Actrix Online Informer – March 2015
The Actrix Online Informer is published each month to help keep
Actrix customers up-to-date with what's happening on the Internet, and to
help ensure they have every opportunity to benefit from it.
Welcome to the March Actrix Online Informer
Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for March 2015. This month we're excited to announce the results of Consumer NZ's annual survey of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in New Zealand – and the reason we're excited is because, once again, we've done pretty darn well!
We also feature an article on the worst passwords of 2014. You'll be surprised at how simple some of these passwords are – but then again, you might not be, considering they're the most commonly used passwords around. If you read one of your passwords on the list, we'd recommend changing it.
We conclude things with a few articles from the Actrix Blog.
This month's YouTube feature is for petrol heads and fans of extreme sports. Most people base jump off tall building or cliffs. But moto rider Brad O'Neal has been imagining something entirely different since he was 12 years old. Watch the dream come to life.
We're pleased to announce we've once again achieved top results in the annual Consumer NZ Satisfaction Survey.
"We are once again delighted with the survey results, especially as the culture within Actrix centres on the customer and how we can help them," said managing director Howard Lewis.
"The top three performers, with more than 90 percent satisfaction, were Actrix, Inspire Net and Snap – these companies have been among the top five performers for the past three years." – ComputerWorld
"At Actrix we aim to engage with our customers in an understanding and comfortable manner, regardless of whether they have been online with us since the dial up days or are just venturing into the latest Ultra-Fast Broadband offerings.
Having had the top score for five years, these results are made possible by our fantastic staff and their unrelenting commitment to helping the customer."
"The top three performers, with more than 90 percent satisfaction, were Actrix, Inspire Net and Snap. Consumer NZ says these companies have been among the top five performers for the past three years." – TelcoReview
Instead of pre-packaged, scripted support, the Actrix team takes a more organic approach," Lewis added. "The feedback is always that we are unique and they love our non-technical approach."
Actrix support is based entirely within New Zealand.
"Smaller companies Actrix, Inspire Net and Snap rated as the top three performers, with more than 90 per cent satisfaction, leaving large established firms Vodafone and Spark in their wake." – NZ Herald
SplashData, an online security company, has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet – thus making them the worst passwords that could expose anybody to being hacked or having their identities stolen.
In its fourth annual report, compiled from more than 3.3 million leaked passwords during the year, "123456"and "password" continue to hold the top two spots that they have held each year since the first list in 2011. Other passwords in the top 10 include "qwerty," "dragon," and "football."
As in past years' lists, simple numerical passwords remain common, with nine of the top 25 passwords on the 2014 list comprised of numbers only. Passwords appearing for the first time on include "696969" and "batman".
According to the data, the passwords evaluated for the 2014 list were mostly held by users in North America and Western Europe. In 2014, millions of passwords from Russian accounts were also leaked, but these passwords were not included in the analysis.
The list of frequently used passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords.
"Passwords based on simple patterns on your keyboard remain popular despite how weak they are," said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. "Any password using numbers alone should be avoided, especially sequences. As more websites require stronger passwords or combinations of letters and numbers, longer keyboard patterns are becoming common passwords, and they are still not secure."
For example, users should avoid a sequence such as "qwertyuiop," which is the top row of letters on a standard keyboard, or "1qaz2wsx" which comprises the first two 'columns' of numbers and letters on a keyboard.
Other tips include:
Don't use your favourite sport: "baseball" and "football" are in the top 10, and "hockey", "soccer" and "golfer" are also in the top 100. Don't use a favourite team either, as "yankees", "eagles", "steelers", "rangers" and "lakers" are all in the top 100.
Don't use your birthday: 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992 are all in the top 100.
Don't use your children's names: common names such as "michael", "jennifer", "thomas", "jordan", "hunter", "michelle", "charlie", "andrew" and "daniel" are all in the top 50.
The top 25 worst passwords of 2014 were:
New Zealand first in fibre growth!
Actrix is proud to be part of the roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband in New Zealand. Now, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a report showing Aotearoa is ranked first in fibre connection growth!
If you'd like to find out if Actrix Ultra-Fast Broadband is available to you, visit http://go.actrix.co.nz/questions.
New Zealand has topped the OECD in fibre broadband uptake, seeing a 272 percent increase in fibre broadband connection growth for the year ending June 2014, almost double the rate of increase of Luxembourg, which came second, with 139 percent.
By comparison, Australia came in sixth, after Canada, Spain, and Chile, with an annual growth rate in fibre broadband connection of 77 percent, according to the OECD.
The OECD, which has tallied up the broadband growth among its 34 member countries, revealed in its latest report that mobile broadband penetration has risen to 78 percent within its catchment area. This equates to just over three wireless subscriptions for every four inhabitants.
How fibre optics works
New Zealand is leading the way in fibre to the home with the rollout of Ultra-Fast Broadband. Check out this fascinating video for a quick overview on how it all works.
Save with ultra-fast broadband or naked
We've been promoting the concept of combining your phone line with Actrix Internet service for a few months now as a result of regulatory pricing changes.
Depending on your needs, you could decide to change to a different technology to save.
If Ultra-Fast Broadband is available to you, you could sign up for the new fibre service and have your phone line run on top of the new connection, thus eliminating the need for your current phone provider altogether.
If you've been thinking about ditching your phone (voice) line, another possibility could be Naked Broadband which starts at $69 monthly for 50GB.
If you've been thinking about UFB or switching to Naked broadband, send us a query today – we'll help evaluate your needs to ensure you aren't spending too much!
You can send your query here: http://go.actrix.co.nz/questions
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Cyberspace news snippets
What's been happening in the online world?
Geeks set to storm public sector: Public sector mandarins will have to change their ways by giving geeks a bigger seat at the policy table, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has warned. Click here for more.
Webstock speakers pull overseas executives: Google and Facebook have sent executives from the United States to join the audience of Webstock, Wellington's technology conference with a soul. Click here for more.
Project to use RFID to keep tabs on wheelie bins: Palmerston North's recycling wheelie bins are going astray at the rate of more than 300 a year, and the city council is planning to tag them to help keep them in the right places. Click here for more.
iPads keep remote patients in touch: Getting health information online, through text and by email is the "way of the future", says a Blenheim GP. Click here for more.
ICY app helps vision-impaired connect with the world: WelTec students have devised a smartphone app with international potential, to help the visually impaired access information on their surroundings. Click here for more.
Netflix's big guns unlikely to be available to Kiwi subscribers: Netflix will be unlikely to show its own hit series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black when it launches in New Zealand this year. Click here for more.
Start-up equipping youth with financial skills at Webstock tech conference: Wellington start-up Banqer is "pleasantly surprised" to have won this year's BNZ Start-up Alley competition. Click here for more.
Cricket interest soars online, says Google: There's no doubt the Black Caps are popular online right now - but the team still can't quite compete with pop star Lady Gaga. Click here for more.
Charity-IT weekend hackathon overhauls nonprofit systems video: Four charities are set to get a free technology overhaul this weekend from 30 Wellington volunteers. Click here for more.
Appy days for Kiwi tech pioneers: Auckland-based Putti is on a mission to connect more New Zealand businesses to the mobile trading space so they can grow customers and revenues. Click here for more.
App puts the accent on Kiwi-sounding words: Learning to read and write can be hard enough, let alone when your teacher's accent doesn't match what you hear on TV, radio, and the internet. Click here for more.
Are we living in 'the lost century'?: We know incredible things about former civilisations thousands of years after they fell, thanks – in large part – to the tangible records they left behind them. But today, no one keeps physical records. No one writes letters. No one prints photos. Click here for more.
Why complaining online makes us feel so good: Venting online is therapeutic release that comes with a sense of validation. Click here for more.
US taxi firm takes on name of app Flywheel: A San Francisco taxi company is ditching its 82-year-old brand and renaming itself after a smartphone app in the latest sign of how mobile technology is changing the way people get a ride. Click here for more.
With one DNA sample, new technology can recreate your face: Columbian police are experimenting with a new technology that uses tiny amounts of DNA to create a computer-generated illustration of their suspect. Click here for more.
Norway's Opera browser offers free access to web apps: Opera, whose browser software has helped mobile operators sign up millions of users for free or low-cost internet access, said it was introducing features that let operators offer subscribers free access to selected apps. Click here for more.
Silicon Valley sexism laid bare in $21m trial: On a 2011 business trip to New York, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture firm partner Trae Vassallo answered a late night knock on her hotel room door. A male colleague, Ajit Nazre, was standing there in his bathrobe and slippers. Click here for more.
Google joins Reddit crackdown on nude posts: Reddit and Google are taking a tougher stance against nudity to prevent their services from turning into online peep shows. Click here for more.
Shuhei Yoshida: The man who returned Sony to the top of gaming: Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's worldwide game studios, has helped propel the company's game division toward a surprising turnaround. Click here for more.
YouTube Music Key to launch within months: YouTube is set to launch its long-awaited paid monthly subscription service called YouTube Music Key in a few months, said Robert Kyncl, the online video service's head of content and business operations, at the Code/Media conference. Click here for more.
Don't blame Facebook for narcissists: Poor Mark Zuckerberg. The guy and his creation have become the go-to perpetrators for many of society's ills. Click here for more.
Reddit exodus illustrates state of free speech online: Reddit, the long-time haven of weirdos, perverts and miscreants the internet over, has been, from its beginning, the mainstream bulwark for free speech online. Click here for more.
Dedicated followers of #foodporn: Why photograph your food? James Walker examines a modern phenomenon. Click here for more.
Happn dating app seems like a stalker's dream: Happn is the latest addition to the app-based dating scene. After securing $US8 million (£5.2 million) of funding, it now boasts close to 2 million downloads and 700,000 active monthly users, founder DidierRappaport told Business Insider UK. Around a third of those are in London. Click here for more.
What does your Facebook profile say about you?: Given anything the big thumbs-up on Facebook lately? Click here for more.
Apple vs. Android vs. Amazon vs. Microsoft
Apple adds diversity to its emojis: Apple's next update for the iPhone, known as iOS 8.3, will bring 300 new emojis along with a handful of other features such as wireless CarPlay support. Click here for more.
Google rolls out Android for Work tools: Google is releasing a set of tools designed for businesses and employees who want to get work done on Android-powered smartphones, setting up a skirmish on another key front of mobile computing. Click here for more.
YouTube kid-safe app cuts out salacious, violent and crude material: YouTube is going to release a mobile app that will only show video clips suitable for young children to help parents control what their kids are watching on the internet. Click here for more.
Copyright and piracy
Piracy hunter's integrity questioned in Australian ISPs court case: Hollywood is demanding that Australian internet providers hand over details of people who illicitly downloaded the film Dallas Buyers Club. Click here for more.
How Oscar buzz fuels online movie piracy: After Oscar nominations were announced on January 15, worldwide downloads of pirated Academy Award-nominated films skyrocketed 385 percent in the 30 days following. Click here for more.
Security and Privacy
NSA hiding Equation spy program on hard drives: The US National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives. Click here for more.
$1 billion bank hack could affect customers video: The hacker gang that looted as much as US$1 billion (NZ$1.33 billion) worldwide from banks was unusual: It stole directly from the banks, instead of ripping off their customers. Click here for more.
Latest Snowden leaks say NSA helped UK steal cellphone codes: The NSA allegedly helped the British spy agency to hack into Dutch phone data chip manufacturer Gemalto in order to tap into users' SIM cards. Click here for more.
Rights groups call for action over NSA-GCHQ SIM hacking: Rights organisations have called for urgent steps to be taken to protect private calls and online communications after allegations that US and British agencies hacked into the networks of a major SIM card maker. Click here for more.
Major expansion of CIA online spy efforts: CIA Director John Brennan is planning a major expansion of the agency's cyber espionage capabilities as part of a broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work, current and former US officials said. Click here for more.
FBI says sixty different hacker groups linked to nation-states: The FBI is aware of 60 different cyber threats groups linked to nation-states, a senior bureau official said on Tuesday. Click here for more.
Superfish points fingers over ad software: A little-known Silicon Valley startup was caught in a firestorm of criticism this week for making software that exposed Lenovo laptop users to hackers bent on stealing personal information. Click here for more.
The Weird, Wide Web
Robotic dog wins internet sympathy after getting kicked video: Last week, Boston Dynamics released a video of its latest creation, a 160-pound robot with an uncanny ability to balance. Boston Dynamics demonstrated this in a video that shows the machine coping with a series of painful-looking kicks. Click here for more.
Whiplash thin air with virtual drum kit Aerodrums video: Everyone has seen someone play an air guitar that makes no sound. Now two researchers from Dublin have developed a programme that allows a drummer beating sticks in the air to produce drum sounds without drums. Click here for more.
Each month we dredge through our archives to pull out stories from the Actrix Newsletter of exactly five years ago. Sometimes these stories will show just how much the net has changed in such a short time, and sometimes they'll be included just because they're interesting.
Nickelback in a pickle on Facebook: Does a pickle or the Canadian band Nickelback have more fans? It may be a joke but the answer might not have the band laughing – a pickle. Click here for more.
Charges likely after Christchurch Facebook threats : People who joined in a vicious online attack against a new Christchurch principal will be prosecuted, police say. Click here for more.
Ex-florist sentenced for altering rivals' Google maps: A former Napier florist who changed her competitors' details on Google maps to direct clients to her business was today sentenced to 100 hours community service. Click here for more.
Surge in Kiwis looking for love online: A flurry of single New Zealanders looking for love in cyberspace has resulted in a spike in the use of online dating through January. Click here for more.
Government gets tough on spam: The government is stepping up its war on spammers, as it loses patience with New Zealand businesses flooding email and cellphone inboxes with unwanted messages. Click here for more.
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