Week Ending: 15th May - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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In this week’s I.T. and tech news, we look at how an error left millions of details of car trips and vehicle registration numbers exposed, to outsourcing giant, Interserve, falling victim to cyberattack, and finally, the increasing number of inaccurate videos relating to Coronavirus being shared on YouTube. Whether you are still working or are furloughed, there’s always time to catch up with our latest roundup of I.T. and tech news.

Car trip data breach leaves 8.6 million details exposed

8.6 million details on Britain’s car trips have been exposed on the internet in one of Britain’s largest data breaches. Privacy campaigners have warned that the data could have been stolen and utilised by hackers and cybercriminals. Police and council chiefs who operate the system have apologised for the error, which is being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office. It could result in multi-million-pound fines.

The breach included records of vehicle movements being tracked by a network of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. This database was left unprotected and accessible without a password, meaning that anybody could potentially access the information. Tony Porter, Britain’s surveillance camera commissioner, who works with the Home Office to monitor the use of the technology, said: “The lapse is astonishing and worrying”.

The mistake is reported to be the UK’s biggest data breach since a cyberattack on Dixons Carphone in 2017 and 2018. In this data breach, 14 million people’s details were exposed to cybercriminals who found and exploited a vulnerability in its I.T. systems. The retailer was given a hefty fine of £500,000.

Learn more about it here.

Major outsourcing company targeted by hackers

Interserve, a major outsourcing company that holds vital government contracts for a range of public services including prisons, schools and hospitals, has fallen victim to a cybersecurity attack. The company has supported the NHS in recent weeks with its Birmingham Nightingale Hospital. It is reported that some of its services may be affected.

Interserve stated that: “Interserve was the target of a cyber security attack earlier this month. Interserve is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Strategic Incident Response teams to investigate, contain and remedy the situation. This will take some time and some operational services may be affected.

“Interserve has informed the Information Commissioner (ICO) of the incident.

“We will provide further updates when appropriate. Interserve’s employees, former employees, clients and suppliers are requested to exercise heightened vigilance during this time.”

NCSC said: “We are aware of an incident affecting Interserve Group Limited and are working closely with the company to understand its impact and advise on mitigation.”

Read more about it here.

One in four videos on YouTube shares misleading information on Covid-19

It has been reported that one in four popular videos on YouTube shares misleading information on Coronavirus. Researchers analysed the contents of the platform’s most extensively viewed clips as of March 21. Google, who owns YouTube, has taken instant action to prevent the spread of misinformation on Covid-19, as have other tech giants and platforms like Facebook. In a study of 69 videos which have collectively racked up more than 257 million views, 19 were found to feature incorrect factual details, but totalled over 62 million views.

Among the 19 fake-news videos, around a third of them came from entertainment news outlets, with network and internet news sources both accounting for around a quarter. Consumer-posted videos made up 13% of the total.

The reliability and quality of the content of each video was assessed using a scoring system. Professional and government agency videos scored notably higher for accuracy, usability, and quality than any of the other sources, however, they did not feature significantly among viewing figures like other sources.

A paper published in the BMJ Global Health journal said that: “while good quality accurate information put out by government bodies and experts is widely available on YouTube, it is often hard to understand and lacks popular appeal, so does not have the reach it needs”.

Find out more here.

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