Catch up on this week’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
Tech helping elderly stay in touch
The lockdown is particularly tough on the elderly living in care homes who are unable to receive visits from family. Thankfully, there is a range of technologies being used to help them. In Belgium, care homes are using robots called Sara, also called ‘Sarabots’, which have in-built connectivity and can travel from room to room, enabling residents to video chat with their families and friends.
In the UK, the NHS has an innovation team, NHSX, which has the task of finding ways technology can best help the elderly with isolation. They are currently trialling the use of Facebook Portal. This device is also used by CHD Living Homes who use it as part of their Adopt a Grandparent campaign. The campaign aims to create friendships between the elderly and younger generations who may not have grandparents or grandchildren of their own. If you are interested in volunteering and offering a bit of online company for elderly residents, visit CHD Living’s Adopt a Grandparent page.
Mario hacked off
Nintendo Switch account holders have been urged to increase login security following a series of hacks. Preferring the shopping cart to Mario Kart, the cybercriminals have been helping themselves to expensive items, including high-value games and the V-bucks currency used in Fortnite. After logging into the user’s Nintendo account, the criminals pay for the items using the account holder’s linked PayPal account.
Apparently, the hacks have been going on for months; however, they have recently become more prevalent, with technology and gaming site employees being among those targeted. Mario and Luigi are now telling their online buddies to level up to two-factor authentication if they don’t want to see any uNintendo-ed activity depleting their gold coin stash.
Industrial-scale COVID-19 scams
Scammers trying to make money out of COVID-19 are operating on an industrial scale. In the UK alone, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) removed over 2,000 online COVID-related scams just in March. Of these, over 450 were fake online stores selling fraudulent coronavirus goods. At the same time, the NCSC took down phishing and malware sites and almost a thousand fraud schemes where investors reeling at recent stock market crashes were promised large returns on a single investment fee paid upfront.
Much of the advertising for these online scams takes place through spam email, which has proliferated in use during the pandemic. Google is currently filtering 18 million coronavirus scam emails every day being sent from Gmail accounts – and this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Facebook profiles going on the cheap
267 million Facebook users have had their profiles put up for sale for a measly £500 on the dark web. For that price, the buyers, of which there are likely to be many, will get their hands on the users’ names, emails, phone numbers, Facebook IDs and dates of birth. Luckily, the database doesn’t include passwords, but with the other information available, it’s likely to lead to lots of people receiving targeted phishing emails and text messages.
The latest in a line of data breaches to hit the Zuckerberg empire, this database was discovered by researchers at Cyble, a risk assessment company. Cyble even managed to purchase the data to make sure it was authentic. Although not verified, the likely source of the breach is from a third-party API or data-scraper.
Whether it’s down to sheer kind-heartedness or to marketing gurus exploiting the lockdown to get us addicted to their software so we end up paying for it in the long-term, there are plenty of vendors offering their apps on free trials at the moment.
Those of note include a 6 month free trial of video conferencing app, Microsoft Teams, until recently only available as part of Office 365; a two month trial of PowWowNow, a remote working platform that includes web meetings, video and conference calling apps; free until July is Zoho Remotely, a suite of 11 remote productivity apps, including those for online meetings and training, project management, word processing and file storage; 6 months free use of Freshchat and Freshcaller, which can be used by businesses with fewer than 50 employees to manage spikes in customer queries and to assist them with the move to remote working; 3 months use of Ring VPN for UK users in isolation or working remotely; free access to Kaspersky EndPoint Security, including Hybrid Cloud Security, EndPoint Security Cloud Plus and Security for Microsoft Office 365 (incl. Teams and SharePoint Online); and 6 months use of Okta’s access management solutions, including single sign-on and multi-factor authentication.
For companies needing to adapt their working practices during the pandemic, these free trials could be the solution you are looking for.
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