Week Ending: 17th September - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Well Autumn has well and truly arrived this week and things seem to be getting back to normal as more people flock back to the office. And the world of tech and I.T. has, as always, kept us entertained.

This week’s biggest tech announcement came from Apple, who at the beginning of the week announced an emergency update after the discovery of 'zero click' malware. And they weren’t the only one, tech giant, Olympus also announced that they’d been the victim of a BlackMatter ransomware attack.

And that’s not all, in this week’s round up we’ll take a look at why Tik Tok is facing privacy investigations by EU watchdog, WhatsApp’s major new security update, and why nearly half of UK firms don’t have the I.T. skills they need.

Let’s catch you up.

TikTok face privacy investigations by EU watchdog

It was announced this week that social media platform, TikTok, is under investigation by The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) over two privacy-related issues.

The Irish DPC said it was specifically looking into GDPR-related issues as well as TikTok’s processing of children’s personal data. They said that their first inquiry would examine, “the processing of personal data for users under 18, and age verification measures for persons under 13.” It will also look in to how transparent TikTok has been about how it processes such data.

The Irish DPC will also conduct a second investigation which will look at TikTok’s transfer of personal data to China. The platform is owned by Chinese company Byte Dance and has repeatedly faced accusations that it shares data with Chinese companies, something they firmly deny.

In a statement, TikTok said:

"We've implemented extensive policies and controls to safeguard user data and rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clauses. We intend to fully co-operate with the DPC."

We’re sure this won’t be the last time we hear about TikTok’s privacy challenges. The platform is now used by over 600 million people across the world, and this number continues to increase, therefore issues around privacy and data are certain to become more common.

Read the full story here

WhatsApp introduces major new security update

At the beginning of the week, WhatsApp announced it was introducing a major new security update that will store people’s messages safely.

This announcement means that the messaging platform is fully embracing end-to-end encryption so that all messages sent via the platform cannot be intercepted by hackers.

As part of the update, WhatsApp will now include end-to-end encrypted backups on all messages, meaning that they are secure all the way through the process.

In a statement issued this week, WhatsApp said it has overcome “the final hurdle” in creating an end-end encrypted messaging service.

Mark Zuckerberg said the feature had required building an “entirely new framework” to make sure the backups worked.

He said:

“We’re adding another layer of privacy and security to WhatsApp: an end-to-end encryption option for the backups people choose to store in Google Drive or iCloud. WhatsApp is the first global messaging service at this scale to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging and backups and getting there was a really hard technical challenge that required an entirely new framework for key storage and cloud storage across operating systems.”

However, there is a catch, which is why WhatsApp is making the update optional. If a user loses access to their backups, there will be no way of getting it back. With this level of security not even WhatsApp has key to unlock the messages, even with the consent of the person who sent them.

Read more on the updates here

Nearly half of UK firms don’t have the I.T. skills they need

We found this headline from IT Pro Portal this week quite alarming. According to a report issued by cloud provider IONOS Cloud, 40% of businesses are hindered by an I.T. skills gap.

The company surveyed over 600 I.T. decision makers in the manufacturing, healthcare and insurance sectors and found that more than a third believe the lack of skill is putting them at risk of various security threats.

What’s even more alarming, a quarter also said that their business isn’t compliant with cybersecurity rules and regulations and therefore isn’t as secure as it should be.

Phishing scams were the cybersecurity threat most businesses in the UK were worried about, highlighting that the importance of cybersecurity is very much on their radar; just having the resource to implement robust strategies is the challenge.

Achim Weiss, CEO of IONOS said:

“What’s clear from the new insights is that businesses understand the importance of both cyber security and data protection, but missing skillsets are leaving organizations extremely vulnerable. That’s why it’s vital companies put measures in place to plug these gaps, and don’t hesitate to work with external expertise to ensure businesses are protected."

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.