March 15 2021
Welcome to Monday’s news overview – this is a place where we keep you up to date on the latest technology updates, cybersecurity news, and more. Here’s what’s going on in the tech world today:
Bitcoin surges past $60,000 for the first time
Remember back in 2015 when Bitcoin was worth just £200? Are you kicking yourself yet? Because we know we are. Bitcoin has now increased 200-fold, to over £40,000 – that’s $60,000 for you Americans – and it’s set to continue its record-breaking run.
Astonishingly, Bitcoin has more than tripled in value since the end of last year, which was probably due in part to several well-known businesses adopting the cryptocurrency as a legit method of payment. Last month, we saw Bitcoin’s total market value exceed $1 trillion. With that said, the cryptocurrency is known for it’s rollercoaster-like price swings; yes, it’s increased overall since its creation in 2009, but it’s also fallen sharply a fair few times. Read more here.
More than 3,000 UK email servers are still at risk due to the global Microsoft Exchange email flaw
The Microsoft Exchange email hack took the business world by surprise two weeks ago; since then, many businesses have scrambled to secure their systems before nefarious parties can exploit the now highly-publicised vulnerability. The overall impact of the problem is still unknown, but the National Cyber Security Centre estimates that 7,000 UK servers have been affected by the flaw, and so far, only half of them have been secured.
Multiple hacking groups have jumped in to exploit this vulnerability and installing malicious software has been the most common method of choice. So far, the use of this vulnerability to steal email data or deploy ransomware to lock users out of their systems has been pretty low. Despite this, businesses need to move quickly to secure their email servers, so if you haven’t already, be sure to install the latest Microsoft updates, and tell a friend, colleague, or fellow business owner about this issue. The more informed every business is, the more secure their business will be.
Microsoft isn’t the only organisation that sprung into action against this hack; the NCSC has also been working with businesses to help them to defend their servers against exploitation. They released this statement: “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.” Read more here.
Boris Johnson wants to boost Britain’s military cyber capability
In November 2020, the UK government announced the National Cyber Force – a crack team of offensive security experts that work to counter cyber threats from hostile nations. Recently, the prime minister revealed that he want’s to invest further in Britain’s cyber capability. That’s right – Boris wants us to get even better at hacking our enemies.
An investment in cyber isn’t just about offensive attacks from HMH (Her Majesty’s Hackers) on our enemies; it’s also about grasping the opportunities of digital and defending against strikes by nation state hackers, lone wolves, and independent nefarious groups. Number 10 released this statement last week: “Cyber power is revolutionising the way we live our lives and fight our wars, just as air power did 100 years ago,” and plans to present a long-term Integrated Review of our national security, development, defence, and foreign policy to Parliament, where no doubt, the topic of cybersecurity will come up. Read more here.
Turns out Incognito Mode is not so incognito after all…
Google and its parent company Alphabet have found themselves in a spot of bother recently, in the form of a $5 billion lawsuit. As usual with these tech giants, the issue once again, is privacy – Google has allegedly failed to notify users that their data could still be collected in private incognito mode.
The lawsuit was originally filed last June and alleges that Google is in violation of wiretapping and privacy laws by intercepting, tracking, and collecting communications. It stands to reason that when a user activates incognito mode on Google Chrome, they don’t want to be tracked. However, in actuality the tech giant collects data via website plug-ins, mobile apps, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and more.
Google/Alphabet tried to get the case dismissed, but federal judge Lucy Koh wasn’t having any of it. In her ruling, she stated: “The court concludes that Google did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode.” Read more here.
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