How QSRs are catering to needs for instant gratification in today’s world

Waiting in line for what was meant to be fast food can take the edge off a tasty meal. But quick service restaurants (QSRs) are complicated operations: real-time manufacturers serving hundreds, if not thousands, of hungry customers every day. And the QSR sector just seems to be growing in popularity as more consumers demand food on the go. About 80 percent of Americans eat out at QSRs at least once per month, half the population eats there at least twice a week, and roughly seven percent do so every day. If that wasn’t enough, the coveted Millennials eat out at an average of three or four times per week and spend almost half of their food budget at QSRs.

With the bigger QSR chains leading the way, many establishments are now offering the ability for customers to order their meal ahead of time through a smartphone app. Just select from the menu and indicate the pickup time. No need to wait in line, and the payment happens instantly in the background, all controlled by the app with no need for cash or cards. Consumers can beat the lunchtime rush and simply waltz in, pick up their meal and go about their business without the lengthy wait. No fuss, no mess, no hassle.

Embedding the payment mechanism is a vital component to making this work. After downloading a QSR’s app, customers register their preferred payment mechanism and never need to look for their wallets or a card again.

But this is not limited to single QSR chains read more

Ransomware can target mobile phones

Ransomware doesn’t only target desktop and laptop computers, but some cell phones as well, according to internet security experts.

“We’ve seen Ransomware start to be developed for Android mobile devices,” said Eric Klonowski, Senior Advanced Threat Research Analyst at the anti-virus company Webroot. “All this is a major concern.”

Image result for ransomware on mobileMobile phone ransomware looks very similar to what you might see on a computer.

Ransomware has not shown up on iPhones yet, Klonowski says.

“It’s highly unlikely that we will see iPhone ransomware sneak through the app store. In addition to reviewing all apps, Apple has a number of security measures in place that prevent apps from interacting with other apps or your pictures, data, etc. while installed,” he said. “Android phones also have similar security measures, but the user can often be coerced to disable it. Successful iPhone ransomware would require a very sophisticated attack on an unprecedented scale.”

Most hackers who design ransomware do it without much sophistication and find it most lucrative to design software for computers, he said.

“Ransomware is super easy to develop. These are concepts learned in Computer Science 101, file modification and very basic (encryption,) he said.  Klonowski suggests mobile and computer users back up their data to an external hard drive. Most mobile phones can be backed up to a computer and that data can then be copied to an external drive.

Once the backup is complete, he says users should disconnect the hard drive so if the computer or mobile phone is infected, it will not spread to the disconnected drive. Read more

Could Android be safe from a WannaCry-like attack

The WannaCry cyberattack has ensnared more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries by taking advantage of outdated versions of Windows that never got Microsoft’s crucial security patches. Millions of devices that are stuck on older versions of an operating system and don’t have access to the latest updates.

Image result for ransomware on mobileOnly 7.1 percent of its 1 billion users are on Nougat, better known as Android 7.0, the latest version of the mobile operating system. Nearly a third run on Android KitKat or older — versions that came out more than three years ago.

“Over time, the more that Android versions age out, you’re going to have an increasing attack surface for bad guys,” said Josh Feinblum, vice president of information security at Rapid7.

There are key differences between Windows and Android that keep the mobile operating system safe from WannaCry’s clutches. Even with so many different flavors of Android, including versions tweaked by phone makers like Samsung or LG, it’s unlikely that users are in for a wide-scale attack.

While Android isn’t susceptible to WannaCry, it could be open to other attacks, including closed-off ransomware incidents.

But for now, the WannaCry ransomware — a cyber shakedown in which hackers lock your computer and demand money to fix it — is solely a problem found on Windows. Read more

Innovation and tech disruption potential for Africa

A new study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo estimates “large and robust negative effects of robots on employment and wages” in the United States.

Image result for mobile in africa

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The study appears to contradict the authors’ 2016 study, which concluded that a rise in automation lowers the cost of production using labor, “and thus discourages further automation and encourages the faster creation of new complex tasks.”

But in an attempt to calm public anxiety over technological disruption among those often derided as technophobes, Satyajit Das argues that the world economy has reached “peak technology”. He suggests that 85% of the economic benefits of technology has already been reaching and is projected to reach 95% by 2038.

Read more from Professor Calestous Juma