Microsoft has finally succeeded in making Windows 10 the number one operating system in the world after new statistics indicate that it has finally surpassed Windows 7 in the market share.

Microsoft is preparing to end technical and security support for Windows 7 less than a year from now, exactly on 14/01/2020, which means that users of this system have begun to think seriously about moving to Windows 10 or Windows 8 , and thus Microsoft is making a radical decision on its famous operating systemWindows 7 which was a short time ago the first Microsoft system used.

While Microsoft will provide information solutions for companies that are still running Windows 7 until 2023.

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Reserve Bank's crypto-currency proposals clear confusion


The South African Reserve Bank's (SARB's) proposal to introduce tighter controls on crypto-currencies provides legal certainty for those dealing in crypto assets.

So says Candice Gibson, senior associate at Norton Rose Fulbright SA, commenting on the SARB's consultation paper on crypto assets published last week.

SARB says the purpose of this consultation paper is to:

* Provide an overview of the perceived risks and benefits associated with crypto assets.
* Discuss the available regulatory approaches.
* Present policy proposals to industry participants and stakeholders.

According to Gibson, the comments contained in the SARB's consultation paper are merely proposals at this stage.

As such, she says, any interested person, such as someone who buys or sells crypto assets, or who "mines" crypto assets, for example, is provided with the opportunity to comment on the proposals until 15 February.

She points out SARB has proposed SA moves to a higher level of regulation in 2019 from that of 2018. This approach is referred to in the consultation paper as "limited regulation", says Gibson.

"This is in contrast to an entirely regulated system where predefined conditions exist. What 'limited regulation' means is that specific requirements will be placed on providers of certain services in respect of crypto assets, without setting predefined conditions for formal regulation."

Gibson notes the consultation paper indicates the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) will include crypto asset service providers as an accountable institution and, as such, will have to comply with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 (the FIC Act).

"Despite the significant room for abuse of crypto assets, law-abiding consumers require legal certainty regarding the treatment of crypto assets from a tax and exchange control perspective.

"Currently, there being no regulation from an exchange control perspective, the acceptance by merchants of crypto assets for the payment of goods or services is left to the discretion of the merchant selling the goods or providing the services."

She adds that while the South African Revenue Service (SARS) issued a statement on 6 April 2018 stating it will continue to apply "normal income tax rules to crypto-currencies", there is still confusion as to how to account for any income, gains or losses in a taxpayer's tax return in respect of crypto assets from a SARS perspective.

"Guidance is also definitely required from an exchange control perspective when dealing with crypto assets."

She notes that regulation of crypto-currencies offers consumer protection. "The activities involved with the purchase and trade in crypto assets are undertaken at the consumer's sole and independent risk, with no legal recourse to the SARB in the event the consumer loses their funds due to the lack of regulation.

"Consumers are left vulnerable as sellers of crypto assets are not regulated and numerous reported instances where trading platforms have been hacked and consumers have lost their funds. At this stage, there is simply no legal recourse for the consumer, which renders them vulnerable.

"The use of crypto assets which are not regulated enables consumers to circumvent South African exchange control rules as no SARB approval needs to be obtained for funds leaving South Africa. In addition, South African authorities are unaware of the flow of funds or the movement of capital to and from South Africa."

Gibson adds that what is noteworthy for consumers is that the consultation paper indicates it is not SA's intention to ban the buying, selling or holding of crypto assets, or to ban crypto assets for payments.

"However, the SARB remains of the view that as a result of crypto assets not being recognised as a currency, consumers will most likely be exposed to harm in an unregulated environment. Consumers will, therefore, need to remain cautious when delving into the world of crypto assets."


According to Angus Brown, CEO of crypto-currency company Centbee, people often think of regulation as "establishing controls", but it also means "to make regular".

He points out that regulation helps to bring order to a situation, bringing the chaotic to the mainstream. "Although early adopters typically have a high risk appetite, most people shy away from disorder, especially when it is associated with illegal activity.

"If we truly want Bitcoin to succeed, it needs to be owned and used by hundreds of millions of people. To achieve that, Bitcoin has to be perceived as safe, easy-to-use and easily available. We must recognise that regulators as the agents of government are the gatekeepers."

Brown is confident a transparent and respectful approach towards regulators will help them develop enabling legislation.

"Regulation can help customers and existing financial institutions gain more comfort in crypto-currencies and drive the adoption of Bitcoin."

Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of trading technology, says SA has a real opportunity here to lead on issues faced by the industry on the African continent.

"A deep dive into issues like money laundering may prove useful to other countries with a deep crypto footprint on the continent."

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AMD launches powerful new Ryzen laptop CPUs

AMD has announced its new range of mobile CPUs at CES 2019.

The new processors include AMD’s second-generation Ryzen 3000 Series mobile chips for ultrathin and gaming notebooks, Athlon 300 Series CPUs for mainstream laptops, and power-efficient A-Series chips for Chromebook devices.

The company added that users would be able to download and install its Radeon Adrenalin graphics software for compatible CPUs with integrated Radeon graphics.

AMD said its Ryzen 3000 mobile chips are the world’s fastest CPUs for ultrathin laptops, offering improved power efficiency and 4K HDR support for video playback.

The new Ryzen chips will be available in laptops from Q1 2019, with partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, and Samsung – all launching Ryzen 3000-powered notebooks this year.


Ryzen 3000 Series

Below are the specifications of the new Ryzen 3000 and Athlon 300 mobile chips with integrated Vega graphics.

CPUCores/ThreadsBoost/Base ClockTDPGPU Cores
Ryzen 7 3750H 4/8 4.0GHz/2.3GHz 35W 10
Ryzen 7 3700U 4/8 4.0GHz/2.3GHz 15W 10
Ryzen 5 3550H 4/8 3.7GHz/2.1GHz 35W 8
Ryzen 5 3500U 4/8 3.7GHz/2.1GHz 15W 8
Ryzen 3 3300U 4/4 3.5GHz/2.1GHz 15W 6
Ryzen 3 3200U 2/4 3.5GHz/2.6GHz 15W 3
Athlon 300U 2/4 3.3GHz/2.4GHz 15W 3



AMD A-Series

AMD’s new A-Series mobile chips for Chromebooks feature improved web browsing and application performance, and will be implemented in Chromebooks from various manufacturers in 2019.

The specifications for these new chips are below.

CPUCores/ThreadsBoost/Base ClockTDPGPU Cores
AMD A6-9220C 2/2 2.7GHz/1.8GHz 6W 3
AMD A4-9120C 2/2 2.4GHz/1.6GHz 6W 3


AMD Client Compute senior vice president Saeid Moshkelani said that this new processor portfolio will offer improved performance in everyday tasks and compute-heavy processes across the market.

“Enabling breakthrough entertainment experiences, AMD is pleased to enable a wide range of AMD powered notebooks that deliver on those expectations with blazing fast performance, rich graphics, and long battery life,” Moshkelani said.

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Phishing e-mails, scams force NSFAS to ditch SMS

he National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has announced it will no longer communicate directly with students via SMS during the 2019 academic year.

The decision, said NSFAS in a statement on Thursday, was effective immediately.

The student financial aid scheme said it has also advised students to only use the myNSFAS online self-service portal to view application status or any other information relating to funding.

The move came after the scheme was over the past two weeks targeted in phishing e-mail and text message scams that aim to compromise personal .

"NSFAS identified scams in which fraudsters lure students into providing confidential information via a link to a site controlled by the attackers. The e-mail or text message scam is designed to look like it is a regular message issued by the NSFAS ," said the scheme in the statement.

NSFAS said the unidentified attackers are posing as NSFAS representatives and sending out e-mails requesting applicants and progressing students to update their account information by clicking on an embedded link.

"We would like to warn all the applicants, students and parents to be aware of these fraudsters and take extra  when dealing with their personal information online or over the phone. Any SMS messaging regarding funding received following this message will be from fraudsters and not NSFAS," the scheme said.

NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said the scheme was seeing an increase in fraudulent activities, possibly due to the increase in the number of applications for 2019.

"We advise every student that NSFAS will never ask for your account details, password, PIN or OTP over the phone or via e-mail," he said.

"Henceforth, NSFAS will only communicate with applicants and progressing students via the myNSFAS Online Self-Service Portal or via the NSFAS Contact Centre. Call Centre Agents will ensure that suitable precautions are being taken and key security questions are asked to positively identify the person contacted and to build trust."

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Linux Servers Appear Most Affected by IPMI Enabled JungleSec Ransomware Attacks

SysAdmins, who probably already have much on their plates at the end of the holiday season, have another rather urgent task at hand if they administer servers equipped with Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) cards. It seems that since November, black hat hackers have been using the cards to gain access in order to install JungleSec ransomware that encrypts data and demands a 0.3 bitcoin payment (about $1,100 at the current rate) for the unlock key.

For the uninitiated, IPMI is a management interface that's either built into server motherboards or on add-on cards that provides management and monitoring capabilities that are independent of the system's CPU, firmware, and operating system. With it, admins can remotely manage a server to do things like power it up and down, monitor system information, access KVMs, and more. While this is useful for managing off-premises servers in colocation data centers and the like, it also offers an opening for attackers if it's not properly locked.

There's been a lot of uneven reporting on this since BleepingComputer broke the story on Dec. 26, with many sites indicating that the hack only affects Linux servers. While it's true that the majority of servers affected have been running Linux, Windows as well as Mac servers have also fallen victim. At this point it's not clear whether Linux servers appear to be most affected simply because of Linux's dominance in the server market or because attackers are finding the attack easier to successfully manage when targeting Linux machines.

There have also been reports that the exploit only takes advantage of systems using default IPMI passwords, but BleepingComputer reported it had found at least one victim that had disabled the IPMI Admin user and was still hacked by an attacker that evidently gained access by taking advantage of a vulnerability that was most likely the result of IPMI not being configured properly.

Indeed, it appears at this point that poor configuration is how attackers are gaining entry.

The good news is that securing against such attacks should be rather straightforward, starting with making sure the IPMI password isn't the default. In addition, access control lists (ACLs) should be configured to specify the IP addresses that have access the IPMI interface, and to also configure IPMI to only listen on internal IP addresses, which would limit access to admins inside the organization's system.

For Linux servers, it might be a good idea to password protect the GRUB bootloader. After gaining access to Linux servers, attackers have been rebooting into single user mode to gain root access before downloading the malicious payload. At the very least, password protecting GRUB would make reboots difficult.

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