Online payment security: Tips for staying safe

Open webpage, click, enter email, enter the password. Incorrect password, I looked very confused at my laptop screen and pondered why the pin code that I wrote down the previous night so that I don’t forget it does not want to work. Finally, I get in after resetting my password, the flight portal has no stored information on my flight. I looked everywhere but couldn’t access a record on my flight. Have I been phished? I panicked and started checking around on the webpage the page just didn’t look professional. Only after getting a reply from the flight company and contacting them, I was at ease.

You might have looked at tons of web frames, stumble around making your purchases. It’s been reported that there have been rapid increases in e-commerce and digital payments lately as most people are trying to limit their visits to the store during the current pandemic. Will digital payments become the new future? At the tip of your fingertip, you can pay for almost anything you need, however not all people feel entirely secure about sharing their bank details or personal information online. Most of my friends have anxiety about having to enter their details online and rather prefer to avoid it by all means. What if the digital phase is upon us and paper money becomes a thing of the past just how some coins have completely phased out, will you be ready to embrace the digital phase? For those who might still feel unsure about doing transactions online, I have decided to give some tips on how you can keep your eyes open and be alert while doing your online payments.

The amateur
We are probably all guilty for sharing too much of ourselves on the internet, on our social media pages we post pictures of ourselves and post places that we visit which makes you even more vulnerable to become a victim to strangers. How much more can you become a victim of a cyber attacker if you not careful? While you make online payments there are certain preventive measures you must take, which I would call to be-alert-and-cautious of anything unusual. Just like you look carefully before you cross the road, you have to be responsible while you make online payments so that you don’t put your details at risk. These are basic measures that will allow you to be a step ahead of hackers that are calculating your careful interactions with the internet.

Secure Measures
The consumer is largely protected in an event where payments went off on your account without your knowledge. How can you prevent such from happening? Firstly, you need to change your passwords for your cards regularly and try not to do the old fashioned of wanting to keep your passwords the same for all your accounts. When you in a public space and you want to make a payment do not use public WIFI to do so, as hackers can easily set up a public WIFI of the same name for example “Abc restaurant”, when you connected to their WIFI router mistakenly they can then see and record everything you do. It is also important to set up a text alert from your bank so that if money is deducted you can see it and be able to notify your bank right away. Another technique is to check the features on any webpage you on, check for the legitimacy of the site (there must be contact details, reviews, policy).

You can also check for safety features on a site if it has a small lock icon or an https, the “s” indicates that the site you on is secure. If you don’t see any of these features than it’s a fake copy of the actual site. Lastly check through your statement history regularly, being mindful of your transaction’s history is another way of checking if there is no unusual activity in your bank account. These are crucial alerts that you need to be on the lookout for, it is like making sure the traffic light is green before you proceed.

Be on the lookout for malicious software also referred to as malware which enters your computer without you knowing it. The silent fraud, where criminals use malware to steal the login information of your accounts. Don’t click on pop-ups or respond to unusual emails or messages, because these are some of the tricks that hackers use to get into your laptop. If you suspect any malware do not proceed with your payments.

Online shopping has become more common among all age groups, with all the devices available that can allow you to almost buy from anywhere. Consensus shows that digital shopping is fast advancing that’s why we as the consumers also need to upgrade our knowledge so that we can be ready for the digital phase, like the proverbial go, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Stay safe!

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Will we need to dig deeper in our pockets? – 5G Technology

It has nearly been 100 days since South Africa went into Lockdown, the stay at home life. A reality that many of us were not ready for, trapped in the square meters of your home and only allowed to go out for essentials, at least now after the easing of the regulations in level 3, one can do more than the minimum that we could do. This is the new normal for now, that everyone is still getting used to, most jobs moved online but also the majority of the population had to stay in touch with loved ones via calls but mostly via the internet. Besides the panic buy for food people also made sure they have internet connections. Tons of data, fibre deals, whatever it took to stay connected, regardless of the pricey internet deals in South Africa what mattered most was having access to the internet whether it is for work, school or leisure.

For many, the internet became a necessity just like buying bread and milk. How much did we need to dig in our pockets to stay connected, it’s like buying electricity for our houses, the houses that needed to stay connected for the sake of our jobs? Until today data costs in South Africa have been a big debate. There might just be some light at the end of the tunnel when lockdown started ICASA (The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) was given the go-ahead to allocate temporarily spectrum to telecom operators so that the networks can be expanded and accessible to many during the lockdown. This has been an ongoing battle that operators have been trying to achieve before, which is possibly the light at the end of the tunnel. This is why there were some decreases in prices of data deals lately but this spectrum also allowed SA operators to start launching some of its new 5G technology, what does this have in store what can 5G mean to SA?

5G means faster internet and more possibilities in the 4th Industrial revolution. Increase speed to up to 100x faster than the 4G LTE networks. There is also a reduced latency which means no more lagging but having a real-time experience and never missing meetings again because of low bandwidth problems. Faster downloads and network reliability. Not only in the cellular networks but it can also mean better technology for robotics and development of artificial intelligence systems which is still underdeveloped in SA. It also provides better gaming experiences for gamers who can have fair gaming with no delayed frames which makes the games more competitive. This technology could give more advantages to hackers?

Some of SA’s service providers have started rolling out 5G in most metro areas recently, the responses have been great despite the radiation conspiracies regarding 5G on twitter. Technology-wise it can mean better days for SA the questions though whether there be a cut in data cost? One CEO of the network providers mentioned that an adequate spectrum is essential for mobile operators since they would be able to half their input costs which ultimately allow them to cut low on their prices as they would have more frequencies on which data and information can be carried. If not that I think there might still be a lower cost when 5G becomes popular which means decreased prices in 4G.

I think what everyone is hoping at the end of the day is that prices drop, so many people avoid going online (whenever I ask my friends to check out my blog) because of the ridiculous data costs, it cost the basic user more money to buy data than for someone who has a contract. This is ironic as the basic user should have an affordable price. Despite the luxury of surfing the internet but also making life easier for the many South African’s who now had to resort to moving their business to the internet. Will there be a rainbow at the end of the tunnel?

I tried explaining to a friend of mine that if she keeps on buying data the way she does, hundred-rand of data every second day that she would soon be broke due to one expense, which is data. I told her that this is her biggest expense. After a week or two, I made her swop over to a month to month network payment deal. She now has unlimited data and it’s costing her lesser than what she used to spend. Despite the technological benefits of 5G, will internet users stick with their 4G or will they be able to afford the new technology that is transforming in SA?

Not only will people need to pay for 5G connections they also would need to have 5G compatible devices, are South Africans ready for the new tech development which will allow them speed and comfortability or will it be a painful costly phase to the end of the tunnel.

 

 

 

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Essential business skills for launching a successful startup

One of the big projects I worked on a while ago, was coordinating the setup of a coffee shop in Cape Town. This project has taught me a lot about myself. It taught me that to be courageous means believing in the vision of your plan. Where did it all start, one of the founders approach me and wanted me to help him in the vision he had. This was different from what I’m used to, it had me thinking for a while. How do you create a business from scratch? I thought I’d share my experience with you and how your approach can be when starting your own business from start to opening the doors. Albert Einstein once said, “the only source of knowledge is experience.” You might have read all the books and manuals on how to set up a business. I, however, will mainly express some principles you can execute practically based on the experience I had during the month of setting up thee coffee shop.

My trial run in experiences started when I was still in high school when my parents allowed me to help them in their business back then. This was my first-hand experience in profit gaining. It did not just stop there as I went on exploring ideas around photography and events management. One thing I wish I had back then is a great team. If you have a great team on your side who is willing to make your vision a reality you can’t go wrong. Who says a team has to be hired, staff? Let me walk you through how we opened doors in due time and successfully attracted people that believed in the project.

The project 

It all started with consecutive meetings. It is crucial to plan and to meet regularly, with your team or your advisers. I needed to get a clear vision of the plan from the founders’ perspective. Luckily, we had already bought the most important which was the coffee machine and we had found the perfect building to rent. What I jot down on my diary back then was that we have the building, it’s empty we need to turn it into the coffeeshop. This means coming up with ideas brainstorming and executing ideas. At first, we needed to have an overall theme of the look and how we would design the interior this is where some of my friends who are working in these professions has become my best help, without their help this project would not have been possible. Make sure you share your business idea with your friends and get their take on advice. Trust me your friends might not always have the time to physically help but one thing they would do is give their insight.

The vision

After studying the ideas and having to research the coffee industry, what grinder to use I needed to revisit the vision and practically write down what we still need (paint, lights, furniture, wall art, etc). This helped a lot to have a clear practical vision and I could visualize how we would finish the project. When you start your business make sure to write down practical things that will help you to ultimately achieve your vision. After having a clear goal, you then need to share the goal with your team. So that they can see the same vision as you. I had a great privilege to have my friends who are designers on board who became my advisers but also managed to design the logo and was the backbone in the ultimate look of the coffee shop.

Delegate 

While my friends were doing what they were good at I gathered some more friends who were willing to help me and we cleared out the building and started plotting down the vision into reality. I delegated to them what they could start doing such as painting and sanding, with many hands we were able to make progress. When you start your business try by all means to do most of the labor by yourself in this way you can cut low on your start-up costs. Because I have done painting, electricity, and some drilling before this was effortless fun. By doing itself you also appreciate the effort that went into your business in the end as the proverbial goes the sweat and devotion pay off in the end. I remember one night I worked late painting the floor, what made me happy was hearing how everyone like it the following day. You must be willing to go the extra mile to reach your goal.

Sourcing

After some days we managed to do most of the installations and painting. This progress has made everyone excited as they could see the reality of their inputs. There were still some last technical issues we needed to sort out before we could open doors. This is where you need to get your community on board to help by any means. Approach them about what you’re creating and what you achieved so far, small companies would be more than welcome to donate. During our last days when our budget was at its end so many companies were happy to donate things. If you seek community help there would be many people that wouldn’t mind helping.

Sell your idea 

In this project, I learned that the team you have at your side will allow you to achieve your goal because everyone starts liking the vision in the end. After the official opening, so many people said that they loved how the shop looked. They key in a successful business is selling the idea to others so that they may fall in love with the idea.

 

 

 

 

 

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