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

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As the country moves out of national lockdown, our attentions quickly turn to Christmas – yes, we’re just three weeks away - and the prospect of spending five days with our families.

But before we switch off completely, there’s still plenty happening in the Tech and I.T. industry.

This week we explore Sheffield City Council’s warning on cyberattacks, a ‘virtual’ Christmas as Brits prepare for a socially distant festive season, the UK being named the fourth country in the world most affected by data theft, and the shocking amount adults will spend on gadgets in their lifetime.

Let’s bring you up to date.

Sheffield City Council on alert for cyber-attacks as criminals hold local authorities to ransom

Sheffield City Council has this week warned that cybersecurity is an ‘ever-present” risk.

With cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated, the Government has advised councils that state sponsored cyber-attacks are increasingly likely, and if successful, would have a detrimental impact.

Sheffield City Council is one government organisation taking this warning very seriously.

Council director Mark Gannon said:

“Cyber security is one that is increasing in focus and you’ll have seen this yourselves through the kind of increased coverage it gets in the media. People are becoming clever in the ways that they can attack organisations and some councils have been subject to ransomware recently where basically they are hacked and then held ransom to pay money over in order to have data released. National government recently sent some guidance out which we’re currently working through.”

Although cyberattacks are a big risk, one of the biggest security concerns for local government is human error. This is something Sheffield City Council has addressed and is now getting increased training to deal with it. The Council has also switched its I.T. systems so that it remains in-house.

Read more here.

Half of Brits planning ‘digital’ present opening this Christmas

We’ve all heard it…Christmas will be different this year, but how different? With us now just three weeks away, many adults are facing the difficult decision of what to do around the holidays.

A recent study of 2,000 adults found that almost half of Brits are preparing for a ‘tech Christmas’ by opening presents via video call. The survey also revealed that 36% will be having a ‘virtual traditional dinner’ and 24% said they would be hosting a virtual singalong with family.

The poll also revealed that two-thirds will be making this year even more special to compensate for the terrible year we’ve had. Technology has made this possible, with video platforms such as Zoom and Skype allowing families to see each other during the holidays.

Having a virtual Christmas this year may be the only way to see family, but that doesn’t mean all traditions are out. Whether you’re sharing a Christmas meal via Skype or doing a Christmas quiz through Zoom, the connectivity provided by the Tech industry will help ensure your Christmas is a memorable one!

Tech Digest has listed its top 10 ways families can plan to make their virtual Christmas magical, have a read here.

The UK is the fourth country in the world most affected by data theft

Given our size, it was a surprise to hear this week that the UK is the fourth country in the world most affected by data theft.

Unsurprisingly, the USA was top with South Korea in second and Canada in third.

The study by uSwitch revealed that the UK had 206,433 data breach cases per 100,000 in the last seven years. Compared to the USA, which had over 6 billion cases, this may seem small but given our population size that’s a big number.

According to the report, the most popular types of stolen data are email addresses (2.8%), passwords (2.3%), usernames (1.6%) being the highest, with dates of birth (0.7%), phone numbers (0.6%), physical addresses (0.5%), genders (0.4%) and website activity (0.4%) being at the lower end of the spectrum.

Sensitive data such as email addresses, usernames and passwords can lead to more malicious attacks on those affected such as phishing emails and website/subscription changes.

Explore more here.

Over £65,000 spent on gadgets in a lifetime

We all love our gadgets, whether it’s the latest iPhone, new laptop or tablet, and a recent study has shown that an average adult will spend a shocking £65,000 over their lifetime on these gadgets!

Mobile phones, televisions, laptops, gaming equipment and kitchen appliances are some of the most expensive items that adults will consume during their lifetime: £4,742 (mobile phones), £3,625 (televisions), £4,074 (laptops), £2,804 (gaming) and £11,774 (kitchen appliances).

Gadgets are seen in society as something to ‘show off’, who has the latest iPhone or the most recent gaming console. This showboating can, however, leave your pockets rather empty. Of those polled, 15% saw themselves as ‘early adopters of tech’ who keep up with the latest trends, but 7 out of 10 prefer to wait until items have dropped in price before buying.

The Big Phone Store spokesman who commissioned the research commented:

“A huge amount of money is spent on technology, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. The tech industry relies enormously on the concept of newness, and that the newest gadget is always better than the one that came before. However, this isn’t always the case, and there are often huge savings to be made by picking up ‘last year’s’ model – whether that’s a phone, a fridge or a TV.”

Discover more here.

Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech, but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.