Week Ending: 19th March - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Tomorrow marks the first day of spring, and its certainly felt like things are warming up. If you’ve been out enjoying the sunshine, you may have missed the big news in Tech and I.T. this week.

Microsoft has certainly monopolised the tech headlines this week, but also making the news is British Airways’ new app-based travel pass and why online shopping is here to stay.

Let’s bring you up to date.

UK companies urged to update security after Microsoft hack

Security officials are urging organisations to update their security after flaws in Microsoft’s software allowed hackers to gain access to computers around the world. Microsoft Exchange suffered an attack last week affecting 30,000 businesses in the US and hundreds of thousands worldwide.

The Chinese-sponsored hacker group, named Hafnium, recently exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange, leaving ‘web shells’ which allowed cyber criminals to access victims’ systems remotely. These vulnerabilities go back 10 years but only since January have these been exploited by hackers.

Once an attacker takes over the Exchange server, they can open the network to the internet and access it remotely. This then allows the hacker to read emails from an Exchange server without authentication as well as completely taking over the mail server itself.

The National Cyber Security Centre has estimated that more than 3,000 UK email servers are still at risk. With 7,000 servers in Britain being affected by this flaw, only half of them had been secured. The most targeted industry sector has been Government and Military accounting for 23% of all exploit attempts, followed by Banking and Financial Service at 14%.

Paul Chichester, NCSC Director commented

“We are working closely with industry and international partners to understand the scale and impact of UK exposure, but it is vital that all organisations take immediate steps to protect their networks. While this work is ongoing, the most important action is to install the latest Microsoft updates.”

Find out more here.

9 in 10 will continue doing most of their shopping online

High street shops are due to open in April, but recent research has revealed that nine out of 10 shoppers will still use online shopping rather than shopping in person. Their reason? Online shopping is far less stressful than going in store.

A recent study conducted by Vauxhall Motors highlighted that 28% of those surveyed felt that online shopping doesn’t put pressure on them to make a purchase. More than seven in 10 also stated that there is no longer a need to worry about going from shop to shop, when everything is so readily available online.

There have been many changes to our daily life due to the coronavirus pandemic, from working remotely, learning at home to the ‘new normal’ of shopping online. This has made consumers feel a lot more confident with online shopping, even more comfortable buying clothes, shoes, and jewellery without trying them on first.

James Taylor, Vauxhall Motors commented

“There can be a lot of misconceptions around making bigger purchases online, but we are seeing that it’s becoming a much more normalised way of shopping. Making expensive purchases, doesn’t have to be nerve-racking. The worst that can happen with an expensive online purchase is that you don’t like it – but just as with a pair of jeans you buy online, grace periods, returns and refunds are perfectly common.”

If online shopping does become the preferred way of shopping, then what does that mean for the high street? Luckily, people will still find comfort in shopping in store as they believe some items may only be available there. Alongside browsing and the social aspect of being in a store, some may find online shopping daunting.

Discover more here.

British Airways plans app-based travel pass

Travel giant, British Airways, has recently revealed its plans to launch an app to make it easier for passengers to prove they are safe to travel once they’ve received their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Passengers will be able to register on the app that they’ve had their vaccination. This will then show up in app when going abroad.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the travel industry hard, with restrictions on flying, and lockdown preventing customers jetting off to enjoy their holidays. However, British Airway’s hopes its new technology will help restore confidence in airline travel.

The travel pass will not only give flight staff peace of mind but make it easier for passengers to travel safely. There’s also talk of this becoming a feature within the UK to allow entry into pubs or sports stadiums.

Mr Doyle, British Airways commented

“Its fair to say that Britain has developed a really strong leadership position in coming out the other end of the pandemic. What we want to make sure is that we also take that leadership position into restoring travel and restoring the economy.”

With international travel permitted again from May, British Airways has reintroduced free water and snacks on short-haul economy flights as an incentive for passengers to fly with them. Alongside the vaccine passport app, travel should again become something we all look forward to.

Read 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.