The facilities company, ISS World, has been hit by a cyber-attack. ISS provides cleaning, catering, security and other services to companies in the UK and elsewhere, and has half a million employees worldwide. Its websites have been down since the 17th of February, with 43,000 staff at London’s Canary Wharf and its Weybridge HQ in Surrey with still no email. ISS said it was a malware attack, but declined to specify further. The company said that many of its global employees do not use its computers in their daily work – but the impact is affecting the whole company. ISS said it had disabled access to its IT services as a precautionary measure when it noticed the attack, isolating the incident.
Ransomware has become the biggest challenge in cyber-security. The frequency of attacks makes it impossible to report on every incident. Hackers are now ignoring the individual victims at home and are now concentrating their resources and time on bigger targets for bigger rewards. Ransom payments are rising, with some hacker gangs successfully extorting millions from victims. The issue is a big concern for law enforcement agencies such as Europol and the FBI, which are constantly urging people not to pay hackers as it fuels the industry.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (20th February)
MGM confirmed this week that the hack took place last summer. The data exposed included names, addresses, and passport numbers for former guests. MGM said it was confident that no financial information had been exposed. They could not confirm exactly how many people had been impacted because information that was exposed might be duplicated. MGM said that most of the data that was stolen was already publicly available, such as names, telephone numbers, and email addresses. However, 1,300 former guests were notified that more sensitive information including passport numbers had been revealed. A further 52,000 customers were told that less sensitive personal information was exposed. MGM said its notification to customers followed state laws. Most US states do not require companies to tell customers if data which is already public has been exposed during a hack.
This is not the largest hacking of hotel guest information. In 2017, Marriott Hotels experienced a much larger data breach exposing 500 million guests. That attack was linked to Chinese state-sponsored hackers.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (20th February)
The Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola Razr are now both available to buy in America, but early reports suggest that the screens are easily damaged. The Galaxy Z Flip boasts a ‘flexible glass’ display – but tests appear to show it scratching as easily as plastic. In a statement Samsung said that the display had a protective layer, and had undergone extensive testing. The Z Flip’s ‘ultra thin glass’ is one of Samsung’s primary marketing messages for the new phone.
However, a durability test conducted by YouTuber Zack Nelson suggested it was no more durable than a soft plastic screen – and could be dented by a fingernail. Nelson has more than five million subscribers top his YouTube channel where he regularly tests new tech. ‘I don’t know what material this is, but Samsung definitely shouldn’t be calling it glass,’ he said. He found that the screen of the Motorola Razr scratched as easily but it is not marketed as ‘glass’.
Ben Wood, analyst with CCS Insight, said the new technology of foldable displays was on a voyage of discovery. He highlighted the success of Samsung’s first foldable, the Galaxy Fold, despite a rocky launch – and said that lessons had been learned from its predecessor. ‘Samsung appears to have made tremendous progress with the Galaxy Z Flip in terms of hinge design, screen protection and the overall engineering of the device,’ he said.
The Motorola Razr has received mixed reviews from the media – many of which prefer the Samsung product. Raymond Wong, Input’s reviews editor, said the upper layer of the Razr’s screen separated from the bottom, creating “a giant horizontal air bubble” for no apparent reason. Motorola had warned about screen lumps and bumps – and said they were normal. Mr Wood said Motorola was facing the same challenges as other companies making their first foldable phone. “No matter how much testing you do, it’s impossible to replicate all real-work usage scenarios when a device is being used by thousands of consumers on a daily basis,” he said. “Despite the early teething problems with devices using flexible displays, I remain convinced that this technology is going to re-shape the consumer electronics business.”
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (17th February)
Apple has warned that the disruption in Chine due to the coronavirus will mean that worldwide supplies of the iPhone will be affected. Apple are the first major US company to say that the epidemic will hit its finances. With most stores in China either closed or operating at reduced hours, sales of Apple products would be lower, the company said. Apple said that while the iPhone manufacturing partner sites were located outside the Hubei province – and while all of these facilities have reopened – they were ramping up more slowly than had been anticipated.
Analysts have estimated that the virus may slash demand for smartphones by half in the first quarter in China, which is the world’s biggest market for the devices.
“While we have discussed a negative iPhone impact from the coronavirus over the past few weeks, the magnitude of this impact to miss its revenue guidance midway through February is clearly worse than feared,” said Daniel Ives, Wedbush analyst.
But despite hopes that factories and shops are slowing getting back to normal, Apple’s warning will underline that China’s economy will be seriously affected by the coronavirus.
The head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, has said there could be a cut of about 0.1-0.2 percentage points to global growth, but stressed there was much uncertainty about the virus’s economic impact.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (18th February)
If you need a splash of colour to brighten your office in 2020, why not invest in some artwork for the office? There are some great print offers on this month. Call us for a chat about how we can bring some brightness and creativity to your world.
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Call us on 024 7699 5930 for free advice on the best deal for you. We can also send out further information on all our products on request.