Remote work (Image credit microsoft)
The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) outlines safer online meeting and home network measures
Home-based workers are at increased risk of cyber attack, but there are several measures they can take to reduce risk.
This is according to Bryan Baxter, a corporate IT business development manager and IITPSA KZN chapter committee member, who was addressing an IITPSA KZN Chapter webinar last week.
The webinar, focusing on cybersecurity and etiquette for remote work and meetings, outlined a significant shift in cyber risk facing companies and their employees.
“The abrupt move to remote working and cloud has driven many companies to try and do in a matter of months what others took years to achieve,” Baxter said. This move has strained IT resources and highlighted vulnerabilities in home IT environments, which cyber criminals were taking advantage of.
“Security and communications at home are typically not sufficient for corporate usage,” Baxter warned.
Reducing home worker cyber risk
Corporate data is at risk in home user environments due to common vulnerabilities in home networks, and the fact that many users were unaware that their personal information may already have been compromised, Baxter said.
Baxter said key risks among remote workforces included vulnerable endpoints, data leakage, password compromises, the use of shadow IT, a lack of corporate VPNs and insecure meeting solutions.
“A layered defence approach is needed to protect users, data, networks, devices and technology,” he said. “IT professionals need to make users’ lives easier and they must make it easy for end users to stay secure, or we will see the emergence of shadow IT and greater risk.”
He recommended a number of ways to mitigate risk in home user environments: “Enhance user awareness training, implement stronger two-factor authentication and keep personal and work systems separate. Corporates should ensure that they have classified their data and that sensitive data is adequately protected from employees working at home. Regularly backing up both work and private data is essential. Use a VPN to access important systems, and secure home routers and wireless devices.
Updated endpoint protection such as anti-virus and host based firewalls are important. These are now moving to more advanced threat protection such as ERD or endpoint detection and response. This is important because standard AV does not pick up shell scripting compromises. Home systems must be patched and kept up to date, and ideally home users should create separate admin and user accounts on their home computers.”
He also emphasized the need to change the default admin password on the home router; enable WAP2 encryption; and use a strong password for the home wireless network.
Selecting safer virtual meeting solutions
With a webinar participant poll revealing that 38% of participants most often use Microsoft Teams, 42% use Zoom, and 9% use Google Meet for video conferencing, Baxter noted that selecting the right solutions for enterprise use was crucial for security and data protection.
He highlighted cases in which meetings had been compromised and videos of meetings posted online. “If you’re going to have a board meeting or talk about your financial results, you need to think about the solution you’re using,” he said.
“Enterprises need to look first at the vendor – asking what is their support like, and can you trust them. Then consider the solution – asking how good is the product, how is it rated and how secure is it?” Considerations should include whether the solution was fit for purpose, its cost and the ease of integration and mobility options.
Factors that should be considered include whether the video conferencing solution offers full end to end encryption, where data is be stored and whether this data would remain private, if meetings could be password protected, the level of host control to mute, block and drop attendees, the visibility of attendees, and if information could be protected from unauthorised modification, access and disclosure.
Etiquette for online meetings
Baxter recommended several basic measures to improve security and effectiveness of online meetings: “Test the technology before the meeting; have a plan and agenda; appoint a moderator; only invite participants who need to be there; and lock the conference and put passwords on entry. Inform participants if you are recording the meeting and introduce everyone at the beginning. Participants should have a clean, work appropriate background for the video call; be aware of their audio and video settings; they should look into the camera and not at themselves while speaking; and they should eliminate distractions and focus on the agenda: be present, mute your mic when not speaking and don’t do other work during the meeting,” he said.
The IITPSA KZN chapter webinar was one of a series of new webinars IITPSA is rolling out to enhance communication and knowledge sharing among members. The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) CEO Tony Parry noted that the Institute is also increasing the frequency of its new Tabling Tech webinars, designed to give in-depth insights into emerging technologies.
Issued by ITP communications on behalf of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA)
AOC dazzles visitors with a special game room at GITEX Technology 2021
AOC Sales Director Middle East & Africa, Carol Ann Dias (Image: Hazem Abed)
AOC, the world’s leading manufacturer of computer monitors, highlights its presence at GITEX Technology Week 2021 through their authorized distributor, Hiperdist. At GITEX, AOC is showcasing a special game room where visitors can get try out the latest lineup of gaming monitors, some of which are made for professional e-gamers.
“Being one of the largest information technology exhibitions not just in the region but the whole world, AOC would not want to miss the opportunity to participate at GITEX 2021,” said Carol Ann Dias, Sales Director Middle East & Africa at AOC. “More than making our presence felt at the show, we are now focusing on emerging markets which is why we have partnered with Hiperdist due to their strong presence in the MEA region,” she added.
Some of AOC’s well-known monitors that include the Agon and the G2 line up are all on display at GITEX. Where visitors are encouraged to try out the new displays that offer some of the best technologies that make it fit for the gaming crowd.
Already a top choice by gaming professionals, the AGON AG352UCG6 features a 35-inch display with a 120HZ refresh rate. The curved design supports a WQHD (3440 x 1440) resolution that has 2.4x more pixels than a standard widescreen monitor. It also features a lighting panel at its rear which can be customized in colours of red, green or blue.
Also on display is the AOC C27G2 gaming monitor that comes in a 27-inch size with a 165Hz refresh rate. There’s also a 1ms response time for more accurate play. And Freesync support so high-intensity games are razor-sharp without ghosting.
Visitors can join and experience AOC monitors at the Hiperdist stand in Hall 3 E1 at GITEX Technology Week in the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Philips Introduces Momentum 559M1RYV 4K HDR display with Ambiglow for Xbox
Philips 55 lifestyle in situ Xbox (Image: Supplied)
MMD, the leading display specialist and brand license partner for Philips monitors, today announced the release of the world’s first designed for Xbox console gaming monitor. Philips Momentum 559M1RYV featuring 55-inch panel size boosting 3840×2160 resolution with 4K / 144Hz, 4ms GTG response time, and many other features that will be available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan.
Philips Momentum 559M1RYV: Design and Sound
This new “Philips Momentum 559M1RYV” bears the name Momentum 559M1RYV and bears the same exterior appearance as the previous version, including the adoption of a VA LCD panel with a W-LED backlight system with Ambiglow technology that adds a new dimension to your viewing experience. Innovative Ambiglow technology creates an aura of light on the surrounding wall from behind the screen panel. Its fast processor analyzes the content of the displayed image, and continuously adapts the color and brightness of the emitted light to match the displayed image. This technology also helps reduce eye strain to enjoy the scenes, it also supports DisplayHDR 1000 standard. The gaming monitor includes a specially designed speaker enclosure from the engineers at Bowers & Wilkins, the British loudspeaker company globally renowned for their innovative designs and sound engineering, that completes the experience.
Pankaj Budhiraja, Category Manager – Philips Monitor – Middle East & Africa, said: “The new Philips Momentum monitor offers unique user experience especially for gamers who demand exceptional graphic quality display and flicker-free pictures. This monitor is a wholesome entertainment package with build-in stereophonic speakers, sharp picture quality, vibrant colors and dynamic contrast and excellent resolution”.
Philips Momentum 559M1RYV: Performance
Philips Momentum 559M1RYV including Displayport 1.4, a USB-B port along with 4 USB 3.2 ports, two of them with fast charging. The Philips Momentum Monitor delivers designed for Xbox validates performance with ultra-clera 4K resolution at a minimum 120Hz refresh rate. 3840×2160 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a good response time of 4ms, as for the brightness rate in the mode up to 750cd / m2, while in the HDR mode it reaches 1200cd / m2. As for the color weight, we will notice that it offers DCI-P3 color gamut with 95% coverage, NTSC color gamut with 104% coverage, and sRGB with 125% coverage.
“As Philips always prioritizes user health, we introduce Ambiglow technology for eye-friendly productivity and a premium sound system. The monitor been extensively tested, and validated by engineers at Microsoft and MMD to ensure perfect compatibility, Philips Momentum meet’s the high expectations of the Xbox fans, creating an integrated gaming atmosphere to enjoy.” Budhiraja added.
Key features for Philips Momentum 559M1RYV:
- Screen size: 55-inch
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160 UHD 4K
- Panel type: VA
- Refresh rate: 120Hz (HDMI 2.1); 144Hz (DisplayPort 1.4)
- Response time: 4ms
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- V-Sync method: Adaptive Sync
- Contrast ratio: 4,000:1
- Ports: HDMI 2.1 (x3), DisplayPort 1.4 (x1), USB-C (x1), USB-B (x1), USB 3.2 (x4)
- Ambiglow: 3-sided
- Power supply: Internal, 100-240VAC, 50-60Hz
The Philips Momentum 559M1RYV monitor is available through MMD authorised distributors in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan and comes with a standard 3-year warranty, and EUP in UAE AED 6999*.
GSMA Report 2021: Over Half World’s Population Now Using Mobile Internet
The GSMA has launched its global State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2021 showing that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of the world’s population is now using the mobile internet. Mobile internet usage translates to just over 4 billion connected people, 225 million more compared to 2019, and up from a third of people globally just six years ago.
Even with this impressive growth in mobile internet connectivity, both in terms of mobile internet coverage and usage, the report highlights that work must accelerate to bridge the digital divide. Of the 3.8 billion people who remain unconnected, only 450 million people do not live in areas with mobile broadband coverage, (“the coverage gap”). The coverage gap represents a significant improvement year on year.
The far bigger challenge is the 3.4 billion people who live in areas that are already covered by mobile broadband, but are not using it, (“the usage gap”).
The report examines trends in the coverage and usage of mobile internet over the last six years and identifies the key barriers to mobile internet adoption. It also looks at the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the most significant regional effects. Finally, it makes recommendations to help close the digital divide and ensure greater access to mobile internet connectivity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made clear the importance of mobile internet access to people’s lives and livelihoods and has accelerated the digital transformation around the world. Mobile is the primary and often the only way to access the internet in low- and middle-income countries. While more people than ever are now using the mobile internet, some fundamental barriers stop far too many people from using mobile internet. To close this usage gap, all of us – government and industry – need to do more,” says the GSMA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, John Giusti. “In particular, we must address the key barriers to usage of mobile internet services, most notably literacy and digital skills, as well as affordability. Only through targeted and collaborative action can we bridge the digital divide.”
Coverage and usage gap in mobile internet is narrowing
During the last six years, the coverage gap has continued to narrow:
- In 2014, almost a quarter of the world’s population did not have access to a mobile broadband network.
- By the end of 2020, that figure was only 6%.
- Now, 94% of the world’s population has access to a broadband network, with most progress between 2014 and 2018.
- In 2020, global coverage increased by one percentage point, from 93% to 94%. This reduced the number of people living in areas without a mobile broadband network to 450 million. Those who remain uncovered typically live in sparsely populated rural areas with difficult terrain.
The number of people using mobile internet has also increased for the second year in a row:
- However, the usage gap remains large and accounts for the majority of the unconnected.
- In 2020, 3.4 billion people (43% of the world’s population) lived within the footprint of a mobile broadband network but were not accessing mobile internet services.
- Although the usage gap is narrowing, it is now seven times larger than the coverage gap.
- In 2014, the usage gap accounted for 64% of the total unconnected population – this figure grew to 88% by 2020 due to the increase in mobile broadband coverage.
- Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) now account for almost 93% of the world’s unconnected population and more than 98% of the uncovered population.
- Between 2019 and 2020, the most significant increase in mobile internet usage is in East Asia (61%), which grew by 4%.
Barriers to mobile internet usage
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mobile internet connectivity to the social and economic well-being of people around the world. People with mobile internet access were able to stay connected with friends and family, conduct business, gain access to critical information and services, and otherwise ease the monotony of lockdown life. Yet 47% of the population in LMICs are still not using the mobile internet despite living within mobile broadband network coverage.
Key barriers include:
- Lack of awareness of mobile internet and its benefits, literacy, and digital skills make up the largest barrier to adoption. Nearly a quarter of adults across the report’s surveyed countries are not aware of mobile internet and its benefits.
- Affordability: internet-enabled handsets and data became less affordable in many LMICs in 2020 due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These barriers often disproportionately affect specific segments of the population, especially people living in rural areas and women.
A Collaborative Approach
The global climate challenge shows that mobile connectivity can be a lifeline for people during crises, re-emphasising the importance of doing more to improve access to mobile services. The only way to close the digital divide is through a strong collective effort to address people’s barriers to accessing and using mobile internet. It requires targeted action by all stakeholders including mobile operators, policymakers, government and the broader private sector.
This report is the output of a project funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The views expressed are not necessarily those of either organisation.
The GSMA’s State of Mobile Internet Connectivity 2021 is available at: www.gsma.com/somic