Emoticons were once thought to be the way forward in providing the world with a global language – one capable of crossing cultural borders. The reality, however, has proved to be rather to the contrary.
Even the most familiar emoji of a grinning face, can look very different on different devices or operating systems – and can be interpreted in different ways by a variety of cultures.
Intercultural expert and professional business coach, Alyssa Bantle, believes companies should be wary of their use in written communication. The advice of the experts is to use them sparingly – if at all. there is not a universal understanding of what many of the emoji mean ad it is very easy for them to be misinterpreted. A toothy grin on Windows was rated as emotionally positive while the same symbol on Apple looked more like a grimace to some.
Some emoji’s can quickly communicate the positive or joking tone of a statement – but different cultures read those faces differently – especially in regard to levels of formality and what is appropriate in workplace written communication.
In Zimbabwe there is a notable difference in larger versus smaller companies. In larger companies communication is traditional and formal. Protocol in meetings and emails is considered essential. Smaller companies are more informal and communication is frequent.
Some German companies, and in Indonesia, written communication style is formal where titles are used and last names. Using first names might seem friendly – but can be interpreted as a lack of respect – so emoji’s can only add to the complication.
In Latin American cultures, like Mexico, communication is also wordy, indirect and formal. This style shows politeness and respect.
It is so important that one considers deeper cultural issues when choosing how to get a message across. An emoji may not be appropriate even if it seems innocent and friendly. There is a fine line between the use of social media and the communication between colleagues at work. One needs to be clear about what is acceptable and appropriate for communication at work and at a business level.
NHS Lanarkshire was attacked by a new variant of Bitpaymer last week. The cyber attack led to some appointments and procedures being cancelled. Staff worked over the weekend to reinstate IT systems, and are trying to establish how the malware was able to infiltrate the network without being detected.
This infection shows how disruptive Ransomware can be. It encrypts the data it finds on a host computer so that it can no longer be accessed, and then demands payment, often in Bitcoin, for its release.
This type of cyber attack can happen at anytime – to anyone. The people who carry out these disruptive acts are opportunists. We should all aim is to make their job harder – by making sure we have strong passwords in place, and by backing up all files.
Most malware looks like it has come from a trusted source. A simply click on a link is enough to cause widespread disruption. Being prepared with as many security measures in place, as well as being vigilant and alerting colleagues to any unusual e-mails etc, is the way forward.
There are many examples of individuals and organisations that have chosen to part with their cash – but there is no guarantee that by paying the ransom you will get your files/data back.
You are most welcome to give one of our consultants a call – to check that all has been done to keep a cyber attack at bay. Be prepared and be safe.
ADECS-Maple – 024 7699 5930
Research from Google suggests that cyber thieves have made in the region of £19m over the past two years.
‘It has become a very, very profitable market and is here to stay,’ said Elie Bursztein from Google who, along with colleagues Kylie McRoberts and Luca Invernizzi carried out the research.
Ransomware is a malicious software that infects a machine and then encrypts or scrambles files so they no longer can be used or read. The files are only decrypted when a ransom is paid.
The data gathered showed that there were 34 variants of ransomware, the most popular being Locky and Cerber.
Mr Bursztein said that the gangs behind the ransomware explosion were not likely to stop soon, even though there is competition from newer variants such as SamSam and SPora.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (27the July 2017)
Google has been fined 2.42bn euros (£2.1bn) by the European Commission after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results. The ruling also orders Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or face a further penalty of payments of 5% of its parent company Alphabet’s average daily worldwide earnings. Based on the company’s most recent financial report, this amounts to about $14m a day.
The European Union’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said ‘Google has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation.’
A spokesperson for Google said, ‘We respectfully disagree with the conclusions. We will review the Commissioner’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.’
Google shopping displays relevant products’ images and prices alongside the names of shops they are available from and review scores, if available.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (27th June 2017)
Apple Mac users are being warned about new variants of malware that have been created specifically to target Apple computers. One is ransomware that encrypts data and demands payment before files are released. The other is spyware that watches what users do and scoops up valuable information. Experts have said that the threat is real due to the creators letting anyone use the two programs for free.
The two programs were uncovered by the security firms Fotinet and AlienVault which found a portal on the Tor ‘dark web’ network that acted as a shopfront for both. The creators behind the malware are thought to have extensive experience of creating working code.
Those wishing to use either of the programs had been urged to get in touch and provide details of how they wanted the malware to be set up. The malware’s creators had said that payments made by ransomware victims would be split between themselves and their customers.
Researchers at Fortinet contacted the ransomware writers pretending they were interested in using the product and, soon afterwards, were sent a sample of the malware. Analysis revealed that it used much less sophisticated encryption than the many variants seen targeting Windows machines, said the firm. They also said that any files scrambled with the ransomware would be completely lost because it did a very poor job of handling the decryption keys needed to restore data.
Aamir Lakhani from Fortinet said Mac users should make sure their machines were kept up to date with the latest software patches and be wary of messages they receive via email.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (13th June 2017)