Welcome to our latest round-up of news from the technology and hosting world. Here’s what we’ve discovered this week.
FBI swamped by cybercrime
The FBI has been inundated with reported cybercrime over 2019, according to its latest figures. Over the year, nearly half a million individuals and businesses were affected, with criminals pocketing a staggering $3.5bn.
The main crimes reported were phishing and extortion, with scammers using ever more sophisticated techniques to make it harder for people to tell the difference between what was real and what was fraudulent. One worrying sign is that fake web and email addresses, often a tell-tale sign of a scammer, have begun to look convincingly legitimate. This is one reason many businesses now use Personal Signing Certificates to encrypt and authenticate emails so customers and staff know they are genuine.
More traditional scams, like ‘you’ve inherited a fortune from a distant relative’ emails and ‘there’s an issue with your computer’ phone calls still seem to be prevalent and cost users, most of them pensioners, over $54m in 2019. Ransomware was another major problem with individuals paying almost $9m to unlock their computers. The costs to businesses who had to recover from ransomware were significantly higher. Whether you live in the US or elsewhere, you need to be increasingly vigilant about cybercrime.
HDDs – just a flash in the pan
If you thought hard disk drives were a permanent feature of computing, think again. It looks like they are about to join the floppies in the History of IT museum. The primary reason for their demise is that they have been outclassed by SSDs whose flash drives perform much faster, are much more reliable and which are becoming ever more affordable.
What’s really accelerated their disappearance, especially in servers, is that manufacturers are only interested in making HDDs with huge capacities. Aimed primarily at the tech giants, like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook, models with capacities of 20TB to 50TB are now being developed while production of smaller capacity HDDs is being wound down. As the new models are too big to be of practical use for most businesses and even most hosting providers, they are swiftly being replaced by SSD and cloud storage.
Roll-up, roll-up for the latest space-saving idea
South Korean tech giant, LG, has just unveiled its latest space-saving device: a roll-up OLED TV. Using the in-built flexibility of the organic light-emitting diode, the new TVs can roll down from the ceiling or roll up from whatever surface you place it on. This means people living in smaller rooms who don’t want a big TV taking up the entire wall space can simply press a button or ask Alexa to roll it away.
Does it seriously enhance the viewing experience? Not really. And at £60,000 each, it’s doubtful that many people are going to fork out for what is essentially a gimmick. Not that people who can afford such technology need space-saving gimmicks anyway – unless it gets pretty cramped on the yacht.
It’s a new dawn it’s a new day, it’s a new chip
While Fungible Inc. might sound like a mushroom producer, it is actually a US tech company at the forefront of server technology. In its drive for ever better computing, it is developing a new microprocessor called a DPU or Data Processing Unit that will work in tandem with a server’s CPU to increase performance.
The rationale behind the innovation is that compute-centric CPUs aren’t designed to handle the data-centric workloads today’s users require of them. By developing a designated data processing chip to handle data workloads, the CPU can be left to undertake the application based processes it was originally intended to. With both chips sharing the workloads and doing the tasks they are most suited to; this revolutionary new technology could transform the server as we know it. It will be truffles and chips all round at Fungible if it all goes to plan.
Toothache for Bluetooth devices
A dozen security holes have been discovered in Bluetooth SDKs by academics at Singapore University this week. The vulnerabilities enable hackers to crash the BLE devices or gain read and write access to control how the devices function. The SDKs found to be vulnerable are used in hundreds of IoT devices such as smart-home controls, wearables, medical sensors and logistics trackers. One particularly well-known product that uses an affected Bluetooth device is the Fitbit Inspire smartwatch. While some patches have been issued already, others are still being developed.
Valentine’s Day massacre for Facebook dating feature
Hearts are breaking over at Facebook as their plans to release their new European dating feature on Valentine’s Day were hit for six by the Irish Data Protection Commission. Authorities put a last-minute kibosh on the social media giant’s amorous plans because it claimed Facebook had rushed head over heels into the venture without informing them early enough or providing the necessary information and documentation. Not wanting to wear their hearts on their sleeves, Facebook responded by saying they were ‘taking a bit more time’ to get the launch right. For the time being, those in pursuit of romance will have to ‘return to Tinder’.
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