konica Minolta Business Technologies Japan and is based on total number of unit sales in addition to the size of the territories involved.

“Holding our number one position in the Konica Minolta world dealer family for the seventh successive year is a great accomplishment,” says Konica Minolta South Africa MD, Alan Griffith, who accepted the award with business unit manager, Marianna Gdanis in Jakarta, Indonesia. “The award recognises a company’s performance by measuring market share per country and we believe that our success is due to our focus on the bizhub brand as a whole. The brand is more prominent than ever before in South Africa and has built up a well-deserved reputation amongst customers.”

He adds that the award is especially encouraging for all Konica Minolta South Africa employees, especially as trading conditions in today’s business market still remain tough. “Konica Minolta South Africa employees have a healthy appetite for continued success, and this has contributed to the strong growth within the company,” he says.


Cloud computing is here – but vendors need to build trust with their clients

By admin, 29 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

Cloud computing is here – and it is an inexorable, and growing, trend. Companies that intend harnessing the cloud to offer services to their clients need to ensure that they back these offers with safety and security – and it is a safety that must be viewed as safe as Fort Knox.

This is the opinion of Nolan Sandham,  Managing Director at ACTNET, the enterprise output management and content solutions company.

“Trust in the cloud is on the lips and minds of almost everyone today – and this trust  centers on security, control, accountability and privacy. Those companies that fall short – even slightly – of empirically providing this security, can kiss their hopes goodbye of ever operating as a service provider, of any sort, in the cloud computing environment. It is as simple as that. There needs to be more trust between customers and vendors.”

Sandham said that just as users had to slowly start trusting on-line ordering and on-line shopping, so, too would people have to learn to trust cloud computing. Vendors who create this trust will be the ones that steal the lead in this burgeoning market.

“Trust is at the core of any remaining resistance that some enterprise customers still have with the cloud. One of the concerns from the market is to do with the cloud-computing model itself. There are, for instance, still many applications that must pass payment card industry muster, or approval.

“It must be remembered,” said Sandham, “that payment card industry standards are rigorous. So the question on the mind of many people is, simply, can any of these applications – which are critical – be trusted on the cloud?”

Detractors have a fair amount of doubt, believing that a cloud is arguably dangerously amorphous – and it will be particularly hard to control, or to audit.

“After all, how do you audit something that is virtual? Logically, cloud computing does essentially morph into something that is more tangible – but the feeling is that you cannot touch it.  This gives off an element of danger – of distrust. So it is even more important, given this perception, that vendors go the extra mile to ensure that all information stored – or relayed by them – in the cloud computing environment, is utterly safe.”

It will be hard to provide certainty with virtualized file systems – but, with time, this can be achieved. It can be achieved if vendors realise just how important this is- and that they don’t enter, willy-nilly, into this high-demand market. Users will be unforgiving if mistakes are made – no matter how small.

“Trust will dissipate rapidly and vendors will have very little leg room to make mistakes – any mistakes. At the end of the day can users absolutely trust that a company’s virtualized data file systems are not muddled up with someone else’s data? This is the question on everyone’s minds – and vendors have to set these worries at rest.”

For further information, please contact Nolan Sandham; tel. 011 267 6444; fax. 011 267 6499; e-mail nolans@actnet.co.za

Get the Full Movie Experience with the Ster-Kinekor App and Samsung GALAXY Smartphones

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

Samsung Electronics South Africa is excited to announce that South Africa’s largest cinema exhibitor, Ster-Kinekor, is now available as an Android app for free download, on  Samsung GALAXY* smartphones and is exclusive to the Samsung App store for three months.

“This is another first for Samsung and is in line with our ongoing efforts to continue to provide local consumers with the most relevant apps and the best possible user experience on our GALAXY smartphone range,” says Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung.

Rich features at your fingertips

- The new downloadable app for Android GALAXY smartphones features all the information currently available on the Ster-Kinekor website, and more.  Experience the poster-rich, fan-   centric Ster-Kinekor mobile app – with interactive seating booking, toggling between Ster-Kinekor and Nouveau cinemas. Created for movie fans by a team of movie fans who just love   movies anytime, anywhere!

-       Swipe through movie lists and find out what’s “Now Showing” and “Coming Soon”. Use the search function and browse movies by poster and filter movies by: Genre, Cinema or Date

-       View high-quality trailers that play seamlessly within the app

-       Read detailed movie information that includes synopses, parental ratings, run times and cast lists

-       View accurate performance times, get the seats you want and purchase tickets seamlessly without leaving the app

-       Create and sign into your Ster-Kinekor profile and have relevant movie news delivered to you.

Says Fiaz Mahomed, CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres: “The collaboration between Ster-Kinekor Theatres and Samsung provides an immediate range of movie news and information, available 24 hours for Android users. The development of this app brings the power of the movies right into the hands of cinema lovers. We understand that our market is increasingly interacting with online and mobile media, so it’s important to invest in these platforms and consistently find innovative new ways of delivering this to them and as such, our partnership with Samsung is evidence of just that.”

“This locally relevant app is another way in which we at Samsung are striving to deliver innovative and functional apps that suit our users’ lifestyle needs – in a seamless, easy to use format – for that ultimate GALAXY experience,” concludes Fleischer.

For more information on this application and/or to view the complete list of applications available, please visit http://www.samsungapps.com/

Connectivity is a key contributor to social equity and cohesion

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

During a recent visit to South Africa, Stephen Carter, Executive Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent Group and President of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region said that he sees big potential in the future of fast and reliable connectivity for all in South Africa, which is dependent on the implementation of a robust ICT policy in the country.  Carter says that he believes connectivity is a contributor to social equity, social cohesion and social fairness.

“It’s vital that a country’s broadband policy is viewed second, only to economic policy. It is a domestic issue and is primarily determined by local circumstances. It is significantly influenced by history, by geographical topology, population density and distribution in addition to local cultures and conventions,” comments Carter. “South Africa can learn from international examples, but there is ultimately no blueprint to follow. I believe that Broadband policy has to have a domestic focus”.

Carter is of the opinion that there are three reasons why a country needs to have a public policy in ICT:  “One is what I call social equity. All children should have access to the same level of education. All citizens should have equal access to health provision and health awareness.  One person’s opportunities for employment should not be better than another. All these elements of social equity are linked to connectivity and access to connectivity should be for all.”

Secondly, Carter believes that ICT is the ultimate industry horizontal that necessitates a comprehensive ICT policy. “In every business I come across, there is a network or IT director. Whether it’s a small business or a large business, connectivity really makes business work. It allows you to transmit information, make decisions, operate in multiple time zones, deliver service opportunities to your customers, keep up to date, plan and reduce costs.”

He continues to say that if there isn’t a competitive connectivity infrastructure in the planning of a country’s economy, the country will lose out. ”Companies and individuals will decide on head-office location and expansion based on infrastructure, in a similar way to how decisions used to be based on transport accessibility and reliability.”

The third reason to have a policy in place is that it’s a very efficient multiplier. “It’s a bit like leveraged capital: If you have connectivity at the right scale and quality, your ability to get an economic multiplier effect is greater than that of your competitor.”

Carter concludes that the speed of next-generation technology deployment varies greatly from country to country. He attributes this to technology coming in cycles.  “Depending on when you buy into technology, you have a different view on when you buy into the next technology. If you have countries that have made significant investments in 3G technology, they are unlikely to make significant investments in 4G technology until they have extracted a reasonable return on their capital investment”.

 

Xerox brand making strong headway in SA despite printer market decline

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

Sales of Xerox A4 laser printers and multi-function devices grew by a stunning 71% during the first quarter of 2012, as compared with the same period in 2011. This growth is all the more remarkable given the fact that the total laser printer market in South Africa shrank by some 28%, according to IDC figures.

“Xerox’s growth in the A4 laser segment is important not only in itself but because it shows our strategy of gaining brand share in both the consumer and small to medium-sized business space is starting to pay off,” says Peter Vieira, divisional manager: Xerox Channels at Bytes Document Solutions, the authorised distributor for Xerox in South Africa. “We are already well established in the enterprise space, and are aiming to achieve similar success in these additional market segments.”

Vieira attributes the growth to three factors. “We have increased our range and depth of channel partners to allow us to reach new segments of the consumer and small to medium-sized business markets, including people who had previously not owned printers. Xerox is developing the value-for-money products they are looking for, backed up by resellers that hold adequate stock and offer good support. All of these factors deliver the kind of experience that builds brand loyalty to both our channel and end-user customers,” he says. “A great team at Bytes Document Solutions is driving the whole process.”

During 2011, Xerox sold some 17 400 A4 laser units in the South African market. This represents a growth of 51% as compared with the previous year. Many of these are first-time buyers and are thus, says Vieira, beginning to build a relationship with the brand and its service offering.

“For first-time buyers, these devices represent a relatively low investment and so they give us the opportunity to gain new customers, and start building their confidence in the Xerox brand,” says Vieira. “We have seen rapid and sustained growth over the past two years, with total sales in excess of 33 000 units. We see all of these customers as potential brand ambassadors for Xerox’s entire product range.”

Nashua Mobile unleashes brand campaign as it marches towards 1m subscribers

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

Nashua Mobile, the independent telecommunications service provider in the Reunert Group, has launched its new brand campaign to highlight the depth and variety of its offerings to the market. Called “Imagine”, the campaign forms part of the company’s drive to smash through the one million customer level in the next stage of its growth. Nashua Mobile today has more than 900,000 subscribers.

Says Tim Walter, Executive Head of Marketing at Nashua Mobile: “With the one million subscriber milestone within sight, this is an opportune time for us to launch a brand campaign that shows exactly how we are saving customers time, saving them money and putting them first. This campaign will highlight just how much choice we are able to offer through the variety of products and services in our portfolio, as well as the many ways that we add value to basic offerings.”

Walter says that the core of Nashua Mobile’s value proposition is the choice of phones, tablets, services and tariffs it can offer customers through its relationships with all of South Africa’s biggest networks and device manufacturers. But the company has also pioneered a range of service innovations throughout the years to make life easier for its subscribers.

Delivery of customers’ phones direct to their homes by the Smart Squad team on their Vespas is just one example of the way that Nashua Mobile puts customers first. Nashua Mobile was one of the first cellular service providers to offer customers online services such as a self-service portal and electronic billing.

The company has also brought a range of innovations to market such as Click2Recharge online airtime purchases; a paperless process that makes it a snap for customers to apply completely online for new cellular voice and data contracts on MTN, Vodacom and Cell C; and flat-rate mobile Xtreme Data packages that remove the uncertainty associated with other data rate plans and eliminate the chance of ‘bill shock’.

Says Walter: “Our goal is to empower our customers – consumers, SMEs and corporates – and to make the telecommunications experience simpler and more convenient for them. The Imagine campaign will showcase exactly how we do that.”

CQS Technology Holdings brings Confirmation.com to Africa

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

CQS Technology Holdings, one of South Africa’s leading software houses, today announced its partnership with Confirmation.com, the world’s leading provider of secure audit confirmation services. Through this partnership, CQS will now offer the first-ever online audit confirmation solution to audit firms and financial institutions throughout Africa.

Currently, financial institutions in South Africa respond manually to paper confirmation requests from auditors because it’s the only available option. Through this partnership, CQS will provide financial institutions a more efficient process for responding to these requests. Additionally, CQS will offer audit firms a more streamlined process as well. The value to auditors is that Confirmation.com automates the entire process from the initial request, validation, authorisation by the client as well as receiving the final confirmation from the bank. This saves tremendous time, and more importantly brings greater integrity to the process of validating the receivables, cash on hand and debt within financial statements.

“As a company we are always trying to find solutions to improve efficiencies and processes for all our clients. As a technology provider to audit firms, it is astonishing how disruptive paper-based audit confirmations can be to an auditor’s workflow,” said Ashley Cohen, CEO of CQS.  “These paper and manual processes are inefficient not only for auditors, but for the banks and companies that respond to audit confirmation requests too.  We are pleased that Confirmation.com made the whole process more efficient and secure, and are excited to now offer this solution to South African auditing firms as part of our partnership.”

“Growing our existing international footprint is extremely important to us because we have a significant number of auditors throughout the world who want to use Confirmation.com globally instead of for only U.S.-based banks,” said Chris Schellhorn, President and CEO of Confirmation.com.  “To support our goal of expanding our solution globally, it’s important to have key strategic partners like CQS.  We look forward to working with them as we roll out Confirmation.com in South Africa.”

In addition to the CQS partnership, Confirmation.com recently added new bank responders in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. They also signed a reseller agreement with Task Technology, a leading provider of auditing and financial reporting software to the professional accounting and corporate market in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

ITI Africa Summit to address leveraging mobility, content and communications into your enterprise

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2012, No Comment

The anticipated 2nd annual IT Infrastructure Africa Summit is set to take place from 12 to 13 July 2012 at the prestigious Westin Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa. The summit is proudly produced by international business-to-business conferencing company, Kinetic Events, key strategic information providers to the IT and Telecoms sector. The summit aims to focus on critical IT infrastructure and organisational challenges currently facing the African IT industry, preventing enterprises within the continent from reaching the international standards of first world nations.

The summit will host internationally renowned guest speakers in topical discussions aiming to highlight IT industry challenges in interactive, expert-led sessions. Modern technological advancements are enabling radical new approaches as to how communications are being leveraged into enterprise processes. Mobility offers the elusive anywhere, anytime interaction with applications accessible using handheld devices with content that allows the business, consumer and analytics to drive specificity into the applications. Unified communications enables flexible media platforms and business process integration.

Attendees will discover how to deliver IT projects and services that enable business growth and innovation while successfully leveraging existing resources and investments, advancing their goal of operational excellence and powerfully demonstrate the value of IT organisation to the business at large.

For more information, to apply to attend comment or photographs, visit www.itinfrastructure.co.za or contact Shaunei Meintjes on +27 21 555 0866 or shaunei@kineticevents.net. Follow @ITLeadersAfrica and @KineticEventsSA on Twitter for daily updates and news feeds.

Cash-strapped South Africans seek a mid-year holiday

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2012, No Comment
  • 53% are desperate to get away for a mid-year break this year, but tough economic times holds them back
  • 27% believe that holidays are a luxury that they cannot afford and no longer consider vacations
  • 63% would visit the Western Cape especially the Garden Route this winter
  • 84% are only willing to spend between R500-R1000 per night on accommodation
  • 69% say that affordable cozy restaurants and spa pamper sessions would get them out of their homes and experiencing their city this winter
  • 37% say they will never miss an opportunity to go out and experience new places

In a recent survey conducted by Groupon South Africa, 53% of South Africans said say that they are desperate to get away for a mid-year break this year, but feel that holiday accommodation is too expensive and the current tough economy is holding them back. A further 27% of respondents believe that winter holidays are a luxury they cannot afford these days and 31% of South Africans say that they would love a break but cannot seem to find the time to do so.

As a result of the tough economic times many South Africans have started considering a winter holiday getaway and outings as a complete luxury. South Africans are too cash strapped and many also time poor to afford a winter holiday this year. However, the survey showed that if an affordable option was available they would go ahead and spoil themselves.

“The fact that 84% of respondents said that they are willing to spend between R500-R1000 per night on accommodation comes as no surprise as this reflects the success of our most popular deals. Same goes for the fact that 63% would visit the Western Cape especially the Garden Route. The deals for the Garden Route are also doing very well at the moment,” says Daniel Gausco, CEO of Groupon.

The survey also revealed that many South Africans are passionate about keeping their social life alive this winter as 37% said come rain or shine, they will never miss an opportunity to go out and experience new places and adventures.

“We have an enthusiastic and diverse customer base, so we cater both for those who are seeking adrenalin pumping experiences and those in need of some rest and relaxation. We can do this because we see ourselves as an experience- provider rather than a discount website and believe there is no such thing as a typical customer.

“We encourage South Africans to consider taking a break this winter, whether it is a local getaway or experiencing a new restaurant or spa. Our deals provide customers with access to quality experiences for the best price and will give them an opportunity to break away these holidays and feel recharged,” says Gausco.

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