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 Police offers free website security tool
Police in England and Wales are offering a free cybercrime monitoring tool to businesses and organisations. The newly launched Police CyberAlarm, which is being rolled out over the next two months, monitors business internet traffic for malicious activity and scans for vulnerabilities. Created in collaboration with private developers and funded by the Home Office, the tool is completely free and available for every business or organisation in England or Wales with a computer network.
The police’s immediate aim is to sign up as many businesses as possible. Aside from keeping more companies protected from cybercriminals, this will ensure the force has more data to analyse to help it provide users with better intelligence about current and emerging threats.
Those who use the tool will also be given regular reports that detail the Police’s findings, enabling organisations to better understand the measures they need to implement to make their own systems secure. For more information visit cyberalarm.police.uk.
Email security under the microscope
Less than a month after a Channel Island law firm was fined for breaching personal information in an email, Bristol City Council has come under fire for a similar incident. When sending an email to hundreds of recipients asking for their opinions on the city’s support services, it inadvertently revealed the identities of almost 500 disabled children and the email addresses of their carers – none of whom had given consent.
Bristol City Council is aware of the breach of GDPR and has apologised to those families affected. It is conducting an investigation into the incident and will address the issue during staff training to reduce the potential for it happening in future. The ICO will, meanwhile, carry out its own investigation.
For other businesses, it’s a clear signal to ensure that data security needs to be watertight when it comes to sending emails. It is an issue the ICO takes very seriously and also something the press is keen to bring to the public’s attention.
Smart doorbells not so smart
The TV adverts depict smart doorbells as the next solution for home and business premises security, enabling us to record people who visit the door and interact with them via an app on a smartphone. However, while they cut off opportunities for burglars, according to Which?, some models potentially open the door for hackers.
During an investigation, Which? discovered that many devices were easy to hack, with weak password policies and little or no data encryption. Some of the doorbells could even be directed to steal the owner’s network password and, from there, enable the hacker to gain access to other smart devices on the network. Worryingly, with many of the devices being made in China, it was discovered that some of them sent the network name and password to servers in China without encryption.
Which? has now called on the government to bring in legislation to protect consumers. Amazon, meanwhile, one of the UK’s biggest retailers of smart doorbells, has removed the listings of seven devices which were found to be of concern.
Spanish gas co migrates to the cloud
Spanish gas supplier, MRG has drastically reduced its operating expenses and service delivery times thanks to its major cloud migration. The company, which has over a million customers and 6,000km of pipelines, requires significant computing resources to monitor the gas that enters its networks, ensure that metering and tariffs are accurate and maintain the safety of its pipeline infrastructure.
Prior to its migration, the company’s limited IT infrastructure meant that it struggled to operate its growing application portfolio, run its customer database or find ways to reduce IT costs. The cloud migration has provided MRG with the flexibility and scale it needs to operate all its applications while reducing costs by around 10%.
As a result, execution times for transactions and batch processes have dramatically improved, with staff able to access data in half the time. This has driven up productivity and enhanced the services it offers. Additionally, the cloud move has given the company the ability to provide IT resources to its internal users on-demand, speeding up the development and deployment of products and services for its customers and making it more competitive in the Spanish market.
UK launches new National Cyber Force
In a response to the growing threat of cybercrime and cyber espionage, the UK has brought together its leading defence agencies to create the new National Cyber Force (NFC). The organisation will bring together the expertise and intelligence of the MoD, MI6, GCHQ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, unifying them under a single command, to ensure the safety and cybersecurity of the nation. In addition, the NFC will work alongside the NCSC, the body that focuses on business security.
According to the UK’s secretary for defence, Ben Wallace, the NCF will provide the country with ‘a world-class ability to conduct cyber-operations’. Its remit will be to prevent terrorist attacks, detect and counter state-sponsored cyberattacks, protect UK military operations and tackle online fraud and child sexual abuse.
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