Apple Spotlight Shifts – AI

Apple spotlight shifts from cars to robots

Apple pushes robotics as its car business moves off the table

Apple may be famous for its $200 billion a year iPhone lineup but the company has recently shifted gears when it comes to R & D, with its sights firmly set on the robotics sector.

As tech giants try to find new avenues for growth at a time when competition has become fierce on their traditional terrain, should we expect to see innovative new robots bearing the apple logo soon? 

Here’s the latest scoop on what Apple has been experimenting with, and what the implications might be for the cybersecurity sector. 

The evolution of Apple from desktop computer manufacturer to a laptop maker, and most recently the creator of the iPhone and iPad, a trio of Portable devices that revolutionised the way we communicate for work and pleasure, is legendary. 

These innovations have propelled the company to ever increasing heights in terms of revenue and market valuation, with the company now worth $2.8 trillion – an amount almost equal to the GDP of France. 

However, with major competition from rivals like Samsung and critics pointing out that the latest iPhone contains very few essential upgrades and is more an exercise in aesthetics, the company is seeking new avenues of growth.

Several years ago, Apple impressed investors and financial journalists when it announced an ambitious smart car project to rival Tesla. Unfortunately, this seems to be stuck in first gear with no realistic timeline for a viable product offering. 

Instead, Apple appears to be investigating the potential of robotics – presumably with AI integration.

Like every piece of information about Apple’s, future activities, reports of its robotics research are mainly obtained through leaks and a fair amount of industry gossip. Word from Silicone Valley is that the manufacturer is developing two main prototypes:

  • A consumer robotics product with full integration to the companies of the devices.
  • A possible rival for the Roomba vacuum – which to date has been the most successful robotic home consumer product produced despite being in its 20th year. 

Whatever these early prototypes end up becoming, it’s clear that smart devices are a major focus for big tech – and that poses a cybersecurity threat all by itself. 

The impact of consumer robotics on cybersecurity

As the Internet of things continues to develop, electronic devices other than computers and mobile phones, that are both connected to the internet and sync with our other devices, are becoming the norm. 

Given that we live at a time when cybercriminals have managed to carry out daring hacking attempts – even using the water monitor in a casino’s fish tank – the potential for denial of service attacks and takeover attempts on household robotic items could be huge.

  • Apple has generally been good at securing the privacy and personal data of its users, but as hacking attempts become more sophisticated, there’s no telling what cybercriminals could pull off. 
  • Rather than placing the blame or expectation of safety on a single manufacturer, internet users should carefully consider what risks they are taking when they buy and use sophisticated consumer products.

As a general rule, if your device sends and receives data, that data needs to be backed up – and that’s where secure cloud storage comes in.

Our range of cloud storage solutions for businesses and households is the ideal place to start when securing your crucial data. Browse our range of packages today to get started,

Surprisingly Hackable IoT Devices

If you are currently deeply enfolded in the convenience of connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices in the home, you’re possibly not prone to thinking about considering the risks that they can pose.

Just as the IT infrastructure in your office can be hacked, so to can your home IoT devices be attacked by the very same cybercriminals. Your high tech, connected vacuum cleaner or baby monitor, your smart window dressings or home security system, these smart devices can all be used to steal your personal information or even spy on you via the embedded device cameras.

At the RSA Conference this year, a variety of surprisingly hackable IoT devices were thrown into the spotlight, making more than just a few of the onlookers a bit uncomfortable.  And yes, you guessed it; a baby monitor and vacuum cleaner made the list!

Why are connected IoT Devices so Hackable?

The risk starts when a device connects to your network. All networks have vulnerabilities and it just takes a clever cybercriminal to hack into your device and use it for all manner of evils. Your device could start listening to you and capture this information for a criminal. The camera can be used to determine whether or not you are in the home or even see where you hide precious items. You could even find that your entire network gets jammed up and a hacker demands a sum of money to return your life (and devices) back to normal. The options are aplenty!

Which IoT Devices are the Most Hackable?

When you think of IoT, it’s likely that your mind immediately goes to your internet-powered devices such as your laptop, mobile phone, tablet and similar, but the reality is that IoT is so much more than just these devices. Below are a handful of IoT devices you might never consider could be used to hack into your personal information.

  • Car remote – it can be hacked, jammed, cloned, and used to steal your car;
  • A built-in vehicle GPS system – this can unlock your car, locate your car, and even drive your car;
  • CCTV cameras – can be used to gather sensitive info in offices and homes such as passwords on computer accounts and the PIN for the alarm system;
  • Wireless printers – hackers can get access to all documents printed and scanned on the device;
  • Smart televisions – built-in cameras can be used to spy on the home and linked accounts can be accessed;
  • Smart fridges – can be used to gather data on family emails via the linked device camera.

But what does this all mean? The list above contains so many items that most of us take for granted. Inter-connected devices that simplify our lives. Does it mean that we have to disconnect all our convenient smart home devices and revert back to a DIY era or the “stone age” again? No, it certainly doesn’t. What it means is that you have to be safe while using these devices.

How to ensure that your IoT devices are safe

Instead of retiring your IoT devices prematurely, start working on having a more aware and cautious approach to using your connected devices. Here are a few things that you can implement to ensure that your IoT devices are providing you with the conveniences they promise, without the threats and risks.

  • Regularly update your devices to the latest version of software.
  • Install security patches and fixes as soon as they are released.
  • Research the various security risks that each of your connected devices presents (Google is great for this).
  • Make sure that your network username and password are secure and different from any other passwords. Be sure to change them often.
  • Don’t keep sensitive data stored on any connected devices. If you have info and data you would like to save, back it up to the cloud.

As a responsible IoT device owner, there is every reason to believe that you can avoid the risks associated with such convenience. You know what they say though…the cost of IoT convenience is your privacy!

App junkie? All you need to know before installing a new app!

The well-known phrase “there’s an app for that” has only become popular because it is so true and because we are a world of ‘app junkies’!

There seems to be an app for absolutely everything, and while the majority of apps do exactly what they claim to do, and so pose no real threat to your smartphone, there are others that are designed to wreak havoc on your smartphone and put your sensitive data at serious risk. These malicious apps expose you to the following risks:

  • Malware,
  • Privacy and data security breaches,
  • Wasting of resources such as data, battery power etc.

The only way to protect yourself from a malicious app is to know how to tell a good app apart from a bad one. Often to do so, a person needs to know what the characteristics of a good app are.

We use our phones to conveniently store large amounts of personal information. While app stores do their best to promote only quality apps to the market, it is impossible for them to guarantee the safety and security of any app. Users must do their research on the app they are interested in before simply hitting the “download” button.

If you do encounter a malicious app in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, it is important to report the app so that it can be removed, ensuring that others don’t suffer the same fate!

Consider the following before installing a new app

Knowing the characteristics of a good app is the first step to protecting yourself from malicious apps. Consider the following before you hit the download button:

  • Do your research. Verify that a reputable company has developed the app. Check the terms of service and make sure that there is a clear and easy way to contact the developers if you run into problems with the app. Read the reviews!
  • Scrutinise the permissions. Any apps you download should have limited permissions. The permissions included will give the vendor or developer access to specific information and data on your phone. The app should only have access to services on your phone that are essential to its functioning. If there is a long list of permissions required to run the app, then you need to be a little wary of the motives behind it.  Understand the permissions list and decide for yourself if it is reasonable for the app to request the permissions that it does.
  • How many times has the app been downloaded? The more an app has been downloaded and rated, the more trustworthy it is likely to be. As a rule of thumb, apps with over 10 million downloads are usually more trustworthy than those with only a few hundred downloads.

Be careful with your personal information

When downloading and installing a mobile app, you will be required to register some of your personal information. Be cautious of providing your banking details, credit card details, or debit card details with an app. Even safe apps experience data breaches, so make sure that you only provide details as needed.

Have you ever encountered a malicious app? Let us know – we’d love to help spread the word!

Beware when synching your phone in a car – particularly a rental car!

Imagine finding out that your house has been burgled and that the burglar used your alarm pin code. Imagine learning that your sensitive credit card details have been intercepted by a third party and used for fraudulent online purchases, or even worse – the personal information of your family. These are just a few ways in which a hacker can use the convenience of your car phone synching against you.

For many people, synching their phone each time they get into the car is as automatic as checking their email every time they log in to a computer. It makes it easy to read messages and emails, make phone calls, and use the maps app, hands-free.

The problem comes when you disconnect your phone from the system. Some of your data stays behind!

A hacker can connect to your infotainment system or Bluetooth and have access to all the sensitive information left behind.

When you sync your phone to a rental car, the risks are only exacerbated. Unless you make an effort to delete the data from the system, access to your call list, GPS data, messages, and contacts could still be available to the next person to rent the car. Frightening, isn’t it?

How to protect your personal data

The first and most effective way to protect your data is to simply never sync your phone with the car (or rental car), or to avoid plugging your device into any of the USB ports. But this isn’t always doable, especially when the urge to have all your media at your fingertips while driving can prove rather tempting. Here are a few alternative ways to protect your data:

  • Set your phone’s security settings to limit what information and data the vehicle will have access to.
  • When you disconnect your phone from the car, make sure you take all the data with you by deleting it from the vehicle’s infotainment system.
  • Change all of your sensitive app passwords. A better way to protect access to sensitive apps is to activate fingerprint or Touch ID on your phone.
  • Turn off your car’s Bluetooth connectivity when you disconnect your device or when it’s not in use.

If you haven’t thought of it before, you should be thinking about it now – synching your phone to any vehicle is a risky thing to do. And if you are using a hire car, it’s ten times riskier! Protect yourself and your date by being aware. After all, you wouldn’t leave your wallet or luggage behind when you return your rental – so why leave your data!

Protect yourself and your business against mobile device security threats.

You know the saying that the team is only as strong as its weakest link? Well, that’s also true of mobile device security. When trying to secure a system and network, even if you have put every effort into ensuring the setup is perfect, it just takes one end user to make a bad decision or be slack on the security front, and it can all come crashing down.

Nearly everyone on the planet totes a mobile phone these days and that means that hackers and malware have even more opportunity to strike than ever before. Mobile device security is under attack and as more and more users join the “party”, more and more opportunity for security threats arise.

What’s the trick? How does a company protect its mobile devices against security threats?

Some say that the trick is to remove the responsibility of device security from the end user and make it the responsibility of the IT department. IT department experts can implement policies and limitations that protect mobile device security.

Of course ,it’s not all about policies, but also about having the right tools, technology and know-how to protect devices and end-users. Moreover, it’s not the end-user that has access to these things.

How to Prevent Mobile Device Security Threats Negatively Impacting your Business

Mobile devices are vulnerable to risks including malware, data breaches and more. The first step to protecting your business is to treat your mobile device security as an ongoing process.

Implement the following best practices in your business:

  • Ensure mobile security systems and apps are up-to-date. All mobile devices should have the latest modern security patches, full system encryption, strong password and PIN requirements, and biometric authentication.
  • All mobile apps should be thoroughly vetted and regularly updated.
  • All security events must be logged.
  • Insist all end-users make use of company-wide file sharing and document collaboration and absolutely no personal consumer-based apps.
  • Staff members must be trained in company mobile device security policies and protocols.
  • Provide staff members with company devices that have security systems installed and in place. BYOD (bring your own device) work environments lead to security breaches.
  • Encourage regular data backups from devices instead of storing sensitive information on end-user devices.

How to Reduce the Risk of Smartphone Viruses

Smartphone viruses can be detrimental to a business’ entire mobile security system. Here’s what your company IT department can do to reduce the risk of such viruses.

  • Stay up to date on the latest malware and mobile viruses.
  • Ensure all devices have the latest, updated mobile operating systems. When operating systems are updated, the security features are usually greatly improved.
  • Set in place enterprise mobility management policies to ensure that threats are recognised early on and can be contained.
  • Implement two-factor authentication.
  • Limit the web pages that end users can access through their browser on company devices.

How to Reduce Mobile Device Security Threats Whether you are at Home or Abroad

Employees that take their work mobiles home or need to travel overseas with them are faced with unique mobile device security threats. Your IT department can do the following to reduce security threats.

  • Make sure employees are aware of their privacy rights in the area they are travelling based on the customs and border protection laws of that particular country.
  • Some companies have separate mobile devices used only for travel and basic communications. No company information is stored on the device.
  • Instruct end users to avoid using public Wi-Fi.
  • Multi-factor authentication should be implemented to ensure that any data on a mobile device is absolutely safe, especially if a mobile phone is stolen or lost.
  • All data should be stored in the cloud and not on-device. Employees should be trained on how to do secure backups daily and how to remove sensitive data securely from the device too.

Preventing mobile device security threats is not easy. The end-user certainly plays a role in the process, but with the right tools and implementations from the IT experts, the security of business mobile devices can be greatly improved.

How your internet-connected home appliances can be hacked

Internet security has become a hot topic in recent months with no thanks to a significant ransomware attack which targeted more than 300,000 computers across the globe. With the likes of Britain’s Health Service, US FedEx and the Deutsche Bahn rail network affected, it’s not hard to see why.

With so many devices connected to and via the internet nowadays – not just computers – internet security ought to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. With this in mind, how safe are your internet-connected devices around your home? Have you ever considered how easily these could be hacked?

A warning from Avast

Avast, one of the world’s leading antivirus software companies have warned against the vulnerability of home appliances connected to the internet. Through recent research, they have uncovered that hackers are now targeting home internet routers, posing a major threat to homeowners and consumers.

Avast Chief Executive, Vincent Steckler, warns that once an internet connected device in your home is hacked, there’s unfortunately not much you can do with it. Once hackers have found access through this internet router, the only solution at present is to replace it.

Experts at Avast believe that internet-enabled appliances around the home pose a ‘total nightmare’ in terms of vulnerability and internet security. This is due to the fact that these devices are rarely protected by antivirus software, while homeowners fail to believe they could be a ‘soft target’.

Simple hacking, soft targets

Just some of these vulnerable home appliances include TV sets, audio systems, children’s toys and even coffee machines. In November 2016, a cyber attack was carried out on an estimated one million households across Germany, hacking into home routers hosted by Deutsche Telekom, knocking all households offline.

As such, Avast recently hosted an event to demonstrate how simple it is to hack into a household internet router and completely hi-jack an appliance.

During this demonstration, a company representative hacked into a router, changed its firmware, and managed to take control of a TV, replaying a speech by Barack Obama over and over, without control. Avast warned that even if you attempt to turn off the TV, hackers can use the router to turn it back on and hold the home appliance for ransom.

So what can be done to protect yourself?

Protect all your personal devices and Internet-connected home by antivirus software. Ensure that these antivirus software programmes are updated regularly, in other words, try not to click ‘’update later’’ as this could leave you more vulnerable than you think!

Digital technology spurs on online business, the age of convenience

New digital technology can go two ways, either it can take off like a virus thanks to good propagation, development and planning, or it can become redundant due to over-estimation or sloppy development.

Good digital technology is realised for what it is and it will, and does – change the way we do things and how we interact with the world around us. Think about Steve Jobs and his vision to have the world using iPhones…now, that dream is just about realised and it was certainly no fluke! It took time, attention and meticulous development and planning.

Integrated technology

Digital technology has transformed the world around us, so much so that modern day is referred to as the “age of convenience”. This, as fully integrated technology begins to make almost every aspect of our lives more convenient. Digital technology is shaving off minutes from our everyday tasks and eliminating the frustrations that come with outdated systems and customer service strategies.

For the consumer, new technology is fantastic while for some industries it can be quite inconvenient all together. Think about what Uber has done to the taxi industry or what Netflix has done to the DVD hire market.

The thing about technology is that it is always changing which can be rather convenient for consumers but creates a volatile and somewhat aggressive market for tech developers. The tech industry is always vying for the next spot in the limelight and because there’s always something newer and better, that spot is often short lived. Ever so convenient for us, the consumer though!

Constantly changing technologies comes with high expectations

With new digital technologies making things simpler for consumers, it has almost become expected that everything can be handled online. Businesses still operating in the physical world are being left behind. They must adapt or die, so to speak.

In order to keep up with the age of convenience and still remain competitive, suppliers and service providers have to be relentlessly up to date with latest technologies and systems. Which is quite a high expectation to keep up with, and an unavoidable one.

Today’s businesses that have made the change to digital and virtual platforms place value on the convenience too. Those who are holding out and being die-hard physical business operators would benefit from changing with the times and joining the digital age of convenience.

It’s not just about doing things online

Running a virtual business is not what all it is about though. If you want to truly excel and compete in today’s age of convenience, you have to go mobile. If your online platforms and systems aren’t mobile friendly, chances are – you are going to lose out on a lot of business.

The mobile phone has given the laptop and desktop computers a run for their money, in fact, most people are using their mobile phones to complete all their online transactions. Without a mobile solution or strategy in place, you are being short sighted.

Software and technology companies need to make sure that they are constantly developing and improving on their solutions for mobile businesses. This in turn keeps the tech development market highly competitive.

Remember, in order to keep up with the digital times, you can’t just dabble with it. What’s oh-so-convenient now could be inconvenient and outdated tomorrow.

Is your business currently fully online and mobile friendly? Are you struggling to keep up with the latest tech and software? Do you have the latest security and online backup facilities in place? Our online cloud backup system is constantly being updated and our consultants are always up to date with the latest technology. Give us a call if you need some advice.

Classroom reality – could it be virtual reality?

If you have ever read a book and wished you could literally immerse yourself into the story, then you have had a taste of what virtual reality can do for the average person. Imagine being able to have a truly personal experience when reading a book, or a studying a subject. Continue reading Classroom reality – could it be virtual reality?

Latest Tech! Are South Africans Really Secure In Their Connected Homes?

With smart homes already an integral part of many South African lifestyles, the question regarding security risks begs to be answered. If your home features a smart television, smart fridge, devices, a game station and various other internet connected devices, could your home security be at risk? Quite simply – it certainly could be. In fact, it already is, if you haven’t thought about it until now! Continue reading Latest Tech! Are South Africans Really Secure In Their Connected Homes?