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.
UK gives £10M for cybersecurity research
The UK Government has given £10 million to fund a number of ‘security-by-design’ research projects aimed at making the country’s IT infrastructure more secure. Recipients include the University of Southampton, which is researching ways to speed up the identification of vulnerabilities in software design; the University of Glasgow, whose AppControl platform uses microprocessors to maintain the digital security of nuclear power stations, vehicles and medical robots; and the University of Birmingham which is developing microchips that help secure sensitive data. Other institutions receiving funding include the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Kent and Imperial College London.
Customer experience offers best chance for growth
A survey of executives, undertaken as part of Adobe’s ‘2020 Digital Transformation Trends Report’ has found that customer experience is seen as offering companies the best growth opportunities.
As more people use online services, customer experience optimisation has overtaken product and service innovation to become the main business priority. Executives see the implementation of personalisation, omnichannel shopping, frictionless payment, data analytics and artificial intelligence as vital ingredients to give customers unique experiences during their journey.
Customer experience is seen as key in developing loyalty and trust, increasing the likelihood that consumers will accept engagement, give feedback and share their needs so that the business can provide better products and services in return. Those who have invested in customer experience have benefitted from increased customer engagement, loyalty and conversion rates.
Rise in open source vulnerabilities
Vulnerability management company, RiskSense, has reported that the number of flaws discovered in commonly used open source software has doubled, rising from 412 in 2018 to 968 in 2019 and with a further 179 arising in the first three months of this year.
This is of particular concern because the widespread use of open source applications means vulnerabilities can have a significant impact on many organisations across the globe. Of the almost 2,700 vulnerabilities discovered since 2015, 624 were discovered in MySQL, which is used by many website databases, including WordPress.
Hand in hand with the growth in vulnerabilities is the rising number of weaponised exploits used against them, especially cross-site scripting and attacks which benefit from weaknesses in input validation. While crowdsourced reviewing helps open source software to be more secure than proprietary applications, users should always ensure that they keep their sites as secure as possible and update software whenever a patch is released.
Cloud disappears over IBM
According to DownDetector, IBM Cloud had a major global outage this week, affecting customers who use its Kubernetes and Red Hat services. Indeed, even IBM Cloud’s own status page went offline, displaying a server error rather than reporting its service.
Twitter users were quick to point out that, despite the company’s advertising asking, ‘Can you afford even one hour of downtime?’ the outage lasted for around four hours. At present, the cause is unclear.
Remote workers speared by phishing attacks
Security company, Barracuda, has reported a rise in spear-phishing attacks targeting remote workers. People working from home are more likely to open fake emails that impersonate their bosses and this has led to an increase in the number of employees falling victim to the scams.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of remote workers using file sharing sites like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, sending them forms that resemble login pages and then stealing their login details when they sign in. Other fake emails contain links to files stored on OneDrive and Google Drive. These give instructions to employees asking them to click on links and log into other phishing sites.
Employers can help protect against phishing attacks by using solutions like SpamExperts, which filters out most phishing emails, and Email Certificates which verify the sender’s identity, encrypt content and ensure recipients know your emails are genuine.
Fire in Babylon
Private health company, Babylon, is in hot water after its Babylon Health app, which enables doctors to hold video appointments with patients, allowed recordings to be viewed by other app users.
Although a data breach took place, it was the result of a software issue rather than the system being hacked by cybercriminals. Only three patients were given access to other people’s consultations and only one patient unwittingly viewed them – and that person reported the issue. However, given the highly sensitive context of the recordings, even with such small numbers, the breach is likely to be considered serious. Babylon reported the issue to the ICO which is now investigating.
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