In the week that brought Boris to Scotland, Ireland and Wales on his first visits as PM and more rain than many of us have seen for some time, you might not have seen what’s been going on in the world of I.T. and tech. Here is our regular roundup of some of the top stories this week.
Our home smart devices are listening to us
More of us than ever are using connected smart speakers in our homes, with virtual assistants including the Amazon Echo and Google Home device now able to control everything from our lights to robot vacuums. This week, Apple confirmed that contractors working for it hear a small proportion of recordings from voice assistant Siri and Amazon has admitted that Alexa may be listening to us, even in the bedroom… creepy, right?!
Obviously, we love the convenience of turning on the bedroom lights using Alexa from the kitchen. But the rise of connected smart home devices means that we’re now handing over more data than ever before about our daily lives to technology companies including Amazon and Google. Why does it matter if Amazon knows you are turning on the bedroom lights? While this may seem innocent enough, this data gives businesses insight into our behaviours at home - clearly highlighting privacy concerns over technology giants hoovering up this data.
We also need to be wary of the security implications of what could happen if that data is not stored safely. While the likes of Amazon and Google have robust security systems, this might not be the same for everyone in the supply chain. If hackers were to gain control of your smart speaker and the valuable data transmitted through it they could, for example, figure out when you are home and when you’re on holiday, leaving you vulnerable to burglary. Read more here.
Telecoms sector facing new security requirements
The UK government has published the long-awaited Telecoms Supply Chain Review this week. The Review sets out how the government plans to better regulate the UK telecoms sector to improve cybersecurity risk management, policy and enforcement. It highlights concerns about the security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks including; “the inadequate industry practices driven by a lack of incentive to manage security risks to an appropriate level; and the risk of national dependency on a small number of viable suppliers.”
The Review is now calling for a ‘strong policy response’ and recommends the establishment of a new, robust security framework for the UK telecoms sector. The aim is to ensure all UK operators build and run secure and resilient networks and manage their supply chains accordingly. Telecoms operators must also assess and mitigate the risks posed by vendors to network security and resilience.
The foundation for this new framework will be “Technology Security Requirements” (TSR), which will be overseen by Ofcom and the government. The TSR will clarify what is expected in terms of network security within the telecoms industry. The government is now developing a legislative framework and is looking to afford Ofcom with the power to enforce the TSR.
Every business is vulnerable to cyberattack
Our partner, Check Point, has found this week that no environment is immune to cyberattack. In its Cyberattack trends midyear 2019 review, the company has found that as cybercriminals develop “new toolsets and techniques, targeting corporate assets stored on cloud infrastructure, individuals’ mobile devices, trusted third-party supplier applications and even popular mail platforms” no environment can guarantee safety from hackers.
From mobile banking to software supply chains, malware and email scammers have become increasingly sophisticated and difficult to stop. 2018 saw an incredible 50% increase in mobile banking attacks when compared to the same period the previous year.
Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research, Products at Check Point said: “Be it cloud, mobile or email, no environment is immune to cyber-attacks. In addition, threats such as targeted Ransomware attacks, DNS attacks and Cryptominers will continue to be relevant in 2019, and security experts need to stay attuned to the latest threats and attack methods to provide their organizations with the best level of protection.”
The report goes on to list the Top Botnet Malware During H1 2019. See them here.
Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: