Latest Hosting and Tech News

January 8, 2021 / Technology News

tech news

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.  

VW zooms to the cloud

German car manufacturer, Volkswagen, is moving to the cloud in order to build an ‘Automotive Cloud’, develop an IoT edge platform and to integrate services that improve customer-company communications. The aim is to create ‘a digital ecosystem for the connected mobility of the future’.

The purpose of the Automotive Cloud is to run the vehicle and service data operations for the company’s latest electric vehicles and to expand its use beyond Europe to the US and China. It will do this by combining cloud, edge, AI and IoT capabilities within its digital ecosystem as well as installing a new, high-performance software architecture in its cars. Together, these will provide the full networking of the electric car fleet and enable the company to develop ‘digital added-value services’ for its customers. These are likely to include personalised in-car media streaming, parking suggestions, and payments as well as offering services from suitable third parties.

The new VW I.D. Neo hatchback is the first model to get the new Automotive Cloud features and is expected to go on sale in the EU this year.

Walsall construction company hacked

RMD Kwikform, a construction firm from Walsall in the West Midlands has just announced it was the victim of a cyberattack. The engineering services provider, with a workforce of 1,400 global staff, has not given specific details but claims the attack was limited and had not affected other companies in the Interserve Group, of which it is a part.

Interserve, itself, was the victim of a major data breach earlier in the year in which the personal details of over 100,000 employees were stolen. The company is an outsourcing business with customers including the NHS. Experts are concerned that companies that supply services to the NHS are increasingly being targeted. This latest attack comes close on the heels of an attack on the French IT outsourcing company, Sopra Steria, also an NHS supplier.

AI ‘virtual patient’ training health professionals

Unable to access real-life training, traditionally featuring an actor pretending to have an injury or trauma, trainee doctors, nurses, and paramedics have now been given access to virtual patients created using AI technology. Accessed via a VR headset or on computers, the patient can roleplay realistic scenarios for medics to learn from without anyone risking exposure to coronavirus.  

One of TIME magazine’s best inventions of the year, the virtual patient is now being used by Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. Aside from helping trainees, it has also taught existing NHS staff how to use PPE correctly, navigate unfamiliar ICU wards and interact with patients and their families.

Just like having a real patient there, virtual patient technology provides a realistic experience with real-time feedback, enabling clinicians and students to continue learning during the pandemic.

New cyberattack strategies evolving

Cybercriminals are increasingly working in collaboration according to the NTT Group’s 2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report. It details how hackers behind the QakBot (aka Qbot) trojan are colluding with ransomware groups, helping them access compromised enterprise networks to carry out ransomware attacks.

When a system is infected by QakBot, the malware uses compromised credentials to increase its privileges and these are used to let other criminals install the DoppelPaymer version of ransomware. At the same time, the criminals are also able to identify backup servers to prevent victims from restoring from a backup, target file servers for data theft, and encrypt the data to demand a ransom payment.

Aside from a ransom payment for restoring the system, the cybercriminals will levy a charge for not releasing stolen data on the internet, though even this does not prevent them from selling it to other groups on the dark web, some of whom will return for a second payment.

The chief source of these attacks is from malware-infected emails and companies can reduce the risk by using email filters, such as SpamExperts, that scan emails for phishing, malware, and spam.

Microsoft unveils data compliance tool

Some companies hold so much data that they don’t know what sensitive or personal information they have – which can be a big problem when it comes to compliance. In response, Microsoft has just released a tool called Purview, which it had originally built to manage its own data. The tool, which can work on Microsoft’s Azure SQL or on external databases, scans for sensitive data to provide customers with a data map.

According to researchers at the University of Surrey, ‘Purview is a step in the right direction’ as even smaller organisations can have data spread across many different systems, making it difficult to ensure it is all protected. The good news about Purview is that the process is automated, removing human error and ensuring that any sensitive data is automatically flagged.

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