My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: May 2019

Thursday, May 16, 2019

How WhatsApp Voice Calling missed calls hacking is a plus for Telegram and Signal

WhatsApp says its app allows mobile phones to be hacked via a missed in-app call.

The malware, designed by Israel’s NSO Group, gaining access to the Android OS via missed calls on the voice-calling function of WhatsApp as reported in the article “WhatsApp Discovers Spyware That Infected With A Call Alone”, Published Wednesday May 15, 2019, The Jamaica Gleaner. 

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The numbers are scarce, but the number of infected may be in the millions, as a missed call is quit a common occurrence. So too is making a WhatsApp call.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

WhatsApp missed call vulnerability - Just switch to Telegram and you'll be fine

Good to note this was different from the hacking of WhatsApp back in August 8, 2018.

That job, which was uncovered by CheckPoint Security, was done via unsuspecting victims clicking on links as detailed in my blog article entitled “How CheckPoint Security says Hackers can read and send WhatsApp messages”.

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So how do you stop this? Simply put, you can't... you just have to do the following:

1.      Backup WhatsApp
2.      Delete WhatsApp
3.      Reinstall the latest version from the Play Store or iTunes Store

This vulnerability points to the possibility that the NSO Group may be targeting voice notes or even recorded videos or audio uploads next, as those are also easy to send around as predicted in You probably weren’t a target of the “WhatsApp surveillance hack”, published 14 May 2019 by Zack Whittaker, Tech Crunch. 

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They would only have to make it go viral to really take off.

So just switch to one of many alternatives as listed in my blog article entitled “Alternatives to WhatsApp for Jamaicans as Facebook Messenger, Instagram to merge soon”, such a Telegram which I currently use and you'll be fine.

Friday, May 10, 2019

BookFusion and Oxford University Press ebook partnership indicates Digital Education Rising

“As the leading secondary publisher in the Caribbean, we are absolutely delighted to have signed this agreement with BookFusion and to be in a position to support a local business.

Caribbean at Oxford University Press, Oliver Thornton commenting on the partnership between Oxford University Press and BookFusion Ltd

With so many tablets and smartphones in the hands of kids, there is a need for digital content for the student to read as was asserted under the TIS (Tablet in Schools Program as explained in my blog article entitled “How JA$114 million spent on Math, English and Science for TIS Project Tablets by January 2015”. 

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To this end, Oxford University Press and BookFusion Ltd have partnered to deliver quality digital educational resources for the Caribbean as reported in the article “Oxford University Press, BookFusion To Bring Digital Resources Into Classrooms”, published Thursday May 9, 2019, The Jamaica Gleaner. 

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The Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford responsible for the publication of their literary and written work. University of Oxford is a University of Oxford.

Their collaboration will support the following customers looking to bring more digital into the classroom:

1.      Caribbean schools
2.      Institutions
3.      Ministries of education

This as they will deliver a comprehensive range of educational resources, accessible across all devices anytime, anywhere!

BookFusion and Oxford University Press - Ebooks are the future of education

BookFusion Ltd, a leading eBook provider in the Caribbean, works to provide students across the region with ebooks for SCEC and CAPE. The platform currently hosts several Oxford eBooks mainly:

1.      Lower secondary resource ebooks
2.      CSEC® ebooks
3.      CAPE® ebooks

Plans to increase their offering by the need of 2019 are afoot. This would include:

1.      Investigating Science for Jamaica Second Edition
2.      Principles of Accounts for CSEC® Second Edition
3.      Information Technology for CSEC® Third Edition

They also host the popular CXC® Study Guide series as well. So this is a big plus for not only BookFusion and Oxford, but for the CXC as well.

So says publisher for the Caribbean at Oxford University Press, Oliver Thornton, “Adding to the list of partners in the region that we work with, it will ensure that many more students and teachers will have access to our market-leading resources across a huge range of subjects and series, including the CXC Study Guides”.

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Still you can always download ebooks for free at my MICO Wars blog article “How Students and Teachers can find free Reference and Fiction books”.

Clearly, BookFusion and Oxford University Press see that ebook content is the future for Education. So Jamaicans need to partake in this revolution via making their own books and online services.

Here's the link:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

How SVL acquisition of AnyBet will Boost Quisk and GK MPay Mobile Money

SVL (Supreme Ventures Limited) is acquiring Jamaica’s largest sports bookmaker, Any Bet.

Any Bet is the trading name for Post to Post Betting Limited. Operated by Post to Post Holdings Limited, the company has signed a letter of intent with SVL to sell majority interest to the gaming company as noted in the article “Supreme Ventures Acquires Main Sports Betting Rival Any Bet”, published May 8, 2019 by Steven Jackson, The Jamaica Gleaner.

SVL operates rival sports-betting game JustBet. They are one of several Bookmakers in Jamaica in a list that includes the following companies that made some JA$4.93 billion in 2018 fiscal year:

1.      Post to Post Betting/Any Bet
2.      Capital Betting & Wagering Limited
3.      Ideal Betting Company
4.      Island Bet
5.      Jamozzie/BetCris

If this merger go through and close in June, SVL would end up controlling 90% of the market.
So who or what exactly is AnyBet? And why is this significant to SVL's overall plans?

SVL and Anybet – A Brief History of Post to Post Betting

SVL is the leading player in the following areas:

1.      Lottery
2.      Horse Racing

They are the sole owners of the only horse-racing track, Caymanas Park, acquired from the Jamaican government in 2017. Post to Post Betting is owned by the following shareholders according to Companies Office of Jamaica records:

1.      Albert Chow
2.      Lloyd Hoo Mook
3.      Natasha Hoo Mook
4.      Icilda Hoo Mook
5.      Natalia Hoo Mook
6.      Alexander Chin
7.      Rodney Chin

Post to Post Betting controls some 73% the bookmaking market and is the result of the merger of three (3) companies in 2013:

1.      Champion Betting
2.      Track Price Plus Limited
3.      Markham Betting

With over 188 betting shops across the island, they are the leading bookmaker in the island. So says the data published by regulator Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, BGLC, in its annual report for the year ending March 2017.

In terms of earnings, Any Bet led the market as follows:

1.      JA$3.64 billion posted by Any Bet
2.      JA $611 million posted by Just Bet
3.      JA $260 million posted by Island Bet
4.      JA$183.7 million posted by Jamozzie/BetCris
5.      JA$170.1 million posted by Ideal
6.      JA$70 million posted by Capital Betting

So what does this mean financially for the SVL?

SVL and Anybet - Bookmaking is their last frontier

Thus this acquisition fits into their overall plan to dominate betting and bookmaking in Jamaica, booth off-track and online as noted in my blog article entitled “How Supreme Ventures Mobile Betting App may revive Lotto or Super Lotto Gaming”. 

Bookmakers take bets for events such as:

1.      Horse racing
2.      Simulcast racing
3.      Sports betting

Sports such as such as football and NBA games are also up for betting, making them competitors to JustBet, which had recently launched an app to do the very same thing as reported in my Geezam article entitled “Supreme Ventures JustBet Mobile sees winnings Quisk-ed to NCB Account”.

They then pay betters according to their odds when they win. This is an area that SVL has no control over. So this acquisition would increase their stake from 19% of the bookmaking market to almost 100% overnight, should it go through in June 2019.

SVL and Bookmaking - Online Bookmaking is coming the future

In 2018, SVL posted some interesting numbers.

According to SVL’s 2018 audited results, they made JA$248 million in revenue in the sport-betting segment, which accounts for 6% of their total revenue.

Currently , Sports betting only contributes 1% or JA$87 million to SVL's revenue in the Q1 od 2019, which has reached some JA$621 million in after-tax profit on JA$9.3 billion of revenue.

If SVL can acquire AnyBet in June 2019 and scale by pushing Sports betting online line it is doing with the other betting services as noted in my blog article entitled “How Supreme Ventures Mobile Betting App may revive Lotto or Super Lotto Gaming”.
They can make potentially make every Jamaican with a bank account a betting man on their smartphone and also allow regular Jamaicans to also become bookmakers for virtually any sports event, a virtually untapped revenue stream in Jamaica.

Clearly Mobile Money players such as Quisk and GK MPay will have a big part to play in this, as it will become the man currency going forward as predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to get Jamaicans to use Quisk, GK MPay for more than just Phone Credit” as we become more connected via our smartphones.