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Think you’re safe online?

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Memeburn, a website specialising in tech news and analysis recently reported on the state of cyber security in South Africa. (Read the article here)

According to the article, it was announced during the 2015 Security Summit in Johannesburg that over the previous six month, South Africa was the most popular target in Africa for criminal cyber attacks. DDOS attacks in Africa also increased 150% over the past 18 months.

Antonio Forzieri, an executive at Symantec, stated that one out of 214 e-mail sent in South Africa last year, was a spear phishing attempt.

South Africans are losing R2.2 billion per year to cybercrime. Statistics like these emphasise the importance of being informed and careful with personal information.

Online sales are on the increase and providesan additional platform for cybercrime.

onedollarKaspersky Lab, a company renowned for their expertise in security, launched a new project which, in a very visual, simple and interactive way, demonstrates the danger of cyber threats.

The one dollar lesson is an animated website which shows what happens to your money when you shop online and your information is intercepted.

One dollar lesson also hosts three training modules – each of which shows one dollar’s virtual trip to the bank and the possible obstacles it can encounter along the way.

Don’t assume you know everything there is to know about cyber safety. Stay up to date on new cyber threats and be careful with your personal information.

High internet usage problematic

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Our service desk has been inundated with calls regarding high internet accounts over the past two weeks.

In one incident unusually high traffic on a user’s account was detected. When investigated it came to light that someone else saw him type his password and used it to download illegal series from the internet.

Information Technology can’t safeguard users in against incidents like these. Unfortunately it remains your sole responsibility to keep your password safe,

Sharing of usernames and passwords are still commonplace on campus, as is writing passwords down on post-its and leaving them on desks.

It’s just as important to keep your network password safe as it is to keep your bank card’s PIN number safe and surely you won’t share your PIN with someone?

With your password someone can not only access your internet, but also your e-mails containing bank and other private information, as well as human resources information – including your salary information! The risk remains the same.

Make sure you use a strong password. Microsoft has some clear guidelines on this.

Always close Inetkey when leaving your PC or lock your PC (ctrl+alt+del). If it’s open, anyone can use it and there’s no way for IT to establish who really used the account if you logged in.

Regularly check your internet usage and make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises. Your internet balance is displayed on the Inetkey prompt box and can also be checked at www.sun.ac.za/useradm.

Keep in mind that the university internet speed and your ADSL line at home aren’t the same speed. You might assume because you’re spending the same amount of time online, it will cost you the same, but downloading is much faster on the university network.

If you notice a sudden increase in your internet usage, lodge a query at IT at the cost of R200-00. More information on internet usage on the SU network can be found in our service catalogue.

Online shopping on the increase

Friday, May 29th, 2015


Whether you’re a bookworm who frequently visits the Exclusive Books’ website or a techie who always finds a gadget on Takealot – there’s an online shop for everyone.

Although online shopping isn’t the default shopping choice for South Africans, this is changing.

In January of 2015 Statistica.com reported that 40% of internet users worldwide bought products online – that’s 1 billion online shoppers. This amount will increase as more efficient encryption and security measures are developed.

In South Africa the percentage of buyers is around 22% and 48% of internet users claim they might be using the internet for shopping in future. (Survey conducted by IPSOS on behalf of PayPAL and FNB) If we consider that South Africa has the best developed economy in Africa and 86% adults own a cellphone, predictions by IPSOS and Statistica.com aren’t so far-fetched.

Studies show a noteworthy increase in internet purchases, as well as the amount users spend.

The SA council of shopping centres (SACSC) claim that serious internet users already conduct 50% of their shopping online and spend up to R2500 per month. Lighter users make around 14 transactions and spend R350 per month. Shoppers also tend to first do research on a product online and then buy it in the shop.

But where do South Africans like to shop and what do we buy? Woolworths, Exclusive Books and Pick ‘n Pay’s online versions seem to be most popular, while exclusively online shops Kalahari.com, Takealot and Amazon take preference. On the clothing front Zando and Spree totaled a low 9% in 2014.

Popular choices are digital products, event tickets, travel and clothing.

Security remains the biggest reason for not buying online. According to Statistica.com 38% of their respondents don not trust security on the internet enough to do payments online.

Security shouldn’t be a problem when an online shop’s website is PCI DSS certified or uses good encryption methods like 3D secure. As with any other website, trust your instincts and don’t shop and divulge your bank details on unknown or suspicious sites. Rather stick to legitimate, safe shops like Takealot, Zando, Spree, etc.

Some internet users are under the impression that you need a credit card when shopping online. This isn’t the case. Online shops have been adding various other payment options to accommodate shoppers. External payment companies like PayPal ensure that transactions are more secure and if you do feel uneasy divulging credit card details, pay with a bank EFT. Some shops even give you the choice to pay cash when your order is delivered.

Tangibility and quality guarantee is another consumer concern. More effective procedures have been put into place and consumers can easily  return a product they’re not satisfied with.

On the upside, online shopping is convenient and easy. It gives you the opportunity to choose between a wide selection of products, some sourced worldwide and pick the price best suited to your pocket. You don’t have to wait weeks for your purchase to be delivered. Good online shops will deliver within 24 hours if they have the product in stock.

By the end of this decade e-commerce in Africa will expand by 20 times and according to McKinsey & Company, by 2025 10% of retail sales will be done online.

Whether we like it or not, online shops are here to stay and hopefully we as consumers will be the ones who benefit from it.

[SOURCES: www.mybroadband.co.za; www.ventureburn.com; www.eprop.co.za; www.itnewsafrica.com]


Mobile payments making payment easier

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Just when you thought it was safe to leave your credit card at home, along came mobile payment facilities.

Snapscan, developed here in Stellenbosch, is the best-known mobile payment option at the moment. Apart from SnapScan, PocketPOS, FlickPay and Payment Pebble are also widely used in South Africa.

All these use your cell phone as Mobile POS (point of sale) so you don’t have to carry cash or a card on you. The assumption is that most people always carry their phones with them, but not their wallets. The mobile wallet is therefore an easy and convenient alternative. You also don’t have to queue or get for a waiter to notice you – just make the payment yourself.

You may think this is just another passing tech-fad, but according to research mobile transactions are higher in Africa than in America. Easier, cheaper internet access by cell phone when a computer isn’t available, being the main reason. In 2012 Africans spent more than 57.8 billion dollar just on mobile payments.

Although QR codes  (as used by SnapScan) are still used, new technology is already on the cards. Beacon technology uses your location for a different functions.

Snapscan recently developed Snapbeacon, a first in South Africa. Tap a button in the app and a transaction in the shop will be initiated via Bluetooth. If the function has been activated on your phone, it will automatically show a Pay here option.

Snapbeacon is only compatible with specific phones – iPhone 4S and higher and the latest smartphones with Android 4.3 and higher. At the start of April Snapbeacon was available at 30 SnapScan vendors in Cape Town and 20 in the rest of South Africa.

 [SOURCES: www.memeburn.comwww.ventureburn.com]

Easy file transfer with FTP

Friday, March 13th, 2015

You’ve probably heard the word somewhere and know it has something to do with files. But other than that you have no idea what FTP is. After all, what would you do with it?

Here’s the good news. You CAN actually use it quite easily and it might prove to be very useful when you need to share huge amounts of data with someone outside the university network. Interested yet?

Ok, let’s start by explaining what FTP means first before we get ahead of ourselves.

File Transfer Protocol or FTP is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files from one host to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. FTP users may authenticate themselves using a username and password, but can connect anonymously if the server is configured to allow it. (If you want to get more technical, read more on Wikipedia)

To use Stellenbosch University’s FTP server you will need the address of the server and the password:

ftp server: ftp://tydelik@ftp.sun.ac.za
password: tydelik

Keep in mind that this space is not for storing or backing up data. It’s merely a temporary spot to put files in order for someone else to easily access them. The person on the other side who needs to access the files will use the same information.

To set up FTP on your PC, just follow these step-by-step instructions on the Microsoft website.

If you need more information on FTP, here are a few sources:

As a user of the SU network there are a few other perks when it comes to free access. You can also use a few selected sites without opening your internet account. Read more about these sites on our blog – http://blogs.sun.ac.za/it/2012/04/20/free-access-to-selected-websites/ and http://blogs.sun.ac.za/it/2012/06/08/mirror-mirror/



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