Week Ending: 29th January - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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With lockdown 3.0 continuing to change the way we work and keep ourselves entertained, the news may seem to be flooded with COVID-19 vaccines and fake news. However, in the Tech and I.T. industry there have been some interesting developments.

From GDPR fines making businesses prioritise cybersecurity, technology rapidly changing cancer care, Amazon Kindle’s latest cyberattack flaw and the IoT helping remote workers back to the office.

Let’s get you up to date.

Data breach fines ‘wake-up call’ for businesses to prioritise cyber security

In 2018, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was introduced bringing information security to the forefront for many businesses. By protecting sensitive customer information it gives consumers peace of mind that their data is safe, with penalties in place, such as fines, for breaches in data protection laws.

However, not all companies are prioritising information security and are therefore putting their businesses at risk, especially in light of the recent string of high profile cyberattacks. The Ministry of Defence itself came under fire with its annual report noting an 18% rise in data breaches last year, with 546 reported incidents.

Bureau Veritas, a world-wide testing, inspection and certification company, advised that these recent examples of data protection negligence should serve as a wake-up call and that just ‘paying the fine’ isn’t acceptable. Businesses should be proving that they have taken action to address the vulnerabilities that led up to the data breaches.

Basilio Vieira, Lead Auditor at Bureau Veritas, commented

“GDPR was the enforcement stick which brought data protection into focus and after its inception the number of cyberattacks reported grew exponentially, as voluntary reporting of data breaches was introduced. With this came stricter penalties for businesses which failed to protect data. The fines imposed upon firms are now so significantly higher, businesses can nil-afford to simply pay the fine and ignore the problem. Proactive steps must be taken to firstly, mitigate the risk of a data breach, and secondly if an information leak does occur, assess how it was attacked and work to resolve the problem quickly.”

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic, causing many employees to work remotely, has also caused risks to data protection. Many offices or work buildings function off a central, protected network with systems in place to detect viruses and possible cyberattacks, with private home networks this is often not the case.

Keeping your personal, customer or client data secure whilst working remotely should be a top priority and steps should be taken in order to keep cyberattacks from happening. Human error is one of the top reasons for data breaches.

Discover more here.

Technology is rapidly changing cancer care

The healthcare industry has been under immense pressure over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic, thankfully technology and digital innovation has grown to help make significant strides in the healthcare industry, especially in the field of cancer care and treatment.

One of the most talked about examples is IBM Watson, a platform developed to bring “data, technology and expertise together to transform health.” The wide-ranging initiatives associated with the project have had a great impact. Diagnostic Imaging Solutions, for example, used for medical imaging which is vital for cancer care, uses innovative imaging technology which helps clinicians scale care delivery and allows them to transform raw data into valuable insights.

Life Sciences Technology is another initiative incorporating IBM technology. Applied to help manage the intricacy of oncology trials while reducing the cost incurred by delays and inefficient protocol decisions during the development of new treatments. IBM researchers have been exploring how the use of AI systems could absorb raw data to support the decisions oncologists make.

IBM isn’t the only one entering this field, other companies have also been developing innovative technology to improve cancer and oncology care. Lantern Pharma, for example, has presented a potential therapeutic pipeline, ranging from treatments for prostate cancer to brain tumours. The company defines its use of therapeutic technology as “RADR or Response Algorithm for Drug Positioning & Rescue,” an integrated data analytics, experimental biology, biotechnology and machine-learning-based platform. The technology can predict the potential response patients will have to Lantern’s drugs and to other drugs under review by the company.

With ever-advancing technology we will continue to see an increase in the initiatives used to aid the healthcare sector.

Read more here.

Kindle’s best feature also a security disaster waiting to happen

In the current lockdown, it seems we are quickly running out of ways to entertain ourselves and for many avid readers, Amazon’s Kindle could be seen as an essential. Launched in 2007, Amazon’s Kindle ebooks can hold hundreds of different titles on one device, but even the Kindle isn’t immune to cyberattacks.

With cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated in their attacks, nothing digital seems to be safe. A report from security firm Realmode Labs showed a chain of vulnerabilities where an attacker could compromise a victim’s device and account.

The exploit itself is based around the ‘Send to Kindle’ feature which can allow a user to deliver ebooks to their device through email. If the hacker has knowledge of the device address they could send a malicious ebook that, when clicked, would allow them to perform arbitrary code execution. This attack will allow the hacker to gain access to personal details, make purchases using the owner’s credit card and sell ebooks on the Kindle marketplace, pocketing the funds to their own account.

An Amazon spokesperson commented

“The security of our devices and services is a top priority. We have released an automatic software update over the internet fixing this issue for all Amazon Kindle models released after 2014. Other impacted Kindle models will also receive this fix. We also have measures in place to help prevent customers from receiving content they haven’t requested. We appreciate the work of independent researchers who help bring potential issues to our attention.”

Measures have been put in place to help prevent these types of attacks such as adding additional characters to the devices email aliases, which should help make them more difficult to predict. In addition, customers will receive email notifications that require two-step confirmation before the ebook is delivered to the device.

Find out more here.

Can IoT accelerate a return to offices?

Remote working has become the norm for many workers and the role of IoT (Internet of Things) has helped workers to carry out their daily tasks and communicate virtually which has assisted team collaboration across a multitude of industries.

Sectors that have been previously unable to function without human labour, such as manufacturing, can now benefit from IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) infrastructures including sensors, cameras and endpoints which allow technicians to monitor and maintain asset performance remotely and in real time.

Igor Efremov, head of HR at Itransition, commented

“IoT will continue being valuable for the retail and supply chain industries, enabling their workers to remotely keep tabs on inventory levels, warehouse space utilization and storage conditions. This year, due to 5G-induced advancements in self-driving technology, more and more companies are likely to shift to unmanned shipments.”

Many industries do not see remote working as a long-term solution and are considering how returning to the office will be implemented. Using contactless smart devices such as wearables and sensors will be critical for some in reducing the amount of surface touching, helping keep workplaces safe and sanitised, for example.

This technology comes at a cost. The need for larger budgets to accommodate the changes in the office, to keep the environment safe and sustainable, will hinder many companies returning to the normal, office-based workforce.

There are IoT solutions, however, that may not be so costly but can be just as effective; indoor location services and indoor geolocation, for example, could allow employees to book time slots in meeting rooms and help them understand where in the office others are, to enable social distancing. IoT in the workplace doesn’t just help employees it can also benefit the company, understanding the use of their space more accurately and getting building issues reported without having to find a service worker can help eliminate wasted time.

Explore 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.