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Black Friday, Cyber Monday and secure online shopping

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and secure online shopping

By Riaan Viljoen
Information Security Specialist at Capricorn Group.

With Black Friday fast approaching worldwide, and its online equivalent, Cyber Monday, a few days later, the number of online deals during this time will far outnumber those available in stores. To distinguish between a legitimate deal (or website) and one simply out to steal your money, it is important to remember the many perils of online browsing, and how easy it can be to fall for scams. Here are some tips for safe online shopping.

It is one thing to browse, but never use public Wi-Fi to make payments. These connections can easily be hacked, as the passwords are freely available on request.

If someone you know and trust regularly buys from a specific site without hassle, consider it legit. As for the rest, be careful. Do not trust five-star buyer ratings on a site ‒ check independent third-party references instead? Are there spelling/grammar errors on the site? Even if the site is not a swindle, poor spelling could be indicative of poor security measures.

Suspicious sites often imitate well-known sites with names like Amazon.com, BidorBay.com or eBuy.com and often look the same. Never make any payment on a site that is not secure (https://), but do not assume a secure site will always be legitimate. It simply means that the communication to and from the site is encrypted. Pop-ups on any site should always be treated with suspicion. The same goes for sites with no contact information or return policies.

The web, and your email, will be rife with contests during this time. Never enter any personal or payment information to get on a shortlist for some unbelievable deal. A contest for, or even winning, expensive products outside an official product site are very likely a scam.

Do not make direct payments on a site, unless it is locally known, such as your church’s web page. Most legitimate sites redirect to secure payment sites like PayPal. These sites hide your payment information from online stores, which gives you an additional measure of protection against hackers, protection largely absent with direct payments. They also enable refunds, if need be. Generally, however, do not allow sites to auto-save your payment information or passwords.

Watch what you post online or via social media. Social engineers can use any information you post against you in ways you never expect.

Don not click on links in any emails offering good deals, even if the mail comes from a seemingly legitimate vendor. Instead, go to the vendor site directly to confirm that the offers exist on the official site as well. Do not be rushed by urgent deadlines on sales, especially if a request involves entering personal or payment information to secure a product. Rather, lose the deal. You might also get phishing emails claiming irregular purchases on your account where none exist, requesting urgent password resets or your account or card number confirmations. Never entertain such requests. If in doubt, contact your bank using a number you obtain yourself.

Apply for SMS notifications such as Bank Windhoek’s AlertMe service on transactions, and check your bank statements regularly. Make sure the applications and operating systems on your laptop or cell phone remain up to date. When upgrading or replacing your phone, be sure to wipe all applications and data from your old phone. Payment card information could be hiding in an online application and could be exploited by someone who knows how. Immediately report stolen cell phones to your bank to ensure no data or payment information has been compromised. Change passwords and One-Time Pin (OTP) notification numbers immediately.

Do not allow your holiday season to be marred by online fraud. Start off vigilant, and remain so.


 

About The Author

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.