Latest Hosting and Tech News

February 23, 2024 / Technology News

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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 Foils Hackers

The UK has led a groundbreaking operation against Lockbit, a Russia-based ransomware group notorious for selling its services to other criminals and considered the world’s largest hacking outfit. During the operation, the National Crime Agency (NCA) successfully infiltrated Lockbit’s systems and seized its data. Additionally, cooperation between the NCA, FBI, Europol and other international partners led to the takeover of Lockbit’s dark web website. This saw the site’s content removed and replaced with a law enforcement message.

Lockbit has been responsible for around a quarter of ransomware attacks, often targeting high-profile organisations, such as Royal Mail and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, causing major disruptions. The recent, covert operation also provided law enforcement agencies with invaluable insights into the scale of Lockbit’s operations, potentially revealing the true extent of its global impact.

Password Insights

In a recent University of California San Diego study, researchers examined how different communication strategies impacted mandatory password changes within organisations. The intriguing results showed that email prompts, although initially effective, gradually lost their effectiveness over time. Surprisingly, even after receiving four emails, a staggering 25% of recipients still failed to update their passwords. The most effective way to get people to change their passwords was to prompt them directly during the login process. Using this method, the compliance rate skyrocketed to 80%.

Another interesting finding about the ‘prompt at login’ method, was that it didn’t result in a significant increase in IT help desk tickets, further indicating that this approach was an effective strategy for encouraging password updates. The research also discovered that those who were slower at responding to a ‘prompt at login’ directive were those who did not regularly log into their computers. This suggests that alternative notification methods might be more effective for these individuals.

AI Drives Apprenticeships

The growing interest in AI across the UK has led to an increase in digital and IT apprenticeships. BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, in collaboration with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), has reported a 10% increase in new digital apprentices and a 27% surge in IT apprenticeships – a growth partially attributed to the launch of the new AI Data Specialist apprenticeship.

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According to UCAS, half of the applicants for computing courses in 2023 also showed interest in apprenticeships. This indicates a growing preference for hands-on, practical learning in addition to traditional academic pathways. However, despite these positive developments, an enquiry led by Lord Knight and Lord Willetts reported that since 2016-2017, there has been a decrease in engineering and technology-related apprenticeships among younger age groups. This has led to calls for increased government backing and funding to enhance the reputation of apprenticeships and help tackle the ongoing digital skills gap.

Global Cyber Pact

In an attempt to reduce cybercrime, a new global initiative, the Pall Mall Process, has been launched in 35 countries, including the UK, France and the US. Also involved are tech giants Google, Apple, BAE Systems and Microsoft. The collaboration aims to tackle the rising problem of hackers for hire by establishing guidelines for the responsible development and use of cyber intrusion tools.

With growing concerns over spyware, corporate espionage and threats to national security, the initiative seeks to maintain cyberspace stability, protect human rights and uphold international law. To achieve this, it is establishing a framework for reducing cyber threats worldwide by advocating for accountability, precision, oversight and transparency in cyber operations to ensure that the activities of ‘states, industry and civil society’ are both legal and responsible.

VR Tackles Knife Crime

West Yorkshire Police are attempting to tackle knife crime among young people by introducing a unique virtual reality (VR) scheme. The programme uses VR headsets to show users realistic scenarios involving serious violence that force them to make critical decisions. The interactive sessions, designed for children aged 12 and above, will take place in schools and other educational settings across the county, as well as in community knife prevention workshops.

This initiative coincides with the display of the Knife Angel sculpture in Leeds, which serves as a powerful symbol in the fight against knife crime. Developed in collaboration with 1,200 young people, together with trained partners from the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (WYVRP), this project aims to engage and educate young people about the severe consequences of knife crime. West Yorkshire Police hope the cutting-edge VR programme will help save lives by promoting thoughtful decision-making among young people.

Visit the WHUK website for more news, knowledge base articles, blog posts and information on our wide range of services.

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  • Pooja Kulkarni

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