Business Telecoms Round-up: June 2017

4 minute read

There was no shortage of telecoms news this month. Cybersecurity, once again, made the headlines due to several high-profile incidents, whilst there were several interesting stories surfacing surrounding big data applications and the IoT. Read on for a round-up of the most interesting news in the world of telecoms this June!

Cyber attack launched on UK Parliament



Our prediction that defending against data breaches will be a major part of the workplace of the future seemed confirmed when the House of Commons announced that it suffered a sustained and determined cyber attack. Parliament was sure to note that less than 1% of its accounts were ultimately compromised. The 90 hacked accounts simply had e-mail passwords much weaker than the official guidelines already in place suggested. Nonetheless, all MPs’ parliamentary e-mail servers had to be put out of action for a day.

Although it is unclear who launched the attack, its rudimentary nature means it could simply have been a fairly inexperienced hacker working alone. The fact that parliament’s network may well have been shut down by such a prank, requiring no high-level espionage, shows how seriously all networks should take cybersecurity. The story is a timely reminder of how even basic oversights in cybersecurity, such as weak passwords or unenforced password policies, can seriously impact a business network.

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Apple employees arrested for selling private data on the black market



Chinese police working in the southern Zhejiang province arrested 22 people, all employed by direct suppliers of Apple, for selling Apple users’ private data deemed to be worth over £5.8 million. The employees were accessing Apple’s internal systems to obtain names, phone numbers, Apple IDs, and all sorts of other kinds of usage data, which was sold via online networks, all of which have now been shut down. The identities and nationalities of those affected are not yet known.

Until June, China did not have laws in place to protect personal data on anything comparable to the GDPR. It is yet to enter any international agreement to protect personal data, either, meaning they do not enforce any of the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles. This case highlights how cybersecurity needs to be considered at every stage of your company’s supply chain, particularly where data is shared across companies. Protecting consumer data has become a priority for business as GDPR implications are being revealed in Brussels.

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A look through big data at the beautiful game



Fans of the Football Manager video game franchise have long been familiar with the idea that computer code and football can get along perfectly. Now SL Benfica, the Portuguese champions, are finding a competitive edge through that big data analytics. They have equipped their Caixa Futebol Campus with all kinds of IoT sensors that allow them to track everything that their players do: data is generated on what they eat, how they move, how they sleep, even how they feel, which is all looked at via machine learning big data programs like Microsoft Azure.

This is a pioneering example of trusting that big data can provide insights that no other kind of analysis can, and does seem to be lowering injury rates. They have also been able to acquire players using the same analytics, enabling them to sell talented players for a very healthy profit. With more and more data being generated across all IT networks, cheaply and easily ready for analysis, it’s worth investigating how you can make the most of your data.

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NotPetya ransomware spreads across networks worldwide



Ransomware once again hit the headlines, this time the malware originated from a Ukrainian accounting software company named MeDoc. The ransomware, worryingly similar to WannaCry, encrypted files on infected machines and only decrypting that data when $300 worth of bitcoin was sent to a specified account.

By the time it was stopped, ‘NotPetya’, as it came to be known, had infected 2000 individuals and organisations worldwide, including the Danish company Maersk, the Russian oil company Rosneft, and the British advertising firm WPP. The global movement of the malware highlighted the ways in which apparently enclosed networks can have links across the globe: be sure you are as in control of your network’s portals as possible, particularly as the Internet of Things drags networks from the office into all sorts of appliances.

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