By Giovanni Buttarelli for The Washington Post 

First came the scaremongering. Then came the strong-arming. After being contested in arguably the biggest lobbying exercise in the history of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation became fully applicable at the end of May.

Since its passage, there have been great efforts at compliance, which regulators recognize. At the same time, unfortunately, consumers have felt nudged or bullied by companies into agreeing to business as usual. This would appear to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the new law.

The GDPR aims to redress the startling imbalance of power between big tech and the consumer, giving people more control over their data and making big companies accountable for what they do with it. It replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive, which required national legislation in each of the 28 E.U. countries in order to be implemented. And it offers people and businesses a single rulebook for the biggest data privacy questions. Tech titans now have a single point of contact instead of 28.

The new regulation, like the old directive, requires all personal data processing to be “lawful and fair.” To process data lawfully, companies need to identify the most appropriate basis for doing so. The most common method is to obtain the freely given and informed consent of the person to whom the data relates. A business can also have a “legitimate interest” to use data in the service of its aims as a business, as long as it doesn’t unduly impinge on the rights and interests of the individual. Take, for example, a pizza shop that processes your personal information, such as your home address, in order to deliver your order. It may be considered to have a legitimate interest to maintain your details for a reasonable period of time afterward in order to send you information about its services. It isn’t violating your rights, just pursing its business interests. What the pizza shop cannot do is then offer its clients’ data to the juice shop next door without going back and requesting consent.

A third aspect of lawfully processing data pertains to contracts between a company and client. When you purchase an item online, for example, you enter into a contract. But in order for the business to fulfill that contract and send you your goods, you must offer credit card details and a delivery address. In this scenario, the business may also legitimately store your data, depending on the terms of that limited business-client relationship.

But under the GDPR, a contract cannot be used to obtain consent. Some major companies seem to be relying on take-it-or-leave-it contracts to justify their sweeping data practices. Witness the hundreds of messages telling us we cannot continue to use a service unless we agree to the data use policy. We’ve all faced the pop-up window that gives us the option of clicking a brightly colored button to simply accept the terms, with the “manage settings” or “read more” section often greyed-out. One of the big questions is the extent to which a company can justify collecting and using massive amounts of information in order to offer a “free” service.

Under E.U. law, a contractual term may be unfair if it “causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract that are to the detriment of the consumer.” The E.U. is seeking to prevent people from being cajoled into “consenting” to unfair contracts and accepting surveillance in exchange for a service. What’s more, a company is generally prohibited to process, without the “explicit consent” of the individual, sensitive types of information that may reveal race or political, religious, genetic and biometric data.

Indeed, regulators are being asked to determine whether disclosing so much data is even necessary for the provision of services — whether it is ecommerce, search or social media. One key principle to remember is that asking for an individual’s consent should be regarded as an unusual request, given that asking for consent often signals that a party wants to do something with personal data that the individual may not be comfortable with or might not reasonably expect. Thus, it should be a duty of customer care for a company to check back with users or patrons honestly, transparently and respectfully. As the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed, allowing an outside company to collect personal data was not the type of service that users would have reasonably expected. Clearly, abuse has become the norm. The aim of the EU data protection agency that I lead is to stop it.

Independent E.U. enforcement authorities — at least one in each E.U. member state — are already investigating 30 cases of such alleged violations, including those lodged by the activist group NOYB (“none of your business”). The public will see the first results before the end of the year. Regulators will use the full range of their enforcement powers to address abuses, including issuing fines.

The GDPR is not perfect, but it passed into law with an extraordinary consensus across the political spectrum, belying the increasingly fractious politics of our times. As of June, there were 126 countries around the world with modern data protection laws broadly modeled on the European approach. This month, Brazil is next. And it will the biggest country to date to adopt such laws. It is likely to be followed by Pakistan and India, both of which recently published draft laws.

But if the latest effort is a reliable precedent, data protection reform comes around every two decades or so — several lifetimes in terms of the pace of technological change. We still need to finish the job with the ePrivacy Regulation still under negotiation, which would stop companies snooping on private communications and require — again — genuine consent to use metadata about who you talk to as well as when and where.

I am nevertheless already thinking about the post-GDPR future: a manifesto for the effective de-bureaucratizing and safeguarding of peoples’ digital selves. It would include a consensus among developers, companies and governments on the ethics of the underlying decisions in the application of digital technology. Devices and programming would be geared by default to safeguard people’s privacy and freedom. Today’s overcentralized Internet would be de-concentrated, as advocated by Tim Berners-Lee, who first invented the Internet, with a fairer allocation of the digital dividend and with the control of information handed back to individuals from big tech and the state.

This is a long-term project. But nothing could be more urgent as the digital world develops ever more rapidly.

Government’s entire IT system goes down

By Gaye Davis for EWN 

It has emerged that not only Home Affairs but IT systems across government were affected by Friday’s power outage.

The head of the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) has told Parliament that the power outage that caused Home Affairs’ systems to shutdown triggered a “catastrophic event” that affected all of government.

Sita CEO Dr Setumo Mohapi and the Department of Home Affairs have been called to Parliament to explain what went wrong.

Mohapi has painted a worrying picture of system and communication failures.

Sita’s generator kicked in when power from Tshwane municipality failed at 2am but its fuel pump burned out for reasons that are as yet unclear.

An overloaded UPS battery system then went into distress and systems had to be shut down at Home Affairs as well as government’s entire IT plant.

Mohapi on Tuesday explained: “It was a catastrophic event that affected not just Home Affairs but the entire IT system of government.”

Mohapi’s apologised for what happened, including a second power outage that took place on Monday, when Home Affairs systems were again down for around 90 minutes.

Mohapi says he wasn’t informed until hours after the power outage. Home Affairs’ acting Director-General Thulani Mavuso says they also had no early warning, leading to their systems crashing rather than being properly shut down.

By Veronica An for The Hub

Despite being known as the digital generation, tech-obsessed millennials are spending more money on handmade cards and letterpress stationery.

“Everyone says that paper is dying but our experience is that paper is not dying,” said Rosanna Kvernmo, who runs Iron Curtain Press and the adjacent stationery store, Shorthand, in Highland Park.

According to a report by Paper Culture, the average number of holiday cards purchased by customers has actually increased by 38 percent over the last five years.

“I don’t think this is just a flash in the pan,” Kvernmo said. “I think stationery is here to stay.”

Stationery makers and letter pressers agree that millennials are some of their biggest consumers.

“I interface with people a lot and, yes, I can say that people are sending cards again,” said Elisa Goodman, 62, owner of Curmudgeon Cards. Goodman has an online store and travels to various art fairs and open air markets in Los Angeles to sell her cards.

Goodman has been making her unique brand of handmade cards for 18 years and says her message is one that resonates with millennials as well as Baby Boomers. Goodman started making cards while dealing with a difficult time in her life and said that encouragement cards were among the first she created.

“I’m happy millennials are resonating with my brand so much. They really are appreciative of the quality and not price-resistant to the cost of handmade cards,” Goodman said.

Curmudgeon Cards retail for $10-$12 – about double the cost of digitally printed cards. Goodman sells many of her cards at craft fairs and farmers markets across L.A.

Cost still a factor
Still, other stationery-makers cite price as a sticking point with customers. Letter pressers say that the cost of paper and ink have gone up, not to mention the difficulty of working with machines that are out of production.

Adam Smith, 38, the owner of Life is Funny letterpress, got his start at Sugar Paper letterpress in 2006 and purchased his own press, a 1953 Heidelberg Windmill, in 2013. He said his cards retail at comparable prices to digitally printed cards which make them more affordable than most.

“One of my biggest clients is Alfred Coffee so the people who are buying these cards are who you’d expect …millennials with money,” Smith said.

According to customers, Smith’s sarcastic cards appeal to millennials. One card under the “Love” category tagged as #FirstDateWarnings says “I Use A Lot Of Emojis…I Hope You’re Okay With That.”

In addition to letter presses that have opened recently, older L.A.-based companies are also seeing an increase in business. Aardvark Letterpress, a family-owned letterpress in MacArthur Park, celebrated its 50th year in 2018 and owners say that not much has changed in terms of production.

“People are rediscovering [letterpress] and coming back to us…but the economic factors are still an issue,” said Cary Ocon, co-owner of Aardvark Letterpress.

Ocon said the company saw a drop in sales during and after the 2008 recession but that they are currently doing well. Although sales have not quite surpassed pre-recession numbers, Ocon said Aardvark still does solid business with many celebrities, entertainment companies, and governmental organizations, including the mayor’s office.

“I think there’s this reaction to the temporary nature of stuff – most things aren’t even printed anymore, they’re just read and shared digitally,” Ocon said. “I think people realize that this is a whole different product…so much more work goes into it than digital printing.”

Unique feel
Customers at Aardvark agree, saying that they are willing to pay extra for the uniqueness of letterpress.

“The presentation is everything,” said Darius Washington, founder of the D Hollywood Agency.

Washington was shopping for letterpress and foil printed business cards for his clients and said he had heard about Aardvark Letterpress through Instagram.

“Letterpress has that special feel to it. It’s like old cars, there’s something special about the handcrafted effort,” Washington said.

The handcrafted nature makes letterpress and handmade cards ideal for customization.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine and a report by Forbes, customization is a major selling point for millennials.

Specialization works for Goodman, who said she accepts many commissions for Curmudgeon Cards and Aardvark Letterpress has an in-house designer who can make custom designers for clients.

“People want to connect,” Kvernmo said. “There’s something about connecting with paper that’s more special than connecting through text.”

Moya Messenger is a new mobile messaging app that allows users to communicate without incurring data costs.

The app, developed in South Africa by biNu and released in July, provides #datafree text messaging that works when a mobile user has no airtime or data balance on their smartphone device.

The Moya app provides a similar messaging experience to market leader WhatsApp, but with the distinguishing feature that text messaging is #datafree across all four major mobile networks.

“We are profoundly motivated by the positive social impact of enabling ubiquitous #datafree mobile messaging, developed in Africa, for Africans,” says Gour Lentell, CEO of biNu. “We do it by utilising telco reverse billing, which allows us to pay mobile messaging data costs.”

biNu has reverse billing agreements with MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom, and has built a technology platform that enables partners and customers to make their apps and websites #datafree for end-users.

Lentell adds, “Despite a multi-million dollar marketing budget, WeChat struggled to gain a foothold in the South African market largely because the incumbent network effect of WhatsApp proved too competitive to overcome.”

“But we definitely see a place for a challenger like Moya, where the data cost barrier of mobile messaging is removed completely for South African consumers, particularly in an era of #DataMustFall and an increased amount of pressure on consumer incomes,” Lentell says.

Moya functionality

Moya Messenger was built using open-source messaging technology and was adapted to be #datafree.

The app offers unlimited texting, group chat, security with automatic encryption of messages, and automatic contact discovery that allows users to connect with others also using the Moya app.

However, while message attachments like photos, videos, voice notes, documents and the like are fully supported, sending media attachments is not #datafree. Moya users will be pre-emptively warned when they will incur mobile data costs or need to switch to Wi-Fi to send media files.

According to Moya, the commercial model around the platform is to provide rich, programmatic access to businesses and enterprises of all kinds so users can engage at scale with their audiences through messaging, without a cost implication for their users, members and customers.

“We see opportunities for organisations to benefit from a #datafree platform. For example, financial institutions can deliver on customer support and document exchange; trade unions and political parties can communicate with their members; government agencies can disseminate information and implement service delivery; NGOs can reach target communities; and the FMCG sector can reach their audiences,” Lentell says.

The key feature that sets Moya apart is that sending and receiving messages from businesses or other enterprises remains #datafree for the end-user.

“It’s counter-productive for organisations to try and engage their customers and mobile audiences on other messaging platforms when they have no airtime available,” adds Lentell.

A core standard that will be applied rigorously to Moya is that all business communication will be on a consumer opt-in basis only.

Moya Messenger can be downloaded via the www.datafree.co.za website or the Google Play Store.

By Carin Smith for Fin24 

Research by Momentum and Unisa shows that 73.5% of SA households were “financially unwell” in 2017.

The research found that, while some households did very well during 2017, others just muddled through, while a large portion struggled immensely.

According to the study, one of the more concerning findings was that the proportion of financially well households was virtually unchanged between 2016 and 2017.

Even more concerning was that the proportion of financially well households was virtually unchanged since 2011.

However, there was a bright spot: The research found that while a large proportion of households was still financially unwell, it also found that these households were not as financially unwell as they had been previously.

Decline in net wealth

The study looked at various factors influencing the financial well-being of South Africans.

One was a decline in the net wealth to disposable income ratio of households, caused by a decrease in assets to disposable income ratio.

The decline was mainly due to negative growth in house prices and real investments in residential property increasing by less than 1% compared to 2016.

In addition, the real value of financial assets was lower during the first half of 2017 compared to the same time a year earlier.

Skills gap

The research further showed many households just don’t have the means and skills needed to take control of their finances.

While more people completed secondary and tertiary qualifications, social capital levels remained low due to feelings of disempowerment, low levels of subjective well-being, financial vulnerability and low consumer confidence in the economy.

There are indications that, although the SA educational system delivers a growing number of matriculants and graduates, the students predominantly acquire academic knowledge and not high-level cognitive, social and communication skills.

It furthermore looks like an improvement in education did not translate into a proportional increase in income, the study suggested.

This can, to a large extent, be explained by low labour demand growth due to a skills mismatch in the SA economy.

Control

Factors over which households have little control include macroeconomic factors such as low economic growth, high levels of unemployment, political and policy instability, and low levels of business confidence.

The factors over which households do have control include the educational levels of household members, their financial literacy and capability levels, their work statuses, the degree to which they conduct debt and financial risk management and financial planning, the amount of money they earn, and the level to which they save and accumulate their net wealth.

The results of the study have shown that, although households do have control of these factors, they generally don’t budget, conduct very little debt- and financial planning, and generally have very low financial literacy and capability levels.

Intervention

The research findings suggest that a comprehensive intervention is needed for financially unwell households to become financially well.

Such a comprehensive intervention should be more multi-faceted than merely providing social grants, social housing, free services and financial products, according to the report.

Putting households on a path of financial wellness growth will require high-quality education, an enhancement of their financial literacy and financial capabilities, and improving their understanding of financial planning and other financial services.

Source: The Citizen

The Democratic Alliance says the department of energy’s no-show at a parliamentary meeting on fuel hikes is ‘disrespectful’ to people struggling with the high cost of living.

Davis was reacting to Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and his department’s failure to pitch for a meeting with MPs about fuel hikes.

“Minister Radebe and the energy department’s failure to turn up at an energy portfolio committee meeting on the petrol price is the clearest indication yet that government has no plan to deal with escalating fuel costs.

“This no-show by a government delegation was disrespectful to parliament and, more importantly, disrespectful to the millions of South Africans who are struggling with the high cost of living,” he said.

Davis said Radebe was supposed to communicate on the petrol price in the second week of July, but he had said nothing.

“This was his opportunity to offer South Africans hope that government had a plan to cushion the blow of high fuel costs. The minister has an opportunity to prove us wrong by appearing before the committee next Tuesday and presenting a credible plan to bring down the price of petrol,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, chairperson of the portfolio committee on energy Fikile Majola also slammed Radebe’s department for what he described as a “boycott” of the meeting.

Majola said the minister would be summoned to parliament next week to explain the department’s failure to attend the meeting.

Petrol price has increased from R13.76 in March to R16.02 in July.

By Iavan Pijoos for News24

On Friday last week, lobby group AfriForum posted on its website that it had “obtained a list of farms identified” for expropriation. This can seen here.

It claimed it was being circulated within the rural development department.

AfriForum encouraged farmers to check if their farms were on the list and to contact the organisation so that they could “prepare for a joint legal strategy”.

Analysts at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) believe that a list said to contain the names of farms that are to be targeted for land expropriation without compensation is “legitimate”.

“While we note the statement by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform that ‘there is no truth to this document, the IRR, whose analysts have had sight of the list, has every reason to believe it is legitimate,” campaign manager Terence Corrigan said on Tuesday.

Corrigan said government had decided to start farm seizures before public comment and parliamentary processes were concluded.

“This is at odds – as the IRR has long warned – with assurances made by ruling party and government leaders that only unproductive land will be seized.

“The IRR has long cautioned that undermining property rights will have catastrophic economic and social ramifications,” Corrigan said.

List disputed by government
The department has disputed that a such a list exists.

Earlier this month, City Press reported that the ANC had identified 139 farms to be expropriated without compensation in the coming weeks, to test section 25 of the Constitution.

The list, shared by AfriForum, contained the names of 195 farms.

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said the list came from a “confidential source”.

Farmers ‘worried’ about exposure

Agri SA president Dan Kriek said AfriForum’s publishing of this list was “grossly irresponsible” as it had itself acknowledged that its legitimacy was in doubt.

“They themselves don’t know if it’s valid or not,” Kriek said.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, Kriek said that two farmers whose farms were on the list had contacted him.

“By the way, some of those farmers were extremely agitated that they have now been exposed,” Kriek said.

He said the farmers were “extremely worried about the name of their farm [appearing] on a list”.

Online advertising, from A to V

A glossary of the most common online advertising terms.

Analytics – in digital advertising, analytics is the information resulting from systematic analysis of data gathered from advertising or marketing activity such as e-mails, newsletters, blog reads, Facebook and Twitter posts, and Google AdWords spend.

Banner ads – also known as “display ads”, these advertising units are images that advertisers place on known publishers’ Web sites in order to attract or re-attract their target audience.

Blogging – from the term “web log”, in which a user actively updates a visible section of a Web site in order to inform or attract users and customers on a regular basis.

Brand – a business’ brand is the sum total of all its users’ and customers’ opinions of that business; a business can choose to intentionally shape its brand, or allow market forces to shape its brand.

Channels – this is a delivery mechanism for marketing activities. A business’ message is delivered via one or more marketing channel such as e-mail, social media, blogging, advertisements, etc.

Click-through rate (CTR) – this identifies the percentage of people who click on a link to land on the marketer’s Web property. The term is used in relation to e-mails, ads or Web site views.

Consistency – the importance of continuing with a course of action, such as blogging, in a regular frequency in order to repeatedly expose the intended audience to the marketer’s message.

Content calendar – a tool that provides for time-based structure and discipline for the digital marketer in planning, assigning, creating and delivering content to the marketer’s target audience.

Conversion rate – the percentage of unique visitors to a Web site that are “converted” into customers, users or leads. Conversion takes the form of a purchase, membership sign-up, a download or a registration for newsletter.

Cost per acquisition (CPA) – a pricing model where companies are charged by advertising platforms only when leads, sales or conversions are generated.

Cost per click (CPC) – a pricing model where companies are charged by publishers for every click people make on a displayed/test ad, which leads people to the company’s Web site.

Cost per thousand (CPM) – this is a pricing model where advertising impressions are purchased and companies are charged according to the number of times their ad appears per 1 000 impressions. This model makes the most sense when trying to increase brand awareness.

Delivery – this is the receipt of a message from the marketer to a group or individual in the target audience.

Distribution – the means by which a product or service is delivered to its end-user or customer

Engagement – in digital marketing, the term for user interaction with a particular piece of shared content: likes, shares or comments on Facebook; retweets, replies and favourites on Twitter; and link clicks on all forms of social media.

Facebook Ads – an advertising platform offered by Facebook. It enables paying customers to use hyper-targeting to reach a very specific audience via advertisements placed in the users’ timelines.

Frequency – in digital marketing, how often a task is performed; for example, the frequency of a blog post or Twitter update.

Google AdWords – an advertising platform offered by Google. It enables paying customers to use hyper-targeting to reach a very specific audience via advertisements placed at the top and right sides of the search results page.

Impressions – the number of times a company’s ad will appear to its target audience, or the number of times a Web page appears in total. For example, one visitor could view five pages which would create five impressions. Two visitors could view five pages which would generate 10 impressions.

Keyword – this is word or phrase that your audience uses to search for relevant topics on search engines.

Keyword stuffing – this is the practice of using too many keywords in content in hopes of making it more visible on search engines. Search engines now penalise this behaviour.

Landing page – the page on a company’s Web site that is optimised to act as the entry page. When redirected from external links, this is the page to which the visitors will be led.

Meta description – the meta description is a few lines of text for each Web site that appear on the search engine results page.

Organic impressions – Usually relating to Facebook or Twitter advertising, this is the number of times your content was displayed in a user’s News Feed, ticker or on your page.

Organic traffic – this is non-paid-for traffic that is generated by a search engine which leads users to a company’s Web site.

Page views – the number of times a Web page or set of Web pages are viewed during a given time period.

Pages per visit – the average number of pages viewed by a single visitor during a given time period.

Paid content – content pushed out by the marketer via any paid means such as Facebook ads, Google AdWords, Twitter Ads or banner (display) ads on Web sites and newsletters.

Paid traffic – this encompasses any form of paid advertisement that directly points to your Web site and results in users visiting it.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) – a technology that allows users to become subscribers of content and ultimately get automatic alerts if updates are made.

SEO (search engine optimisation) – the practice of optimising a Web site to be quickly, easily and properly indexed by a search engine, such as Google, allowing it to rank higher on a search engine’s results page. Higher rankings typically generate more traffic.

Social networking –  the practice of using Web- (or mobile-) based platforms to build online communities where people share common interests or activities. Popular ones include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Subscriber – a user who allows a company to send them messages via e-mail or other personal communication means.

Time on site – the average amount of time that a Web site visitor remains active on a particular Web site.

Total paid impressions – usually relating to Facebook or Twitter advertising, this is the number of times your paid content was displayed.

Total reach – the total exposure (measured in Web users or “eyeballs”) of an advertisement or piece of content.

Total unique user engagement – usually relating to Facebook or Twitter advertising, this is the number of unique users who clicked on, liked, shared and/or commented on your post.

Total viral impressions – the number of times content associated with your page was displayed in a story published by a person who liked your page.

Twitter Ads – the program operated by Twitter that enables paying customers to use hyper-targeting via Twitter users’ profile data to reach a certain specific audience via advertisements placed in the users’ timeline.

Viral marketing – this is a way of marketing where the audience is encouraged by companies to pass on their content to others for more exposure, through an easy share functionality.

The meaning of ‘unfair’

By Ivan Israelstam, chief executive of Labour Law Management Consulting 

The Labour Relations Act (LRA), born from the Constitution, provides that “every employee has the right not to be-
(a) unfairly dismissed; and
(b) subjected to unfair labour practice.”

Section 187 of the LRA provides that a dismissal is automatically unfair if it has an unfair reason. The section then lists the reasons for dismissal that would be unfair. For example, if the employee was fired because he/she had exercised his right to take action against the employer in terms of the LRA, this retaliatory dismissal would be automatically unfair. Again, we have an example of the employer’s interference with an employee’s right being defined as “unfair”.

‘Unfair’ is one of the most frequently used terms in labour law. The CCMA receives tens of thousands of referrals each year from employees claiming unfair treatment at the hands of their employers. It is therefore most surprising that this term is not defined in any of the statutes. The result of this is that the decision as to what is “unfair” has to be made by trade unions, employees, employers, judges, arbitrators, and legal practitioners in each individual case where unfairness is being alleged.

While the legal meaning of the term ‘unfair’ is extremely illusive every employer needs to have a proper grasp of the legal meaning of “unfair” in order to avoid the legal repercussions of doing anything unfair to its employees.

Section 188 of the LRA deems a dismissal to be unfair, even if it is not automatically unfair, if the employer fails to prove-
(a) that the reason for the dismissal is a fair reason; and
(b) that the dismissal was effected in accordance with a fair procedure.

This section explains neither what is meant by “a fair reason” nor what a “fair procedure” is. However, common law has established guidelines in these regards and these guidelines have been codified in Schedule 8 of the LRA. For example, item 7(b) includes a requirement that any person deciding whether a misconduct dismissal was fair must, amongst other things determine whether the dismissal was an appropriate sanction for the contravention of the rule that was contravened by the employee.

The word “appropriate” here again gives us a clue to what is “unfair”. That is, if the employer’s decision or action is inappropriate it could be unfair in labour law. The word “appropriate” in a labour law context implies that the employer’s action must be appropriate in the context of the specific situation in which the action was taken. Another way of putting this is that “the punishment must fit the crime”. If the employee is fired for a minor infringement or where circumstances reduce his/her liability a dismissal would usually be inappropriate and therefore unfair.

In summary, the act of an employer would be seen to be unfair if it is one-sided, unnecessary and/or inappropriate under the circumstances or infringes the employee’s rights. As employees have a vast number of very strong labour law rights employers need to ensure they understand these rights. They need to avoid taking any action affecting employees before checking with their labour law expert that it would be safe to take such action and how to go about it.

Source: MyBroadband

MWEB and Absa clients have been targeted in a new e-mail phishing attack, where they are asked to open an attachment aimed at stealing their private information.

The email asks users to open an HTML attachment, which in turn opens a form in a browser which steals the victim’s personal details.

In the past, executable keyloggers were attached to emails to steal account information from victims.

However, most security services now block users from opening an attached executable file, as most of these files are malicious.

Scammers are now using HTML pages as attachments, where users are asked to provide their personal details in what appears to be a legitimate website.

In these scams, users are encouraged to open the attached email file, which opens in a browser and requests their username and password for a service.

This information is then sent to the criminal’s email address using a basic PHP script.

MWEB and Absa scam email
This is the method used in the latest email scam which is targeting MWEB and Absa clients.

The email, which claims to come from MWEB – but is sent from “info@mailsynk.co.za” – tells users that their “invoices and/or receipts and statement that you requested attached to this email”.

The attachment is the phishing page, which in this case uses the domain “jehovalchristofficeinternatona.co.za” to host the scripts.

Without looking at the HTML code, there are many warning signs that this is a scam email:

  • The email does not come from MWEB or Absa. It should be noted that an email which comes from an @mweb.co.za or @absa.co.za does not automatically mean it is authentic.
  • The email is poorly structured and contains poor grammar.
  • There is no personalisation in the email, with a user’s name or account details.
  • It mentions a PDF file, but the attachment is a .htm file.
  • Users are asked to provide their personal details to view a file – a clear sign it is a phishing attack.

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