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WhatsApp will now ban you for violating their terms of service

IT The South African

The violations include using an unsupported version of WhatsApp and downloading unofficial apps.
'WhatsApp has become the cornerstone of communication for a lot of South Africa n’s. It’s used to keep track of old school friends, organize social events and even for business communication.  This ubiquity sometimes leads us to forget that we are really just guests on the service owned by Facebook. Like all guests, there’s an expectation that we’ll behave ourselves while making use of the service. WhatsApp itself has decided they’ve had enough of some of the more unruly guests and have started handing out bans to users who violate their terms of service. WhatsApp is a social platform, and the company has come to realise that their platform is only as good as the users on it. Specifically, the behaviour of the users. With this in mind, the company has been handing out bans to try and curb undesirable behaviour as well as tools that could result in Whatsapp being used in ways the company did not envisage. So, what can you be banned for? WhatsApp is clamping down on the use of unofficial WhatsApp clients like WhatsApp Plus and GB WhatsApp. Users of the popular alternative clients have received temporary bans with messages urging them to switch back to the official WhatsApp app.  The use of third-party apps comes with obvious security concerns as they typically come from independent developers and are distributed directly from the website rather than via the official app stores. This opens users up to potential malware and security concerns. Besides the security concerns, these third-party apps also help facilitate anti-social behaviour by allowing scheduled messages. While testing GB WhatsApp, I was slapped with a twenty-minute ban and warning to switch back to the official app. Their latest blog post explains why: “If you received an in-app message stating your account is ‘Temporarily banned’ this means that you’re likely using an unsupported version of WhatsApp instead of the official app, you must download the official app to continue using WhatsApp.” WhatsApp is also clamping down on anti-social behaviour like: Sending too many messages to users who aren’t in your address book Being blocked by too many people in too short a period Creating multiple groups containing users not in their address books In addition to this, of course, there’s always the threat of being banned if you violate any of their terms of service. Hopefully, WhatsApp upping its policing of its platform will result in a safer environment for everyone and reduce the chances of marketers and predators ruining a service that has become an essential part of how we communicate.'

My Browser, the Spy: How Extensions Slurped Up Browsing Histories From 4M Users

IT News South Africa

When we use browsers to make medical appointments, share tax returns with accountants, or access corporate intranets, we usually trust that the pages we access will remain private. DataSpii, a newly documented privacy issue in which millions of
'When we use browsers to make medical appointments, share tax returns with accountants, or access corporate intranets, we usually trust that the pages we access will remain private. DataSpii, a newly documented privacy issue in which millions of people’s browsing histories have been collected and exposed, shows just how much about us is revealed when that assumption is turned on its head. From a report: DataSpii begins with browser extensions — available mostly for Chrome but in more limited cases for Firefox as well — that, by Google’s account, had as many as 4.1 million users. These extensions collected the URLs, webpage titles, and in some cases the embedded hyperlinks of every page that the browser user visited. Most of these collected Web histories were then published by a fee-based service called Nacho Analytics, which markets itself as “God mode for the Internet” and uses the tag line “See Anyone’s Analytics Account.” Web histories may not sound especially sensitive, but a subset of the published links led to pages that are not protected by passwords — but only by a hard-to-guess sequence of characters (called tokens) included in the URL. Thus, the published links could allow viewers to access the content at these pages. (Security practitioners have long discouraged the publishing of sensitive information on pages that aren’t password protected, but the practice remains widespread.) Read more of this story at Slashdot.'

Scientists discovered mysterious alternating currents in Jupiter’s aurora

IT The South African

Researchers used data from NASA's Juno probe and found that the electric currents that go through Jupiter's magnetosphere aren't acting the way it should.
'It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with Jupiter. To add to the mystery of the planet, researchers have found unexpected alternating currents going through the gas giant’s atmosphere. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. It boasts an aurora with a radiant power of approximately 100 terawatts, or 100 billion kilowatts. It’s the brightest aurora in the solar system and is centred around the planet’s poles. These currents are similar to what is seen on Earth. According to  Nature Astronomy , researchers used data from  NASA’s Juno probe , which has been orbiting the gas giant for three years now. A breathtakingly beautiful mystery The data shows that electric currents passing through Jupiter’s magnetosphere, which produce auroras on Jupiter, have less direct current than what is expected. And it’s baffling scientists to no end. One of the study’s co-authors, Professor Dr Joachim Saur from the Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology at the University of Cologne, said in a statement: “These observations, combined with other Juno spacecraft measurements, show that alternating currents play a much greater role in generating Jupiter’s aurora than the direct current system.” Enormous centrifugal forces Like Earth, the auroras on Jupiter are oval rings near their poles and are driven by “a gigantic system of electrical currents that connects the polar light region with Jupiter’s magnetosphere,” the statement added. However, whereas Earth’s currents are driven by direct currents, Jupiter’s are not. Saur added that Jupiter’s electric current systems are driven by “enormous centrifugal forces” in the planets rapidly rotating magnetosphere. He adds: “Because of the planet’s fast rotation – a day on Jupiter lasts only ten hours – the centrifugal forces move the ionized gas in Jupiter’s magnetic field, which generate the electric currents.” He explains that the volcanically-active moon Io produces one ton of sulfur dioxide gas per second; which ionizes into Jupiter’s magnetosphere. Barry Mauk of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory observed signatures of powerful electric potentials, aligned with the gas giant’s magnetic field, and explains: “At Jupiter, the brightest auroras are caused by some kind of turbulent acceleration process that we do not understand very well. There are hints in our latest data indicating that as the power density of the auroral generation becomes stronger and stronger; the process becomes unstable and a new acceleration process takes over. But we’ll have to keep looking at the data.” What is the Juno Cam? Juno is in a “highly-elliptical 53-day orbit around Jupiter. Each orbit includes a close passage over the planet’s cloud deck; where it flies a ground track that extends from the planet’s north pole to its south pole.” Juno is fitted out with a Steller Reference Unit (SRU), and the JunoCam. The SRU collects engineering data for navigation purposes, while the JunoCam imager shares Jupiter’s beauty with the public. The Juno Cam passes over both of Jupiter’s polar regions every 53 days and found that direct current was approximately 50m amps, not as high as theoretical models would suggest, according to   Live Science . View time-lapses of the mission here , or follow its progress on the official Twitter account, @NASAJuno. Watch: Juno’s Mission Trailer Also read – Jupiter captured in all its glory by NASA’s Juno spacecraft and the public [photos]'

IS extends cloud offering with Azure

IT IT-Online

To expand its hybrid multi-cloud offering to customers Internet Solutions (IS) is extending its cloud platform offerings to harness local Microsoft Azure capabilities.
'To expand its hybrid multi-cloud offering to customers Internet Solutions (IS) is extending its cloud platform offerings to harness local Microsoft Azure capabilities.IS’s offering will expand from traditional networking, voice and hosting, to include cloud capabilities on Azure, Voice and eventually AI.¬¬ IS, the largest provider of hosting services to the South African market, offers datacentre hosting and managed cloud services to customers.This partnership will also mean that IS, together with Microsoft will build a Cloud Centre of Excellence for clients, ultimately, resulting in better and broader service offerings for clients. “We were aware of the changing market and saw the need to create a differential offering for our organisation that sets us apart from the competition.We identified the opportunity to extend our cloud portfolio to customers wanting to leverage the power of Azure locally, through Microsoft’s recently launched hyperscale datacentres in South Africa.Our longstanding partnership with Microsoft enables us to unlock new capabilities within our business,” says Basha Pillay, executive head for cloud and collaboration at Internet Solutions. “This partnership will also enable us to work with our existing customers to help migrate their Windows & SQL 2008 environments to Azure – further extending our support to clients and ensuring they are not only ready for the future but also taking maximum advantage of today’s technologies,” Pillay adds.Nearly two thirds of Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft Azure for their cloud computing solution and an average of 1 000 customers are signing up every day.The benefits of the cloud include spinning up virtual machines in minutes, providing scalable and durable cloud storage, and backup and recovery solutions for businesses of all sizes.Cloud usage goes far beyond the development and test workloads with which people originally started.Enterprises are driving a second wave of cloud adoption, including putting their most mission-critical, demanding systems in the cloud. “We’re in a time where technology is one of the core ways organisations can better serve customers and differentiate themselves from their competitors.We’re excited that IS is one of our trusted partners in this era of digital transformation.Our focus is on building the right solutions for our customers and by bringing the benefits of delivering cloud services from datacentres in South Africa, we are improving access to cloud and internet services across the continent,” says Lionel Moyal, commercial partners lead at Microsoft South Africa.Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the launch of its enterprise-grade data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town.With this announcement, Microsoft became the first global, hyperscale public cloud provider delivering services from data centres based in Africa.The availability of Microsoft’s cloud services delivered from South Africa means local companies can securely and reliably move their businesses to the cloud while maintaining data residency and compliance requirements.Information stored in one of Microsoft’s data centres can be easily and securely replicated in any of the 54 regions for disaster recovery measures, offering businesses uninterrupted access to their work . The post IS extends cloud offering with Azure appeared first on IT-Online .'

R1,5m up for grabs from DBSA

IT IT-Online

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has launched a competition aimed at getting young people in the country to come up with solutions to some of South Africa’s infrastructure challenges.
'The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has launched a competition aimed at getting young people in the country to come up with solutions to some of South Africa’s infrastructure challenges.Called the DBSA Youth Challenge, the competition invites entrants aged 18 to 35 to submit innovative development ideas that address infrastructural needs across various sectors.The winning submissions will attract a total of R1,5-million in prize money.The DBSA sees the competition as an opportunity for young people to have a voice and participate in the economy, thereby bringing them from the margins to the centre.With technology making it possible to change the way services are delivered, the development institution believes there is room for more young people to get involved in finding innovative solutions to infrastructure problems that will directly influence their future. “As development practitioners we partner with stakeholders to co-produce impactful development solutions.Through initiatives such as the DBSA Youth Challenge, we look forward to working more closely with a segment of our society that is the foundation for our country’s future,” says Sebolelo Matsoso, head of communication and marketing at DBSA.Ideas must address one or more of the infrastructure development needs within the DBSA’s core sectors which are energy, water, transport, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and/or social sectors; namely health, education and human settlements (housing) sectors.Entries should be original, relevant to society, scalable and feasible.Entries open this week and close on 31 August.Interested individuals can submit their ideas via https://dbsayouthchallange.org or by posting them to DBSA, PO Box 1234, Halfway House, 1685, Midrand.The top 10 finalists will have an opportunity to promote their ideas and network with potential sponsors before the three winners are announced at a Gala event later in the year. . The post R1,5m up for grabs from DBSA appeared first on IT-Online .'

Simplifying IT with HCI solutions

IT IT-Online


'Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), a software-defined IT environment that virtualises all of the elements of the conventional data center, such as storage, networking and compute, is soaring in popularity among organisations and industries around the world. “There are many reasons for this, including increased operational efficiencies, lowered costs and improved scaling,” says Thabo Sizani, business development manager for HPE at Axiz. “But perhaps the most compelling benefit of HCI is its ability to reduce complexity in the IT environment.” He says the majority of organizations today are finding their current infrastructure too cumbersome and needing a lot of resources in terms of skills, time and money, to keep up and running. “Traditional architecture is ill-equipped to meet the increasing demands of enterprise applications or the rapid pace of modern business. “And today, simplifying IT is more important than ever.Businesses are under pressure to transform digitally, and to do this they need to scrutinize the technology assets they currently have and look at what they are doing to use technology to become more flexible, agile and responsive to their customers.” He says, unfortunately, the majority of legacy IT infrastructures are so siloed and complex that this has not been possible. “However, because HCI works on software-defined principles, and sees everything virtualized, automation of mundane and routine operations is achievable.It is because the technology department is no longer encumbered with multiple solutions from a variety of vendors; there is only a single, unified environment to manage.” Sizani adds that with increased automation, comes increased efficiency, which in turn frees up resources and time to allow businesses to focus on activities that help them remain agile and ahead of the curve. “This is especially vital in the age of hybrid cloud, where organizations are looking to gain a competitive advantage by harnessing the flexibility of hybrid and multi-cloud.” Another significant benefit of HCI, he says, is that it significantly lowers data and operational costs, without any significant disruption to business operations. “The cost of entry for HCI systems is significantly lower than its legacy counterparts too, and these costs will only decrease further as the market gains traction.Remember, far less physical hardware is required in a software-defined environment, meaning that as new features are introduced, they can be pushed out as a release, without having to replace anything physically.Over-provisioning, another unfortunate side-effect of legacy infrastructure, is avoided as well.” He says getting up and running is also far faster with HCI. “The pace of change today is unprecedented.IT departments have to be able to respond to business needs as quickly as possible, and legacy infrastructure means that projects might take weeks or even months to implement, which can impact negatively on the business.On the other hand, appliance-based HCI such as SimpliVity from HPE arrives ready to use, offering guaranteed levels of performance and needing only the smallest intervention in terms of installation and configuration.” Sizani says SimpliVity helps streamline IT operations with a quick, easy, and efficient hyper-converged platform. . The post Simplifying IT with HCI solutions appeared first on IT-Online .'

Granadilla’s app-based insurance helps users save

IT IT-Online

July is savings month and, while tightening the belt on areas where one could spend less will set you in good stead, it is also a good time to reassess your insurance costs.What exactly are you paying and what are you paying for?
'July is savings month and, while tightening the belt on areas where one could spend less will set you in good stead, it is also a good time to reassess your insurance costs.What exactly are you paying and what are you paying for?Insurance is an expense that should be reassessed annually to ensure that your valuables are not only properly covered, but that you’re getting value for money.Shop around, compare costs and evaluate what best fits your financial standing and your way of life.For example, if comprehensive cover is not relevant to you because you live in a digs or are renting, then itemised cover will be a better fit for your lifestyle.App-based insurance provider Granadilla offers a multi-product discount which makes a difference to user premiums.Granadilla offers single item cover for smartphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, travel and more.With the multi-product discount, the more policies users add to their basket, the greater the saving.With each added policy, the discount stacks and it applies not just to that policy, but to all the policies in the user’s name.When you add a second policy, the first discount is applied to your monthly premiums.With each additional policy you add, you get an additional 1% off all your premiums.The more policies you add, the more discount you get as it stacks.There is no limit, meaning you can insure as many items as you want and your discount increases with each new policy.For example, if the user insures one item with Granadilla, they won’t be eligible for a discount.If they add more items, they will get 1% discount for each new policy, meaning they can insure 20 items and enjoy 19% discount on their monthly premiums for all of those policies.With Granadilla, the sign-up process is slick, simple and fast.It uses a bot called Nandi to effortlessly guide users through the cover process and help to determine the ideal premium. . The post Granadilla’s app-based insurance helps users save appeared first on IT-Online .'