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.
easyJet lands in hot water
Budget airline, easyJet, this week admitted that a cyberattack which took place back in January affected nine million of its customers. While for most victims the damage was limited to their email addresses and travel details being stolen, the consequences for over 2,000 others may be far worse. Hackers not only accessed these customers’ credit and debit card details; they also managed to get hold of the three-digit, CVV security number printed on the back of each card.
The airline explained that the lengthy delay in informing customers was down to the nature of the investigation. While it does not believe that any personal data has been misused, it has advised customers to be wary of phishing attempts purporting to come from itself.
The ICO, who is investigating the breach, said customers ‘have a right to expect that organisations will handle their personal information securely.’ It added that where necessary, it will take robust action. After British Airways £138 million fine, the investigation could turn out to be quite turbulent for easyJet.
Chinese Alexa sponsored by US brands
Boldly going where Amazon won’t, Chinese online retail and cloud infrastructure giant, Alibaba, has teamed up with KFC and Starbucks so that its users can purchase branded smart speakers from which they can order the sponsors’ food and drink. While you’re unlikely to ever see Amazon Echo sporting a portrait of Colonel Sanders, Alibaba’s equivalent gadget, ‘Tmall Genie’ proudly displays the logos in a Trump-defying US-China collaboration.
What’s more, the Tmall Genie can interact with over 1000 other brands, including many IoT devices like smart sportswear, smart fridges and robot vacuum cleaners. Although they are not in the same market, Alibaba’s Jack Ma seems keen to do in Asia what Jeff Bezos is doing elsewhere. However, with estimated revenue for 2020 at around $42 billion, Alibaba is still a long way off Amazon’s $350 billion.
Facebook Shops launched ahead of schedule
If social media plays a part in your business’ marketing strategy, you’ll be pleased to know that from now on, instead of just being able to link to your website or sell things on the Facebook marketplace, you can set up a virtual shop within Facebook and sell directly to customers from there.
It’s free to set up the stores, which appear on business pages and which can be accessed via targeted ads. However, you will still have to pay transaction fees to payment gateways, like PayPal or Stripe, who handle the payments for you.
Facebook has sped up the launch of the shops feature in a bid to help businesses struggling for survival during the lockdown. It plans to roll out a similar shop feature on Instagram in July.
Delivery tracking goes to the next level
While companies and customers have been able to track shipments for a while, Microsoft and FedEx have teamed up to take it to a new level in a way that will ‘reinvent the end-to-end commerce experience.’
The project, FedEx Surround, uses enhanced scanning and IoT technology to collect data from multiple sources across a product’s journey. Using Microsoft’s vast AI, machine learning and data analytics capabilities, it can provide companies with near-real-time analytics and offer insights even down to the level of individual postcodes.
Rather than keep the technology in-house for its own benefit, FedEx is allowing the technology to be used by any company with a supply chain or those that require time-sensitive deliveries.
Chrome beefs up securityBottom of Form
Google has made a number of important developments to improve security and privacy for users of its Chrome browser. These include new options and features to keep users safe online as well as making its security settings more user-friendly.
One key development is an updated safety check tool. This will now inform users if any of their saved passwords has ever been accessed during a security breach; if they have, the user will be informed by an on-screen pop-up that will advise them to change the password immediately.
Other features include automatic updates to the latest secure version of Chrome, the removal of dangerous browser extensions and a warning which appears if Safe Browsing is disabled. Safe Browsing itself has been upgraded to ensure users don’t visit malicious sites or download malware. Finally, the upgrade features a new tool called Secure DNS which encrypts DNS lookups so they can’t be intercepted.
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