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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 22nd May 2017

Controllers will manage air traffic from 80 miles away - what could possibly go wrong?

London City Airport

London City Airport will be the first in the UK to go digital

London City Airport is to become the first in the UK to scrap its air-traffic control tower and replace it with an internet-connected digital system that can be remotely operated.

The system will enable the airport to re-locate air-traffic controllers 80 miles off-site, enabling an extension to terminal buildings increasing its annual capacity by two million passengers a year by 2025.

Controllers will be connected to the airfield by 14 high-definition cameras, with two that are able to pan, tilt and zoom in. These will send a live audio and visual feed back to a new operations room in Hampshire run by Nats, the UK's air-traffic control organisation, which handles around 2.3 million flights into, and out of, the UK every year.


The new system has been developed by Swedish defence company Saab and will be installed over the next year and subject to testing before going live in 2019. The digital air-traffic control system is part of a £350m upgrade to the airport, located in the Royal Docks close to Canary Wharf in London.

London City Airport CEO Declan Collier said that he was "absolutely confident" that the digital system would not be vulnerable to a cyber attack of any kind - if the links were to go down, the air-traffic controllers would not even have visual access to the field, as they do now, from an air-traffic control tower.

However, the new system would also mean that air-traffic controllers will be able to see the whole airfield more clearly, he added.

The technology has been tested in Australia, Ireland, Norway and Sweden.

Nats airports director Mike Stoller told the Telegraph: "Digital towers are going to transform the way air traffic services are provided at airports by providing real safety, operational and efficiency benefits. We do see this as being a growing market place across the UK and the world."

London City Airport opened in the late-1980s as part of the redevelopment of Canary Wharf. It has a single 1,500-metre long runway and served more than 4.3 million passengers in 2015. The 13th busiest airport in the UK, there have been calls to close it down on environmental grounds, with campaigners arguing that it is too close to the centre of the capital.  

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 17th May 2017
  • A spam email is sent to as many email addresses as possible, these are obtained from various sources, previous hacks, social media etc
  • Anti-Spam filters will stop the majority – 99%, but some still get through
  • The email is either a link to a compromised website (such as WordPress) or it is an attachment with a zip file which anti-spam filters cannot scan
  • Gateway Security – stops traffic to some of the locations where these files are hosted but not all…
  • The user receives the email, it’ll look legitimate, possibly even with personal information to validate it. Your home address, sometimes even your phone number and or full name will be on it. It’ll have a zip file or a link, with a password to open it.
  • Most users will ignore the email and dismiss it as spam, some will open the link/attachment and let the virus run.
  • Once the Virus is executed, it’ll use the machine as a temporary host, then start searching for any potential venerable machine, searching for any potential weakness it can exploit, it’ll run this constantly until it is destroyed by a virus checker or a kill switch is activated.


If you need further help contact Discus Systems plc on 01675 430080

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 17th May 2017

Nurses using Streams appImage copyrightDEEPMIND

Image captionThe Streams app is saving nurses hours each day says the Royal Free hospital

The head of the Department of Health's National Data Guardian (NDG) has criticised the NHS for the deal it struck with Google's DeepMind over sharing patient data.

In a letter dated February and leaked to Sky News, Dame Fiona Caldicott throws doubt on the legality of sharing 1.6 million patient records.

Patients should have been informed about the deal, she says.

Google said that the deal was covered by "implied consent".

This rule exists to allow the NHS to share medical data with third parties for direct patient care, without informing patients about each deal.

In the case of the partnership with DeepMind, data was collected from patients at the Royal Free Hospital Trust in London in order to test an app to help doctors and nurses identify those who might be at risk of acute kidney disease.

Implied consent

In her letter to Prof Stephen Powis, medical director of the Royal Free Hospital in London, Dame Fiona said: "We keenly appreciate the great benefits that new technologies such as Streams can offer to patients, in terms of better, safer, more timely care."

But she added: "It is absolutely paramount that this is done in a transparent and secure manner, which helps to build public trust, otherwise the full benefits of such developments will not be realised , and indeed harm may be done."

She questioned the use of "implied consent" as the legal basis for the transfer of identifiable patient records, because the data was initially used just to test the app.

"My considered opinion therefore remains that it would not have been within the reasonable expectation of patients that their records would have been shared for this purpose," she says.

She has written to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which is currently investigating the data-sharing deal and is due to report its findings imminently.

In response to the leaked letter, a Royal Free London representative said: "The Streams app was built in close collaboration with clinicians to help prevent unnecessary deaths by alerting them to patients in need in a matter of seconds.

"It is now in use at the Royal Free, and is helping clinicians provide better, faster care to our patients. Nurses report that it is saving them hours each day."

DeepMind said: "We're glad the NDG has said that further guidance would be useful to organisations which are undertaking work to test new technologies."

"The data used to provide the app has always been strictly controlled by the Royal Free and has never been used for commercial purposes or combined with Google products, services or ads - and never will be."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 17th May 2017


The MachineImage copyrightHPE

A prototype computer with 160TB of memory has been unveiled by Hewlett Packard Enterprises.

Designed to work on big data, it could analyse the equivalent of 160 million books at the same time, HPE said.

The device, called The Machine, had a Linux-based operating system and prioritised memory rather than processing power, the company said.

HPE said its Memory Driven Computing research project could eventually lead to a "near-limitless" memory pool.

"The secrets to the next great scientific breakthrough, industry-changing innovation or life-altering technology hide in plain sight behind the mountains of data we create every day," said HPE boss Meg Whitman.

"To realise this promise, we can't rely on the technologies of the past, we need a computer built for the big data era."

Prof Les Carr, of the University of Southampton, told the BBC The Machine would be fast but big data faced other challenges.

"The ultimate way to speed things up is to make sure you have all the data present in your computer as close to the processing as possible so this is a different way of trying to speed things up," he said.

"However, we need to make our processing... not just faster but more insightful and business relevant."

"There are many areas in life where quicker is not necessarily better."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 17th May 2017


frankfurt departure screenImage copyrightAFP/GETTY

Image captionThe demand for Bitcoin appeared on departure screens at a Frankfurt station

The WannaCry worm has wrought havoc around the world for days but it is not the first to spread so far, so fast. The history of technology and the net has been regularly punctuated by outbreaks and infections.

The Morris worm

In 1988, just as the internet was starting to catch on, computer science student Robert T Morris was curious about just how big it had grown. He wrote a small program that travelled around, logging the servers it visited.

Bugs in his code made it scan the net very aggressively so every server ended up running multiple copies of the worm. Each copy used up a little bit of processing power so the servers gradually slowed to a halt.

The scanning traffic clogged the net making it almost unusable. It took days to clean up the infection.

Mr Morris was caught and found guilty of computer fraud and was fined $10,050 (£7,785).

These days, he is a computer scientist at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Morris worm has one strange parallel with WannaCry. Mr Morris was the son of the NSA's chief scientist and the WannaCry worm is based on code stolen from the NSA.


ILOVEYOU malwareImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionUnromantic.

In May 2000, millions of Windows users found endless copies of an email bearing the subject line ILOVEYOU in their inboxes.

It spread so far and so fast thanks to the booby-trapped file attached to it. Opening the file fired up the small program it contained which sent a copy of the same message to all the addresses found in a victim's address book.

It was also helped to spread because all those messages appeared to come from someone a recipient knew. And the subject line made people curious too.

ILOVEYOU rattled around the world for almost two weeks racking up more than 50 million infections. High-profile victims included the CIA, Pentagon and UK Parliament.

Philippine students Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman were found to be the creators of ILOVEYOU. They escaped prosecution because there were no computer misuse laws in the Philippines at that time.

Code Red

Code Red warningImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionA warning about the worm was issued at Carnegie Mellon University

Active in July 2001 and named after the fizzy pop being drunk by the researchers who found it, this worm targeted web servers running Microsoft IIS software.

It caused severe disruption and many websites, small businesses and larger firms were knocked offline for a while.

No-one has ever been named as Code Red's creator although on servers it compromised it displayed a message suggesting it originated in China.

Like Wannacry, Code Red exploited a known bug and caught out servers that had not been updated with a patch.

SQL Slammer

This internet cafe in South Korea was practically empty after an SQL Slammer infection in 2003Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionThis internet cafe in South Korea was practically empty after an SQL Slammer infection in 2003

This worm emerged in January 2003 and was so virulent that it is believed to have slowed down traffic across the entire net as it spread.

Slammer was a tiny program, roughly 376 bytes, that did little more than create random net addresses and then send itself to those places. If it hit a machine running a vulnerable version of Microsoft's SQL server, that machine got infected and then started spraying out more copies seeking more victims.

The slowdown was caused by net routers struggling to cope with the massive amounts of traffic Slammer generated while seeking out new hosts.

Again, a patch was available for the bug it exploited but many people had not applied it despite it being available for six months.


a worm on a keyboardImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

This Windows email worm from January 2004 is believed to hold the current record for spreading fastest - hardly surprising given that it was reputedly created by professional spammers.

It worked so well thanks to a clever bit of social engineering. The email bearing the worm was designed to look like an error message. This fiction was aided by the message's attachment which purported to hold a copy of the email that did not arrive.

Opening the attachment kicked off the malicious code that re-sent the same message to everyone in a victim's address book.


computer warningImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

November 2008 saw the arrival of this virulent worm which hit up to 15 million servers running Microsoft software. It ran rampant and caught out hospitals, governments, the armed forces and many businesses.

The outbreak was so bad that Microsoft offered a $250,000 reward for any information leading to the identification of the worm's creator. No-one has ever been identified as its originator.

A patch closing the loophole it exploited was released by Microsoft about a month after it appeared. Even today, 10 years on, data traffic generated by machines infected with Conficker regularly turn up.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 16th May 2017

A panel of CIOs and CISOs at a recent Computing event discuss their biggest fears, with organised crime and DDoS attacks topping the pile

Security experts say that organised crime will hit the financial sector hard, soon

Cyber crime and DDoS attacks top the list of concerns among IT leaders

Organised crime is going to hit the financial sector hard soon, according to one security expert speaking at a recent event from V3's sister title Computing.

Speaking at the Cybersecurity Strategy Briefing, Sam Wilson, account manager at Darktrace, explained that organisations in the financial sector are more at risk of some types of attack.

"They get targeted in some ways more as the potential payoff in the financial sector is high. Organised crime will hit the sector hard soon," said Wilson.


Also speaking as part of the panel was Kevin Flood, information risk and security consultant (supply chain), at Prudential Assurance. He said that his chief concern is around data breaches.

"My biggest fear is personal data breaches," said Flood. "But I'm also worried about losing information like our intellectual property [IP]. We have lots of IP around our actuarial activities. And the risk of reputational damage is very real for us. We need to maintain a trusted brand."

Jonathan Kidd, CISO at Hargreaves Lansdown said that he sees attacks increasing in frequency.

"We've got over £70bn in assets, so we're a big target. We see a greater frequency and probability of attack today than ever before. Cyber crime exists to make money, and it's easier to get money through a rich target with lots of points you can attack, for example one which has lots of customers."

He added that the risks of being attacked by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) are also concerning. In this type of attack, a website is bombarded with requests to the extent that it can no longer respond to genuine customer enquiries. The perpetrators then often contact the business in an attempt to extort money, before they end the attack.

"Some organisations are attacked by DDoS extortion campaigns. If our platform is attacked, it might reduce the liklihood of us taking revenue, but it's also a reputational issue," Kidd explained.

However, he added that it's something his organisation has suffered before, and that he had defences already in place.

"We've invested in protection against those risks. We suffered an extortion campaign in the past, and we were not willing to just pay. We usually try to collabrate with our peers to see if they've experienced similar attacks, and we collaborate with the UK government, and with the CISP [Syber Security information Sharing Partnership] to see if they know about it."


Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 16th May 2017


Barts NHS Trust believed to be the hardest hit NHS organisation

Twenty per cent of NHS trusts affected by WannaCry ransomware

As many as 20 per cent of NHS trusts across the UK have been hit by the WannaCry ransomware since Friday.

The ransomware, believed to be a variant of the WanaCrypt0r 2.0 malware, has affected systems in more than 100 countries, and has also struck a number of major corporations, including Spanish telecoms company Telefonica and car makers Nissan and Renault. 

A total of 48 trusts in England, as well as 13 NHS bodies in Scotland have been hit by Friday's attacks, resulting in cancelled operations and appointments, a loss of access to important medical records, and in some cases, the diversion of emergency services.


Several trusts were still experiencing issues yesterday including London's Barts Health NHS Trust, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The biggest trust, Barts NHS Trust is believed to be the hardest hit - reportedly having to redirect ambulances away from three of its A&E units and cancel non-urgent operations. The organisation was still in the midst of recovering from another IT failure which had led to it cancelling 136 operations and hundreds of chemotherapy appointments.

In a statement this morning, the trust said that it was no longer diverting ambulances away from any of its hospitals and that trauma and stroke care is also fully operational. Some of its planned surgery and outpatient appointments will be continuing, while other patients will be notified if their appointments are cancelled. The organisation said it continues to experience IT disruption and urged the public to use other NHS services where possible.

Yesterday, Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust gave an update to its patients - it asked for patients who were scheduled for surgery today to not attend unless they have been directly contacted. All outpatients and endoscopy appointments have also been cancelled, as have routine MRI and CT scans. Dialysis patients are told to attend as usual, while the pregnancy assessment unit will also be open, the trust said.

Meanwhile West Lancashire clinical commissioning group (CCG) said that all GP practices within the region would remain open but warned patients that doctors "may not have full access to patient records, prescriptions and appointment systems".

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which had been a victim of the attack, is back in working order - with all operations and appointments set to go ahead. The organisation said there was no indication that data or information relating to the trust was affected in the cyber-attack.

Two-hours ago, James Paget NHS Trust said a large number of its IT systems were being brought back up online. The trust, along with York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, said that most surgery and outpatients appointments would go ahead, and that patients whose appointments had been cancelled would be notified. 

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it would be cancelling all routine activity in its hospitals for today, including outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests and routine operations. Chemotherapy treatments will go ahead as planned as will all antenatal and maternity scan appointments.

Both United Lincolnshire Hospitals, and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trusts have urged the public to only come to A&E "if it is a life threatening or emergency situation".

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 15th May 2017



Media captionLISTEN: How 'Malware Tech' became an 'accidental hero'

A UK security researcher has told the BBC how he "accidentally" halted the spread of the malicious ransomware that has affected hundreds of organisations, including the UK's NHS.

The 22-year-old man, known by the pseudonym MalwareTech, had taken a week off work, but decided to investigate the ransomware after hearing about the global cyber-attack.

He managed to bring the spread to a halt when he found what appeared to be a "kill switch" in the rogue software's code.

"It was actually partly accidental," he told the BBC, after spending the night investigating. "I have not slept a wink."

Although his discovery did not repair the damage done by the ransomware, it did stop it spreading to new computers, and he has been hailed an "accidental hero".

"I would say that's correct," he told the BBC.

Cyber-attack scale 'unprecedented'

NHS 'robust' after cyber-attack

"The attention has been slightly overwhelming. The boss gave me another week off to make up for this train-wreck of a vacation."

What exactly did he discover?

The researcher first noticed that the malware was trying to contact a specific web address every time it infected a new computer.

But the web address it was trying to contact - a long jumble of letters - had not been registered.

MalwareTech decided to register it, and bought it for $10.69 (£8). Owning it would let him see where computers were accessing it from, and give him an idea of how widespread the ransomware was.

World mapImage copyrightMALWARETECH

Image captionOwning the web address let MalwareTech monitor where infections were happening

By doing so, he unexpectedly triggered part of the ransomware's code that told it to stop spreading.

Analysis: How did it start?

What is the ransomware?

This type of code is known as a "kill switch", which some attackers use to halt the spread of their software if things get out of hand.

He tested his discovery and was delighted when he managed to trigger the ransomware on demand.

"Now you probably can't picture a grown man jumping around with the excitement of having just been 'ransomwared', but this was me," he said in a blog post.

MalwareTech now thinks the code was originally designed to thwart researchers trying to investigate the ransomware, but it backfired by letting them remotely disable it.

Does this mean the ransomware is defeated?

While the registration of the web address appears to have stopped one strain of the ransomware spreading from device-to-device, it does not repair computers that are already infected.

Security experts have also warned that new variants of the malware that ignore the "kill switch" will appear.

"This variant shouldn't be spreading any further, however there'll almost certainly be copycats," said security researcher Troy Hunt in a blog post.

MalwareTech warned: "We have stopped this one, but there will be another one coming and it will not be stoppable by us.

"There's a lot of money in this, there is no reason for them to stop. It's not much effort for them to change the code and start over."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 15th May 2017

Ransomware attacks continue to spread around the world this weekend, after the initial damage inflicted on healthcare organizations in Europe on Friday.

The criminals responsible for exploiting the Eternal Blue flaw haven?t yet been identified, but up to 100 countries have hit with WannaCry ransomware, with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan among the top targets.

The ransomware first appeared in March, and is using the NSA 0-day Eternal Blue and Double Pulsar exploits first made available earlier this year by a group called the Shadow Brokers.? The initial spread of the malware was through email, including fake invoices, job offers and other lures with a .zip file that initiates the WannaCry infection.? The worm-like Eternal Blue can exploit a flaw in the Server Message Block (SMB) in Microsoft Windows, which can allow remote code execution.? This flaw was patched in?Microsoft?s March 2017?update cycle, but many organizations had not run the patch or were using unsupported legacy technology like XP.


As a Webroot customer, are you protected? YES.

Webroot SecureAnywhere??does currently protect you from WannaCry ransomware.

In simple terms, although this ransomware is currently causing havoc across the globe, the ransomware itself is similar to what we have seen before.? It?s the advanced delivery mechanism that has unfortunately caught many organizations off guard.

In addition to deploying Webroot SecureAnywhere as part of a strong endpoint control strategy, it is essential you continue to keep your systems up-to-date on the latest software versions, and invest in user education on the dangers of phishing, ransomware, social engineering and other common attack vectors.

If you have any questions about your Webroot deployment, Contact support@discus.co.uk 0800 880 3360

And, if you are not a Webroot customer, contact Discus?

Dont forget,  Be vigilant and if in doubt check it out and contact Discus 

Source: webroot.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 10th May 2017

Doro handsetImage copyrightDORO

Swedish mobile phone company Doro has unveiled a hard-wearing handset designed for people such as social workers, carers and builders who work alone.

The Doro 8020X features a red "call for help" button on the side.

If the button is pressed, the phone can send a text message containing its GPS location to up to five contacts.

There are other apps on the market offering a similar service for other mobile phones.

They can take over an existing "home" button for this purpose.

Chris Millington, managing director of Doro in the UK and Ireland, said he believed the company's offering was competitively priced and was easier to distribute on a bespoke device.

The Android-powered handset, which retails at £220 in the UK, is based around the concept of "tough phones", which are chunkier devices designed to survive rougher environments.

It is also compatible with Doro's automated care centre, i-care, for which the company charges a 48-euro (£40, $52) subscription per year.

I-care enables employers to closely monitor the status of the phone, including battery power and periods of inactivity.

It can also send messages asking if the owner of the phone is all right.

It is designed for people who work on their own - either in hazardous environments or entering others' homes by themselves.

"We don't want to do 'me-too hardware', but to deliver our service on to someone else's [device] is not so easy," said Mr Millington.

"You need a system that's going to take over control of the device."

Doro handsetImage copyrightDORO

Until now, Doro had specialised in handsets for older people and it had 130,000 subscribers for its range of "digital telecare solutions", Mr Millington said.

Smartphone expert Ben Wood, from CCS Insight, said Doro was entering a competitive market, already crowded with both rugged devices, such as those offered by construction brands De Walt and Cat, and dedicated care apps.

"It is interesting Doro is making the jump from seniors to lone works, but I can see the synergies - many of the requirements are the same," he said.

"It has a strong position in the 'phones for seniors' market and works with all the main networks in the UK."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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