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The Botswana Gazette Wednesday 31 May - 06 June 2017

Evolution of

Information Technology Supplement

Wednesday 31 May - 06 June 2017

Supplement to The Botswana Gazette

Are you safe from ransomware?

Cosmas Chimombe

T

he fast changing world of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) has brought tremendous gains to both organizations and individuals, resulting in among other things a reduction in business operational costs and incredible levels of efficiency and productivity. However, the super-fast pace of technology has also dragged along some undesirable elements. The rise in tech-

nology has also seen a proportionate growth in IT related crimes like online related fraud, piracy and hacking. In recent weeks, the world has been awash with news of another form ICT related crime in the form of a ransomware called ‘WanaCrypt’ that has invaded and paralyzed operations of major businesses and government institutions in the developed world. The Wannacry malware has reportedly paralyzed the operations of the French car maker, Renault, US delivery company, FedEx, and health

institutions in the United Kingdom have also ground to a halt after vital patient information had been made inaccessible. It is reported that the Wannacry ransomware affected over 200 000 computers worldwide and about 150 countries have been seriously affected. Ransomware, as the name suggests, is a kind of malware that holds the victim’s data ‘at ransom’ and threatens to publish or delete the data if a payment is not made. According to Ishmael Lesolame of

ROI, a local computer systems service provider, the threat of ransomware in Botswana is as real as it is to any other country in the world that depends on the internet to deliver its services. “We are not aware of any ransomware attacks locally but according to media reports, there have been reported attacks at DIT but this could be by other ransomware derivates,” says Lesolame. The prospect of losing one’s valuable data can be unsettling to an or-

IT1

ganization or individuals. how best can it be prevented? “If the network security is compromised by users opening e-mail attachments from unsolicited sources or with attachments and hyperlinks. Only open emails from sources you are familiar with. We also recommend adhering to the organization’s IT policies. It is important to keep all your system updates up-to-date and latest backups off line and ensure that they are restorable,” Lesolame advised. Using an updated software version is also seen as a sure way to protect data from ransomware. While Windows is generally seen as the main carrier of the ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware, the Windows 10 version of the software is ‘ransomware proof’ compared to earlier versions. By running a Windows Update those with earlier versions of Windows such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 can shield themselves against ‘WanaCrypt. Meanwhile, those with WindowsXP, Windows server and Windows 8 can protect their systems by downloading a new patch. Should one fall a victim to ransomware should they pay ransom? Generally, there is no guarantee that the victim will access their information once the ransom is paid as a result experts recommend against doing so. Refusal to pay a ransom is also seen as a way curbing the recurrence of such crimes. “Ignore the ransom demand if you have latest backups, restore from them and beef up your security. If you do not have backups, look for antiransom tools to help recover from the attack if you can afford the downtime. Else, unfortunately, pay the ransom, get the decryption key, retrieve your data and secure it,” said Lesolame.

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PIT2 Evolution age 22 of information technology advertisement

Wednesday 31 May - 06 June 2017 The Botswana Gazette

How ICTs changed the marketing landscape

online marketing benefits Cosmas Chimombe

E

ver been targeted by an online advert that is in line with an area of your interest and wondered how this came about? How in the world did whoever was selling the product or service figure out that you could be interested in that particular product? This is how savvy marketing has become in recent years, thanks to technology. So revolutionized is marketing that it is now easier for a farmer in a remote village in Botswana with a smart phone and network connectivity to sell a goat by simply posting a picture of the animal on sale on their Facebook page. Recent years have witnessed a rapidly growing shift from the traditional mediums of advertising like television and print to digital forms that target users of smart phones, and tablets. From low costs to a leveraged market reach, there are a number of reasons for this shift in the way businesses are opting for Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to market or sell their products and services. Unlike communication mediums like television for example online advertising is seen as incomparably cheaper and yet achieving the same if not a wider market reach. This has made the internet more appealing to smaller businesses which otherwise cannot afford to buy slots on television. Another advantage of online marketing is the personal interaction between brands and their targeted markets. Real

time communication with customers is priceless to marketing teams. Through online marketing, customer information can be gathered in such a way that the message is packaged to fit the customer’s particular needs. Not only would the messages be tailored to suit the customer’s needs but it is their way of getting an instant response either through buying or feedback on what they think of the product. Some marketing related tasks can now be eliminated thanks to technology. Now there is marketing automation software that can automate mundane emails. Also with advent of social media, one message in the form of a video for example can go a long way in the spreading of the message by going viral. Of course, this means more than just commanding eyeballs, the message also has to be able to convert the audience into actual buyers. Of course, businesses have to combine the creative side of marketing and the technical side to accurately target potential customers. Traditionally starting a business has been associated with high startup costs commonly known as the factors of the production which are; capital, land and labour but now with the advent of the internet this has changed drastically. Now with technology at hand, all one needs is a laptop and internet connectivity and that alone can give an individual access to a billion potential customers. It can therefore be said the internet has democratized access to markets.


The Botswana Gazette Wednesday 31 May - 06 June 2017

Page 23 Evolution of information technology IT3 opinion

When technology bridges the financial gap Cosmas Chimombe

O

nly a few years back villagers in the remotest part of Botswana where brick and mortar bank branches were few and far between financial services were a privilege of those who were well to do. One could safely say that the underprivileged segment of the population was not even considered as a viable market . Unbeknown to many players in the financial sector it was a gold mine waiting to be tapped . Thanks to the entrance of electronic payment systems, the internet and mobile phones floodgates of opportunities have since opened up . Without even opening a bank account one can now either send or receive money. People thronging retail outlets and other agents to cash in or send money are now a familiar sight . Now the consumer is benefiting from this change that has made transactions much easier by saving them time and several trips to the bank or to make payments . “Indeed there have been major advances in technology that address the needs of the financial sector as a whole. Observation shows that many of these innovations are targeted towards those who already have access to banking and financial systems. There has however been an increase in the awareness of the financial needs of the unbanked sector of the society so more organizations and companies are developing strategies to efficiently address these needs. The rise in interest and strategies such as mobile money and our own unique electronic payments system shows that Botswana is ready to take financing innovation to the next level,” says Vivian Dakpo of Smart Switch a local electronic payments systems provider .

pass that risk . Dakpo however has a word of caution . “Care has to be taken because easier transactions may not necessarily translate into safer transactions,” says Dakpo adding that identity theft, money laundering and cyber attacks are some of risks associated with technology . What does the future hold in terms of making financial services available to the underprivileged? “We envisage that in the next few years we will see more quality products made available to the unbanked, more innovative ways of delivering these products. But to peddle products to a failing economy would be pointless as such progress starts when we work to uplift communities in our country.”

SmartSwitch SWITCH TO BE SMART

SMARTSWITCH SUMMARY COMPANY PROFILE target market is primarily, but not exclusively, the un-banked and under-banked segments of the population.

In Botswana for example, FinMark Trust has launched the “Making Access Possible” initiative to encourage co-operation in ensuring that the unbanked and underprivileged do not continue to operate at a marked disadvantage According Dakpo, this increase in the awareness of the opportunities offered by this previously untapped market has led to an increase in innovations catering for the unbanked. “In Botswana for example, FinMark Trust has launched the “Making Access Possible” initiative to encourage co-operation in ensuring that the unbanked and underprivileged do not continue to operate at a marked disadvantage. Many government initiatives also have inclusion as a stipulation guiding any financial products launched. Bank of Botswana safeguarding and governing policies are already in place to guide the direction of financial inclusion, however it is imperative that we as a society work to improve and develop the socio-economic status of all communities so that financial inclusion does not occur in a vacuum. Progress has already begun in that more IT companies and organisations are making inclusion a priority.” The risks that come with carrying huge amounts of money over long distances is something most people are aware of thus electronic payment technology has made it easier to by-

The primary purpose of SmartSwitch is to deliver an alternative method of affordable banking to citizens regardless of their financial position or income levels. In April 2008, SmartSwitch was awarded a tender by the Government of Botswana, Ministry of Local Government: Department of Social Protection, in terms of which the UEPS SmartCard technology has been used for the payment and distribution of Social Welfare grants to over 50,000 beneficiaries in Botswana. The past nine years has seen the successful implementation of the SmartSwitch solution for the provision of Electronic Food Coupon System and in recent time, Smartswitch has been able to save the Ministry over P60 million in funds that could otherwise have gone to “ghost beneficiaries”. In February 2014, SmartSwitch was awarded a contract with Botswana Postal Services to provide the UEPS technology for the payment of Pensions and Cash Allowances. Smartswitch also has a platform that allows participating retailers to sell airtime and electricity at competitive commission rates. SmartSwitch currently has a staff complement of 20 people, all of whom are Batswana. SmartSwitch prides itself on its efforts to empower Batswana and strives to transfer knowledge and grow employees within the company as much as possible.

SmartSwitch was established in 2006 with the exclusive right to deploy the SmartCard UEPS (Universal Electronic Payment System) into the Botswana market. The UEPS is the first system of its kind that can enable people worldwide, who generally have limited or no access to a bank account, to enter affordably into electronic transactions with each other, government agencies, employers, merchants and other financial service providers. SmartSwitch has deployed the UEPS SmartCard technology, rolling it out across the entire country and providing SmartCards to approximately 210,000 people. This has been achieved through strategic partnerships with Government, Parastatals, Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurers), organised labour and the private sector (retailers, employers etc.). The

SmartSwitch has established offices at Unit 34/35 Kgale Mews, Gaborone International Finance

Unit 34/35 Kgale Mews Gaborone International Finance Park Gaborone Botswana Tel: +267 364 7700 Fax: +267 364 7705


PIT4 Evolution age 24 of information technology

Wednesday 31 May - 06 June 2017 The Botswana Gazette

When technology becomes a necessity

rior counterparts. As Seleka points out that the latest t could Waterproof be argued that there is no operating systems are the best when it Magnetic other sector experiencing a faster comes to providing security for the comGPS Car Tracker rate of change than that the IT secputer. The speed of change that could tor. What could be held in high regard also see desktops become extinct is • Works on existing GSM/GPRS network and today could be made redundant by the already being witnessed. “The conveGPS satellites introduction of a new on the nience that comes with having a laptop • Locate and monitor anytechnology remote targets by market. So swift is the pace of change SMS, APP and Internet means they are becoming more prefer• Works locally and across theaffected border that both not only is what we buy able to desktops. That is why you see • Easy to whole install,industries no cabling/wiring even are affected. laptops taking over from desktops.” • Hide in any safe place of choice in the car Failure to keep up with change could Also, once viewed as a luxury, the • Self service tracking, no third party spell Magnet extinction for some oldbattery models smart phone is fast becoming a neces• Strong ,5000mAh Li-ion • Very or Affordable brands. “It would be very difficult to sity when it comes to the communica• ONCE PAYMENT - NO MONTHLY keepOFF some older computer models due tion front. The now immensely popular INSTALLMENTS to the fact that manufacturers no longer mobile application ‘Whatspp ‘ is more of Magnetic Waterproof make spare parts for those particular a need than a luxury. Being without this Location: Shop 108, Kollenberg, GPSnow Carall Tracker models.Main It’s Mall, like keeping a Nokia 3310 essential application could spell Gaborone(above KFC) for example, weMobile: know they make Tel: +267 3185817, +267longer 71864772 doom for one as businessnetwork opportunities • Works on existing GSM/GPRS and Email: thattebogoaaron@gmail.com phone model. In such cases a con- GPScould easily pass by. Arguably, gone the satellites sumer would be better off getting a new • Locate and monitor any phone remotewas targets by a days when a smart simply APPforand Internet gadget,”says Chendzimu Seleka of New SMS,‘toy’ showing off. • Works both locally and across the border Technology Group. Businesses that do not embrace tech• Easy to install, no cabling/wiring Just like in the evolutionists theory, are on their way out. To car quote • Hidenology in any safe place of choice in the those species that refuse to adapt to the mogul no and founder • Self business service tracking, third party of one • Strong Magnet ,5000mAh Li-ion battery changes in the environment face extincmobile network service provider, Strive • Very Affordable tion, so do those who do not take heed Masiyiwa; • ONCE OFF PAYMENT - NO MONTHLY to the demands for change in the world “If I was starting a business today, I INSTALLMENTS of IT. A typical example can be found in would spend my time understanding the field of IT where those who do not how Shop to use108, the Kollenberg, Web and mobile technolLocation: upgrade their computer software could Main Gaborone(above ogy as keyMall, platforms to drive myKFC) busiTel: +267 3185817, Mobile: +267 71864772 risk having their systems hacked, afness. If you don’t make money with this Email: tebogoaaron@gmail.com fected by viruses or simply made extinct one you will have thrown away a great through non-compatibility to their supeopportunity.” Cosmas Chimombe

Magnetic Waterproof GPS Car Tracker • Works on existing GSM/GPRS network and GPS satellites • Locate and monitor any remote targets by SMS, APP and Internet • Works both locally and across the border • Easy to install, no cabling/wiring • Hide in any safe place of choice in the car • Self service tracking, no third party • Strong Magnet ,5000mAh Li-ion battery • Very Affordable • ONCE OFF PAYMENT - NO MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS

Location: Shop 108, Kollenberg, Main Mall, Gaborone(above KFC) Tel: +267 3185817, Mobile: +267 71864772 Email: tebogoaaron@gmail.com

I


The Botswana Gazette Wednesday 31 May - 06 June 2017

Page 25 Evolution of information technology IT5

Services Providered: Computer Parts Sales Database & ERP Services Hardware & Software Sales Business Consolidation & Virtualization Installation & Support Services Network & security Audits

What to look for when buying a computer

Cosmas Chimombe

Y

ou are in the market and you need a personal computer, either a laptop or desktop. There is one problem though, which brand should you go for? Should you go for the latest model? Or should the size of your wallet determine what you are going to buy? Which one would be the best for your particular needs. Unknown to many Batswana, buying a personal computer has to be compatible with the purpose for which you want to use it for. Buying a personal computer is more than simply looking for the most affordable or the ‘coolest’ brand. For example, a graphic designer would need a much different computer from the one to be used by a student. Besides, a lot goes into buying a computer that a lot of consumers aren’t aware of. It would be helpful to the prospective laptop owner to consult a technical expert to whom they can define exactly what they would need. “Choosing a computer depends greatly on the purpose for which one wants to use it for. A designer for instance would need more space, speed and RAM for the designing software that would need to be installed. In the case of a designer the latest operating system would be needed and also the best in terms in of security. Whilst a for a for a student, a simple laptop would do just fine,” says Chendzimu Seleka of New Technology Group.

It would be of great advantage if one would buy a high-powered laptop as that means a longer lifespan so they wouldn’t have to change or buy a new laptop every now and then. What about resuscitating old laptops an old laptop instead of buying a whole new one to save money? “For old laptops, you would have to have the processor or memory upgraded but for something like a Celeron you can’t modify the processor because of the type of motherboard used,” Seleka explains. As for some computers, they would just have to be gotten rid of since there are no longer parts available for that type of particular computer. Consumers, Seleka adds are not usually aware of their rights when it comes to buying computers. “One thing most people are ignorant of is the warranty. Some of the top brands have a one to three-year warranty from a manufacturer but in most cases a consumer would dispose of a computer that goes defunct after six months. This is mainly due to the fact that some retailers offer a threemonth warranty whereas if there were to be referred to a warranty centre they would get a new laptop.” With laptops taking over from desktop computers because of their compatibility, there also comes the issue security. “Most companies usually buy security cables ensure the computer is locked to the desk and as for very expensive computers insuring them is recommended,” Seleka said.

Contact Details Tell: (+267) 319 1123 info@roi.co.bw P O Box 203175 Gaborone, Botswana Plot 111, Unit 7, millennium Park Gaborone, Botswana

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