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Week Ending: 4th October - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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With the dreaded ‘B’ word dominating the headlines this week you have likely missed the comings and goings in the world of I.T. and Tech. But worry not, our trusty roundup of this week’s biggest stories will bring you right up to date.

Patent gender-gap likely to remain until 2070

A new report has found that women inventors account for just 13% of patent applications across the globe, suggesting that the world still doesn’t take full advantage of the innovative ideas of women.

You might remember from a number of our techspiration blogs that women have been key to the developments of some of the biggest innovations in the world of I.T. However, according to this study, patent applications won’t reach gender parity until 2070.

The researchers believe that the gap is due to the lack of women working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and that more women need to be encouraged to study these subjects at university. Currently only a quarter of the STEM workforce in the UK is female and despite efforts to correct the imbalance even fewer study these subjects in secondary school and at degree level.

Most patent applications come from all-male teams and it seems that patents applied for in obviously female names are less likely to be approved. According to a previous World Intellectual Property Organisation study, female scientists are less than half as likely to obtain a patent for their research, suggesting women may be less likely than men to think about commercialising their inventions.

US and Australian hospital closures due to ransomware attacks

This week three US hospitals were forced to temporarily close to all but the most critical new patients following a ransomware outbreak. Operated by the DCH Health System, computers at the DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Fayette Medical Center and Northport Medical Center were infected with ransomware.

"A criminal is limiting our ability to use our computer systems in exchange for an as-yet-unknown payment," said DCH Health System. We will continue to divert any new admissions, other than those that are critical, to other facilities," DCH said in its statement.

Local ambulances were asked to take patients to other local hospitals where possible. And outpatients with appointments at any of the three hospitals were cancelled. It is as yet unknown who is behind the ransomware attack.

In a separate attack, seven hospitals in Australia have also reported disruptive ransomware infections. The Government of Victoria said seven hospitals located in Gippsland and south-west Victoria were involved. Multiple computer systems have had to be disconnected as a result, which has meant some patient record, booking and management services have been shut down.

The government has said that due to the nature of the attack, efforts to contact patients and schedule appointments may be affected as hospitals have had to revert to manual systems in order to maintain services. Barwan Health, one hospital operator affected by the incident has said some elective surgery and appointments have been cancelled.

TalkTalk hacker parents sentenced

The parents of a teenager who was found guilty of hacking offences against TalkTalk earlier this year have this week received suspended sentences for attempting to help him hide ill-gotten Bitcoin. In August Elliott Gunton was sentenced to 20 months in prison for his actions against the telecommunications giant.

In their “misguided loyalty,” his parents used a 24-word password to access a seized hard drive and move over £200k of Bitcoin which they knew to be “proceeds of criminal conduct.” With overwhelming evidence against them, including a recorded prison telephone conversation, the laptop used to move the funds and the written password in the recycle bin, the couple pleaded guilty to the charge against them.

Judge Stephen Holt said he accepted the Guntons had not been motivated by personal gain. He said: "Your son is a quite brilliant computer expert, who unfortunately put his brilliance to criminal purposes. A message must be sent out that [with] misguided loyalty to a son or daughter, when this amount of money is involved, the courts cannot ignore it." Read more here.


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