Catch up on this month’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
Stop calling? That’s a grand
Virtually everyone has received a call from a scammer telling them there is something wrong with their internet connection. It’s one of the oldest scams in the book and one which most of us, thankfully, don’t fall for. This familiarity, it seems, has caused those making the calls to adopt a new approach.
Rather than expecting anyone to fall for the scam, they are now bombarding people with phone calls so that when someone finally loses patience and speaks to the scammers, they are being asked for payment if they want the calls to stop. In some cases, this has amounted to thousands of pounds.
Several similar scams, targeting both mobile and landline numbers, include fraudsters asking for payment of fines for tax errors, pretending to be from the NHS and utility firms, and scammers offering grants for green home insulation, new boilers and solar panels.
Intel to build secure chips
Intel has teamed up with the US defence department to develop computer chips with in-built, hardware-based security protection. The new chip will be a customised version of its Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs).
The project aims to manufacture high-performance, low-power chips with integrated, cutting edge cyber protection that can be used in both defence and commercial devices. Intel also intends to use advanced automation to cut the time it takes to perfect the ASIC design.
Unlike traditional CPUs, ASIC chips cannot be reprogrammed and intel will use this functionality to enhance in-built data protection and help stop the counterfeiting and reverse engineering of intellectual property.
More cloud, less smog
According to market research company, IDC, the accelerated pace of digital transformation, together with the drive to provide a greener cloud, could cut CO2 emissions by over a billion tons by 2024.
The cloud is generally more environmentally friendly than other forms of hosting as the aggregated use of IT resources make it more energy-efficient. At the same time, cloud data centres also use the most power-efficient servers and can relocate workloads to where they will have less environmental impact. This includes moving processes to data centres in cold locations where the need for cooling, one of the biggest causes of cloud carbon emissions, is much smaller.
This goes hand in hand with a shift towards sustainable cloud services, with vendors adopting more efficient hardware, such as SSD-powered servers, and even making use of artificial intelligence to control temperature more effectively.
Cloud providers are also replacing fossil fuel energy with renewable supplies, such as wind and solar power. Indeed, IDC sees almost two-thirds of data centres being powered by renewable energy by 2024. The biggest impact, however, comes from digital transformation; as more businesses make use of the cloud, they automatically benefit from its greener solutions.
Human error wipes boffin data
It’s not just hardware failure and cybercrime that cause data loss. As the staff and students at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, recently discovered, it can also be due to human error. In this case, the university’s IT team deleted files stored on desktop computers during scheduled maintenance.
At the time, the IT team were attempting to free up disk space on the computers by deleting old accounts; however, it seems that many existing accounts were wiped at the same time. The university is currently attempting to restore what files it can, many of which contain staff research and student coursework. Unfortunately, some files look to be completely unrecoverable.
This serves as a reminder to us all to take advantage of more advanced data storage solutions, such as storing files centrally in the cloud rather than on individual machines. It’s also a hint of the need to take regular backups of data so that if incidents like this occur, restoring files is quick and simple to do.
Shopping – but not as we know it
If you appreciate that little bit of banter with the shopkeeper, the shopping experience of the future might seem a little less welcoming. The new Amazon Go grocery store in London not only dispenses with humans at the checkout; it’s ditched the checkout completely.
Instead of interacting with a person and paying by card or cash, customers will need to use the Amazon Go app. Highly advanced, the app uses cloud-based technologies, such as sensor fusion and machine learning, to detect what the customer has in their shopping basket and then charges them for the goods as they leave the store.
In addition, the technology also monitors what’s been sold and even the items users pick up and put down in order to help identify what products customers are interested in and ensure that stock levels are automatically replenished.
Set to become a common feature of the new high street, checkout-free stores might make shopping quick and efficient, but unless they employ meet and greet staff, that friendly face wishing you a great day might become a thing of the past.
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