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.
We’re moving HQ
Webhosting UK, together with parent company, Hyperslice and sister company, eukhost, have relocated headquarters to the Platform Tech Hub, adjacent to the train station in Leeds. The relocation brings WHUK’s experience to the heart of city’s business community and provides improved transport links to clients across the north. The move to the prestigious Platform Tech Hub enables us to build new partnerships with the area’s tech companies and support the region’s many startup firms.
At the same time, the group has also opened new offices in York for the WHUK and eukhost technical teams. Aside from offering improved access to northern data centres, both new premises will play vital roles in the group’s £4 million development plan. This will see an expansion of our R&D over the next two years, with a focus on creating greener website platforms, and the building of a new, sustainable, data centre in the north.
A networking issue that caused a Google Cloud outage in mid-November resulted in some of the world’s biggest brands being taken offline. According to outage tracking website, DownDetector, tens of thousands of users of well-known online platforms, including messaging app, Snapchat, music streamer, Spotify, and artisan retailer, Etsy, all reported temporary issues with accessing services.
This is the latest in a series of outages during the past year. Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram went offline in October; a Fastly issue affected Amazon, eBay and .gov.uk in July; and a DNS problem took Akamai CDN offline in the same month, affecting FedEx, Airbnb and the PlayStation Network. These outages serve as an important reminder that the internet is a highly complex ecosystem and that organisations should always have a backup plan for when issues occur.
Robot bar staff
Since the lockdown ended, the news has been full of stories about pubs and clubs struggling to find bar staff, with some venues unable to remain open. That issue might now be coming to an end thanks to Cecilia, a robot bar worker that can mix cocktails and serve them to you.
Though you might not get the usual bar-top banter, Cecilia.AI, the robot’s Israeli developers, have added some much-needed human touches. Cecilia has a built-in, AI-enabled voice assistant, similar to Alexa, that listens to orders and is able to speak to customers; and while the robot pulling the pints looks completely machine-like, the interface through which customers make orders has a screen on which a humanoid Cecelia can be seen and interacted with. This interface is not too dissimilar to the screens found in McDonald’s.
With a price tag of £34,000, a capacity of 70 litres and able to serve 120 drinks an hour, it could be an excellent investment for venues suffering from staff shortages. We’re not too sure how good it is with serving crisps, peanuts and pork scratchings though.
As a web host, we’re constantly reminding customers about the need to keep their websites secure. In the news this month is a website that proves that point. Owners of one of the country’s biggest angling stores, saw their website get hacked and its visitors get redirected to an adult website. The attacker also managed to hack into the company’s Twitter account and send posts saying that the adult website had bought the angling company and that customers’ data had been transferred to its databases.
Although the hacker did post their contact information on the company’s Twitter account and offer to return access, the fishing gear outlet restored the site with the help of security experts. All website owners should make sure that access to a website’s control panel or backend is robustly protected, making use of two-factor authentication, strong passwords and security tools that block people or bots from making suspicious login attempts.
Research by cyber security firm, Synopsis, has found that nearly every application has some type of security weakness and that a third are highly vulnerable to attack. After conducting almost 4000 tests on 2,600 systems and applications, the company discovered that 97% had a vulnerability.
The third that exhibited high-risk weaknesses were susceptible to attacks that gave access to data and software resources. Over a quarter of applications were found to be at risk of a cross-site scripting attack, with many others vulnerable to brute force attacks because of a failure to block excessive login attempts. The most worrying findings were the six percent of applications found to be critically vulnerable to a breach of sensitive data – these apps were particularly at risk from SQL injection attacks. Again, robust security is essential to defend against these, as is having adequate disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place, should the worst happen. Businesses should also update applications and install security patches as soon as they are available.
Visit the WHUK website for more news, knowledge base articles, blog posts and information on our wide range of hosting services.