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.
Scam site gets Google top ranking
Achieving top position in Google search results is something most website owners only get to dream about. The key to success, according to Google itself, is to have high-quality content. It beggars belief, therefore, that a newly launched website, designed to scam individuals for hundreds of pounds for products they would never receive, managed to stay highly ranked even after it had been reported to Google.
Falsely purporting to be a UK company, MyTechDomestic sold a range of high-demand gadgets at temptingly low prices and then insisted they were paid for by direct bank payments which were immediately deposited into its accounts.
Perhaps the reason why it got the number one ranking is because it advertised on Google’s Shopping Service. As a result, its ads also appeared at the top of Google’s mobile and desktop search results with the words ‘By Google’ at their side – something which will have given visitors the belief that the site was genuine. If your business has an SEO consultant, they’ll no doubt be wanting you to advertise on Google Shopping in future.
Red carpet lawyers hacked
In what could potentially be the most embarrassing data breach since Ashley Madison, legal firm Grubman, Shire, Meiselas & Sacks, lawyers for some of the world’s most famous celebrities, have had their website hacked by one of the underworld’s most infamous cybercrime gangs.
The gang, known as REvil, is the same outfit which held foreign exchange company, Travelex, to ransom in January. This time, they’ve taken the lawyers’ site down and helped themselves to the files and contracts of many of the artists the company represent. These include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Robert De Nero, U2, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Madonna and Mike Tyson, as well as many, many others.
As the hackers have already shown proof they have the data by releasing screenshots of a Madonna contract and the file directory, it seems they are intent on a double ransom, once for supplying the decryption key for the website and once for not releasing the highly valuable and likely to be much sought after files. With clients like these, you can expect Messrs Grubman, Shire, Meiselas & Sacks to be needing their own lawyers in the near future.
Vulnerabilities in popular WordPress plugin
Two major vulnerabilities have been discovered in SiteOrigin’s highly popular Page Builder plugin, used on over one million websites. Both the bugs enable attackers to forge admin requests, take full control of the site and run malicious code on the administrator’s browser. For the attack to work, however, the site’s admin will need to click on a link or open an attachment.
SiteOrigin has already released a patch and if you don’t have automatic updates enabled for your site, users of Page Builder should update to the latest version, 2.10.16., as soon as possible.
Offices, who needs ‘em?
Many people have been saying that the lockdown would lead to permanent social change and, when it comes to traditional ways of working, we are beginning to see this happen already. Today, it is Twitter leading the field by announcing that employees can now work from home on a permanent basis following the successful way this has happened over the last few months.
While Twitter makes the headlines, it is not the only company making this decision as many smaller businesses, initially forced by circumstance to invest in distance working technology, have now seen the benefits it brings. This, however, will also have a knock-on effect. The good news is that, with less commuting, pollution and congestion will reduce and people will have a better work-life balance. On the downside, many of the businesses that build, run and maintain offices will suffer, as will those that cater for employees: sandwich shops, public transport, cafés, etc.
Tech to replace humans in post-lockdown era
According to business analysts, Forrester, the cost of employing humans will force companies recovering from the Coronavirus recession to invest in automation, robotics and AI rather than in recruiting new staff.
Historical data shows this to be a common trend following major downturns, with companies strategically looking for ways to reduce their reliance on manpower. UK supermarkets recovering from the 2008 financial crash, for example, replaced a quarter of checkout assistant posts with automation technologies like self-service checkouts.
According to Forrester, the jobs particularly at risk following this recession are not manual roles but those with some ‘cognitive aspect’ such as in sales, support and administration. Here, technologies such as delivery drones, chatbots and AI service robots may be deployed instead.
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