28 Feb

Ang Mo Kio & Bishan Outage

FIBRE CABLE CUT AFFECTING SERVICES AROUND SOME PARTS OF ANG MO KIO AND BISHAN

NetLink Trust received reports of a fibre service disruption at around 1733 hours today. NLT discovered that fibre cables along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 were damaged by a third-party contractor. This errant third-party contractor was not engaged by NetLink Trust or its vendors.

Approximately 1,000 end-users’ fibre broadband services may have been affected by this incident.

NLT have deployed its recovery team onsite and fibre service restoration is underway. Services will be progressively restored by tomorrow morning.

NLT is working with all relevant parties including the Internet Service Providers to ensure that the service to the affected areas will be restored as soon as possible. Affected individuals and members of the press can monitor on www.netlinktrust.com, where updates will be posted as soon as information becomes available.

This article was first published on NetLink Trust‘s website.

24 Jan

10 Alarming Cybercrime Statistics for 2020

The internet allows us to communicate with one another from across the globe, find the answer to pretty much anything in matter of seconds, order food, get directions, send pictures and so much more.

But just like anything, the good comes with the bad. And the “bad” in this case is cybercrime. Being so digitally connected exposes us to significant risks, especially if we don’t take steps to stay safe.

White is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime is defined as any crime that is committed with the use of a computer. This could mean an email scam in which a “Nigerian Prince” asks you to wire him some money so that he can process his visa to move to your country, but it could also be a direct attack against a company’s data and try to steal account information and credit card numbers.

Cybercrime can also be the sale of illegal materials over the internet; such as drugs or child porn. As well as abuse, such as when pedophiles try to talk to kids, or when people make fun of each other, causing harm – also known as cyberbullying.

An Underappreciated Threat

However, despite the very real threat cybercrime poses, not enough people take it seriously. It’s quite common to find people using devices that aren’t locked, or using exceptionally common passwords to secure their accounts or opening suspicious email that can give cybercriminals far too much access to their personal information.

In case you’re one of these people who do not take cybercrime seriously enough, here are 19 alarming statistics that will wake you up to the severity of this threat:

1. There is a cyber attack once every 39 seconds

According to a study from the University of Maryland, a typical computer is attacked in one way or another every 39 seconds. This could ocme in a form of direct hacking attempt,  a phishing attempt, or some other version of spam meant to infect your computer with harmful software, known as malware.

To do this study, researchers lowered the defenses on a series of computers and monitored how often they were attacked. Thankfully, if you’re’ using an anti-virus program and some common sense, you should be able to avoid most of these attacks and stay safe. But still, it’s unnerving to know just how many attacks are happening at any given moment.

2. 78% of the organisations in US have experienced a cyber attack in 2019

Although hackers will attack pretty much anyone, they often try to focus on companies and organisations that have people’s financial or personal information. Somewhat surprisingly though, hackers are increasingly going after medium and small-sized companies because large companies, although in possession of more data, use their resources to put up stronger defenses against cybercriminals. Smaller companies can’t do this and therefore potentially better targets.

3. 23% of Americans have either had their credit card or financial information stolen by hackers

This is one of those things you don’t think can happen to you until it does. It will be totally unexpected. One day you’ll you into your bank account and see a few transaction for things you clearly didn’t do.

In most cases, when this happens, you can make a claim with your bank or credit card company and get the money back, but this won’t save you from the hassle of having to cancel your card, wait for a new one, and then update all your accounts. Plus, you may never get the peace of mind back that you lose when someone gets hold of your data.

4. 30% of all US consumers were affected by data breaches in 2018

We give out our personal information to pretty much anyone, especially if they agree to ship us new clothes or fancy new gadget. In general, this isn’t a bad thing. Companies who take credit card information or other sensitive data usually take great pride in their efforts to keep it safe, but no one can be truly immune from cybercriminals. This translate to about 1 in 3 chance of being affected by a data breach at a company you do business with.

5. Already more than 1,000 data breaches, exposing 147 million records just in the 1st nine months of 2019

That’s just a little more than 100 breaches a day. If this doesn’t make it a hit home that cybercriminals are a constant danger, nothing will. Luckily our defenses make it s so that most, but not all, of these exposed records are not overly sensitive. However, this stat should serve as a reminder as to why it’s so important to put up the strongest defense possible.

6. Number of data breaches is growing each year

There is no reason to think this threat will go away if we just “wait it out”. As more and more of the world goes online, there is more valuable information than ever, meaning cybercriminals have considerable incentive to try and hack into a company’s system and steal your personal data along with that of hundreds if not thousands of others.

7. Mobile malware variation has increased by 54%

This is a stat that reminds us how hackers and other cybercriminals are constantly improving the techniques they use to attack us and steal our information. Malware, which is a blanket term for the many different types of infected software hackers try to get you to install by phishing you, is getting more complex, especially for mobile devices.

Once considered safe from hackers, our dependence on our smartphones has hackers creating lots of new software designed to get to our data. And this new malware is increasingly varied, , meaning it’s difficult to identify and to block, which just means we need to be constantly
vigilant.

8. The economic cost of cybercrime in the US is between $57 – $109 billion

This cost comes from things such as: paying back funds lost to fraud, compensating those who have had their identity stolen, giving or losing money to false fronts, paying ransoms to have viruses removed, and much more.

This is not something that happens every once in a while and that doesn’t cause much harm. Instead, as mentioned above, it’s a constant threat that can have severe consequences, such as

9. The cost of cybercrime to the global economy is around $445 billion per year

It’s important to remember this is not just a problem in the United States. Cybercrime is a huge problem all over the world, with some countries experiencing even more problems than others. A good example is Indonesia where you have a 76 percent chance of being affected by a cyberattack. All of these attacks come with a price tag, and in total, they cost the global economy close to half a trillion dollars a year

10. We lose $1.48 billion to phishing

Phishing is the tactic scammers use of trying to get you to be the one to let them into whatever system they are trying to hack or to outright steal from you. They usually use email, but they can also call or text you, and they are relying on you to click the link in the email that will trigger a download onto your computer.

Other emails might be made to look like they’re from someone you know, or a complete stranger (such as a Nigerian prince), asking for money to help them out of a sticky situation. Always verify these before sending anyone anything, especially money or your credit card information.

It seems silly thinking about it like this that people would fall for this. But many email users aren’t aware of the risks and/or that hackers are always finding new ways to trick us.

Cybercrime: Not a laughing matter

The threats cybercrime poses to not only our financial security but also our personal safety are at times overwhelming. It can feel as though there is no escaping. But while this is a very serious matter, taking the proper steps to defend yourself can go a long way.

Make sure all your accounts are protected with a unique password, use anti-virus software, stay out of your spam folder and don’t open anything you find in there unless you’re 100 percent positive it’s safe, double-check URLs and email addresses, and always follow the golden rule: when in doubt, don’t click.

If you follow these steps and work to constantly educate yourself about how to protect against the threats we face online, you will avoid being a cybercrime statistic and will be able to browse the web in peace.

Article used with permission from BroadbandSearch

02 Jan

Turning it off and on again: The power of the power cycle

Popularised by shows like The IT Crowd, it’s a question thats become a joke, a meme, a clich: Have you tried turning it off and again?

For all the derision and disbelief it gets, turning a device off and on again a process technically known as performing a power cycle or reboot has been proven to fix all kinds of issues. Engineers, computer scientists and tech workers at all levels swear by the humble power cycle.

You’ve probably power cycled your personal computer at some point when a program stopped responding, or your modem and WiFi router when your internet connection had issues. What you might not know is that power cycling is used to fix problems in all kinds of electronic equipment, from cameras to network servers in data centres to even commercial aircraft.

In fact, on the Apollo 14 mission to the moon, the astronauts were instructed by mission control to power cycle the landing radar circuit breaker after it failed to lock on. They did and it saved the landing.

So the next time you hear tech support ask that question, I can assure you that tech support isn’t being lazy by suggesting a power cycle! If turning it off and on again works for multi-million dollars pieces of equipment, it can work for you.

So why do we power cycle our WiFi router?

Any WiFi router is basically a small computer with a specific purpose. Like a PC or smartphone, a WiFi router has a lot of programs running as well as its own internal memory which tracks and records data like the network activity running through it.

The longer the device runs, the more likely an error or a bug might occur in its many processes, resulting in a memory leak or corrupted data being transmitted over the network or the system just crashing.

Doing a power cycle basically ends every single process and returns the computer to a known, stable state. You’re not solving the problem so much as wiping the slate clean and allowing the computer to restart all its processes from a clean slate.

In many cases, it’s much more effective to return a computer back to this known base state rather than to spend time and resources trying to diagnose exactly which process went wrong and fix it.

In other words, power cycling doesn’t actually fix the cause of the problem but if it’s just a one-time software error or bug, it’s an easy way to get rid of it.

There are reasons to wait

While turning it off and on again sounds simple enough, people tend to skip one of the important bits: waiting 10 to 30 seconds before you power up the device again.

This waiting window is for the power in your device’s power capacitors (basically little batteries that store energy) to discharge and every bit of memory cleared. This ensures that your WiFi router is properly rebooted and returned to a stable state.

Electric capacitors

That said, if you’re power cycling your WiFi router and modem to troubleshoot an internet connection issue, you may need to wait a few minutes for your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) network to release your modems information i.e. to terminate its existing session.

Turning your modem back on would then allow it to acquire new information i.e. start a new session when reconnecting to the ISP’s network.

On a final note, it’s important to note that doing a power cycle (or a reboot) is not the same as doing a reset. So if you see a little button on your WiFi router that says reset, don’t push it if you’re just looking to do a power cycle.

Remember: doing a power cycle or reboot is different from a reset, don’t press that little “reset” button unless you have to!

A reset typically means reverting the device to its original default factory settings and erasing any updates, new passwords, or any configurations you’ve made to it since you took it out of the box.

Article first sighted on MyRepublic Blog

04 Mar

M1 to be delisted

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s smallest telco, M1, will be delisted from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) after March 18.  This was after local conglomerate Keppel Corporation and media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), through a joint company, bought out Malaysian telecommunications company Axiata Group’s 28.7 per cent stake in M1, giving them majority control.

TODAY looks back at the history of Singapore’s second telco, and the twists and turns that led to its upcoming delisting.

1997 — M1 launches operations in Singapore. Made up of Keppel, SPH, Cable & Wireless and Hong Kong Telecom, the company secures 10 per cent of the market share, or 35,000 subscribers, within its first month.

2000 — Singapore’s third telco, Starhub, enters the telecom market.

2001 — M1 introduces Singapore’s first international roaming pre-paid card.

2002 — M1 becomes a public listed company in December. By then, it had amassed one-third of the market share, which amounted to about one million subscribers, and was valued at between S$1.2 billion and S$1.5 billion, making it the biggest share offering since 1999.  It opened its initial public offering at S$1.25.

2005 — Axiata pays S$260.8 million for a 12.1 per cent stake in M1.

2014 — M1 launches Singapore’s first nationwide 4G network.

2015 — M1 shares hit a high of S$3.99 in March. It also posted a 6.6 per cent rise in its net profit in the first quarter for that year, buoyed by a surge in handset sales.

2016 — The mobile scene in Singapore starts to crowd, with virtual telco Circles.Life launching in May and Australian telco, TPG Telecom, winning the bid to become the fourth telco in Singapore.

That September, Axiata expresses interest in raising its stake in M1 to expand its presence in the region. In an interview with Bloomberg, the chief executive officer of Axiata Jamaludin Ibrahim said: “Strategically, it will be good for us to increase the stake. If the price is right, we will seriously consider it.”

An increased stake in M1 would have allowed Axiata to deepen its foothold in South and South-east Asia. The company owns telco operators in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

2017 — With M1’s shares almost halving in value since 2015 as a result of increased competition in the market, Reuters reports in April that M1’s shareholders — SPH, Keppel and Axiata — have approached China Mobile to sell their majority stake in the company.

There were also media reports that Chinese companies Shanxi Meijin Energy and China Broadband Capital were preparing to make separate bids for M1. However, none of the deals materialised.

June 2018 — Local internet service provider MyRepublic enters the telecom space as a virtual telco. Check out MyRepublic mobile plans here!

2018 — By September, M1’s share price has dropped by almost 60 per cent since its high in 2015 and in October it reports a 5.5 per cent drop in net profit for the third quarter from the same period a year before.

Analysts point to an increasingly competitive market in Singapore and a saturated market as reasons for M1’s poor business performance.

In September, Keppel and SPH offer to buy shares that they did not already own in M1, saying in a statement that the move was to “arrest the decline in M1 shareholder value through a combination of transformational efforts which are expected to take several years”.

Valuing M1 at S$1.9 billion, SPH and Keppel say that the deal would allow M1 to cooperate further with other Keppel units and allow SPH to provide digital content through M1’s mobile platform.

Dec 2018 — Keppel and SPH announce their “firm intention” to make a voluntary general offer of S$2.06 per share of M1 shares that they do not own.  The cash offer is 26 per cent more than M1’s last price on Sept 21 before the stock was halted from trading.

Jan 2019 — Keppel and SPH launch a voluntary general offer and say that they will not increase the price of the bid “under any circumstances whatsoever”.

Feb 15, 2019 — After Axiata’s acceptance of the offer, Keppel’s chief executive Loh Chin Hua says in a press release that obtaining majority control is the “first step” to enhancing M1’s competitiveness in the telecommunications landscape.

“We are very pleased that we will, together with SPH, be in a position to steer M1 during this critical period in its journey. The increasingly challenging and competitive market conditions in the Singapore telecommunications sector requires M1 to take bold steps to transform.”

Feb 27, 2019 — Keppel and SPH gain 90.15 per cent, or 835.1 million, of M1’s shares.

To be listed on the stock exchange, the total number of shares in a company that is issued to the public must be at least 10 per cent.  With M1 no longer meeting this requirement, it will be delisted from the SGX.

Article first sighted on Today.

30 Nov

TVB Anywhere X MyRepublic

Watch the latest TVB dramas with TVB Anywhere Premium at only $4.98/mth (U.P. $5.98/mth)!

Lower Subscription Fees

Enjoy a special subscription of $4.98/mth (U.P. $5.98/mth)

One Bill

Enjoy the convenience of viewing your TVB and internet subscription in one simple bill

No Contract Required

No minimum contract means absolute freedom! Cancel anytime you wish to.

FAQs

TVB Anywhere is TVB’s legitimate over-the-top (OTT) service exclusively for Singapore audience offering an enormous archive of classic and latest TVB programs. For more info on the App, you may refer to this website (https://www.tvbanywhere.com.sg/)

You may download “TVB Anywhere SG” application via Google Play or Apple App store.

As long as your Operating system is iOS 9.1 or above or Android 5.0 or above, you are able to use TVB Anywhere SG application.

Unfortunately, the application is only available via the TVB Anywhere app on mobile devices (phone/ tablet) at this moment. You can cast your mobile device onto your compatible TV if required.

Yes, normal data consumption will be applicable as per your mobile plan.

You may sign up to “TVB Anywhere Premium” as a Value-Added Service, when you apply for our mobile or broadband service. Signing up is easy, simply go to http://order.fibrebb.sg for broadband plans or http://order.fibrebb.sg/mobile for mobile plans.

For existing customers, you may add-on TVB Anywhere Premium via MyAccount. Application for TVB Anywhere Premium will take up to 2 working days

You will receive your login credential via email from TVB in 1 to 2 working days after your service is activated.

If your service is already activated or you are our existing customer, you may check your junk/spam mailbox as the email with your credential may have landed there.

Alternatively, you may also try to reset your password on the “TVB Anywhere SG” application, a new password will be sent to your registered email address.

There will be no difference in content offering for the TVB Anywhere Premium. However, MyRepublic customers will be able to enjoy direct billing on your MyRepublic bill, as well as a special rate of $4.98/mth for mobile/ broadband subscribers. For a limited time period till 31 December 2018, MyRepublic customers can also enjoy 3 months of subscription free.

MyRepublic broadband customers can also sign up the 1Gbps fibre broadband with TVB Anywhere Premium bundle, where they can enjoy 24 months access of TVB Anywhere Premium at no additional cost.

MyRepublic mobile and broadband subscribers may add on the TVB Anywhere Premium as a Value-added service, and enjoy 3 months free subscription, $4.98/mth applies thereafter. Promotion is valid till 31 December 2018.

MyRepublic broadband customers can also sign up the 1Gbps fibre broadband with TVB Anywhere Premium bundle, where they can enjoy 24 months access of TVB Anywhere Premium at no additional cost.

You may terminate your subscription via MyAccount. The request will take up to 2 working days and you may check the Account Expiry date via the TVB Anywhere App, under “Account”.

Yes, you may subscribe to TVB Anywhere Premium (via MyRepublic) via MyAccount or sign up online. We will require up to 2 working days to activate the TVB Anywhere Premium (after your mobile/ broadband order is completed), and you will receive an activation email from TVB once the request is successful. Your login and password will be the same since you already have a TVB Anywhere account.

If you wish to switch your TVB Anywhere Premium billing to MyRepublic, you will need to cancel the subscription on Google Play/ App Store, and subscribe to TVB Anywhere Premium via MyRepublic MyAccount. Application will take up to 2 working days.

Do try to uninstall/ install your TVB Anywhere application to try. If you are still not able to use TVB Anywhere Application, do drop an email to cs@tvbanywhere.com.sg and TVB will get back to you in 3 working days. 

Yes you can! You may use the same credential on different devices (mobile phone and tablet only). You can watch up to a maximum of 3 simultaneous viewing. 

TVB Anywhere currently supports Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and English displays (subjected to availability).

14 Nov

Fibre Services outage

SINGAPORE – A fibre broadband service disruption in the eastern part of Singapore on Wednesday afternoon (Nov 14) has affected about 10,000 customers and some of them might get services back after only more than 24 hours.

In a statement on Wednesday night, NetLink Trust – the country’s fibre broadband network builder – said that services will be progressively restored by late Thursday afternoon.

It first received reports of a fibre service interruption at around 2.50pm. This means some customers might be without fibre broadband services – which includes Wi-Fi Internet connection – for more than 24 hours.

The outage affected users of all three major telcos and Internet service provider MyRepublic.

NetLink Trust said that the interruption was caused by a third-party contractor which severed a number of fibre cables while performing construction works along Tampines Avenue 9.

The network builder deployed its recovery team onsite and fibre service restoration is underway. It is also working with relevant parties to restore services to all affected areas, which includes the vicinity around Pasir Ris, Tampines, Changi and Loyang.

It urged affected customers to monitor NetLink Trust’s website at www.netlinktrust.com for updates.

Earlier in the day, Singtel, StarHub, M1 and MyRepublic posted on their Facebook pages that users in some areas like Tampines and Pasir Ris might experience difficulties accessing fibre Internet services, including Wi-Fi, television and phone services.

Singtel also said that some of its Wi-Fi hot spots on the island were affected, but these services have since been fully restored, according to an update at 6.46pm.

But fibre broadband, fixed voice and Singtel TV services in the north-eastern part of Singapore services remain affected.

Some netizens said that areas like Punggol and Sengkang were also affected by the fibre broadband downtime.

Housewife Kendra Koh, 26, a StarHub customer who lives in Pasir Ris, said she began experiencing difficulties connecting to Wi-Fi at around 3pm. She eventually had to buy unlimited mobile data for one day from another mobile service provider for one of her two cellphones so that she could connect her Internet TV set to the phone’s wireless hot spot.

“This is not the first time that this has happened. It has happened at least a couple of times recently and it’s quite ridiculous,” said Ms Koh.

Telco regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said that it is aware that a cable cut incident resulted in the service disruption to fixed-line telecom services to users in some eastern parts of Singapore such as Tampines.

“IMDA is investigating the incident and has asked affected service providers to restore services expeditiously,” he said.

In an update at 9.18pm, StarHub said that as a gesture of goodwill and appreciation, it will offer affected fibre customers a $10 rebate on their December bill.

Singtel also said that it would follow up with affected customers to waive their local mobile data charges until services are restored.

At 7.15am on Thursday morning, M1 said in a statement on its Facebook page that about half of its affected customers had their services restored.

As of 9.49am, Singtel said that progressive restoration of the affected broadband services was at 80 per cent. It also added that all fixed voice services had been restored by 2am.

StarHub said at 10.50am that NetLink Trust had restored approximately 80 per cent of the affected underground fibre cables serving its customers.

Article first sighted on The Straits Times.

25 Oct

Starhub outage

SINGAPORE — StarHub has yet to determine the root cause of the disruptions faced by its customers on Saturday (Oct 22) and again on Monday, but said there were similarities between the two incidents.

The Cyber Security Agency (CSA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) also said the possibility of a cyberattack cannot be ruled out. In a joint statement, the CSA and IMDA said: “We have been paying close attention to developments as it happened on the heel of Friday’s attack against the US-based Domain Name System service provider, Dyn. We cannot rule out the possibility that this was a DDOS attack. What is important now is for StarHub to determine the root cause of the problem and prevent a recurrence.”

A  distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack typically occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth of a targeted system.

StarHub said in a separate statement on Tuesday that the disruption on Monday night was due to a spike in data traffic to their Domain Name Servers (DNS), and as such affected “some of our home broadband customers”. It added that the service was fully restored at about 11.25pm the same day.

“There was no impact on mobile, enterprise and home voice services, and the security of our customers’ information was not compromised,” StarHub said.

The IMDA is working with StarHub to investigate the matter, and strengthen its infrastructure and processes.

Other telcos have been advised to step up their defences in case there are similar disruptions to their systems. The CSA is also “studying and addressing the risks of DDoS attacks on our communications systems, as well as the measures to mitigate the impact of such attacks if they happen. CSA will also reach out to educate the public and businesses on the need to properly secure their systems”, the statement added.

Frustrated StarHub fibre broadband users were unable to connect to the Internet on Monday night, the second such disruption in three days.

From about 10pm on Monday, users had posted on StarHub’s Facebook page complaining of the service disruption. According to users, areas affected included Toa Payoh, Ghim Moh and Tanah Merah.

StarHub said on Facebook at 10.40pm that that it was aware that “some broadband customers” have been facing difficulties. “We are looking into this right now, and will post updates here as soon as we can,” the telco added. StarHub later updated that a network equipment issue had affected residential broadband service since about 10pm on Monday. The issue was rectified at 11.20pm, and the telco was investigating the root cause of the incident.

Facebook user Stephen Lam wrote: “Thanks for acknowledg(ing) that you are aware of the issue. Now please get it fix at the soonest, while I understand technical issue could be unpredictable but it is very annoying to experience disruption twice in 72 hours.”

According to figures on downdetector.sg, which offers a realtime overview of status information and outages for digital services, the number of outage reports peaked at more than 3,400 at close to 11pm on Monday.

On Saturday, StarHub broadband users were plagued by similar issues. The outage was rectified the next day at 2am. StarHub said on Facebook that the outage was due to “a network equipment issue”.

Article first sighted on Today.

19 Oct

Singtel mobile disruption

Many Singtel mobile users found themselves unable to make calls or access the Internet last night.

Customers took to Singtel’s Facebook page to complain about service disruptions in areas such as Jurong, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah, Woodlands, Sengkang and Potong Pasir.

Singtel said in an update on its Facebook page at about 11.30pm: “We are experiencing some mobile network issues. Our engineers are investigating and we will provide updates as more information comes in. Thank you for your patience.”

At least 200 posts complaining about the lack of calling, text messaging and 4G data services were made since about 10pm.

In a post, user Jess Woo said she had tried to restart her phone multiple times in the last hour. “Till now no response or official updates from Singtel on their page”, she added at the time, before Singtel’s post.

UPDATE on 20-10-18

A power-related issue was behind a disruption to Singtel’s mobile services that affected many users islandwide for more than three hours from around 10pm on Thursday.

The Straits Times understands that it was an internal power issue.

Apologising for the service disruption, the telco said in an update on Facebook at 1.20am yesterday that it detected issues with mobile voice and data services on its 3G and 4G network at 10.11pm.

“Initial investigations indicate that this was due to a power-related issue. Affected services have been progressively restored from 11.50pm and we will continue to monitor the network closely to ensure full restoration,” said Singtel.

It will be offering its mobile pre-paid and post-paid customers a day of free local mobile data on Nov 10, a Saturday.

A spokesman for telco regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority said it is investigating the incident.

BADLY AFFECTED

I could… not use the phone network. This caused me great inconvenience.

SINGTEL USER CHLOE POH, who was unable to call for a Grab car to get home after an office event.

While some customers said service was restored for them after Singtel’s 1.20am update, others still had issues connecting to the Internet on their mobile lines.

The telco said later at 2am that as of 1.22am, all affected services had been restored.

A Singtel spokesman said yesterday: “We regret last evening’s service interruption that affected mobile voice, SMS and data services…

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers and thank them for their patience.”

On Thursday night, many Singtel mobile users said they were unable to make calls or access the Internet.

Customers took to Singtel’s Facebook page to complain about service disruptions in areas such as Jurong, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah, Woodlands, Orchard, Sengkang and Potong Pasir.

Between 10pm, when users said they started experiencing problems, and about 11pm on Thursday, there were at least 200 posts complaining about the lack of calling, text messaging and 4G data services.

Singtel first posted about the disruption at about 11pm, noting that there were mobile network issues, and that its engineers were looking into the matter.

In an update at 12.20am yesterday, Singtel said: “We regret to inform that some customers may be experiencing intermittent difficulties accessing mobile voice and data services on the 3G/4G network.”

By 1am, Singtel’s post about the disruption had received about 2,000 comments, about 1,800 reactions – including likes and angry reactions – and 770 shares.

In a Facebook post before Singtel’s update, user Jess Woo said she had tried to restart her phone multiple times in the last hour.

“Till now no response or official updates from Singtel on their page,” she added.

User Chloe Poh said she tried to call for a Grab car home after an office event but could not do so. “I could… not use the phone network. This caused me great inconvenience. Please give an explanation.”

Legal trainee Tan Anqi Angelina, 24, told The Straits Times that she relied on her home’s Wi-Fi network to surf the Internet.

“I’m not exactly sure when service resumed but when I went to bed at around 1am, it was still down,” she said.

Another Singtel subscriber, Ms Lim Lee Ren, 25, said she was not badly affected, as she was at home and could still rely on Wi-Fi.

But Ms Lim, who is an analyst at a finance start-up, added: “It would have been problematic if I was out and unable to reply to my bosses who need replies 24/7.”

Article first sighted on The Straits Times.

31 Jul

Be careful of “Allow Website” Notification!

What is Allow Website Notifications?

“Allow Website Notifications” is a spam promotion method that has recently become popular amongst cyber criminals. It is a simple method used to promote various malicious sites. Research shows that users typically encounter “Allow Website Notifications” when they have potentially unwanted adware-type programs (PUPs) installed on their computers. In some cases, these pop-ups occur after clicking intrusive advertisements displayed by malicious sites.

Allow Website Notifications scam

In the past, most spam was distributed using emails, however, email providers have become efficient in dealing with the problem and so this method is consequently less effective. Therefore, criminals search for new methods to proliferate spam, including “Allow Website Notifications”. In general, the “Allow Website Notifications” option is legitimate and allows web developers to notify users when new content is posted, however, criminals misuse this facility to promote malicious websites. When users open a website with “Allow Website Notifications”, they are prompted with a pop-up asking for permission to display notifications. If users agree, their choices are saved in browser options and criminals are then able to continually feed them with unwanted ads. In this way, users are redirected to sites that contain malicious content, thus leading to system infection. Some sites ask to enable notifications, otherwise content will not be displayed. When the user declines, the pop-up simply re-appears until the website is closed. These claims to display content are merely attempts to trick users into clicking “Allow” – after doing so, users receive nothing. Fortunately, removing permission to display notifications is simple – follow the instructions below.

Adware-type applications typically do two things: 1) display intrusive advertisements, and; 2) gather sensitive information. To display ads (coupons, banners, pop-ups, and so on), adware employs various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, displayed ads often conceal underlying website content, thereby diminishing the browsing experience. Furthermore, intrusive ads can lead to malicious websites and even run scripts that download/install malware (or other PUPs). Even a single click can result in high-risk computer infections. Another important issue is information tracking. Potentially unwanted programs gather various information (e.g., geo-locations, IP addresses, keystrokes, URLs visited, pages viewed, queries entered into search engines, and so on) that might contain personal details. This information is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who generate revenue by misusing private information. Therefore, the presence of data-tracking apps might lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. You are strongly advised to remove all adware-type applications immediately.

There are hundreds of adware-type applications, all of which are virtually identical (e.g., PokkiUpdate CheckerCurrent Me, etc.) By offering a wide range of “useful functions”, potentially unwanted programs attempt to give the impression of legitimacy and trick users to install, however, all adware is designed only to generate revenue for the developers. This rogue software merely gathers sensitive information and delivers intrusive advertisements, thereby posing a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

Although some PUPs have official download/promotion websites, most infiltrate systems without permission, since adware is typically distributed using intrusive advertising and “bundling” methods. “Bundling” is essentially stealth installation of third party software with regular apps. PUP developers do not disclose these installations properly – they hide “bundled” apps within various sections (e.g., “Custom/Advanced” settings) of the download or installation processes. Furthermore, many users click intrusive advertisements and skip download/installation steps. In doing so, they expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent system infiltration by PUPs, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Bear in mind that intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, but redirect to dubious websites (e.g., pornography, adult dating, gambling, and so on). If you experience these redirects, immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. Carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes and decline offers to download/install additional applications. We recommend that you download your programs from official sources only, using direct download links, since developers monetize third party downloaders/installers by promoting PUPs. The key to computer safety is caution.

How to remove/disable notifications in web browsers:

Google Chrome (PC):

  • Click the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen
  • Select “Settings“, scroll down to the bottom and click “Advanced
  • Scroll down to the “Privacy and security” section, select “Content settings” and then “Notifications
  • Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL and click “Block” or “Remove” (if you click “Remove” and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)

Mozilla Firefox:

  • Click the Menu button (three bars) on the right upper corner of the screen
  • Select “Options” and click on “Privacy & Security” in the toolbar on the left hand side of the screen
  • Scroll down to the “Permissions” section and click the “Settings” button next to “Notifications
  • In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs, click the drop-down menu and select “Block

Internet Explorer:

  • Click the Gear button on the right upper corner of the IE window
  • Select “Internet options
  • Select the “Privacy” tab and click “Settings” under “Pop-up Blocker” section
  • Select suspicious URLs under and remove them one by one by clicking the “Remove” button

Microsoft Edge:

  • Click the menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the Edge window
  • Scroll down, find and click “Settings
  • Scroll down again and click “View advanced settings
  • Click “Manage” under “Notifications
  • Click the switch under each suspicious website

Safari:

  • Click “Safari” button on the bottom of the screen and select “Preferences…
  • Select the “Websites” tab and then select “Notifications” section on the left pane
  • Check for suspicious URLs and apply the “Deny” option for each

Instant automatic removal of Allow Website Notifications virus:Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sample

Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers’ websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advancedinstallation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

03 Jul

Singtel outage

SINGAPORE — Singtel has apologised for the 3-hour broadband outage on Wednesday (July 4) morning. According to a Singtel spokesman, the disruption was due to “some performance issues with our DNS (Domain Name Server)”.

The spokesman said: “We regret that our fixed broadband customers could not access their internet this morning…The issue has since been resolved and all services were restored by 10.55 am. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank our customers for their patience.”

Some Singtel fixed broadband customers took to Facebook to complain about disruptions to their internet access from as early as 7am on Wednesday.

The telco acknowledged the problem in a Facebook post at 9.03am, saying that some customers may be experiencing difficulty accessing the Internet on mobile and broadband devices, and that its engineers are “investigating”.

The disruption appeared widespread, with users reporting the problem from various locations, including Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Woodlands, Tampines, Punggol, Sengkang, Toa Payoh, Jurong and Bukit Batok.

The telco’s website as well as that of payment provider AXS could not be accessed for some time in the morning.

An AXS spokesperson told TODAY that services on both its electronic payment channels — AXS e-Station and AXS m-Station — were inaccessible to users between 7.45am and 10.30am. Full service have since resumed for both these e-channels.

AT 11.39am, regulator Info-communications Media Development Authority tweeted that it is aware of the disruption, and that it has “begun investigations”.

In December 2016, Singtel’s fibre broadband services were similarly disrupted for several hours, and preliminary findings found that it was due to a technical issue that affected a SingNet server.

Article first sighted on Today.