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Week Ending: August 18th - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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With the third weekend of August just in sight, we’re counting down the time to the bank holiday.

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But while we’re all hard at work, let's take a look at some of the stories in I.T. & Tech, making the headlines this week.

Broadband speeds in the UK are 31st in the World

A recent study by Cable ranked the UKs average broadband speed at 16.51 Mbps, placing it as the 31st fastest speeds in the world.

That puts the UK lower than 30 other countries, with Singapore taking the crown as the fastest, with an average of 55.13 Mbps.

In the UK, superfast broadband works typically on a fibre to the cabinet system. That is, fibre optic cables are used up to the green cabinet on the street, but the final leg to a home or office will be done down traditional copper cable. This works well if you’re situated close to a green street cabinet, but the further away from one you get the slower your final speed.

The more traditional (and cheaper option) is to utilise the copper twisted pair phone cable all the way from the exchange, increasing your distance to high speed internet even more.

It seems clear that further investment into infrastructure in the UK is important, but for a lot of users it might be that we only have ourselves to blame. 93% of people in the UK have the option to take up superfast broadband, but many just haven’t taken the option.

Thousands of apps on the Google Play store contain spyware

Mobile security company Lookout have found that more than 1000 aps in the Google Play store, used by Android devices, contain a new spyware family called ‘Sonic Spy’. This software has the ability to turn on microphones; take photos with the camera; make outbound calls and much more.

The spyware seems to originate from one account linked to an Iraqi developer, with the most recent example ‘Soniac’ functioning as a messenger application based on a customised version of the Telegram app.

Google Play store vets new applications through automated scanning techniques such as sandboxing, however, with millions of apps on the store, it can be very difficult to differentiate between legitimate apps that require access to things such as the camera, and malicious ones.

If you suspect you have been the victim of spyware or want a health check get in touch here.

Using DNA to infect a computer with Malware

Researchers at the University of Washington have found a way to infect computers with Malware using synthesized DNA.

The attack exploits the way DNA testing computers analyse samples. Many DNA analysing software is open source, written in vulnerable languages like C or C++, which without careful writing can have serious security vulnerabilities.

Researchers created a synthetic DNA sample, which when sequenced by the software took advantage of these vulnerabilities granting access to the hacker.

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