Technology

Tech WhatsApp Urges Update For Users After discovering ‘targeted’ Surveillance Attack

Hackers were able to remotely install surveillance software on phones and other devices using a major vulnerability in messaging app WhatsApp, it has been confirmed.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, said the attack targeted a “select number” of users, and was orchestrated by “an advanced cyber actor”.

A fix was rolled out on Friday.

The attack was developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group, according to a report in the Financial Times.

On Monday, WhatsApp urged all of its 1.5 billion users to update their apps as an added precaution.

The attack was first discovered earlier this month.

WhatsApp promotes itself as a “secure” communications app because messages are end-to-end encrypted, meaning they should only be displayed in a legible form on the sender or recipient’s device.

However, the surveillance software would have let an attacker read the messages on the target’s device.

“Journalists, lawyers, activists and human rights defenders” are most likely to have been targeted, said Ahmed Zidan from the non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists.

BBC

Tech Raxio Announces Early Bird Offer For Internet Service Providers

Companies under the umbrella organisation of the Internet Service Providers Association of Uganda (ISPAU) are set to benefit from up to 30% discount when they sign up for space at the upcoming RAXIO Data Center.

 This was announced recently by James Byaruhanga, RAXIOs General Manager, at a breakfast event hosted by the firm for Uganda’s leading ISPs. While speaking to the audience about RAXIOs value driven facility, Byaruhanga noted that the new facility would offer massive benefits to ISPAU members as an association.

 “Our commercial model offers ISPAUs members an opportunity to improve their operational efficiencies through economies of scale. For example, we have an option to lease out equipment for those who do not have adequate capital to buy brand new equipment,” he said.

  “In addition, we also have a service where we help new clients move their equipment to the new data center,” he added.

Guests at the event were also addressed by Robert Mullins the Executive Director of First Brick Holdings, the parent company of RAXIO Uganda and Godfrey Sserwamukoko ISPAUs Chairman. On his part, Robert Mullins provided context to RAXIOs solutions to the market: “The RAXIO Data Center allows clients to do three main things: Reduce total cost of ownership, improve operational efficiencies and allow clients to free up capital that can otherwise be used for client facing roles.”

ISPAUs Godfrey Sserwamukoko welcomed RAXIOs entry into the market and the solutions for their members: “As an association, many of our members are constrained by challenges ranging from inadequate financing for ICT capex to use of inefficient infrastructure. With RAXIOs solutions, our members and the wider market is set to benefit from a unique range of solutions fit for every type of business”.

Tech Why You Should Spend More Time On Social Media Marketing

Before we get into why you need to spend more time thinking about Social Media Marketing, let’s start with the most important question which is, ‘What is Social Media Marketing?’

Social Media Marketing is a way for brands to interact with customers and potential customers in a social manner. While people get onto social media to interact with their friends and family, brands use this opportunity to reach out and have conversations with their customers so as to find out their needs and concerns in an effort to serve them better. n

This happens a lot on the different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to mention but a few where companies take advantage of the analytical data provided by these platforms and use it to gain insight about their customers.

Uganda currently has approximately 2.5 million active social media users according to a report by We Are Social which is quite a huge number one shouldn’t ignore. So, if you have a business and you aren’t online you are missing out a size-able audience.

A good marketing strategy involves meeting your customers where they spend most of their time at the right moment with the right message. Today, that place is our very own social media platforms which boast a high number of active users on a daily basis.

So, why should you invest in Social Media Marketing?

Here are few key points as to why you should do so;

1. People want to engage with their brands

People today don’t like to be sold to. They don’t like to be handed a flyer with your product information. They want to engage and talk about things that are relevant and interesting to them.

Social Media is a great place for brands to have real conversations with their customers and talk about things that matter to them and serve them better in the long run. Customers that have been served will most likely become your brand advocates telling people about your business which will help with brand awareness.

2. It’s easier to measure the effectiveness and ROI (return on investment)

You can see real-time results of your marketing efforts such as track how many people are going to your website, see how your content is performing and how many people have seen it, liked it and shared it. Best of all, you can track how your ads are performing online and if it is not working, you can just stop or pause it from running and re-strategize so as to ensure you get maximum ROI. All this isn’t possible if you are running an ad using a different media such as a newspaper or on billboard.

3. Its affordable compared to traditional forms of marketing

Social Media Marketing is more affordable and accurately targeted than traditional media. On social media, you can run an ad for as low as $5 and you will reach a significant number of people. You can also target your ads directly to the people you want to reach with your message.

In conclusion, Social Media as a medium of marketing is hard to ignore today. Everything is going digital and more and more people are relying on it as their major source of information. If your business doesn’t have an online presence now is the time to step up

If you’re interested in learning more about digital marketing and want to take things further, sign up for this Social Media Marketing and Management course at DigiCon Academy that covers topics from Social Media Strategy, Content Creation, Digital advertising to reporting and Analytics.

   

Tech Facebook Is Getting Its Biggest Redesign in Years. Here is What to Know

(Bloomberg) — Facebook Inc. unveiled updates to the Groups feature of its main social network, doubling down on a successful but controversial part of the big blue app — and another sign that Facebook is moving toward more private, intimate communication.

The changes, announced Tuesday at the company’s annual F8 conference in San Jose, California, make Groups a bigger part of the Facebook user experience. A new design for the Facebook mobile app highlights the Groups that users have joined, and now shows a personalized feed of activity across all the groups people are part of in a special tab.

Facebook has been pushing more aggressively into groups for the past two years as people shy away from posting things publicly and look for more intimate ways to connect with friends and family. Fast-growing meme and community groups have been a recent bright spot for Facebook amid a series of privacy scandals, and the company is also shifting its focus to deal with its own projections that people are spending less time on its namesake site.

“There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook,” the company said in a statement. “When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook. And today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful.”

Groups, which can be public or private on the social network, can be used to help keep long-distance friends in touch, connect people with similar interests or passions, and organize events. Facebook is also making it easier to discover new Groups based on users’ interests, and will recommend relevant groups to people when they are in other parts of the app, like Marketplace, the Gaming tab and its Watch video service. People will also be able to share content directly to their Groups from the share button on the main News Feed, the same way they do with friends and family, Facebook said.

The company is even rolling out specific features for different types of groups. For example, members in health-related groups can ask the group admin to post on their behalf to better protect their privacy. Facebook is also adding more chat features for groups focused on gaming.

The growth of groups makes it more urgent for Facebook to reckon with the spammers, manipulators and hackers that exploit them to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories, among other things. In special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. election, several Facebook groups were cited as tools to support President Donald Trump’s campaign or oppose Hillary Clinton’s. More recently, Facebook groups have been blamed for amplifying anger and spreading misinformation during violent protests in France. On WhatsApp, an encrypted Facebook messaging service, private groups have been used to spread dangerous misinformation that has led to physical violence and even deaths.

In March, Zuckerberg said Facebook is undertaking a massive overhaul to focus on private, ephemeral and encrypted communication, saying that more people want to interact privately or in more intimate groups — rather than the open-sharing model he built the company around. The company also aims to integrate Facebook’s different online properties, allowing users to send messages between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

Facebook will unveil a slew of other new features on Tuesday. The company’s Dating service is getting a new feature called Secret Crush that lets people “express interest in” up to nine of their Facebook friends. If one of these users has opted into Facebook Dating, they will get a notification saying someone has a crush on them. If that person adds the original admirer to their Secret Crush list, Facebook makes a match — digitally, at least. Facebook Dating, which was announced at last year’s F8, is still free to users.

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook is also trying to facilitate non-romantic relationships. A “Meet New Friends” feature will make recommendations based on some shared connection — like living in the same city or working at the same company. It’s opt-in, so users will only see other people who are open to meeting new friends, and vice versa, the company said. It will also be integrated into Facebook Groups.

The social network’s e-commerce service, called Marketplace, also got an upgrade. People who sell goods on Marketplace will soon be able to take payment directly through Facebook, including shipping costs, the company said. Today, people who sell goods have to arrange payment outside of Facebook, though they can do so via Facebook’s messaging app, Messenger.

PayPal Holdings Inc. will process payments for purchases made directly inside Marketplace, according to a company spokesperson. That’s the same payments partner Facebook’s Instagram is using to process in-app purchases. Facebook also says it is considering charging sellers a fee for facilitating these deals.

“We are evaluating a selling fee that is in line with competitive platforms to help cover payment processing and programs such as purchase protection,” a spokesperson said.

 

Tech MTN’s API and What It Means for Online Business

A few weeks ago telecom giant MTN announced that they were availing their mobile money API directly to developers, much to the delight of tech-prenuers and business owners. API stands for Application Programming Interface and in simple terms is a set of functions and procedures that allow a program to access another service. So, what MTN did was make it possible for developers to incorporate MTN mobile money services into their smartphone apps and websites. However, there are already websites and apps that accept payments through mobile money. So, how have they been doing it? From the inception of mobile money, developers that want to incorporate it into their applications have had to go through third party companies that reserve the rights to the technology. These companies usually have a set of regulations that subscriber have to fulfil before they can have the API technology and the companies also take a cut off each transaction made by the users of whatever platform has their API. The cost of the cut is often passed on to the final consumer thus making those online transactions a little more costly. MTN’s offer of the API to developers disrupts an industry that has been growing over the years by making it easier and faster for developers and technology entrepreneurs to incorporate MoMo pay to their platforms. This means that there is one less hurdle to jump over for innovators and possibly one more incentive to make more cashless payments and purchase more things online now that the costs of transactions might drop by a certain margin Also read: How good is MTN’s Tidal one month later

Tech Uganda Airlines Bombardier Jets To Arrive Next Month

The acting Uganda Airlines CEO, Ephraim Bagenda has said the first two bombardier jets will arrive in Uganda in the first week of April. Bagenda told Uganda Radio Network on Monday that ...