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Week Ending: 20th September - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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We’re not sure where the time goes, but it’s that time of the week again! If you’ve missed the comings and goings in the world of I.T. and Tech this week, worry not, our trusty roundup will bring you right up to date. It’s been another busy one with Gatwick Airport announcing it will be using facial recognition technology, more worries for Huawei and a formally unknown hacking group targeting I.T companies.

Airports using facial recognition at boarding gates

Gatwick has officially become the UK’s first airport to announce it will use facial-recognition cameras for ID checks before passengers board planes. The process, which is similar to that already used at the ePassport arrival gates at some UK airports, differs from Gatwick’s original test. In that test, travellers scanned their faces at the luggage drop-off zone. With the new process, passengers will still need to pass through the bag-check security zone, at which point they will need to present a boarding pass. Now in addition, they will be required to scan their passport at the departure gate for the system to be able to match the photo inside to their actual face.

This decision will limit Gatwick’s ability to use facial recognition for other services, however, privacy concerns have been raised. Ioannis Kouvakas, from Privacy International said: "Our main concern... would be the issue of proper consent. Placing general or vague signs that merely let individuals know that this technology is being deployed, once individuals are already inside the check-in area, is inadequate, in our view, to satisfy the strict transparency and consent requirements imposed by data-protection laws.”

A spokeswoman for Gatwick said it had designed its use of the technology to be "compliant with all data protection laws" and passengers would be able to choose to have their passports checked by human staff. Read more here.

More pressure for Huawei

Huawei has been suspended from a global cybersecurity trade group. The group – Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) – and its members include companies, governments, and academics.

Founded in the early 90s in response to a computer worm that attacked NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy networks among other systems, FIRST has evolved into a global first responder coalition that shares threat intelligence and aims to protect nations and companies against cyberattacks.

In recent months, Huawei has been accused of espionage intellectual property theft, sanction violations, and security vulnerabilities in its software by the US government and some of its allies. In the spring the Commerce Department instituted a blanket ban against Huawei working with U.S. companies resulting in Android withdrawing its services from Huawei’s smartphones. However, it has since issued two temporary 90-day reprieves allowing some to continue doing business with Huawei.

Huawei continues to deny all wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government challenging the ban on its equipment.

New hackers attacking first stage of supply chain

A previously undocumented hacking operation has been uncovered by Claritas partner Symantec. The operation is thought to be targeting I.T. providers at the opening stage of the supply chain with the goal making its way through the chain and compromising customer organisations.

Dubbed ‘Tortoiseshell’, the hacking group is using a combination of custom and off-the-shelf malware and isn’t thought to be linked to any current activity by criminals or nation-state backed espionage campaigns.

Tortoiseshell has been active since at least July 2018, with the most recent attack being in July this year! Symantec says the group has targeted at least 11 I.T. providers, most based in Saudi Arabia. Evidence suggests that the attackers gained domain admin level access to at least two of the organisations, enabling them to gain access to all machines on the network. Find out more.


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