Week Ending: 1st May - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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In this week’s roundup of I.T. and tech news, we look at how Virgin Media went offline in an error that left thousands of people stuck without internet connection, a drastic change in Spotify user habits leading to a 31% increase in premium subscriptions, and finally, fraudsters live on Facebook Twitter and Instagram sharing personal details that could lead to disastrous hacks. It’s been another busy one, so keep up to date with all the latest major happenings here.

Virgin Media goes offline

This week saw Virgin Media’s network go down, leaving millions unconnected to the internet during lockdown. The outages began Monday evening at 5pm, inline the with Government’s daily Coronavirus update. Virgin Media recorded 30,000 reports of the down service, with some cases not fixed and back online until Tuesday morning.

A Virgin Media spokesman commented on Tuesday, the issue "saw broadband drop for a minute or so every hour or two and then restore. We identified the problem and it’s now fixed as of earlier this morning. This wasn’t a constant loss of service, it was intermittent”. The firm believes the issue was caused "by a technical fault in our core network".

The problem in Virgin’s service left users unconnected to the internet, meaning online activities that require a connection, such as video games, could not be played – a crucial time passer in lockdown!

Read more about it here.

A midweek weekend for Spotify

Data released by Spotify shows the change in morning routines throughout the pandemic. There has been a drastic change in morning commuter listeners, to listeners streaming whilst doing housework like cooking and chores. The data also shows a switch in the type of genre and content streamers are searching for, such as ‘chill’, ‘instrumental’ and meditation and wellbeing podcasts, with users saying Spotify has been a form of stress release and management.

The findings were release just as Spotify reported an increase in premium subscribers throughout the pandemic, up 31% to 130 million subscribers, and as a result, revenue has risen by 22% to €1.85bn.

Spotify claimed that usage in car and wearable devices had dropped, sometimes by double digit percentages, but listening through TV and game consoles had increased by up to 50%. Spotify commented: "It’s clear from our data that morning routines have changed significantly. Every day now looks like the weekend. This trend was seen more significantly in podcasts than in music, likely due to the fact that car and commute use cases have changed quite dramatically.

"However, listening time around activities like cooking, doing chores, family time, and relaxing at home have each been up double digits over the past few weeks. Audio has also taken on a greater role in managing the stress and anxiety many are feeling in today’s unprecedented environment."

Discover more here.

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook allow hacker communities

Consumer watchdog Which? has recently identified 50 profiles, pages and groups on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offering stolen credit-card details, Netflix and Uber Eats account details. Even after being reported to the respective social platforms, a lot of the content remained, even though Facebook and Twitter claimed that such activity was not tolerated and would be removed.

The investigation found one Facebook post revealing one man’s full name, date of birth, address, mobile phone number, credit-card number, security code, expiry data, bank name and sort code. The post had apparently been live for four months.

Which? stated it had reported the findings to Facebook, but the social network had refused to remove it because it did not breach its community standards. It was only after Which? had requested a review of that decision that the post was removed. Facebook commented: "Fraudulent activity is not tolerated on our platforms and we have removed the groups and profiles flagged to us by Which?... for violating our policies."

Find out more here.

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