What have we seen happening with the cybersecurity front in Namibia so far in 2024?

In the first quarter of 2024, we have seen an uptake in the lockbit 3.0 or AKA known as lockbit black. We have seen the hacker group “Hive” and the collective ransomware as a service group “Blackcat” working together in deploying Lockbit 3.0 in more creative ways.

So, how did this effect Namibia, we have seen that no Financial institute and no Parastatal is save. Ransomware has been the primary attack against Namibian companies as a whole and both collectives, Hive and Blackcat being behind most of these attacks. Although these attacks is old news for most, Namibia and Sothern Africa, it is new and a very real threat.

Are these attacks a threat, if any?

Yes, these are, and very successful executions has been made. What is more concerning is that these attackers leaves a message stating that they can do it again at anytime and that ransom is the only way to get your network back. These attackers do not hold back and have no shame. The big threat here is, the lack of management or security staff in Namibia. We see that these attacks are well directed where these attackers realize loopholes in the management of passwords, VPN and remote RDP connections.

What to do?

Again, Namibian companies must really look at securing the basics. Password Policies, Anti-Virus being up to date, patching regularly. These three area’s falls short in almost every successful attack. Namibia is playing in the big league on the internet. There is no “3rd world” internet for Namibia. Here we play with the big boys and will be attacked just like the big countries and companies.

What to expect in 2024 going forward?

Two very big factors to look at, although there are many more, these two stand out. Ransomware with Blackcat and Hive will go on and WILL escalate. These attacks are very well thought out and companies that does not take their security polices seriously (by actually implementing them) will be an easy target.

The 2nd. IOT all over the world have become an easy target, just because home users connect these devices to their home network with out any security and this opens up easy backdoors. As this is becoming more prevalent over the world, Namibia needs to lear from it. True, Namibia is not heavily invested in IOT yet, but it is coming, and when it does, take your IOT security seriously. Change the default settings and password.

#TopTechnologyChangingNamibia

Johann van Rooyen - SOC and SIEM Manager

Do I get to say, I love Artificial Intelligence again,(as mentioned in the automation blog), or would it be too repetitive? Artificial Intelligence bots have become a business need and can no longer be seen as just a commodity. Bots can serve your business in many ways, including finding the right contact person for the customer query, bringing data together to improve information transparency and clarity, and so much more.

Have you ever visited a really big website and found yourself to be drilling through, what feels like, endless links and pages and information only to feel more perplexed and overwhelmed than anything?

How about finding the right contact information to serve your query? Calling the switchboard, only to be redirected throughout the building without relevant assistance? It is not only frustrating, (and know that you are not alone), but it is also time consuming, and quite possibly leaves you more upset than satisfied. This is but one area where an Artificial intelligence (AI) bot can serve not just you, but your business as a whole.

Allow me to share ChatGPT’s version on the topic briefly outlining the pro’s and cons of Artificial intelligence bots, who also supplied a link to the entire source for you to read should you so wish 22 Best AI Chatbots for 2023: ChatGPT & Alternatives (tidio.com)

Artificial intelligence (AI) bots are becoming increasingly popular on websites as businesses look for ways to improve customer service and engagement. AI bots can help businesses automate tasks, provide 24/7 support, and improve the overall customer experience. Here are some of the key benefits of adding an AI bot to your website:

  • Improved customer service: AI bots can provide customers with instant support, answering their questions and resolving issues quickly.
  • Increased efficiency: AI bots can perform tasks faster and more efficiently than humans, freeing up time for employees to focus on more complex tasks.
  • Cost savings: By automating certain tasks, businesses can save money on labor costs.
  • Personalization: AI bots can use data to personalize the customer experience, providing tailored recommendations and content.
  • Increased engagement: AI bots can engage customers in conversation, providing a more interactive experience.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider when adding an AI bot to your website:

  • Lack of human touch: Some customers may prefer interacting with a human representative rather than a bot.
  • Technical issues: AI bots may encounter technical issues that require human intervention to resolve.
  • Data privacy concerns: Collecting and using customer data comes with privacy concerns that need to be addressed.

In conclusion, adding an AI bot to your website can provide many benefits for your business. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons and determine if it is the right choice for your specific needs.

Here is my, (no AI), conclusion:

Artificial intelligence Bots can become your online superhero and go-to for your clients when they visit your website. These bots can be an introvert’s best friend and at the same time empower the time focused client when they visit your website. For our customer centric Salty innovation house, we have Zolt, who is a perfect example of an Artificial Intelligence Bot built specifically to serve our business environment and services. Zolt does not operate outside of the set parameters, this brings ethical AI back into our conversation where it should be, and again brings the business enabling tool to top of mind.

#AI #algorithm #websites

Jaylee Venter - Customer Technical Liaison

Part 1

I love artificial intelligence simply because of the amazing things that it can do for people and businesses at large. Of course, being hands on in the world of Artificial intelligence I leveraged the AI offered by ChatGPT to assist me with this blog, which I reviewed and credit checked as far as humanly possible prior to posting the content. The importance of monitoring, credit checking and more by developers and users throughout the world cannot be understated and forever lingers in the back of my mind as someone who advocates ethical artificial intelligence.

Automation is one of my favorite forms of artificial intelligence, and there are many, but automation is a true business enabler. Taking away mundane everyday tasks so that we can better use the time available to us in a working day. Sending weekly reports via email could take up to 1 hour to send, why not automate it? Get back a vital hour of your day so that you may shift your focus to more important tasks, and why not? Here, in this business scenario, artificial intelligence is your best friend, not just to you, but also to the business.

Here is a blog on pro’s and cons of Artificial intelligence automation written by ChatGPT, who also supplied a link to the entire source for you to read should you so wish, The Pros And Cons Of Artificial Intelligence (forbes.com):

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work. However, like any new technology, it has its pros and cons. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key advantages and disadvantages of AI automation.

Pros:

  • Fewer errors: AI can help reduce errors in tasks that are repetitive or require a high degree of accuracy.
  • Increased efficiency: AI can perform tasks faster and more efficiently than humans.
  • Cost savings: By automating certain tasks, businesses can save money on labor costs.
  • Improved decision-making: AI can analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately, helping businesses make better decisions.
  • Enhanced customer experience: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide customers with 24/7 support.

Cons:

  • Job displacement: As AI becomes more prevalent, some jobs may become obsolete.
  • Lack of creativity: AI is not capable of creative thinking or innovation.
  • Security risks: As AI becomes more sophisticated, it may become more difficult to secure against cyber threats.
  • Bias: AI algorithms may be biased based on the data they are trained on.
  • Dependence on technology: As we become more reliant on AI, we may lose some of our ability to perform tasks without it.

In conclusion, while AI automation has many benefits, it also has its drawbacks. It is up to businesses and individuals to weigh the pros and cons and determine how best to incorporate this technology into their lives and work.

Here is my, (no AI), conclusion:

Artificial intelligence must be viewed, not as an enemy to mankind, but as a tool to be used for enablement. We fear what we do not understand and thus, we must ensure that we empower ourselves to better understand the Artificial Intelligence available to us today in the world. It is also important to Support the initiatives that focus on ethical AI as this will establish the foundational and vital “moral compass” and “does and don’ts” that serves not just businesses worldwide, but mankind as a whole.

#automation #futurefit #smartwebsites

Jaylee Venter - Customer Technical Liaison

As an experienced IT salesperson, I understand the importance of digital security for businesses and individuals alike. With the rise of the 5th Industrial Revolution, there has been a tremendous increase in the number and complexity of threats to digital security. In this article, I will discuss some of the latest threats and international trends in digital security, as well as some cybersecurity solutions offered by Microsoft, Veeam, and Acronis that can help mitigate these risks.

International Trends in Digital Security

One of the most significant trends in digital security is the increasing number of cyberattacks against businesses and governments worldwide. Cybercriminals use a variety of techniques, including phishing, malware, and ransomware, to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. These attacks can have severe consequences, including data breaches, financial loss, and damage to an organization's reputation.

Another trend in digital security is the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in cybersecurity. These technologies can help organizations detect and respond to cyber threats faster and more effectively. AI and ML can also help predict future threats and identify vulnerabilities in an organization's digital infrastructure.

Finally, there is an increasing focus on data privacy and protection. New regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, require organizations to take steps to protect personal data from unauthorized access or use. These regulations have significant implications for businesses, particularly those that operate globally.

Latest Threats in Digital Security

One of the most significant threats in digital security is the rise of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts an organization's files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. These attacks can be particularly devastating, as they can result in the loss of critical data and can be difficult to recover from.

Another threat is the increasing sophistication of phishing attacks. Phishing is a social engineering technique that aims to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords. Phishing attacks are becoming more targeted and harder to detect, making them a significant threat to both individuals and organizations.

Mitigating Digital Security Risks with Microsoft, Veeam, and Acronis Security Solutions

Fortunately, Microsoft, Veeam, and Acronis offer a range of security solutions that can help businesses and individuals mitigate these digital security risks. Here are a few examples:

Multi-factor authentication: Microsoft offers multi-factor authentication (MFA) as part of its Azure Active Directory (AAD) service. Veeam also offers MFA through its Backup & Replication software. This security measure requires users to provide more than one form of identification to access a system. This can include a password, a fingerprint, or a code sent to a user's phone. MFA can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Encryption: Microsoft offers robust encryption capabilities for data at rest and in transit. For example, Azure Disk Encryption provides encryption for data stored in Azure Virtual Machines, and Azure Storage Service Encryption provides encryption for data stored in Azure Blob Storage. Acronis offers similar encryption capabilities with its Cyber Protect Cloud software. Encrypted data is much harder to access by unauthorized parties, reducing the risk of data breaches.

AI and ML: Microsoft's cloud security solutions, such as Azure Sentinel and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, use AI and ML to help organizations detect and respond to cyber threats more quickly and effectively. Veeam also offers AI-powered threat detection through its Veeam ONE software. These technologies can also help identify vulnerabilities in an organization's digital infrastructure before they can be exploited.

IoT security measures: Microsoft offers Azure Sphere, an end-to-end solution for creating highly secure, connected IoT devices. Azure Sphere provides built-in security features, such as hardware-based root of trust, ongoing security updates, and certificate-based authentication. Acronis also offers IoT security measures with its Cyber Protect Cloud software, which includes security for edge devices and endpoint security for IoT devices.

In conclusion, digital security is becoming increasingly important in the 5th Industrial Revolution, and businesses and individuals need to be aware of the latest threats and international trends in cybersecurity. Microsoft, Veeam, and Acronis offer a range of security solutions that can help mitigate these risks, including multi-factor authentication, encryption, AI and ML-powered threat detection, and IoT security measures. By implementing these solutions, businesses and individuals can better protect their sensitive data and digital infrastructure from cyberattacks.

#empower #digital #futurefit #security

Christopher Swart - Commercial Expansion Manager (in collaboration with ChatGPT)

What a ride! What a journey! What a story! 

The number 25 has significance beyond just being a number. It signifies Salt's beginning, our growth and our continued drive to live and deliver our values everywhere. 

CHALLENGE - EMPOWER - IMPACT 

All great things start with a visionary leader that has what it takes to give live to a dream. One step at a time, and sometimes with leaps and bounds. 

Salt's humble beginnings in Namibia started when Logical Networks was formed in 1998 by the South African Datatec Group as a specialist network design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance company. The team driving things behind the scenes knew that there is more Salt can to for the Namibian economy through smarter technology, and that is when in 2008 the name changed to Salt. Without Salt, the ocean is just dam water. We are the ocean to your business. 

Every entrepreneur, company founder and owner will tell you, that the first step is the scariest and most exhilarating at the same time. And any chef worth his/hers Salt will tell you, the perfect recipe comes through hard work, trials, and error, and a never give up attitude. 

We love celebrating the small things as much as we love celebrating our 25th birthday. We love changing people's lives one technology at a time. We are more than technology enthusiasts; we are leaders in making a difference. We love what we do, we love to CHALLENGE, we love to EMPOWER, and we love to IMPACT.  

We love every day and every opportunity! 

Salt would never have been here to celebrate this momentous occasion without the continued support from our customers, partners, distributors, and vendors and most of all, the Salties. You all have played such a crucial part in every success story we have to tell. There are not enough words to thank each one of you! 

Here is to the next 25 years, and all our stakeholders continuing the journey with us! 

#impact #futurefit #empower #25

Sonja Coetzer - Managing Director

Salt Essential IT (Pty) Ltd does not rest on its laurels. The company – celebrating its 25th birthday in March – has, yet again, made history by obliterating its own PMR.africa Diamond Arrow Awards winning streak.

The company has now been awarded three awards consecutively for four (4!) years. The award categories in which Salt has clinched the first spot and the coveted Diamond Arrow Awards are Cloud Service Providers, Data Centres, and IT Consulting Companies. No ICT company in the history of the business journal has even come close to this achievement. The 2022 awards bring Salt’s Diamond Arrow Awards tally to 20 in 10 years. 

When the managing director, Sonja Coetzer is asked, “How do you do it?”, she responds with “It is never the how, it is always the why. ”

She continues, “Salt is honoured that our dedication to our clients through our client centric approach to delivery sees us winning these prestigious awards.Winning these awards 4 times in a row is truly a reason to celebrate.” “As we cannot enter, nominate or rate ourselves in this research, we are appreciative of the votes we receive, it makes the Why so much  more worth it! The Why we are in business, is very important to us –we are in business to implement technology that optimises business and empowers people to effectively operate in a secure, productive, and sustainable manner .”

Coetzer explains that every Saltie embraces our mission and vision that is a living embodiment of our daily pursuit to deliver on our commitments.  Salt’s evolution of the past 25 years has seen the company and its employees leading the market with solutions that disrupts industries in the Namibian market. Salt believes that enabled, empowered, and future-fit people are the most important asset a business can have to survive, grow and prosper.

“This is why we are in business. From inception we worked towards delivering technology that moved from being an architecture and systems provider to a partnership-based, human-centric business optimisation provider. And over the last 15 years, we’ve been continuously reinventing and refining this Why.”

“It is amazingly hard sometimes and we are not always successful the first time we try new technologies. Fortunately for our customers, by the time we recommend and implement tech in their space, they know we’ve thoroughly analysed and tested it, and we will do extraordinary effort to empower the people that will ultimately use it.”

Months before Covid-lockdowns in 2020, Salt was moving 4 thousand of users to cloud-computing services, but if ever Salt proved their fixation on future fitness, this was it. The company now serves 270 000 cloud-users at their customers across Namibia.

“Salt is a true team effort, and like most things, when the collective comes together greatness are delivered. Every Saltie’s dedication, commitment, and die-hard tenacity towards living and breathing our values every day is what makes all the difference at every customer.”

“The people at Salt enables your people to enable your business. That is our number one priority. And that’s why we are here.”

#futurefit #pmr #knowledge #awards

Sonja Coetzer - Managing Director

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is such a hot topic right now, with Chat GPT and Dalle taking the world by storm. But there is a darker side to AI that we as business owners and decision makers must be aware of.

I am convinced that if you are not yet harnessing the power of AI to protect your digital identities and assets, you will find yourself in a battle that you are not equipped to win.  

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees, and it is by far not the greatest threat to humanity in history. We keep doing things the way we always have, not learning from our history and every time disaster strikes, we are unprepared.  

In the previous millennia we could have blamed a lack of knowledge (not knowing that the cats ate the rats that carried the Yersinia pestis which caused the black plague,) as the root cause for the pandemic that decimated humanity's numbers. The root cause was actually the self-entitlement of the institutions in control of masses behaviour. Would the witch hunts still have taken place if the general population had been made aware of Yersinia pestis? 

These are deep thoughts and much to ponder and speculate over, over a glass of Chardonnay.  

The fact is we don’t have those excuses today. We know about Cybercrime. We are exposed to it on Social Media, from the media, that phone call telling you that you have won money that you did not even enter a competition for... 

Just like with a disease, many people are taking all necessary precautions to avoid getting infected, but there are still many who refuse to admit that they can become infected. This behavior not only puts their own health at risk but also increases the risk of spread to others. 

It is crucial to remember that, like a deadly virus, the effects of cybercrime are highly contagious, and anyone can become infected.  

Traditional security is not enough. If you are not fighting AI with AI, you are heading to a gunfight with a knife.  

#futurefit #AI #knowledge #empower

Vanessa Maresch - Empowerment Specialist

A Microsoft exam might be daunting to study for and my fear of failure or constant anxieties don't help at all.

My first attempt for the AZ104 exam was on the 15th December 2022 and, boy, was I scared! I remember having breakfast and feeling like I forgot everything I studied. Well! After writing that day I scored 610/700, I was devastated . However, I had the best team ever who supported and motivated me to try again.

On my second try, I was wiser and made sure to prepare myself well. I am no expert but before I went for my second attempt, I followed these tips and would advice anyone to follow them:

  • Take enough time off from work to study.
  • To fully grasp the course's concept, first read through the Microsoft lean documentation.
  • Then go through the exam LinkedIn training videos ( they really work for me)
  • Go through Microsoft readiness videos with tips to focus on the exam.
  • Go through the dump question on exam topics.
  • Next look up VCEUP pdf questions.
  • Practice on the LABS to get a feel for how things work in real life.

I felt so ready, and I was confident in myself, the morning of the exam I was not even nervous because I was well prepared. I went back for my 2nd attempt on 24th January 2023, and I PASSED I got 710/700. Glad I pushed myself to nail this exam. It was an awesome experience!

I'm wishing you well on your upcoming examinations and BAG that certificate.

#futurefit #dedication

Selma Uushini - Service Desk Engineer

When it comes to IT peripherals, I just want it to be functional and practical. Easy to use, and easy to take on the road. A computer mouse, is a computer mouse, is a computer mouse. Right? 

Wrong! 

Who would have thought that one can get so excited about a mouse. Not the cartoon cheese eating mouse, but the mouse that helps you navigate your emails, documents, spreadsheets, and internet pages. 

Well let me tell you about Logitech's POP mouse. I am in love! 

The first cool feature is that it is a silent mouse. No click-click sounds! You can use it on up to three devices, as it is Bluetooth enabled. No more plugging and unplugging and plugging to with a little Bluetooth thingy that goes in the USB port. The funky middle button allows you to access emoticon's, alt key for special characters and symbols. (No more pressing the Windows key and full stop.) A right click that brings your toolbar to right where you are. 

Sheila fits the palm of my hand. Yes, I had to name her.  

What really got my super stoked is the environmental friendliness of this mouse. The plastic parts in the POP mouse include certified post-consumer recycled plastic. The paper packaging comes from FSC certified forests and other controlled sources. The carbon footprint has been reduced to zero through various intentional support and activities to sustain mother nature. 

I LOVE MY POP MOUSE!  

#techsmart #25yearsyoung #futurefit

Sonja Coetzer - Managing Director

Since Salt's inception, 25 years ago, we have always been involved in our community by contributing in various ways, to make Namibia a better place to thrive. Namibia needs all of us to play a part in helping each other to build The House so that we can give hope to those in need and create a better future for all Namibians.

In 2022, as part of our branded corporate wear, we decided to incorporate socks. At about the same time we became aware of Project Never Walk Alone. It touched our hearts and we decided to sell some of our socks to raise money for this cause. The Never Walk Alone project focuses on disadvantaged Namibian children, starting with one of the basics we take for granted, proper school shoes.

The Salties are very proud that we raised N$5,612.71, and all the sales proceeds were donated to the Never Walk Alone initiative.

We want to thank each and every one that bought a pair of socks from Salt.

We still have some socks, if you are interested to know more visit the Rock your Socks On page on our website.

#25yearsyoung #impact #futurefit

Vanessa Maresch - Empowerment Specialist

Pssst!

ABOUT SALT

Based in Windhoek, Namibia, Salt Essential IT is one of Africa’s most awarded Microsoft Direct Cloud Solution providers, enabling and supporting clients ranging from small and medium to enterprise.
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