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Intelligent listening for beginners

Andy Cormack takes a less than deferential look at the sweeping powers that the UK government is considering in relation to the ongoing war against terrorism and other threats on the home front.  In this article, he raises some very valid points about the way that these proposals would affect everyone using the internet in the UK, looks at the implications of such legislation on the internet and to a greater extent, our personal freedoms. Theresa May, the UK’s Prime Minister, known well for her laughably dated views on how to combat terrorist threats online is at it again, this time aiming her sights directly at many of the internet giants of...

Internet News (October 2017)

Microsoft hosts Edge Web summit On 13th September, Microsoft held its Edge Web Summit in Seattle, Washington – a tech summit not entirely dissimilar in nature to that of Google’s IO annual event. At this event they trotted out the statistic of “330 million active devices”, qualifying that the statistic counts users that actively used the Edge browser over the course of a month. Of course, these figures may initially sound impressive, until you actually look at comparisons across the market share. Statcounter states that the browser’s desktop market share is a measly 3.95%, still significantly lower in fact than even the original legacy browser it is trying supplant, Internet Explorer, which still...

Tech Update (September 2017)

Andy Cormack gives us the heads up on what’s on the horizon in hardware and technology, giving you the lowdown on the next big thing.   This month, he takes a forensic look at Apple’s annual keynote speech, where they announce their up and coming product releases. As inevitable as the sun rising every day, there’s this year’s Apple keynote speech, and with it more new iterations of devices from the company. You can check out the full keynote event in video form on Apple’s site. iPhone X The iPhone X (Pronounced ‘Ten’, Apple’s new flagship smartphone or ‘Phablet’, was the biggest news out of this keynote speech, though some small...

A potted history of the Personal Computer

Andy Cormack this week looks at the history of the personal computer – a device that we take for granted, yet over the last forty or so years has revolutionised the way in which the human race works, plays, communicates and interacts. Andy looks at the beginnings of the personal computer, drags up a few good and bad memories, as well as some surprises along the way, where we have been in terms of computing, as well as looking where we might be heading. In the beginning To talk about the origins of the Personal Computer (PC), we first probably need to talk about electronic computers in general; these were the very foundation that...

Internet News (September 2017)

University hit by major cyber-attack Continuing a seemingly endless onslaught of cyber-attacks, the University College London (UCL) has now also been the recipient of one such incident. Described as a “ransomware” attack by university representatives, that continued throughout the day with the university’s access to online networks being restricted in order to attempt to quell the onslaught, after the NHS suffered a similar such attack not long ago. The university had been awarded the status of a “Centre of excellence in cyber-security research” by GCHQ intelligence services; combined with the fact that it’s ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the world, it makes for a strong argument...

Tech Update (August 2017)

Andy Cormack gives us the heads up on what’s on the horizon in hardware and technology, giving you the lowdown on the next big thing.   This month, in his occasional sojourn into things which could be the next big things, he looks at what Facebook has been up to, game playing and changing AIs, and the ongoing battle for Net Neutrality. Facebook has announced in a blog post on the 9th of August that they will soon be rolling out a new way to watch videos on their social network, titled Watch. Upping their game from the video posts you can already make on the platform, they’re expanding from...

Internet News (August 2017)

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Power grid hackers Power companies the world over are being taught how to see the warning signs that they are being targeted by hackers, following an attack in December last year on a power grid in the Ukraine which left over 230,000 people without electricity for hours after malware was successfully inserted into critical systems. This attack wasn’t the country’s first of this kind; another previous attack occurred in March 2015. The malware from the breach has since been analysed by researchers from Black Hat and Def Con, two of the most prominent cadres of professional hackers and security specialists from around the world, giving insight into the security holes...

Fake News – The Facts

Andy Cormack this week looks at another internet hot potato – the rise and rise of the phenomenon known as Fake News.   Andy looks at how this state of affairs has arisen in recent times, why it is so prominent, and what is being done across the globe to combat it. Introduction “Fake news”, is a term that has risen greatly in popularity since Donald Trump used it in January of this year, when he declared loudly “You are fake news!”, whilst pointing at Jim Acosta from CNN instead of answering his question.  The catchall phrase has now permeated just about every facet of the media. Trump has since used the term so much,...

Internet News (July 2017)

Massive attack The UK Parliament has received its largest cyber attack on record, admitting that it had suffered a “sustained and determined cyber attack” that began on the 23rd June – the attack lasted more than 12 hours. The unknown hacker’s goal? Gaining access to MP emails, of which they managed to ‘brute force’ fewer than 90 email accounts belonging to MPs, their aides, and other staff and peers that had weak passwords. Parliament issued a statement on the following Saturday explaining, “We have discovered unauthorised attempts to access accounts of parliamentary networks users and are investigating this ongoing incident”. Needless to say, once the intrusion had been discovered, parliamentary officials had to...

Ransomware: what you need to know

Andy Cormack this week looks at a topical threat – Ransomware.   The world recently witnessed its biggest reported cyberattack, with a mammoth number of machines, systems and organisations affected across the globe. Andy takes a look at what it is, how it works, and how you can thwart this particularly insidious form of blackmail. Introduction After the events that have transpired recently, it seems like there’s no better time to talk about ransomware. If you’ve kept up with the news you’ve probably heard the term, along with the name WannaCry; If you haven’t, then here’s a quick primer on both. Ransomware is basically defined as malicious software that prevents access to...