Archive for Newsletters

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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Your Latest IT News Update

New Tech Laws For AI Bots & Better Passwords

It may be no surprise to hear that California, home of Silicon Valley, has become the first state to pass laws to make AI bots ‘introduce themselves’ (i.e. identify themselves as bots), and to ban weak default passwords. Other states and countries (including the UK) may follow.

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Facebook Messenger May Introduce Voice Commands

It has been reported that Facebook has been testing how voice commands could be used in its Messenger platform to help users to send messages, initiate voice calls and set reminders.

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Windows 10 October Roll-out Suspended Due To File Deleting Fault

The October roll-out of the update to Windows 10 as part of the SaaS model has been suspended due to reports that some customers have experienced mass file deletions.

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How Business Emails Are Vulnerable

Research by digital risk management and threat intelligence firm Digital Shadows has revealed that company credentials and emails that can be easily accessed on the web are making it easier for cyber-criminals to target businesses with attacks.

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Goodbye Skype Classic, Hello Blockchain-as-a-Service

Just as November will see Microsoft asking Skype users to switch from Skype Classic to version 8, tech commentators are predicting that Microsoft and other companies will be looking to start reaping the financial benefits of offering blockchain as a service (BaaS).

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Tech Tip – Disable Flash in Edge to Speed Things Up

Adobe Flash may be a way to make websites more exciting and engaging, but it can contain bugs, security holes, and it can really slow things down when you’re waiting for Flash-heavy pages to load. In Windows 10 you can quickly and easily turn off Flash in the Edge browser. Here’s how

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Your Latest IT News Update

Facebook Hack Keeps Getting Worse

As if the recent Facebook hack of 50 million user accounts that was discovered on 25th September wasn’t bad enough, it became apparent that it could also affect “Facebook Login” service, which allows other apps to use people’s Facebook account to login.

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Apple Making One-Quarter Of Its Revenue From Deal With Ad Giant Google

Figures from Goldman Sachs appear to show that, even though Apple may publicly take the moral high ground and criticise digital advertising businesses, it may actually be making $9 billion this year, one-quarter of its estimated total revenue, from a deal with digital advertising giant Google.

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Chrome Extensions Get Security, Privacy and Performance Boost

Following the introduction last month of Google Chrome 69’s better password protection, Google has announced that Chrome 70 will bring trustworthy extensions by default.

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Company Fined £150k For Nuisance-Calling People Who Had Opted-Out

Manchester-based Oaklands Assist UK Ltd has been fined £150,000 by the ICO for making approximately 64,000 nuisance direct marketing calls to people who had already opted out of automated marketing.

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Elon Musk – World’s Most Expensive Tweet!

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk’s tweet(s) about taking the company private using ‘secured’ funding has cost him not just his role as Chairman for 3 years, but also a $20m (£15m) fine, and some damaging fraud accusations.

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Tech Tip – Use ‘Near Share’ To Share Files

Windows 10 has a “Near Share” / “Nearby Sharing” feature, similar to Apple’s AirDrop, that allows you to share (by Bluetooth) files, links, photos, and more to nearby Windows PCs that also have the feature enabled. You can enable Nearby Sharing from either Windows 10’s Share dialog, or in Windows 10’s Settings app. Here’s how:

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Your Latest IT News Update

Mobile Working Causes Absenteeism

Research by B2M Solutions has concluded that instead of saving costs, mobile working could be costing UK businesses £1.18 billion per year, as 40% of mobile workers attribute time taken off work to stress and anxiety caused mainly by reliability issues with mobile devices.

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Microsoft Slows Updates

Microsoft has listened to corporate SaaS Windows 10 clients and slowed down the rate of patches and updates that it is sending out, thereby giving company admins more time to catch up.

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Microsoft Tests Pop-Up Warnings About Other Browsers

Microsoft has made the news again by appearing to flex its market muscle by testing pop-up warnings in Windows 10 that are triggered when users start to install rival Chrome or Firefox web browsers.

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New Chrome 69 Creates Better Passwords, Among Other Features

Chrome 69, the latest version of the Google browser which is now 10 years old, has a number of value-adding new features, including the ability to automatically generate strong passwords.

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Resurrecting An Old Android Phone Is Easier Than You Think

Many of us have an old Android phone somewhere in the house, doing nothing. Rather than leaving it there to add no value to your life and work, you may find that it’s much easier than you think to resurrect it.

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Tech Tip – Lockdown Your Wi-Fi

If you’re using Windows 10 and you want to make sure you’re not exposed to the security risks posed by insecure wireless networks, there is a quick and easy way you can protect your Wi-Fi connectivity. Here’s how:

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Your Latest IT News Update

Find Out What ‘Deep Fakes’ Are and Why They’re A Threat

Deep fakes are digitally manipulated videos that have been created using deep learning technology to make the subject of the video (often a famous person) say anything the video maker wants them to say, even incorporating the style and facial expressions of another person.

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UK Government Guilty of Mass Surveillance Human Rights Breach

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has found the UK government guilty of violating the right to privacy of citizens under the European convention because the safeguards within the government’s system for bulk interception of communications were not strong enough to provide guarantees against abuse.

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ICO Highlights Prevalence of GDPR Myths

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has reported taking 500+ calls per week reporting GDPR data breaches, but one-third of the calls appear to be based on myths and misunderstandings or over-reporting about GDPR matters.

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Only 32% of Emails Clean Enough To ‘Make It’

A bi-annual study by FireEye has found that less than a third of over half a billion emails analysed were considered clean enough not to be blocked from entering our inboxes.

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Microsoft Launches ‘AccountGuard’ Email Service For Election Candidates

A new kind of pilot secure email service called ‘AccountGuard’ has been launched by Microsoft, specifically for use by election candidates, and as one answer to the kind of interference that took place during the last US presidential election campaign.

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Tech Tip – Using OneDrive Cloud Storage on Windows 10

If you want to set up quick and easy cloud storage from your Windows PC for storing, sharing and saving files across your different devices you can use OneDrive. Here’s how to set it up:

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Your Latest IT News Update

Google To Kill Dodgy Tech Support Ads

A rise in the number of adverts appearing in Google placed by scammers offering fake tech support has led Google to announce the rollout of a new advert verification programme.

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Is Google Getting Details of YOUR Purchases From MasterCard?

Reports of a data-sharing deal with credit company MasterCard could mean that some details of your credit card purchases could be shared with Google, and used to improve their online advertising service.

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Microsoft Introduces AI Automated Audio and Video File Transcription

Microsoft’s new AI tool in OneDrive and SharePoint automatically transcribes the contents of video, audio, and image files, thereby making it much faster and easier to find specific topics and references made in those files.

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‘Five Eyes’ Demand Back Door Access To Encrypted Services … Or Else

The frustration of the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ governments in not being allowed access to end-to-end encrypted apps such as WhatsApp has boiled-over into the threat of enforcement via legislative (or other) measures.

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Apple’s Autonomous Car Involved in Crash

Apple’s new autonomous vehicle, part of its ‘Project Titan’, has joined an expanding list of self-driving car prangs.

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Tech Tip – Pin Your Key People

The ‘My People’ feature in Windows 10 lets you pin your closest contacts to your taskbar, thereby making it easier and quicker to email, chat with (text and video), or send files or media to them. Here’s how to set it up:

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