Archive for Newsletters

Your Latest It News Update

Contactless Card Fraud Has Doubled

The UK’s fraud reporting service, Action Fraud, has reported that contactless card fraud doubled in 2018 to £1.8m stolen compared with £711,000 in 2017.

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Warning – TV Licensing Scam Operating

Action Fraud, the UK’s Cybercrime reporting centre, has warned that fake TV licence payment scam emails have generated 5,247 complaints between 1st October and the end of December, with 1,983 complaints in December alone.

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Apple Blames China In Revenue Warning To Investors

On 2nd January, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, issued a revenue warning for this quarter to investors, and pointed to challenges in China as being one of the main downward driving forces.

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UK Government Warns ‘No Deal’ Brexit May Mean A .COM Replacement For Your .EU

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has issued advice to holders of .eu domains that, in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, they may need to switch to another top-level domain such as .com and may also need to seek legal advice.

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Drone Laws Promised After Airport Chaos

The chaos caused to flights from Gatwick just before Christmas (and latterly, Heathrow) by drone sightings near the airports has prompted Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, to announce new counter-drone measures to be taken to protect UK airports.

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Tech Tip –  Prepare For Microsoft’s ‘’Reserved Storage’

The next big update of Windows 10 (in April) will mean that Microsoft will reserve 7GB of your device’s storage in order to accommodate its future ‘quality updates’ or new versions of the OS.  Measures you can take to check that you will have enough reserved storage space or to avoid storage space problems include:

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Your Latest It News Update

Concerns Over Huawei and ZTE Equipment and Software

A statement from the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) has warned network operators that using software or hardware made by Chinese telecom equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE could represent a security threat.

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London Police Facial Recognition Trial

It has been reported that the police are conducting a trial of a facial recognition system in Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square over two days in the run-up to Christmas in a bid to identify people among the Christmas shoppers who are wanted by the police or the courts.

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Warnings of Printer Chip-Frying

Swedish YouTube vlogger, PewDiePie, is reported to have inspired some of his 77 million followers to hack 50,000 printers to promote his YouTube channel, and to draw attention to vulnerabilities in their printer firmware that could even be exploited by hackers to ‘fry’ a printer chip.

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Smart Botnet Detection Needed

For businesses to maintain an effective cyber defence, the ability to prevent, detect and stop smart botnets in real-time is now an important consideration.

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Rumours That ‘Microsoft 365’ Package Is On The Way

There have been rumours among some IT commentators that Microsoft may soon be offering a single subscription-based, Windows 10-style service named ‘Microsoft 365’ that offers home ‘power users’ a combo of its popular software including the operating system, MS Office, Skype, and even OneDrive.

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Tech Tip – Find Out When You’re Visiting A Site That’s Been Hacked

If you use Google Chrome and you’d like to make sure that you know when you’re visiting a site that’s been hacked and you’d like to set up a watch list for sites that you regularly visit, or those that store personal data, here’s a handy browser extension that could help.

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Your Latest IT News Update

Google Chrome’s ‘Incognito’ Mode Not So Incognito

Research by Internet Privacy Company DuckDuckGo is reported to have produced evidence that could show that even in Incognito mode, users of Google Chrome can still be tracked, and searches are still personalised accordingly.

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Does Your Business Take Cash?

Cashless businesses that only take contactless card payments, such as cafes and bars may be growing in number in major cities but despite their apparent convenience for their target market, they are also attracting accusations that they are discriminatory.

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02 Outage – What Happened

After last week’s major O2 4G mobile network outage which left millions of customers with no network data access has been blamed on an expired software certificate that 3rd party supplier Ericsson had installed for some customers at business-critical part of the network.

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5G Explained

Whereas most carriers use low-band spectrum or LTE, which offers great coverage area and penetration, it is getting very crowded, and peak data speeds only top out at around 100Mbps.

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Automatic Broadband Compensation Is Nigh

After Ofcom announced back in November 2017 that broadband and landline customers will automatically be able to get compensation from their providers when things go wrong without the need for a claim, it appears that an £8-per-day deal agreement has finally been reached between Openreach and five of the UK’s internet service providers.

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Tech Tip – Create A Travel Itinerary in Bing

If you’re planning a trip to an exciting destination you can now create your own travel itinerary in the Bing search engine. Here’s how:

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Your Latest IT News Update

SIM Swap Scam Warning

A recent investigation by BBC TV’s Watchdog Live revealed evidence that some mobile phone shop staff are not conducting proper ID checks for replacement SIM requests, thereby enabling some customers to become victims of SIM swap scams.

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70% Increase In DDoS Cyber Attacks On Black Friday Prompts Christmas Warning

Cybersecurity experts are warning companies with online shops to have adequate protection against DDoS attacks in place after a 70% increase in that kind of cyber-attack was recorded on Black Friday.

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ICO Investigation Into Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology

ICO head Elizabeth Dunham is reported to have launched a formal investigation into how police forces use facial recognition technology (FRT) after high failure rates, misidentifications and worries about legality, bias, and privacy.

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Liberty Wins Right To Judicial Review Into Investigatory Powers Act

The fact that Human rights group Liberty has won the right for a judicial review into the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 could mean a legal challenge in the high court as soon as next year.

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Hard of Hearing? Skype Offers Live Captions And Subtitles

On 3rd December, Skype announced that it was celebrating United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities by launching its new call captioning with live captions and subtitles feature.

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Tech Tip – Hands-Free Voice Control For Your Phone

Google’s Voice Access App (for Android 5 or later) lets you navigate your entire phone just by using your voice and Google’s voice assistant.

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Your Latest IT News Update

Data Protection Trust Levels Still Low After GDPR

A report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has shown that as 42% of consumers have received communications from businesses they had not given permission to contact them (since GDPR came into force), this could be a key reason why consumer trust in businesses is still at a low level.

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£385,000 Data Protection Fine For Uber

Ride-hailing (and now bike and scooter-hiring) service Uber has been handed a £385,000 fine by the ICO for data protection failings during a cyber-attack back in 2016.

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New Hashtags Feature For Google Maps

Google has begun the global rollout of its new ‘hashtags’ feature in Google Maps, which allows users to add hashtags to the end of the reviews they write, thereby helping others to find local attractions and businesses.

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Mobile Networks Faster Than Wi-Fi

A report by OpenSignal has highlighted how the fact that smartphone users in 33 countries get faster average download speeds using a mobile network than Wi-Fi means that mobile operators and smartphone makers need to ensure that consumers’ smartphones aren’t simply pushed onto a Wi-Fi network, only to receive a worse experience than the mobile network.

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Bitcoin and Other Crypto-Currencies Hit New Lows

After losing 74% of its value so far this year, Bitcoin’s value, and that of other crypto-currencies have continued to fall this month as a sell-off takes place in what some see as the natural course for the market, and as another opportunity to buy crypto-currencies at a low price.

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Tech Tip – Access Your Phone’s Photos and Texts On Your Computer

The Windows 10 phone app means that you can get instant access to your Android phone’s photos and texts on your computer.  Here’s how to get it:

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Your Latest IT News Update

Which? Survey Reveals Best & Worst Online Retailers

The results of a new survey by consumer watchdog ‘Which?’ has revealed the UK’s best and worst online retailers, according to the experiences of 10,000 Which? members over 6 months.

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Apple Offers Free Repairs For iPhone X and MacBook Problems

Apple Inc. is reported to be offering free repairs / replacements for problems relating to screen touch issues on the iPhone X and data loss and storage drive failures in 13-inch MacBook Pro computers.

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Blockchain To Stop Counterfeit Disk-Drive Products

Data storage solutions company Seagate Technology (Seagate), and IBM are reported to be working together and using blockchain and advanced cryptographic product identification technology to reduce disk-drive product counterfeiting.

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Facial Recognition For Border Control

It has been reported that the UK Home Office will soon be using biometric facial recognition technology in a smartphone app to match a user’s selfie against the image read from a user’s passport chip as a means of self-service identity verification for UK border control.

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Jail For Car Accident Data Thief

An employee at a vehicle accident repair centre who stole the data of customers and passed it to a company that made nuisance phone calls has been jailed for 6 months following an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

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Tech Tip – Turn Your Handwriting Into a Font on Your Computer

In a creative and fun way, the latest update to Microsoft Windows now means that you can achieve maximum personalisation in your written communications by using the ‘Microsoft Font Maker’ to turn your handwriting into a font that you can install and use on your computer. Here’s how (N.B. it works best with a digital pen and tablet):

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Your Latest IT News Update

Fatal Security Flaws Discovered in Solid State Drives (SSDs)

Researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands have released a paper highlighting several security flaws that they’ve discovered in SSDs which mean that data from a flash disk can recovered in more than one way, even if it’s supposedly self-encrypted.

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IBM Security Expert Says Prepare For Quantum

As businesses come to realise that they may be required to store some data for decades, encrypted data should be secure well beyond its useful life, and with this in mind, security architect for Benelux at IBM, Christiane Peters, is suggesting that businesses should start preparing now to implement post-quantum data protection.

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Environmentally Responsible Blockchain

At its conference in Barcelona, VMware (tech subsidiary of Dell Technologies and CO2 emission-reducing evangelist) has announced that it has introduced a beta version of blockchain-as-a-service.

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New App-Based Banking Platform For SMEs From NatWest

NatWest bank is reported to be testing a new app-based banking platform called ‘Mettle’ that combines banking with other business services, and is specifically aimed at the needs of SMEs.

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New Qualifications To Improve Digital Skills of Adults in England

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) has begun a consultation about the introduction of new BDSQs [Basic Digital Skills Qualifications] that are designed to improve the digital skills of adults across England.

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Tech Tip – Cloud Clipboard

With the new Windows 10 update and the new ‘Cloud Clipboard’ feature, you can avoid losing text that you’ve copied, see a history of the text and images you previously copied (via the new Cloud Clipboard feature), and even pin frequently used content to the clipboard permanently. Here’s how to use it:

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Your Latest IT News Update

EU’s Web Copyright Directive Could Spell Trouble

A vote in January on contentious new EU copyright laws could negatively impact tech platforms and all online publishers, create risky legal grey areas for many businesses, stifle freedom of expression, and lead to more surveillance and control.

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Blurring of Personal and Business Technology Cause For Concern

A report by CCS Insight showing how three-quarters of employees are forced to install work software on their personal mobile devices has highlighted how the increased blurring of personal and business technology is causing concern.

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Adult Site Visits on Work Computer Lead to Network Infection

The extensive online porn-accessing habit of an employee of a US government department known as the US Geological Survey (USGS) is being blamed for a government computer network becoming infected with malware.

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New Features and New Prices For Old Apple Products

At a recent event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, Apple announced the introduction of new features and accompanying price changes for old favourite products like the iPad Pro and Mac Book.

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Easyjet – Electric Planes By 2030

Easyjet is reported to have backed plans to develop and introduce commercial passenger aircraft powered by electric batteries on its short-haul routes, possibly by 2030.

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Tech Tip – Save Time By Dictating Rather Than Typing

Microsoft’s Windows 10 contains speech recognition linked to Cortana that allow you to dictate speech through your Windows machine’s microphone, and convert it into typing in a text field. Here’s how to use it:

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Your Latest IT News Update

Businesses Looking Forward to 5G

UK businesses are looking for a boost in the speed and scope of communications in the form of 5G, but how soon will having a 5G phone that delivers all the 5G benefits become a reality, and what will it take to make it happen?

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More Contactless Than Chip & PIN

Figures from merchant services company Worldpay Inc show that for the first time, more payments were made in UK shops using contactless than Chip and PIN over the 12 months from June 2017.

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Facial Recognition For Buyers Of Alcohol & Cigarettes

A pilot scheme involving NCR, the US self check-out machine maker for Asda, Tesco and other UK supermarkets, and Yoti’s digital identity app will use an integrated camera linked to facial recognition software to help improve, simplify and speed up age approval at self check-outs.

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New Political Ad Transparency Rules Tested With Pro-Brexit Website

No sooner had Facebook announced new rules to force political advertisers to prove their identities and their ad spend than an anonymous pro-Brexit campaign website with a massive £257,000 ad spend was discovered.

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Microsoft Education For Dyslexics

In partnering with charity ‘Made by Dyslexia’, and in signing the Made by Dyslexia pledge, Microsoft has announced that it is the first company to sign a global pledge to help people with dyslexia.

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Tech Tip – Clearing & Organising Your Screen

If you sometimes have too many windows open and you need to clear things up and / or get back to the desktop view in Windows 10 as quickly as possible, here are a couple of tips that can help.

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Your Latest IT News Update

Ubicoustics Overhears Everything You Do … And Understands

Researchers in the US have presented a paper based on their research that identified a real-time, activity recognition system capable of interpreting collected sounds that could well be used by home smart speakers.

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New Facebook Rules For Political Ad Transparency In The UK

After the US and Brazil, the UK has become the next country to be subject to Facebook’s new rules that require those who wish to place a political advert on the social media platform to verify their identity and say who is funding the advert.

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Browser Support For Early Versions of TLS To End

The makers of all popular browsers – IE, Edge, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome included – have announced plans to disable Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol versions 1.0 and 1.1 by default.

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Businesses Turning To Zero-Trust Security Model

As a widening attack surface and evolving threats mean that organisations continue to breached despite a large security spend, many businesses are now turning to the ‘zero-trust’ security model.

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Microsoft Co-Founder & Billionaire Philanthropist Paul Allen Dies

Microsoft’s lesser-known co-founder, Paul Allen, who left the company in 1982, has died aged 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (lymphatic cancer), with news of his death bringing praise for his generosity as a philanthropist.

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Tech Tip – Setting Print Screen Key To Screenshot On Windows 10

On Windows 10, starting with version 1809 (October 2018 Update), the ‘Snip & Sketch’ app has been re-purposed to become the new default for screenshots. You can, however, choose to set the Print Screen key on your keyboard to open the screen snipping tools. Here’s how:

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