News
12 Jan 2018

The Friday Tech Takeaway - 12.01.18

DIGITAL SOCIETY

Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing on Facebook

Craig Foster of Scarborough paid £19.95 to watch a live fight on Sky last April. In the spirit of “information wants to be free, man!” he pointed his iPad at the TV and began to livestream the broadcast via Facebook, acquiring more than 4,000 real-time viewers.

Foster originally agreed to pay £5,000 in legal fees, but now regrets it and says he wants to go to court. http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/heavy-handed-sky-hit-boxing-1026351

Number of IoT Botnet C&C servers doubles in 2017

IoT botnets have more than doubled, going from 393 in 2016 to 943 in 2017. The number is based on statistics provided by Spamhaus, an organization that aggregates data on abusive web hosts as part of several blacklists. https://www.spamhaus.org/news/article/772/

SECURITY

Carphone Warehouse fined a whopping £400,000 for data breach

An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office found a “striking” number of “distinct and significant inadequacies” in the phone company’s security arrangements. This allowed the miscreants behind a cyber-attack that originated in Vietnam during the summer of 2015 - and which went on for 15 days before being detected - to gain access to millions of individuals personal information. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/mpns/2172972/carphone-warehouse-mpn-20180110.pdf

Backdoor account removed from Western Digital NAS hard drives

A security researcher is urging owners of Western Digital MyCloud NAS devices to update the firmware of their portable hard-drives to fix a series of important security bugs he reported to the vendor, including an easily exploitable and wormable hardcoded (backdoor) account. http://gulftech.org/advisories/WDMyCloud%20Multiple%20Vulnerabilities/125

Toymaker coughs up $650k after 3 million youngsters have info swiped

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today agreed to a settlement deal with a children's electronic toymaker it had accused of collecting kids' personal information and then failing to properly secure that data. The government watchdog said VTech will pay $650,000 and agree to a set of privacy and security requirements in order to settle charges it violated both the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC Act. https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/vtech_file_stamped_complaint_w_exs_1-8-18.pdf

INDUSTRY

Cybersecurity vendors enjoy VC love

2017 was a record-smashing year for venture capital funding of cybersecurity start-ups. According to figures from CBInsights, the year ended with 248 deals totalling $4.06B. A lot of the funding valuation came on the backs of mega late stage funding for the likes of well-known firms like Crowdstrike, Cybereason, and Exabeam. https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/20-cybersecurity-vendors-getting-venture-capital-love/d/d-id/1330754

HP recalls laptop batteries due to overheating and fire hazard

HP announced  "A worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement program" for laptop batteries it shipped with notebooks or sold as accessories or replacements between December 2015 and December 2017. The company says batteries sold during this interval are prone to overheat and pose a fire and burn hazard to customers. https://cpsc.gov/Recalls/2018/HP-Recalls-Batteries-for-Notebook-Computers-and-Mobile-Workstations-Due-to-Fire-and-Burn-Hazards

UK Data Protection Bill tweaked to protect security researchers

The United Kingdom has revealed amendments to its Data Protection Bill to de-criminalise research into whether anonymised data sets are sufficiently anonymous. The legislation, first floated in August 2017, gave rise to worries that researchers would commit a crime if they broke whatever measures were used to anonymise research data sets such as medical records. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0074/18074-II(b).pdf

Japanese multinational NEC spends £475m on UK-based IT provider Northgate Public Services

EC bought the company from private equity biz Cinven and the acquisition is due to close this month. Takashi Niino, NEC chief exec, said the business hopes to build on Northgate's technologies for police operations, and "establish new safety solutions based on a common business platform, and to further develop international markets largely focused on countries within the Commonwealth".

Wi-Fi Alliance launches WPA2 enhancements and announces WPA3

The arrival of the WPA3 protocol was announced on Monday by the Wi-Fi Alliance - the successor to the WPA2 protocol for the security of Wi-Fi communication. WPA3 will build on the core components of WPA2.

“Wi-Fi Alliance is launching configuration, authentication, and encryption enhancements across its portfolio to ensure Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices continue to implement state of the art security protections.” reads the announcement published by the Wi-Fi Alliance. https://www.wi-fi.org/news-events/newsroom/wi-fi-alliance-introduces-security-enhancements

Fortinet demonstrates integrated security and threat protection for the connected car

Fortinet and Renesas have collaborated on a prototype security solution that addresses the major cybersecurity risks in today’s connected car network architecture. Recent cyber breaches demonstrate the urgent need for integrated security for these increasingly sophisticated vehicle networks, including the 2015 Jeep Cherokee hack where a hacker group wirelessly broke into the vehicle and electronically controlled vital functions. http://renesasatces.com/

Kodak launches new cryptocurrency

The imaging company says its new make-believe money, named KODAKCoin, will be pitched as a way for photographers to issue and collect royalty payments. The idea is that shutterbugs will use the KodakOne portal to register their images and, using a blockchain, track ownership rights and royalty payments for each photo.

The exchange of money will get the added step of converting dollars, which can be spent anywhere, into "KODAKCoin", which can be spent nowhere outside of the KodakOne service. https://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/Press_center/KODAK_and_WENN_Digital_Partner_to_Launch_Major_Blockchain_Initiative_and_Cryptocurrency/default.htm

FUTURES

Nissan touts so-called Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V) tech

The Japanese car maker has developed technology that will allow you to control cars of the future with brainwaves. Daniele Schillaci said, in a company statement, that humans could use “signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-03/brain-waves-will-make-nissan-s-car-of-the-future-a-better-ride

Deep learning will not evolve into true AI

Gary Marcus, ex-director of Uber's AI labs and a psychology professor at the University of New York, argues that there are numerous challenges to deep learning systems that broadly fall into a series of categories.

Deep learning and neural networks may have benefited from the huge quantities of data and computing power, but they won't take us all the way to artificial general intelligence, according to a recent academic assessment. https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.00631