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.
Super-drones to beam UK 5G
In the latest bid to extend 5G networking across the UK, two Cambridge firms, Stratospheric Platforms and Cambridge Consultants, have come up with an innovative solution. Their aim is to beam 5G signals across the whole of the UK using a fleet of 60 specially designed, hydrogen-powered drones that can remain airborne at 65,000 feet for up to nine days.
The Cambridge firms intend to work in partnership with existing mobile operators and already have backing from Deutsche Telekom which hopes to use the service in Germany. However, while the drone has been tested successfully beaming 5G, there is still some way to go to ensure that it works with an emission-free hydrogen fuel cell. If successful, the project would provide competition for Google, which is currently trialling airborne 5G connectivity using balloons.
AI detects COVID cough
The effort to speed up COVID-19 testing has led boffins at MIT in the US to create an AI algorithm capable of detecting a COVID cough. Although coughs are signs of other infections, the coughing noise made by someone with coronavirus, even if they are asymptomatic, has unique signals imperceptible to the human ear. The algorithm is able to detect these markers and, in trials, has proved to be 98.5% accurate with those who have tested positive and 100% accurate with those who are otherwise asymptomatic.
The aim is to develop and get regulatory approval for an app that would allow people to use the algorithm on their smartphones. If successful, this would enable daily testing for workers, students and the general public, allowing businesses and schools to remain open while helping to stop the spread of the virus.
Portable drive security warning
Firms have been warned about how they wipe data from and dispose of portable USB drives after security experts purchased used drives over the internet and accessed data that had previously been deleted.
The team from Abertay University in Dundee bought 100 old drives and managed to retrieve 75,000 wiped files, including tax returns, business contracts, bank statements, usernames, passwords and images.
On first inspection, 98 of the drives appeared blank, however, using widely available tools the team was easily able to retrieve the data, much of it considered to be highly sensitive. Of the 100 drives, only 32 had all their data securely erased while the team was able to extract all the data from 42 of them and partial data from the remaining 26.
Deutsche Bahn arrives at destination cloud
German railway giant, Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest rail operator and the world’s second-largest transport company, has completed its goal of migrating all of its IT to the cloud and managed to arrive at its destination two years early.
The project saw hundreds of applications moved to the cloud and has provided the company with increased flexibility, computing power and storage capacity, with the ability to scale up and adapt to changing needs in real-time. The company has also saved considerably by closing down its in-house datacentre and has even sold the premises and redeployed its one thousand staff, many now working on more business related IT projects.
A spokesperson for the company said, ‘This decision turned out to be just right in this age of corona. Our IT systems continued to work seamlessly when tens of thousands of employees had to switch to working from home. We were able to run all of our IT remotely. That wouldn’t have been as easy with a physical data centre.’
A quarter of all cyberattacks COVID related
According to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), over a quarter of all security incidents being dealt within the last 12 months have been related to COVID-19. Of the 723 incidents handled by NCSC since 1 September 2019, 194 were pandemic related, including a number of attacks by Russian hackers on UK universities and firms developing coronavirus vaccines.
In its efforts to bolster cybersecurity to British healthcare, the NCSC is carrying out cyber defence services for hundreds of front-line health centres and has scanned for weaknesses in over a million NHS IP addresses, where it found over 50,000 signs of compromise.
Additionally, the NCSC’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service, launched in April, received over 2.3 million reports of scam and phishing emails from the UK public in its first four months, many of which were related to coronavirus. Businesses and individuals are asked to be vigilant and to maintain high levels of cybersecurity.
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