Tag: Google

Google tops SA’s best places to work

Branding firm, Universum, has released its Most Attractive Employer rankings for 2018. In it, it lists the companies that South African professionals are most keen to work for, based on aspects such as salary expectations, concerns relating to employment, goals (both short and long term), expectations around training and development and the importance of corporate culture.

The survey for this ranking was carried out between September 2017 and April 2018, and involved 21 686 professionals in a range of environments covering 35 industries and 88 professions.

These included 9 031 professionals in business/commerce, 3 197 in engineering/technology, 4 2855 in humanities, 2 289 in natural sciences, 1 627 in health care/health sciences and 1 248 in law.

Of these categories, Google ranked top in the business/commerce and engineering sections.
The company ranked second in the humanities division, fourth in law and eighth in natural sciences.

Universum’s Winani Ndlovu was quoted in a Business Tech article as saying, “Despite the high unemployment levels talent is facing, they are reporting that being aware of an employer and their staffing needs is not enough to drive the desire to work for that employer.

“Employers need to clearly articulate their value proposition to assist them in making an informed decision before joining the organisation. Clearly having a strong employer brand is imperative for the attraction and retention of talent.”

‘Big Four’ tech stocks slump

By Jasper Jolly for City A.M 

The US’s biggest technology stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, collectively known as the Fangs – have fallen steeply as concerns over a trade war weighed on world indices.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell by more than two per cent to its lowest close since the end of May.

Facebook and Amazon both lost over 2.5 per cent, while Netflix plummeted by more than six per cent. Apple and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, also fell heavily.

Equity indices around the world had earlier slumped, with France’s Cac 40 losing almost two per cent while Germany’s Dax gave up 2.46 per cent as investors feared further damaging trade moves.

American tech stocks have generally been immune to fears over protectionist trade tariffs, with no mention by either the US, China, or the EU of levies or other barriers to be imposed on them.

However, Russ Mould, investment director at trading platform AJ Bell, said the recent success of the Fang stocks – an acronym of the tech giants – in spite of market ructions may have made shares more vulnerable to bigger moves if sentiment shifts.

The Fangs may be “targets for some profit taking” if investors plump for cash amid fears of a broader market setback, he said.

The tech stocks are approaching similar levels of growth hit by the Nasdaq during the dotcom bubble at the turn of the century, which ended in a deep crash of more than 78 per cent, Mould said.

Over the course of 2018 a “Fangs+” index, which includes other large US-listed tech firms, has outpaced the gains of the bubble-era Nasdaq.

Yet the Fangs still face regulatory issues which could severely impact their business models, following the scandal over data misuse by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, competition concerns, and ongoing tax issues.

“The danger for bulls is that these valuations leave little margin for error should something – anything – go wrong,” Mould added.

Is your Gmail account spamming you?

By Annie Palmer for Daily Mail

A new spam attack is tricking a wave of Gmail users into thinking their account has been hacked.

Numerous users have reported that their inboxes were flooded with spam emails titled things like ‘growth supplements’.

However, in a bizarre twist, the ads appeared to have been sent from their own accounts.

Reports of the spam campaign began to trickle out on Saturday and Google has since confirmed the issue.

Users posted in Gmail’s help forum that they’d been hit by the spam attack despite having two-factor authentication and worried that their accounts were hacked.

“My email account has sent out 3 spam emails in the past hour to a list of about 10 addresses that I don’t recognize,” one user posted on Google’s help forum.

“I changed my password immediately after the first one, but then it happened two more times. The subject of the emails is weight loss and growth supplements for men advertisements. I have reported them as spam. Please help, what else can I do to ensure my account isn’t compromised?”

As it turns out, spammers figured out a way to bypass Gmail’s spam filters by using forged headers that make it look like Gmail users’ own e-mail addresses.

Because the messages seemed to be sent by the account owner, Gmail mistakenly filed them to the users’ sent folder.

The forged e-mail headers also appeared to have been sent “via telus.com”.

However, Canadian telecom firm Telus denied that the emails had come from its servers.

Google said users don’t need to worry that their accounts were compromised by the incident.

“We are aware of a spam campaign impacting a small subset of Gmail users and have taken measures to protect against it,” the firm told Mashable.

“This attempt involved forged email headers that made it appear as if users were receiving emails from themselves, which also led those messages to erroneously appear in the Sent folder.

“We have identified and are reclassifying all offending emails as spam, and have no reason to believe any accounts were compromised as part of this incident. If you happen to notice a suspicious email, we encourage you to report it as a scam,” the firm added.

How to check your account

A new spam attack is tricking a wave of Gmail users into thinking their account has been hacked.

Numerous users have reported that their inboxes were flooded with spam emails titled things like “growth supplements”.

However, in a bizarre twist, the ads appeared to have been sent from their own accounts.

The easiest way to check if you’ve been hit by the scam is to check your “sent” folder.

From there, check if any emails are listed as being sent by “via telus.com”.

If you find any, be sure to mark them as ‘spam’ so that they appear in the designated folder.

You can also report an email as a phishing scam by clicking on the dropdown menu, marked by an arrow, in the righthand corner.

Clicking this will give you the option to report an email as a phishing attempt.

Google said that the latest spamming attack hasn’t compromised any user accounts, so there’s no reason to believe your Gmail has been hacked.

Google employee Seth Vargo also addressed the spam attack in a tweet, saying that the firm’s “engineering teams are aware of this and are working on a resolution”.

The firm has developed sophisticated artificial intelligence that is capable of spotting fraudulent emails.

But it seems that this latest attack appears to be more alarming, as it was able to trick Gmail’s own spam filters, making it look like spammers hacked your account.

However, as Google pointed out, the spam attack isn’t a security issue because it doesn’t compromise the integrity of users’ data.

By Nikki Schwab for DailyMail

President Trump is to have dinner with his biggest Silicon Valley backer, Peter Thiel, DailyMail.com has confirmed.

The dinner, a source close to Thiel said, will be a strategy session on how the president might be able to regulate Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google.

Trump has been fixated on Amazon as of late, blasting the online retailer again from the White House on Tuesday.

President Trump is expected to get advice from billionaire Peter Thiel on how to regulate the top tech companies that include Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.

“Amazon’s gonna have to pay much more money to the Post Office. There’s no doubt about that.”

Trump charged the U.S. Post Office is “losing billions of dollars” all because it delivers packages for Amazon at below cost “and that’s not fair”.

Behind-the-scenes, a source told Axios that Trump is “obsessed with Amazon”.

“He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law,” a source told the publication.

Axios pointed out that the president ‘would love to clip CEO Jeff Bezos’ wings,’ but he doesn’t have a plan to do so. With billionaire Thiel’s advice, that could change.

By Jillian D’Onfro for CNBC 

Google is cracking down on cryptocurrency-related advertising.  The move follows a similar ban by Facebook earlier this year. The company will no longer allow ads about cryptocurrency-related content, including initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets, and trading advice across any of its ad platforms.

The company is updating its financial services-related ad policies to ban any advertising about cryptocurrency-related content, including initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets, and trading advice, Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, told CNBC.

That means that even companies with legitimate cryptocurrency offerings won’t be allowed to serve ads through any of Google’s ad products, which place advertising on its own sites as well as third-party websites.

This update will go into effect in June 2018, according to a company post.

“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,” Scott said.

Google’s hard-line approach follows a similar ban that Facebook announced earlier this year.

While the crypto-currency boom has produced a lot of excitement and wealth, it’s still a largely unregulated space and has spawned countless high-profile scams.

This news comes as Google releases its annual “trust and safety” ads report.

Google said it took down more than 3.2 billion ads in 2017 that violated its policies, which is nearly double the 1.7 billion it removed the year before.

Google parent company Alphabet makes roughly 84 percent of its total revenue from advertising, so convincing advertisers that its ecosystem is safe and effective is critically important.

By Jillian D’Onfro for CNBC 

Google’s numerous safeguards designed to prevent malicious apps from reaching Android users led to the removal of over 700,000 apps from the Google Play Store in 2017, the company said today. That’s a 70% increase over the total removals in 2016.

“Not only did we remove more bad apps, we were able to identify and action against them earlier,” Google Play product manager Andrew Ahn wrote in a blog post.

“99 percent of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them.”

Google attributes this success to its improved ability to detect abuse “through new machine learning models and techniques.”

Copycat apps are still a significant problem

Copycat apps designed to resemble popular mainstays remain a popular method of trying to deceive users, according to Ahn. Google removed over a quarter of a million of these impersonating apps last year. The company also says it kept “tens of thousands” of apps with inappropriate content (pornography, extreme violence, hate, and illegal activities) out of the Play Store. Machine learning plays a key role here in helping human reviewers keep an eye out for bad apps and malicious developers.

“Potentially harmful applications” (PHAs) are apps that attempt to phish users’ personal information, act as a trojan horse for malware, or commit SMS fraud by firing off texts without a user’s knowledge. “While small in volume, PHAs pose a threat to Android users and we invest heavily in keeping them out of the Play Store,” Ahn said.

Google Play Protect scans installed apps to monitor for malicious activity. Google
Last year, Google put all of its malware scanning and detection technologies under the umbrella of Google Play Protect. The Android operating system automatically performs scans on installed applications to hunt for anything that’s out of place, and users can also manually trigger scans of their Android smartphones right in the updates section. (I’ve finally managed to stop hitting this button when checking for new versions of apps, but it took some time.)

Still, bad apps do occasionally slip through Google’s defenses. In August, Google discovered and kicked out 30 apps that were secretly using the devices they were installed on to perform DDoS attacks. Just earlier this month, the company removed 60 games from the Play Store — some of them meant for children — that were found to display pornographic ads. Google says it will continue to upgrade its methods and machine learning models against bad actors trying to trick consumers with apps that violate its policies. Those efforts indeed seem to be paying off in helping Android’s security turn a corner.

By Chris Welch for The Verge

What did South Africans google in 2017?

Google has revealed the results of its 2017 Year in Search, offering an overview of the year’s major moments and top trends.

“This year’s trending searches show growing interest in local celebrities and events, with seven of the top 10 trending search terms being local,” said Google.

The results are detailed below.

Top trending South African searches

Dumi Masilela
Zimbabwe
Cyclone Dineo
Joe Mafela
Karabo Mokoena
Joost van der Westhuizen
Black Friday
Mayweather vs McGregor fight
Fast & Furious 8
Hurricane Irma

Trending personalities

Dumi Masilela
Joe Mafela
Joost van der Westhuizen
Zodwa Wabantu
Mandla Hlatshwayo
Lundi Tyamara
Simphiwe Ngema
Grace Mugabe
Hugh Hefner
Chester Bennington

Top ‘near me’ searches

Pharmacy near me
Dentist near me
KFC near me
Jobs hiring near me
Hardware store near me
Gynaecologist near me
Printing shops near me
Steers near me
Sushi near me
Doctors near me

Top TV show searches

13 reasons why
Games of Thrones
Isibaya
Uzalo
Big Brother Naija
American Gods
Idols SA
Sex in the City
Big Little Lies
Riverdale

Top searched recipes

Oxtail recipes
Sweet potato recipes
Beef stew recipes
Vegan recipes
Creamed spinach recipes
Halal recipes
Prawn recipes
Spaghetti recipes
Cauliflower recipes
Bread recipes

Spat between Google and Amazon heats up

A tit for tat between the two tech giants just reached a new level, with Google announcing Wednesday it is restricting YouTube access on Amazon products, since Amazon doesn’t sell Google’s products.

Both companies sell rival television streaming devices and voice-activated speakers — and one of the big selling features of its Echo Show, which is equipped with a screen, was the ability to watch YouTube videos.

​“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services. But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products,” a statement from Google said. “Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

So, for now, Amazon’s Echo Show and its Fire TV can only access YouTube via its existing website, not through the app.

“Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website,” said Amazon said in a statement. “We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.”

Amazon users have been greeted with a message letting them know they won’t be able to access YouTube on their devices, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

By Alyssa Newcomb for NBC News

Your phone is tracking your every move

Your phone can reveal all of your physical activities to Google and the apps you use.

The sensors inside it can monitor, understand and disclose your real-world movements, based on what’s happening to the phone itself.

It can tell, for instance, if you’re standing up, or if you’ve just lifted your phone off a desk, or if you’ve started
walking.

An Android permission called “Activity Recognition”, which was discussed on Reddit and highlighted by DuckDuckGo last week, makes it much easier for developers to work out what you’re doing at any one time.

Shazam and SoundHound request the permission, but it isn’t completely clear why.

Though Activity Recognition isn’t new, the reaction to the Reddit and DuckDuckGo posts suggests a lot of users are unaware of it.

“The Activity Recognition API is built on top of the sensors available in a device,” says Google.

“Device sensors provide insights into what users are currently doing. However, with dozens of signals from multiple sensors and slight variations in how people do things, detecting what users are doing is not easy.

“The Activity Recognition API automatically detects activities by periodically reading short bursts of sensor data and processing them using machine learning models.”

Activity Recognition can tell developers when your phone is: in a vehicle, such as a car; on a bicycle; not moving; being tilted, due to its angle “relative to gravity” changing; on a user who’s walking or on a user who’s running.

It can even tell when you’re doing more than one thing at once, such as walking while being on a bus.

The API automatically gives its findings a likelihood rating out of 100. The higher the number, the more confident it is that you’re actually doing what it believes you’re doing.

This information is fed to the apps you’ve granted the Activity Recognition permission to.

“A common use case is that an application wants to monitor activities in the background and perform an action when a specific activity is detected,” says Google.

For instance, an app can automatically start monitoring your heartbeat when you start running, or switch to car mode when you start driving.

Though it can prove useful, it also sounds somewhat creepy.

The fact that Google categorises buries it in the “Other” category of permissions and doesn’t let you deny or disable it doesn’t help matters.

Google keeps a complete list of almost everything you’ve looked at, and what’s more, the company has made it difficult to find out which apps ask for the permission.

Right now, the only way to find out is by checking out each of your apps’ permissions one-by-one, by going to Settings, Apps, tapping an app, hitting the menu button and selecting All Permissions. It’s a slow and laborious process.

If you’re particularly concerned about Activity Recognition, it’s worth going through the effort and uninstalling any of you apps that request the permission, for peace of mind.

What can you do about Activity Recognition?

  • Read app permissions closely when you install a new app
  • Go into settings on your phone and read each existing app’s permissions
  • Delete apps that require Activity Recognition permissions

By Aatif Sulleyman for The Independent 
Image credit: Reuters

Google is warning users that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates purchased from Symantec, VeriSign, GeoTrust, Thawte, Equifax and RapidSSL are not secure – raising questions for businesses using them.

SSL certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details. When installed on a Web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a Web server to a browser.

Browser developers, including Google, have raised questions about the way Symantec issued SSL certificates, and have threatened to stop recognising them, a move that could hurt Symantec’s customers and worry visitors to the Web sites using the affected certificates.

Improper issuances
In March, Google accused Symantec of misusing at least 30 000 such certificates, potentially allowing attackers to masquerade as legitimate Web sites.

The Internet giant expects root certificate authorities like Symantec to validate domain ownership before issuing certificates and to secure their operations and infrastructure against signs of improper issuances as well as auditing logs to review issuance activity.

Google stated Symantec had not met these standards and had allowed outside access to their certificate infrastructure without proper oversight.

Symantec SSL certificates – estimated to make up one in every six SSL certificates currently deployed online – include certificates issued by VeriSign, GeoTrust, Thawte, Equifax and RapidSSL because Symantec bought their certificate authorities and they were subsequently added to the Symantec root.

The search-engine giant indicated last month that it has added a new feature under the “Developer Tools” menu item in the latest version of its Web browser, Google Chrome, alerting users that Symantec, VeriSign, GeoTrust, Thawte, Equifax and RapidSSL SSL certificates issued before 1 June 2016 will be considered distrusted from next March.

The core of the issue surrounding Symantec certificates – the business operates under brand names such as VeriSign, Thawte, Equifac, RapidSSL or GeoTrust – is that Symantec “entrusted several organisations with the ability to issue certificates without the appropriate or necessary oversight,” says Google.

The latest version of Google Chrome – the world’s most popular browser – called version 62 is scheduled to go live between 22 and 28 October. According to Net Market Share, Chrome dominates the browser market with a 59.61% market share.

The next big upgrade, called Chrome 66, is expected mid-April 2018 and visitors to Web sites using Symantec certificates issued before 1 June 2016 will receive warnings that the sites are “untrusted”.
Google has also indicated that Chrome 70 – estimated for roll-out in October 2018 – will distrust any certificate issued by Symantec’s old infrastructure, including those sold after 1 June 2016.

DigiCert deal
Following the impasse, Symantec has since entered an agreement with identity and encryption solutions provider DigiCert, which will acquire Symantec’s Web site security and related public key infrastructure solutions.
Under the terms of the agreement, Symantec will receive approximately $950 million in upfront cash proceeds and approximately a 30% stake in the common stock equity of the DigiCert business at the closing of the transaction.
However, Lauren Collier, SSL sales manager at cyber security firm LAWtrust, says while DigiCert – which is buying Symantec’s certificate authority business – is promising to issue replacement certificates from December this year, businesses should think carefully about how to proceed.

“One of the important parts of the SSL ecosystem is trust. If a certificate authority neglects to properly verify the legal existence and identity of an entity before issuing SSL certificates for domains, as Symantec has been accused of doing, this breaks the chain of trust,” she says.

Serious concern
For Jon Tullett, IDC’s research manager for IT services for Africa, SSL certificates are absolutely fundamental to modern Internet security. “They’re far from perfect – as this incident shows – but they are used to secure a tremendous amount of online activity.”

He explains that when a browser like Chrome removes a certificate, users will get a warning before they visit a site which uses that certificate to validate its identity.

“Google’s Chrome team has indicated serious concerns with a large number of the certificates in question, prompting this action, so it’s likely quite a number of sites and services may be affected – many thousands, potentially,” says Tullett.

Meanwhile, Manuel Corregedor, COO of information security company Telspace Systems, says digital certificates allow for the communication between the user’s machine and the Web site (server) to be encrypted.
“This makes it difficult for an attacker to intercept communications between the user’s computer and/or to masquerade as the authentic Web site.”

He notes organisations will have to replace their certificates or face potential reputational or financial harm.
“However, this is easier said than done especially for organisations that make use of certificates on devices or terminals that are hard to get to. In such cases, organisations will find it very difficult to update the certificates before the imposed deadline by Google,” says Corregedor.

By Admire Moyo for ITWeb

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