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Study Opportunities' Blog

Of Hackers, Squirrels, Cybercrime and making money in the 'sharing economy'

This week's highlights: South Africa's new Cybercrimes Bill published, the dangers of squirrels and what an Uber driver can expect to earn.

Cybercrimes Bill

The final draft of the new Cybercrimes Bill has been published online. The bill has still to be debated in parliament and passed into law. It might be a good idea to download the pdf and discuss it with your more senior students.

Uber Income

My Broadband has a great article on what Uber drivers can expect to earn in South Africa. The article includes an image (shown below) from an Uber spreadsheet showing the average earnings for drivers broken down by hour and day of week.

Uber is, of course, part of the 'sharing economy' along with other services such as AirBnB. The idea is that you rent out things that you have to others whilst you are not using them - and so make extra income. They also save consumers money - an Uber ride is cheaper than a normal taxi. An Airbnb stay is a lot cheaper than a normal hotel (think: 5 nights in Paris for 2 at only R7 500!).

Dark web Marketplaces

CSOOnline has a fascinating read on dark web marketplaces, how they operate, what they sell. You need to register (free) to read the whole article. Worth it.

Which is worse - a squirrel or a hacker?

The answer, it seems, is that almost any animal is more dangerous than a hacker - to power grids around the world that is.

Much has been made of the potential dangers of hackers and cyber warriors infiltrating power grids and disabling them, causing chaos and harm to the civilian community at large. Chris Thomas created a project called Cyber Squirrel to track the harm animals do to power grids as opposed to known cyber attacks. The project tracks and classifies power grid disruptions by automating web searches for articles on power outages. The cause is noted and the outage classified. Boing Boing has a nice summary. Of course, the cynics (and conspiracy theorists) will say that this study is obviously false because hack attacks will be hushed up and reported as something else...

E-waste piles up in Asia

Engadget has an article detailing how e-waste in Asia has dramatically increased over the years, reaching 12.3 million tons in 2015.

How Hackers Really Crack Your Passwords

DNews put up this video on youtube. Worth a watch - along with others on their channel. A good resource for interesting snippets.

Point out to the learners that hackers using this technique have managed to hack a site and download the user database. The database contains the user names (usually in plain text) and passwords (usually encrypted and stored as a 'hash'). because they have the data available locally the hacker is able to use powerful tools to try to crack the passwords by working directly on the local data.

Beware the Google Phish

Boing Boing has an article on a clever new phishing malware. It checks through the gmail contacts of an infected account looking for mails with attachments. It then 'replies' to these mails - except it changes the attachment into a fake Google account logon page that looks exactly like the real thing. Unsuspecting victims 'logon' to 'Google' and they are then immediately infected.

Cyber Safety videos

Planet Nutshell makes videos. They made a cartoon series called Net Safe targeted at Grades 3 - 12 in the USA that introduces concepts such as Personal Information, Privacy and basic cyber security.

They even cover sexting, wi-fi security, mobile location security, distracted driving, cyber bullying and the dos and font's of posting pictures online.

Although these videos may seem simplistic, they do ensure a good basic grasp of the concepts.

A resource worth having / looking at!

We warned you about plagiarism...

CNN has an article on how plagiarism has forced a person Donald Trump picked for a national security post to decline the job. We know the temptation is great, that you are under pressure for time / lazy or just don't know what to do... but the message is clear: whatever you do, don't plagiarise!

Fake news corner

We're not the only ones concerned about fake news. Just after last week's blog went live, The Citizen published their round up of fake South African news for the week. Take a look...

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