With the general election taking centre stage, this week is one that has clearly been dominated by politics and it has even managed to slip into the world of I.T. and tech. In case you missed it, our trusty roundup this week brings you not only news of the general election, but gifts you might want to avoid this Christmas and how not to over invest in cybersecurity.
The social election
During the week of the general election it would be difficult for us not to mention the controversy surrounding the political social media ads the country has been subjected to. Whether you’re in the “freedom of speech” camp or you believe political parties are spreading fake news and disinformation, it is clear the campaign for this general election has been one of the most toxic ever.
A report this week has been calling for fact-checking of political ads on social media to be a legal requirement. As it stands parties can run ads containing anything they choose and it is only when research has been conducted, fact-checking across social media ad libraries, party timelines and physical party leaflets, that concerns have been raised.
Other reports have also noted how the political parties have been targeting their ads, with some blanket targeting the whole country, as with a political party broadcast, and others taking a much more nuanced approach. Currently on Facebook, parties can upload their own target lists without needing to give any information as to where the lists have come from. Following the Cambridge Analytica Scandal in 2018 this is obviously a worry for many.
Bluetooth enabled toys pose hacking risk
Consumer group Which? has found that some of the nation’s favourite toys pose a potential risk of abuse to our children. The group found that a walkie talkie toy and two karaoke devices which are Bluetooth enabled, are potentially hackable, meaning a hacker would be able to communicate with a child through the device.
Working with a cybersecurity firm, Which? found that a number of toys sold by retailers such as Amazon, Argos and Smyths Toys were lacking in basic security. VTech, the manufacturer of the walkie talkie, has hit back saying that in order to pair with a device a person would need to be in close proximity to it and this would only work if it wasn’t already connected to another device. Connection would then need to occur within 30 seconds of the child’s device being activated.
It’s clear then that the risk is small especially compared to the risk posed by online platforms. However, the risk is still there, and it is one that could be easily eliminated using a few basic security measures. Cybersecurity expert Ken Munro said; "These are depressingly simple security flaws. There is no excuse for big brand names such as these to be vulnerable." Read more here.
Over investment in security leaves businesses vulnerable
A survey this week has found that many larger companies are at a greater risk from cyberthreats if they ‘over invest’ in cybersecurity products. In an analysis of 400 companies with over 1,000 employees, the survey found that there is a security tipping point and when investing in cybersecurity companies may be overwhelming their staff leading to security products not being utilised.
Businesses are underutilising their technology, wasting valuable security resources and leaving their teams overwhelmed. Security teams are also spending more time trying to manage their wide range of tools than proactively defending against threats.
Almost three quarters of security decision makers said that their companies had invested in five new technologies in the last year and one fifth said they had invested in a staggering 19! This means that teams are struggling to implement tools, with them being added fasted than they can be proactively used. This over investment is effectively leaving businesses as vulnerable as if they didn’t have any cybersecurity tools. For a review of your cybersecurity please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: