Source: MyBroadband

The person behind the recent Absa data breach was a credit analyst at the bank who had access to risk modelling systems and sensitive client information.

The employee, who Absa said they trusted, leaked the client data to an external platform and then sold it to third parties.

This is feedback from Absa chief security officer Sandro Bucchianeri, who was speaking to ENCA about the data breach.

Bucchianeri first learned about the data breach on 27 October, after which they informed the Information Regulator about it.

Around a month after first being alerted to the data breach, Absa sent an email to affected clients warning them that their personal information had been shared with third parties.

He said the communication with customers was delayed to ensure they did not compromise the investigation, which was going through a court process at the time.

To date, Absa has not provided much detail about the number of clients affected and the person behind the leak, but Bucchianeri has now shed more light on the issue.

He said the Absa credit analyst sold private information about their retail banking clients to third parties.

While Bucchianeri could not divulge who these third parties were, he said they were from a “marketing type perspective who were looking for that type of information”.

“They may use the information to sell services or try to commit fraud on these accounts,” he said.

This employee has subsequently been suspended pending further information. Absa has also brought criminal charges against the employee, and these are playing out in the courts now.

Bucchianeri said the information which was leaked included bank account numbers, names and surnames, ID numbers, and contact details.

He added that the details of around 200,000 of their retail banking customers have been compromised.

Absa has now destroyed the leaked data and the external party devices have gone through an independent forensic review.

“We are in the process now to obtain the files for our own investigation,” said Bucchianeri.

He said Absa may also bring charges against the third parties who had access to the leaked data.

Following the data breach, Absa has implemented heightened monitoring on all the clients’ accounts who were leaked.

 

 

Small businesses get 46% Black Friday boost

Source: Gadget.co.za

In proprietary data released by South African payments provider, Yoco, small businesses experienced a 46% increase in card transaction volume on Black Friday, compared to the average volume processed on a Friday after payday.

In the build-up to Black Friday this year, a number of small business owners voiced sentiments that this day remains effective primarily for big retailers. But the question of how relevant seasonal and promotional periods like Black Friday are for small businesses found its answer in the numbers Yoco recorded across the month of November.

“In addition to the increase seen in overall volume on Black Friday, small businesses experienced significant surges of more than 40% in turnover across Saturday and Sunday on Black Friday weekend when compared to a standard end-of-month weekend,” says Katlego Maphai, co-founder and CEO of Yoco.

This suggests that when compared to the average volumes that small businesses would expect to see over a weekend, Black Friday weekend is a prolific opportunity to grow, especially for those in the retail industry. In fact, in-store transactions for retail businesses saw an unexpected 35% year-on-year (YOY) growth compared to 2019, against a total growth of 15% for all Yoco merchants who traded across both years.

This comes in stark contrast to data released by BankservAfrica which showed a 30% decline in card transactions compared to 2019.

This finding seems to suggest a shift in shopper behaviour as consumers elect to shop at small, independent businesses – both as a show of support as well as an attempt to avoid large crowds or minimise shopping time in malls.

Business owners also made efforts to promote responsible in-store shopping to reduce the potential for super spreader events. In order to “flatten the curve of Black Friday traffic”, brick-and-mortar store owners made the decision to spread promotions and specials across a number of days or weeks which resulted in higher than average daily turnover figures across the entire week preceding Black Friday.

“It has brought a sense of relief that some sectors have fully recovered from the national lockdown but we also caution against total complacency as sectors like Food and Drink, and Leisure and Entertainment remain fragile going into the festive season,” says Maphai.

Not all industries and locales experienced the same positive Black Friday as others. Where previously, the day might have included store hopping followed by sit-down lunches or takeaways, Black Friday 2020 appears to have been a more laser-focused event. Ancillary sectors like Food and Drink did not share in the success experienced by retail businesses as they remained largely flat when compared to 2019 numbers.

From a geographic standpoint, the Western Cape had the slowest Black Friday, as it continues to be impacted by a lack of tourism, both local and international.

Dell, HP report sales boost on pandemic PC surge

By Nico Grant for IOL

Dell Technologies and HP reported quarterly revenue that topped Wall Street estimates, lifted by customer upgrades of personal computers for remote work and school during the pandemic.

Dell’s sales climbed 2.8% to $23.5 billion in the period that ended Oct. 30, the Round Rock, Texas-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Rival HP reported it shipped a record 19 million PCs in its recent quarter, as well as more home printers than it has sold in years. HP also gave a profit forecast for the current period that beat analysts’ projections and said it would raise its quarterly dividend 10%.

Michael Dell and HP Chief Executive Officer Enrique Lores are trying to revamp their PC makers into more profitable businesses. Both companies have taken steps to cut operating expenses during the pandemic, and they produced better-than-projected profits in the October quarter. Billionaire Dell is trying to spur more predictable, recurring revenue by letting corporate clients pay for products over time rather than upfront. Lores, meanwhile, is overseeing a corporate restructuring that will result in lower expenses and a smaller workforce.

“We are very optimistic about where the company is going to be going during the next quarters and years,” Lores said in an interview.

HP shares gained about 5% in New York trading, helped by the company’s announcement that it would boost the quarterly dividend to 19.38 cents a share. Dell shares fell roughly 2%. The stock is up more than 30% so far this year.

HP’s revenue fell about 1% to $15.3 billion in the period that ended Oct. 31, the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a statement. Analysts, on average, expected $14.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, was 62 cents a share in the fourth fiscal quarter, while analysts projected 52 cents.

Adjusted profit in the current quarter will be 64 cents to 70 cents a share, HP said. Analysts, on average, estimated 54 cents.

Dell’s sales from consumer PCs jumped 14% to $3.5 billion in the fiscal third quarter, the company said. PC sales to business and government clients increased 5.4% to $8.78 billion. Server and networking sales fell 1.8% to $4.16 billion, the seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines for the unit. Executives said they expect continued “soft” data-center spending in the current period. Storage hardware revenue declined 7% to $3.86 billion.

“I’m generally pleased with how the business performed,” Dell Chief Financial Officer Tom Sweet said in an interview. “We’ve got to continue to work our way through the uncertain environment. Given our broad, diversified portfolio, we have an ability to drive a consistent stable cash flow, consistent results.”

Dell said that it expected revenue in the current period to increase 3% to 4% compared with the third quarter’s.

Sales of HP’s Personal Systems, mostly computers, was little changed from a year earlier at $10.4 billion. Revenue from consumers jumped 24% while business sales decreased 12%. Printing revenue declined 3% to $4.8 billion. The company reported a 21% rise in consumer hardware sales and a 22% drop in hardware revenue from businesses.

While corporate customers aren’t buying printers with their offices closed or at reduced capacity, Lores said demand from consumers working at home was so strong that HP shipped 12 million printers in the quarter — the highest number since the corporate split from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. in 2015.

Online sales boom expected on Black Friday

By Estelle Sinkins for The Witness

Online retailers are expecting a boom on Black Friday after health experts appealed to shoppers to avoid crowds at shopping centres.

Nicolet Pienaar, the head of market insights at trends analysts GfK South Africa, said retail chains with established online shopping facilities and logistics were likely to be the biggest winners.

“Loyal buyers are putting their trust in the online presence of their preferred offline retailers,” she added. “They feel that the physical presence of these stores means they can follow up with a human if they encounter any problems.”

The battle for consumers’ hard-earned cash is already fierce with many of the large retail chains — including Game, Makro, Clicks, Dischem, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Spar — offering big discounts to shoppers in the lead-up to Black Friday.

John Bradshaw, retail executive for marketing at Pick n Pay, said the company had worked closely with suppliers for months to secure stock.

“We have taken several proactive steps to minimise any overcrowding, which includes extending our Black Friday deals to run over two weeks,” he added.

Shoppers who do want to head to brick and mortar stores can expect retailers to implement strict lockdown guidelines. Bradshaw said Pick n Pay stores would be limiting the number of people in its stores, wiping down trolleys before use, sanitising hands upon arrival, sanitising till points, and providing floor markers for physical distancing.

It’s a similar story at Game and Makro. Brian Leroni, senior vice president group corporate affairs for Massmart, said staff would be marshalling social distancing measures in queues. They will also be managing the number of customers in stores throughout the day.

Desmond Heunis, general manager for the Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg, said the shopping centre had worked closely with retailers to manage Black Friday.

The planning covers security, crowd control and traffic management in conjunction with SAPS, traffic authorities, parking management operators and the on-site management team.

 

AWS outage takes out a chunk of the Internet

By Jay Peters for The Verge

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s Internet infrastructure service that is the backbone of many websites and apps, experienced a major outage affecting a large portion of the Internet.

“Kinesis has been experiencing increased error rates this morning in our US-East-1 Region that’s impacted some other AWS services,” Amazon said in a statement to The Verge. “We are working toward resolution.” And, ironically, in a notice on the AWS Service Health Dashboard, Amazon said the issue has apparently “affected our ability to post updates” to that dashboard.

A number of apps and services have posted on Twitter about how the AWS outage is affected them — it seems the issue is fairly widespread:

  • Flickr
  • Adobe
  • Anchor
  • RSS
  • The New York subway

Downdetector.com also showed spikes in user reports of problems with many Amazon services.

 

Robots are doing your shopping

Robotic warehouses are turning small urban spaces into “micro fulfilment” spaces, says Inospace CEO Rael Levitt, who owns and manages 26 business parks in South Africa and abroad.

The demand for fast order fulfilment and delivery services skyrocketed in the context of the global lockdowns, ushering in a new era of challenges and opportunities for the beleaguered real estate sector. Robotic micro-fulfilment warehouses are now rolling out globally, and providing efficient automated selection of items to enable faster delivery to consumers.

Micro-fulfilment centres are much smaller than warehouses, which typically need to be on the outskirts of cities. Instead, micro-fulfilment centres are compact and can be set up within cities, ensuring quicker service to a large segment of customers

In addition to the low cost per square metre, these types of robotic fulfilment centres significantly boost operational efficiency. They also need only a handful of employees at a time. An operator at a counter – one of just four “touchpoints” – assembles incoming orders from arriving bins, picks the items from them, then scans and bags them. Bags are lowered and robotically ferried to a second touchpoint, an outbound terminal.

Micro-fulfilment centres, operated by robots and usually smaller than 1,000 square metres, are emerging as the future of last-mile delivery logistics. The strategy, operated through software and executed via automation, powers the strategy known as micro fulfilment. It is aimed at speeding up the delivery of goods to consumers in cities through operations that pack large numbers of products into tight, urban spaces.

Far smaller than the typical big-box distribution centres found in most industrial parks, the sites are becoming increasingly attractive to retailers adjusting to the dizzying changes in consumer markets. Some have been testing these types of small fulfilment sites in recent years, but the rush to online shopping thanks to COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated moves to space-saving, automation-powered warehouses.

By squeezing those operations into small urban warehouses, businesses hope to pare down delivery times so online orders reach their destination in hours, not days. Companies storing goods at micro-fulfilment sites should be able to get orders picked and packed in five minutes or less, with only a handful of workers.

Most micro-fulfilment operations are still being tested, but the strategy is good news for grocery chains and other retailers scrambling to meet rising e-commerce demand during the pandemic. The future market for automated grocery micro-fulfilment centres is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion by 2024, according to market research firm Interact Analysis.

The key is to store products in spaces that only robots, not humans, can reach. There is no vertical airspace between bins and only about 20cm of space between stacks. Grocery installations typically include three different sections: one for room-temperature products, another for cooler items, and a manual picking area for fast-moving goods.

Grocery chain and retailer Walmart is among the companies testing various automated systems, but non-grocery retailers have been slower to embrace the concept. This is in spite of the fact that the automated alternative requires less space than traditional distribution, and reduces the number of steps for human workers.

For retailers working hard to meet the accelerated online demand, the technology offers a faster return on investment than larger robotics-equipped warehouses, while allowing retailers to fill orders more quickly than they could with human workers walking store aisles.

The market change brought on by the pandemic has not only escalated the necessity to fulfil orders in real-time. Automation is already replacing some of the labour-intensive processes either fully, or in part. For example, automated loading and unloading, package delivery, and even automated vehicles are already being tested and implemented in some cases.

We’re still pretty far off from seeing some of these things happen in South Africa, but distributors have to start looking at the big picture in respect of how they service their customers most efficiently in the next three to five years.

 

How to delete yourself from the Internet

By Dave Johnson for Business Insider US

If you use the Internet in any capacity, your personal information is scattered everywhere online. You can get a sense of this by Googling your own name — you leave small traces of yourself with social media, online purchases, e-mail accounts, and more.

How to delete yourself from the Internet
It’s not easy, but it’s possible to erase most of your personal information footprint from the Internet. It might not even be advisable; employers, for example, expect to be able to find you online and may perform a background check, in part, with online searches. But if you’re intent on deleting yourself from the Internet, here’s how you can do it.

  1. Remove yourself from social media
    Your social media presence has the largest impact on your online footprint, so you should start here. It’s important to delete your accounts, not just log out or stop using them. Virtually all social media platforms have a formal process for closing your account. For example, see our article on how to deactivate your Facebook account. Visit every social media site you’ve used — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, and so on, and repeat the removal process. Most will completely delete your content within a short time, such as 30 days.
    If you’re not ready to commit to deleting all your social media, you can make your accounts private on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
  2. Delete yourself from people-finder and data collection sites
    Data collection sites — more commonly referred to as people-finder sites — make it their business to store enormous amounts of data about everyone, and a quick search probably shows that sites like Spokeo, Whitepages, and BeenVerified know who you are (and will sell that information to anyone who wants it). That’s barely half the problem because these data collectors don’t just sell data directly online — their primary business model is selling vast quantities of data to large organisations.
    You can manually delete yourself from these sites one at a time (many have opt-out pages, like this one at Spokeo) but it’s a Sisyphean task. You can hire an online service like Delete Me or Privacy Duck to do that for you. Be aware, it’s not cheap. Delete Me costs $129 per year, while Privacy Duck starts at $500 per year. And you’ll want an ongoing subscription because deleting your content from data collection sites is often only temporary, and you can find yourself reappearing in their database months later.
    Depending on where you live, you might have additional legal options.
  3. Delete your online shopping accounts
    The same is true for online retailers. Every website where you have made a purchase keeps some record and profile of you, so you should visit each site, such as Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, and anywhere else you have created an account and request deletion. Many retailers don’t include a link anywhere on their site for this. If you can’t find one, reach out to customer service. For example, you can contact Amazon’s customer service to request your account be deactivated and deleted.
  4. Remove old forum posts, comments, and discussions
    If you’ve gotten this far, your online presence is now probably fairly thin. But don’t forget about any presence you’ve left on websites in the form of comments, discussions, and forum posts. These will be the most difficult to remove, though — there’s no standard way to remove comments from a forum or at the bottom of any article, so your only viable option is to reach out to the website’s owner or site manager and request your content be deleted.
  5. Deactivate your e-mail accounts
    You’ll want to save this one for last, because you may need e-mail to stay in touch with websites you are trying to remove yourself from. But if you truly want to wipe your online presence clean, you will have to deactivate and delete your e-mail accounts as well.

This is where deleting yourself from the Internet may be wildly impractical — virtually everyone needs an e=mail account to exist in the 21st century. But you can remove all but one account, perhaps, and make that your single conduit to the Internet. Every e-mail service has a different way to deactivate accounts.

 

Source: EWN

Elon Musk, the charismatic chief of electric automaker Tesla, has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world’s second richest person, according to the Bloomberg list of billionaires.

The South African-born Musk, 49, added $7.2-billion in wealth on Monday alone following Tesla’s latest surge. He now has an estimated $128-billion.

The outspoken Musk, who is also cofounder of SpaceX, had already overtaken numerous luminaries in recent weeks, including Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Bernard Arnault, the head of French luxury giant LVMH.

Now the only person he stands behind is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, whose wealth is estimated at $182 billion.

The upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic has allowed the ultra-rich to amass even more wealth as technology companies have gobbled up more market share of the economy.

In 2020, Tesla shares have surged more than 500% and the company is now valued at more than $500-billion.

Musk, who owns about 18% of the shares, has made some $100-billion during this stretch.

Tesla shares have gained further since the presidential election of Joe Biden, who favours more aggressive policies to address climate change. Tesla was also boosted by an announcement that it is being added to the prestigious S&P 500 index.

 

Source: Telecom Paper

Vodacom South Africa says it has spent R1-billion on batteries over the last six months to ensure its network stayed up during loadshedding, MyBroadband reported.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said the power outages this year forced the operator to increase its back-up power investment.

South Africa suffered the worst ever load-shedding in 2020, with total gigawatt-hours shed surpassing the 2019 record in August. In September, the cumulative load-shedding for 2020 was already 23% worse than the whole of 2019.

To create a robust mobile network, Vodacom directed 20 percent of its R5-billion capital expenditure over the last six months towards back-up power.

To buy and install new batteries at mobile sites is only part of the challenge as criminals are wrecking mobile networks to get their hands on the batteries, which are then sold on the black market.

Joosub said Vodacom is losing around R150-million per year because of battery theft, which is an ongoing battle.

 

FNB blocks customer credit cards without warning

Source: MyBroadband

Numerous FNB customers are complaining that their credit cards have been blocked on Sunday without prior warning.

Reports of the issue were widespread on Twitter and FNB’s Downdetector page, which saw a big spike in complaints from around 13:00.

Customers reported that attempting to transact with their credit card would result in the payment being declined and the following text message being sent to them:

Outstanding documents are required to comply with FICA. Please call the number on the back of your card.

Multiple Twitter users claimed this notification appeared to be coming out of the blue, as they had not been asked to provide FICA documents before Sunday.

“Went shopping only to find out my CC [credit card] transactions are being declined pending FICA documents! What FICA documents? I was never asked for FICA documents! Absolutely ridiculous,” one Twitter user said.

“Credit card transactions declined. The card was working fine yesterday,” another customer stated.

“Both myself and my wife’s cards declining apparently due to outstanding FICA documents. No communication from FNB. We have no access to our money. Can’t pay for fuel or food,” a third user stated.

The problem appeared to be impacting both in-person and online transactions.

One MyBroadband reader was also experiencing the issue, with his credit card account showing R0 available despite not having reached its limit.

According to Downdetector’s outage map, the majority of reports were coming from Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth.

On Monday, FNB confirmed to MyBroadband that the issue has been resolved.

“The bank sincerely apologises to impacted customers for the inconvenience caused,” Labuschagne said.

It did not elaborate further as to what caused the glitch.

 

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top