Week Ending: November 24th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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The consumer phenomenon that is Black Friday seems to silently creep up on us each year. No one really knows or can remember when it is for 50 weeks of the year, until one week in November it’s suddenly upon us. The week leading up to Black Friday sees a certain type of ultra-marketing and tech gifts are often the items of choice.

This week’s roundup takes a look at the security surrounding one of most popular IoT Black Friday deals, the smart speaker.

To accompany this, we’ve also got news on the UK’s plans to tackle the cyber security gap and the cost of I.T. downtime to businesses. Let’s jump in.

The Security of the Smart Speaker

As Amazon and Google battle it out ahead of Christmas, security is often overlooked when it comes to new technology. Our partners at Symantec, have examined whether one of the top Christmas gifts this year, smart speakers, could be endangering people’s privacy and online security in their recent article.

Firstly, did you know that smart speakers are always listening? This is so that they can pick up the trigger wake-up word, such as “Alexa” or “OK Google”. The information the user then gives is said to be sent only to backend servers through an encrypted connection however recently a journalist was given a Google Home Mini ahead of its official launch and found it to be making recordings despite him not saying the wake-up word.

This was of course said to be a hardware problem and one that was fixed ahead of general release but confirms that these devices have the potential to listen all the time – meaning security is paramount.

It’s these features that naturally appeal to both hackers and law enforcement. You can read the full Symantec article here.

The Cost of Downtime

Cyber-attacks and hardware failures are the main causes bringing systems down in businesses across the UK. Recent research has found that over a third of businesses (35%) are unaware of the cost of downtime. The cost for some of the bigger organisations ranged from £50,000 to some paying over £1million per hour. Astonishing figures which you can read about here.

When it comes to cyber-attacks and general hardware problems, having a solid disaster recovery strategy is important. Our blog post covers the key areas to ensure your business is prepared for the worst.

The Cyber Discovery Programme

The cyber-security skills gap is something we hear about regularly but this week it has been announced that the UK Government is to dedicate £20 million to a new initiative aiming to get schoolchildren interested in cyber security.

The Cyber Discovery Programme will be focused on training the nation’s young to become highly skilled in dealing with cyber issues. It’s an attempt to close the current gap and prepare for the future.

Aimed at 15-18 year olds, the cyber security based curriculum will contain: digital forensics, defending against web attacks, cryptography, programming and the ethics of hacking. It will tackle the problem of hacking head-on by training a future work force equipped to deal with the crime - a very positive step forward in our eyes.

Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.