Aug 15, 2017 : Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth and career, today announced the findings of its Singapore Employee Engagement Index: Insights to Enhance Workforce Productivity. The findings show that employee engagement in ...

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  1. Mercer : Singaporeans are less satisfied with their employers compared to their global counterparts
  2. Slurp! Secures Funding to Accelerate Growth of Mobile Point-of-Sale System
  3. 5G Technology will Transform the Communications Landscape in Malaysia
  4. The Dark Side of the Dark Web
  5. From zero-day exploits to rampant ‘ransomware’: how advanced targeted attacks evolved in Q2, 2017
  6. More Recent Articles

Mercer : Singaporeans are less satisfied with their employers compared to their global counterparts

Aug 15, 2017 :

Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth and career, today announced the findings of its Singapore Employee Engagement Index: Insights to Enhance Workforce Productivity. The findings show that employee engagement in Singapore has declined consistently over the last three years — this is in stark contrast to the upward trend observed in employee engagement across the globe. Only 73% of Singaporeans are satisfied with the companies they work for compared to 82% of their global counterparts in 2016.

In addition to that, Singaporeans are less likely to endorse their organizations as good employers — 76% of employees in APAC would advocate for their companies as good places to work, while only 68% of employees are willing to do so in Singapore.

“Improving employee engagement continues to represent a significant opportunity — not just for businesses but also for the economy as a whole, this is widely acknowledged.” said Kulshaan Singh, CEO of Mercer in Singapore. He added, “As then Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam noted in his 2014 budget speech, ‘Raising productivity is at the center of our economic agenda’. The decline is primarily due to the lower feelings of pride in and satisfaction with organizations and our analysis shows that such views are largely driven by the employees’ concerns about innovation and career development.”

An increasing number of employees in Singapore are not getting the right opportunities to learn and grow. Twenty percent of employees in the workforce say they are not receiving the necessary feedback from their immediate managers to improve themselves. Even more worrying is that one in three feels that personal career goals are difficult to meet in his or her organization. At the same time, 95% of employees in Singapore want to be recognized and rewarded for a wider range of contributions.

Although 85% of employees are proud of the products and services they currently offer, 30% feel their organizations are not continually innovating these products and services. Notably, one out of every three employees feels that the company doesn’t support the development of new ideas. This is in contrast to the strong government commitment and support around driving innovation.

Attitudes toward employee involvement are notably more positive in Singapore. Seven out of 10 employees feel they are sufficiently involved in the decision-making process on matters that may affect them as compared to 67% globally. Immediate managers play a critical role in this perception, with 80% of employees saying their immediate managers notify them of important information related to their work.

“Engagement represents the best opportunity for Singapore to optimize the human capital it has. If performance and productivity are a combination of individual talent and engagement, the best way to optimize talent is to ensure it’s engaged. Although this seems obvious, many organizations still struggle to build the work environment they need to fully realize engagement in the workplace,” concluded Mr. Singh.

Mercer’s Singapore Employee Engagement Index surveyed more than 42,000 employees in Singapore, representing various industries and jobs from global and local multinationals. It assessed employee engagement by measuring the level of pride, motivation and commitment employees have toward the organizations they work for.

Slurp! Secures Funding to Accelerate Growth of Mobile Point-of-Sale System

Aug 16, 2017 - K.L :

Silentmode Sdn. Bhd. (“Slurp!”) the developer of Slurp! cloud-based point-of-sale system (POS) that specializes in food and beverages (F&B) industry sector today announced that it has recently closed a Series A round of funding of RM2.5 million. The funding has come from Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF) and it is managed by Intres Capital Partners Sdn. Bhd., a Kuala Lumpur-based venture capital firm.

Slurp! which was launched into the F&B retail market in 2014 plans to use the funding to accelerate product sales and marketing, grow its current team as well as explore regional markets for potential expansion in 2018.

Reza Razali, CEO and Co-Founder of Slurp! said, “We are very thrilled about the funding secured. Our team has been working very hard to make Slurp! which is a homegrown POS system, an effective solution for owners of F&B retail businesses. As we push forward, it is crucial for us to have a strong support system and after getting to know the people running Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF) and Intres Capital, we are convinced of their capabilities. We are grateful that ADIF and Intres Capital have put their trust in us.”

Kamarul Nizam Kassim, Partner of Intres Capital Partners which led the investment into Slurp! stated, “I believe the team’s focus to provide the preferred POS exclusively for F&B retail businesses will differentiate Slurp! from other POS players in the market. Slurp! provides powerful data analytics presented in a very user-friendly interface to help F&B proprietors maximize revenue, optimize costs, spot hidden operational inefficiencies and identify new F&B trends, which ultimately keep customers coming back. Slurp!’s open architecture also allows it to connect with various partners within the F&B ecosystem to support F&B proprietors grow their business such as restaurant aggregator sites and food delivery service providers. Best of all, Slurp! is a cloud-based platform which makes it affordable for all restaurants across the spectrum, from your neighborhood café all the way to fine-dining restaurants. Democratization of access to leading-edge technology is pivotal to an inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and Slurp! is leading this sea-change for the F&B vertical.”

As part of its growth plan, Slurp! has appointed Shi-Ying, Lau, former Head of GrabCar, Malaysia, as Director of Strategy and Partnership. Shi-Ying brings more than eight years of global experience in consulting and technology to Slurp!

With her former track record in building GrabCar, Malaysia, from the ground up until it became a very sizable business, Reza is confident that Shi-Ying will lead the local and regional expansion as well as partnership for Slurp! to the next level.

Reza continued to explain, “As of August 1, 2017 over 500 F&B outlets in various cities in Malaysia have used Slurp! and we have an aggressive aim to at least double that number by end of this year.”

Besides Malaysia, Slurp! has already a presence in Singapore through a strategic partnership and it is currently eyeing a bigger expansion within the region of Southeast Asia in the future.

“We have been actively generating feedback from our customers and that helped us to turn Slurp! into a specialized POS system that is meant to address many challenges of managing F&B outlets especially on matters such as outlets operations, inventory management, table layout management and staff productivity management. With Slurp! too, owners get to monitor their F&B performances remotely and on real-time by using our analytics dashboard. Collectively, these have set us apart from many POS systems in the market,” Reza concluded.

5G Technology will Transform the Communications Landscape in Malaysia

Aug 15, 2017 - K.L :

NEC Corporation of Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. and Netcracker Technology announced today their collaboration with technology giants Red Hat, Juniper Networks and Dell EMC to offer an end-to-end multivendor 5G-ready virtualization platform for service providers and enterprises in Malaysia.

The partnership, building off its Ecosystem 2.0 Program will see NEC Corporation of Malaysia/Netcracker positioning itself as a full SDN/NFV (Software-Defined Networking/Network Functions Virtualization) solution provider that is capable of designing and deploying a network architecture concept that uses IT virtualization technologies to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may connect or chain together to create communication services.

At the SDN/NFV Solution and Partnership launch today, Mr. Chong Kai Wooi, Managing Director, NEC Corporation of Malaysia said, “Around the world we are seeing service providers in the US, South Korea, Sweden, Estonia, Turkey, Japan and China upgrading their network infrastructure in preparation to offer 5G communications services which are imminent. Commercializing such services, including the massive connectivity of people, transportation, objects and cities, is expected to take off in the next two to three years.”

“To stay competitive in a global economy, service providers and enterprises in Malaysia will eventually have the need to adapt to 5G technologies. With our SDN/NFV 5G-ready solution, companies will be able to speed up the time-to-market for their potential communications services and/or any applications that run on 5G technology, improve cost efficiency and have the ability to offer new, revenue generating-services.”

A 2017 study conducted by the European Communications on behalf of Netcracker, which surveyed individuals representing 56 different service providers in the communications industry from around the world, discovered that the top four benefits expected from SDN/NFV solutions include reduced time-to-market, improved network efficiency, CAPEX savings and the opportunity to create and innovate new services, including over-the-top services.

Today, service providers and enterprises need six to twelve months to introduce a new service. With the full service SDN/NFV solution in place, leveraging on the Ecosystem 2.0 Program, the time to launch new enterprise services can be reduced by up to 70 percent, according to a research by Netcracker. The 5G-ready virtualization platform from NEC/Netcracker comprises Netcracker’s Hybrid Operations Management offering, Business Enablement applications, and NEC/Netcracker’s Virtualization Development and Operations Center and Multilayer SDN Controller.

It also comprises Red Hat OpenStack Platform, a highly scalable Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution that is designed to enable telcos to create modern infrastructure; Juniper’s NFV networking services platform which seamlessly integrates physical and virtual elements, enabling enterprises the flexibility to deploy scalable, secure and high-performing networks with a simple and open architecture; Dell EMC NFV solution engineered on its industry-leading PowerEdge platform as well as NEC/Netcracker’s Ecosystem 2.0 Program that takes out the pain of operating multivendor SDN/NFV services, reducing time-to-market and enabling rapid service innovation.

“As the industry moves quickly towards 5G technology, getting the management and orchestration environment right is critical to enable new IoT use cases requiring dynamic network slicing,” said Aloke Tusnial, CTO of SDN/NFV, Netcracker. “This is a key focus for us at Netcracker and we are delighted to be part of this strong collaboration to bring 5G virtualization to market faster.”

“Since 2015, we have been working with NEC on NFV system integration with Red Hat OpenStack Platform and now we are excited to extend this alliance to Malaysia. NEC's NFV system integrated with Red Hat OpenStack Platform is designed to deliver mobile packet core virtualization helping communications service providers (CSPs) to accelerate operations to achieve carrier-grade and carrier-scale systems,” said Damien Wong, vice president and general manager of ASEAN, Red Hat.

Mitch Lewis, Vice President, APAC Partners and Alliances, Juniper Networks noted, “The industry is at a crucial transition, in which the gradual adoption of SDN/NFV infrastructure brings alongside with it tremendous opportunity in the transformative 5G economy. We greatly look forward to a close, continued partnership alongside our key alliance partners such as NEC as we drive networking innovation and help future-proof the networks for businesses across Malaysia and the world.”

The sentiment was echoed by Erwin Meyer, regional director – Asia Pacific South, OEM Solutions, Dell EMC. He said, “It is a time of unprecedented change globally in how service providers build and operate networks and services, and the focus on enabling businesses to realize the benefits of this new digital era is a top priority for Dell EMC. We are delighted to be part of an industry-leading collaboration that will equip Malaysian service providers and enterprises with the right solutions needed to accelerate the cycle of innovation, create competitive differentiation and ultimately – deliver the best possible customer experience for their customers.”

With 5G, public services can be enhanced further to offer next level of services where federal and state governments to connect people, transportation, objects and cities at higher speed and with fewer delays.

Smart cities or smart communities will also be closer to reality. As technology affects nearly all aspects of life, many governments are committed to staying current with technological developments and innovation to improve the lives of their citizens and continue to evolve in the global economy.

By offering a multivendor 5G-ready virtualization platform, NEC Corporation of Malaysia is optimistic that it can contribute significantly to its revenues in Malaysia. Currently, 50 percent of its revenues are derived from carrier solutions, and the other 50 percent from enterprise and public safety solutions.

“As service providers and 5G technology services take center stage in the near future, we foresee our SDN/NFV solution to contribute 10 percent to our carrier solutions revenues for the first year and 30 percent for the next three years,” noted Chong.

The Dark Side of the Dark Web

Aug 9, 2017 :

Gone are the days when ransomware was developed and distributed by skilled cyber criminals. Today, anyone can easily build and launch ransomware as there are only two key requirements – bad intent and access to the dark web, a marketplace where malware kits are advertised the way a traditional online retailer promotes regular items like clothes and shoes.

Users on the dark web are anonymous and protected by a privacy feature baked directly into the Tor browser, which is the browser used to access it. This also means that law enforcement authorities are unable to identify where the websites are, who owns them, who uses them or who to arrest.

The easy access to the dark web is fuelling ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) distribution models, which essentially enable novice cybercriminals to download and use ransomware. As ransomware is cheap to purchase and spread, it also provides a quicker payout than stealing credit card data or personal information.

One of the most recent, successful example is Philadelphia, a ransomware variant that is easy to customise and deploy, and uses common marketing strategies to reach potential customers. Cybercrooks only have to pay once to get an executable that can generate unlimited ransomware samples.

There is even a production-quality intro video on YouTube, explaining the nuts and bolts of the kit and ways to customise the ransomware with a range of feature options. Hence, with ransomware variants like Philadelphia, criminals with limited technical skills, can easily execute high-quality attack campaigns.

In fact, there are ransomware variants on the dark web delivered via cloud that offer a host of menu options to guide crooks on how much ransom to charge and the distribution spectrum of the attack.

For a ransomware campaign to succeed, attackers must overcome four main challenges:
  • Setting up a command-and-control server to communicate with victims
  • Creating ransomware samples
  • Sending the samples to victims
  • Managing the attacks by collating statistical information, checking payment etc
Chester Wisniewski
Chester Wisniewski, Principal Research Scientist, Sophos shares tips for enterprises to ensure attackers do not cross these challenges successfully:
  • Understand underground trends and train employees on how the dark web works
  • Increase the frequency of security monitoring and reporting in the organisation
  • Patch early and patch often, even if you’re using an unsupported version of XP, Windows 8 or Windows Server 2003
  • Be vigilant to recognise if employees or customers are being targeted
  • Use Sophos Intercept X, which is highly effective in stopping ransomware in its tracks.

From zero-day exploits to rampant ‘ransomware’: how advanced targeted attacks evolved in Q2, 2017

Aug 10, 2017 :

The second quarter of 2017 saw sophisticated threat actors unleash a wealth of new and enhanced malicious tools, including three zero-day exploits and two unprecedented attacks: WannaCry and ExPetr. Expert analysis of the last two suggests the code may have escaped into the wild before it was fully ready, an unusual situation for well-resourced attackers. These and other trends are covered in Kaspersky Lab’s latest quarterly threat intelligence summary.

The months from April to end June witnessed significant developments in targeted attacks by, among others, Russian-, English-, Korean-, and Chinese-speaking threat actors. These developments have far-reaching implications for business IT security: sophisticated malicious activity is happening continuously almost everywhere in the world, increasing the risk of companies and non-commercial organizations becoming collateral damage in cyber warfare. The allegedly nation-state backed WannaCry and ExPetr destructive epidemics, whose victims included many companies and organization across the globe, became the first but most likely not the last example of the new, dangerous trend. Highlights in Q2, 2017 include:
  • Three Windows zero-day exploits being used in-the-wild by the Russian-speaking Sofacy and Turla threat actors. Sofacy, also known as APT28 or FancyBear, deployed the exploits against a range of European targets, including governmental and political organizations. The threat actor was also observed trying out some experimental tools, most notably against a French political party member in advance of the French national elections.
  • Gray Lambert - Kaspersky Lab has analyzed the most advanced toolkit to date for the Lamberts group, a highly sophisticated and complex, English-speaking cyberespionage family. Two new related malware families were identified.
  • The WannaCry attack on 12 May and the ExPetr attack on 27 June. While very different in nature and targets, both were surprisingly ineffective as ‘ransomware’. For example, in the case of WannaCry, its rapid global spread and high profile put a spotlight on the attackers’ Bitcoin ransom account and made it hard for them to cash out. This suggests that the real aim of the WannaCry attack was data destruction. Kaspersky Lab’s experts discovered further ties between the Lazarus group and WannaCry. The pattern of destructive malware disguised as ransomware showed itself again in the ExPetr attack.
  • ExPetr, targeting organizations in the Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere in Europe also appeared to be ransomware but turned out to be purely destructive. The motive behind the ExPetr attacks remains a mystery. Kaspersky Lab’s experts have established a low confidence link to the threat actor known as Black Energy.

“We have long maintained the importance of truly global threat intelligence to aid defenders of sensitive and critical networks. We continue to witness the development of overzealous attackers with no regard for the health of the Internet and those in vital institutions and businesses who rely on it on a daily basis. As cyberespionage, sabotage, and crime run rampant, it’s all the more important for defenders to band together and share cutting-edge knowledge to better defend against all threats,” said Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, Senior Security Researcher, Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab. The Q2 APT Trends report summarizes the findings of Kaspersky Lab’s subscriber-only threat intelligence reports. During the second quarter of 2017, Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Tam created 23 private reports for subscribers, with Indicators of Compromise (IOC) data and YARA rules to assist in forensics and malware-hunting.

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