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.
Hackers carry out Robin Hood publicity stunt
While there is speculation over whether Robin Hood really existed, his deeds of robbing the rich to give to the poor are the stuff of legend and have made him a much-loved folk hero. Centuries later, the Darkside hacking group have decided to follow in his footsteps, pledging not to attack hospitals, schools, non-profit organisations or governments but, instead, ransoming big business and donating the proceeds to charity. This it has now done twice, donating $10,000 each to Children’s International and The Water Project.
A publicity stunt that seeks to give moral legitimacy to criminal acts and which will no doubt appeal to those who think big business deserves its comeuppance, it doesn’t give the full picture. Darkside is a very professional outfit, actively ransoming funds from victims and providing ransomware services to other criminal groups with guaranteed turnaround times and real-time chat support. The $20,000 it has donated is a mere pittance compared to the millions it has extorted. Meanwhile, the disruption it causes puts businesses and jobs at risk and creates chaos and worry for customers.
If anything, the arrival of Darkside is a clear indication of the way that cybercriminal outfits are developing. They are highly sophisticated, deploying advanced technologies, adopting modern business models and even fostering brand awareness to help them make more money.
Phishers target users of major brands
With millions using Microsoft products to work remotely, Microsoft has become the most imitated brand in phishing attacks during Q3, featuring in 19% of all brand-based email phishing attempts. Other major brands affected include both Amazon and Google.
According to Check Point, hackers are taking advantage of remote working by sending spoof emails that tell employees they need to reset their Microsoft Office 365 credentials. When the link in the emails is clicked, the victims are redirected to a cloned Microsoft login page where the credentials are stolen. This form of phishing was used in 44% of all phishing attacks in Q3, while web phishing accounted for 43% of all attacks.
Companies should advise employees to be vigilant when giving personal data or credentials to business applications and should train staff on opening email attachments or clicking links. For additional security, they should also consider using email certificates that can verify to recipients that an email is genuine.
Finance company, PWM, makes cloud leap
Finance company, PWM, is migrating to the cloud to develop an IT infrastructure that provides both a business development platform and secure cloud storage. The move will allow PWM to simplify what was a complex and fragmented IT set-up while improving IT support which had previously impacted its business.
The new solution will improve operations and efficiency while providing the company with insights into its IT usage and costs. Meanwhile, the firm will use the cloud to deploy Microsoft 365 in a bid to improve productivity and innovation. This is especially important as many of its workforce are now working remotely and need cloud-based tools to carry out their jobs.
Poor-quality data affecting AI
Data leaders in the UK are increasingly concerned about how COVID and Brexit are affecting data quality and are warning that this could make many AI models obsolete. Indeed, 76% of the country’s data leaders think that changes in datasets during the pandemic have made current AI models redundant.
Brexit, too, is an issue, with 66% of UK data leaders concerned over the changes in data-sharing after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Those from the retail, insurance and financial services and public sectors are particularly worried about disruption in data sharing should the UK and EU fail to secure a trade deal.
As AI relies on having up-to-date, accurate datasets, data sharing disruption caused by the lack of a withdrawal agreement or data skewed by the pandemic can affect how effectively AI and ML work. As these are increasingly used to make decisions, the results of having poor data can be catastrophic.
London bikes to get tracked
London is desperate to get people to use modes of transport that cut both pollution and congestion and bikes, it hopes, are one of the major ways of doing this. To this end, it has introduced the dockless bike system that enables small companies to offer bikes for hire which can be picked up and dropped off from on-the-street bike racks using an app.
The issue for London is keeping tabs on the growing number of bikes being used so that it can monitor usage and know where they all are. To this end, it has just started to develop a system that can gather real-time data from the bike hire operators, providing Transport for London with up to the minute visibility of where the bikes are together with analytics about how they are used. The intention is to use the data to optimise the performance of the dockless bike scheme and to inform long-term transport planning decisions across the capital.
Initially, the system will monitor rental e-bikes and dockless rental cycles, while there is the potential to include e-scooters should they become legal to use on the road.
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