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Week Ending: 9th July - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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What a week for England, getting into the Euros’ final for the first time in history! With such an exciting weekend to look forward to, we don’t blame you if you haven’t kept up to date with the headlines from the world of tech and I.T.

This week’s round-up covers everything from the Windows ‘PrintNightmare’ exploit, Jetpack technology and Vodafone hitting its renewable milestone.

Let’s get you up to speed.

Microsoft issues emergency Windows patch to fix critical ‘PrintNightmare’ vulnerability

Technology giant, Microsoft, has rolled out an emergency patch across multiple versions of its PC operating system, Windows, to address a critical flaw in its printing programme. The vulnerability called ‘PrintNightmare’ was identified last week and took advantage of a security weakness within the Windows Print Spooler service, therefore opening doors to potential cyberattacks.

The Print Spooler service, which is the source of the issue, runs by default on Windows and helps your PC manage the flow of print jobs being sent to a printer.

According to Microsoft, the attackers could use this vulnerability to gain system-level access and remotely install programs on your PC, modify or delete data, or create new accounts with full user rights. The main concern is that these techniques could be used for ransomware attacks.

Microsoft commented,

“We recommend that you install these updates immediately. The security updates released on and after July 6, 2021, contain protections for CVE-2021-1675 and the additional remote code execution exploit in the Windows Print Spooler service known as ‘PrintNightmare’, documented in CVE-2021-34527.”

The exploit has since been patched and available for systems as far back as Windows 7, which officially went out of support last year. Microsoft has also recommended installing the latest security update from June, along with disabling the Print Spooler service or disabling inbound remote printing through Window’s Group Policy infrastructure.

Discover more here.

Are jetpacks finally about to take off?

If you’re a James Bond fan you may remember seeing the first jetpack in the Thunderball film back in 1965. The technology has come a long way since then and it’s now being tested for a variety of specialist uses, such as the rapid deployment of rescue personnel in emergency situations, or for defence forces.

A Royal Marine was lucky enough this week to test out the technology to assess how jetpacks can assist in maritime boarding operations, eliminating the need to descend on a rope from a helicopter.

Though don’t get too excited, apparently the potential recreational use of jetpacks may be more problematic, especially when it comes to safety and environmental challenges. Not to mention the regulatory hurdles and air traffic control issues.

However, two firms, one in the UK and one in America are allowing members of the public to pay to try out a jetpack, with the user attached by wires to avoid uncontrollable flying.

Benjamin Akih, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University commented,

“I think that this technology will first be used in special cases, before finding a broader use in recreation. I am thinking of fire-fighters, medical and rescue personnel, or possibly law enforcement. Extensive use of jetpacks in these specialised cases may promote their adoption in other areas, such as recreation and personal travel.”

In addition to using jetpacks in the military and emergency services, California-based JetPack Aviation has already produced a number of versions of its ‘JB’ series jetpack which allows members of the public to be trained to use its Federal Aviation Administration-approved JB10, a twin turbojet engine jetpack that runs on kerosene or diesel.

Having already trained around 80 people, a number of promoters have approached the company about setting up experience operations in countries including Japan and Australia.

Could jetpacks become the norm in the future? Let us know what you think.

Read more here.

Vodafone hits renewable milestone

Vodafone has reached a key renewable milestone. The network provider, which pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions across the UK operations by 2027, confirmed this week that every area of its business in the UK, including network, data centres, retail stores and offices are now 100% powered by renewable electricity.

Not only do Vodafone connect 16 million people at any one moment across the UK through its fixed and mobile networks, but as part of Vodafone’s net-zero agenda they reduced CO2 emissions by 37% last year. The business has also been trialling electric vehicle charging points and moving to a 60% EV or PHEV car fleet.

Now 100% of Vodafone’s electricity is from renewable sources, including 11% from wind farms in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. They plan to extend self-generated power in the next five years.

Ahmed Essam, Vodafone’s UK CEO commented,

“Achieving our ambitious net zero target is a critical part of our company strategy. With COP26 being held in Glasgow later this year, now is the time to embrace this opportunity and work together to accelerate our transition to a zero-carbon society. I’m delighted that our entire business is now powered by electricity sourced 100% from renewables.”

Vodafone has also helped businesses save almost 500,000 tonnes of CO25, largely through IoT technology and has joined the UK Government’s Race to Zero and Tech Zero Taskforce. This renewables milestone will be marked in the UK by a wide-reaching digital and social campaign, including Vodafone’s chatbot TOBi wearing a green hat.

Find out 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.