Week Ending: 6th March - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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It’s been another busy week in the world of I.T and tech, with coronavirus continuing to monopolise the headlines, impending data breaches and the use of AI to help reduce human impact on the world’s oceans. If you missed all that, worry not, our trusty roundup will bring you right up to date.

Coronavirus hits Facebook

Coronavirus isn’t going away and is expected to dominate the headlines for many months to come. This week, it hit the headlines as Facebook became the latest organisation to be affected. The web giant announced it was closing its Seattle office on Thursday after a contractor was diagnosed with the virus.

To limit the risk of it spreading, Facebook has forbidden all staff from coming to the office, with some staff being advised to work from home until the end of the month.

In a statement earlier this week a spokesperson for Facebook said: "We’ve notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials to prioritize everyone’s health and safety”.

How this will affect Facebook’s business going forward, we’ll have to see, but they’re certainly not the only company being forced into implementing strict working from home policies for those that can.

This week, Amazon’s head office in Seattle also fell victim to the coronavirus forcing the business to notify employees to work from home until the end of the month.

Watch this space, and read more here.

C3UK data error

There never seems to be a week without news of a company data breach, and this week it’s all about rail station WIFI provider C3UK. It was revealed earlier this week that the provider had exposed the data of about 10,000 people who signed up for the free WIFI service at major commuter hotspots such as Waltham Cross, Harlow Mill, and London Bridge.

It was discovered that the C3UK database was not protected despite containing 146 million records including contact information and date of births, making it incredibly easy for potential hackers to access.

In response, C3UK said it secured its exposed database as soon as it was brought to their attention by researcher Jeremiah Fowler, from Security Discovery. However, in a statement made by a company representative, C3UK said: "given the database did not contain any passwords or other critical data such as financial information, this was identified as a low-risk potential vulnerability."

We’re not convinced. As researcher Jeremy Fowler explained, the database appeared to be searchable by username, meaning individuals’ regular travel patterns could be gleaned by tracking when they had logged on to each station’s WIFI service.

He previously contacted C3UK about the potential breach but never received a reply, and C3UK failed to inform the data regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

We think they might start to take their data security more seriously in future. Find out more about it here.

Tidal: AI technology to the rescue

Google’s parent company, Alphabet has this week unveiled a revolutionary AI camera system designed to reduce the human impact of the world’s oceans.

Sounds amazing, but how’s it going to work?

According to Neil Davé, general manager at Tidal.vfg, this cutting-edge technology will better track farmed fish such as salmon and yellowtail, with the goal of cutting down the amount of manual inspection fish farmers have to do; such a process is said to be overly time-consuming, unreliable, and impossible to scale.

Neil explained that the underwater camera system they have developed can detect and interpret fish behaviours not visible to the human eye.

He said: “Our software can track and monitor thousands of individual fish over time, observe and log fish behaviours like eating, and collect environmental information like temperature and oxygen levels.”

Though, the wider goal for the three-year project is to help make fish farming more sustainable and help reduce the reliance of humans on animal protein from land-based mammals, such as cows and pigs.

Davé concluded: “As we validate our technology and learn more about the ocean environment, we plan to apply what we’ve learned to other fields and problems, with the help of ocean health experts and other organizations eager to find new solutions to protect and preserve this precious resource.”

Learn more here.

Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: