According to a US news website, UK and American intelligence agencies have hacked into a sim manufacturing business illegally to eavesdrop on mobile phone conversations. The news website, called Intercept, said intelligence agencies looked to steal codes from sim card manufacturer Gemalto.
Experts claim the alleged hack compromises the security of mobile phones on a global basis. By stealing the encryption, the security agencies were able to intercept and decode data passing between mobile phones and transmission towers.
According to the BBC, this would enable the agencies to eavesdrop on voice traffic and texts without having to gain permission from telecommunications providers. And it would not leave any trace of their presence.
About the sim hack
Gemalto is a major player in its field, operating more than 40 factories, with a presence across 85 countries. It’s clients include 450 wireless network providers.
It has been reported that the hack, which took place around five years ago, enabled US and British surveillance agencies to monitor voice and data traffic from cellular comms around the world. Coined the “great sim heist”, the hack was reported to have been organised by British GCHQ and America’s NSA, though neither has confirmed these allegations.
Businesses are being warned to be extra vigilant when receiving email invoices. A new phishing scam is doing the rounds, which targets businesses by using fake invoices and attachments.
How does the scam work?
The scam will appear as an email with an attachment. It may say you need to pay an invoice or sometimes that it has already been paid. Naturally, users click to download the attachment to open up the invoice and find out what they’re being charged for. This is when the email unleashes embedded code onto your computer, which can be used to launch malware and viruses, and steal personal data from your PC.
Due to the nature of the attack, the scam is able to bypass usual security software. However, cloud users can rest assured that they are safe from this form of attack because information is stored online, rather than on a local PC.
What to watch out for
The email may look like it comes from a legitimate company because it comes from an email address which appears to be associated with a large organisation. However, look twice before you open the file. Some of the main clues that this is a phishing attack rather than a real invoice include:
1. There may be spelling and grammatical errors
2. There may be no email signature
3. The email contains only a single line of text, and no personal greeting
However, these emails can be made to look very professional, so be wary of any invoice you are not expecting. Also, it is imperative that you make sure your employees – particularly those who deal with payments – are aware of the scam.
If you need further details about protecting your business from phishing attacks like these, please do contact JDM Computing. We are more than happy to help you ensure your business benefits from the highest level of security.
Google is closing its order books for the much-hyped Google Glass – could this be the end for smartglasses?
The Google Glass Explorer programme, which allowed developers to purchase this technology for around £990, is set to close as Google ends sales of its innovative product. However, the internet behemoth says that while production of Google Glass in its current form will halt, future versions of the product will become the focus of attention.
Google Glass has been on sale in the UK since last summer but orders for the product will cease from next week. But for those companies using Glass, support will continue.
Future Google Glass will be produced by a different team and the company says it remains committed to working on the product. However, there has been no indication as yet, of when a new version of Google Glass will be available on the market.
Has Google Glass disappointed?
With the wearables market set to explode over the next few years, Google Glass was earmarked as an innovative product early on. The eyewear allows users to access information using a screen above their right eye. Users can take pictures and record video, as well as access information such as directions.
However, the technology has not taken off in the same ways as other wearables like smartwatches, with critics suggesting the product has failed to evolve as promised.
However, Google is adamant this isn’t the end of Glass. Here’s what it posted on its Google Plus page: “Since we first met, interest in wearables has exploded and today it’s one of the most exciting areas in technology. Glass at Work has been growing and we’re seeing incredible developments with Glass in the workplace. As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we’ve outgrown the lab and so we’re officially “graduating” from Google[x] to be our own team here at Google. We’re thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality.”
So bearing this in mind, it might be more of a “see you later” for Google Glass, rather than the last goodbye.
Threats from hackers caused Sony Pictures to withdraw a new comedy film about the leader of North Korea. The US now considers the forced cancellation of the film as a serious national security matter.
The hackers released sensitive details stored on Sony computers, and warned members of the public who were planning to view the film. They said “the world would be full of fear” should the movie be screened.
The move to cancel the release of the film has been viewed by Hollywood as an attack on the freedom of expression. The Interview is said to include plans to kill the fictional character Kim Jong-un. Featuring James Franco and Seth Rogen as journalists who are enlisted by the CIA to assassinate Mr Kim.
North Korea has now offered to join with the US to host an enquiry on the cyber attack, and denies claims from the United States that the country is behind it. On Friday the FBI said the attack, which saw private emails and script details leaked, was carried out by North Korea. But the North Korean foreign ministry accused the US of spreading “groundless allegations”.
President Barack Obama has also made comment of the event, saying: “”We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship.”
Reports state that Obama said he wished Sony has consulted with him before they cancelled the release. Though Sony claims the decision to cancel release was due to the majority of theatre owners choosing not to show it.
It is hardly surprising that teaching basic computer skills on Microsoft Office is no longer enough to stimulate the minds of tech-savvy younger generations. Indeed, what they really need is to be taught how the technology of their generation works.
While some examination boards do offer computer science GCSEs at the current time, it is thought that the new introduction in 2016 will supplant all of the others as the ‘national standard’ for computer science.
The new GCSE will add to the current computing curriculum, which focuses on coding, by taking the subject a stage further. Students will learn about writing code, designing computer programs and applications, as well as the all important ethical and legal impacts of digital technology.
Furthermore, the prime minister has also explained that a National College for Digital Skills will debut in London, with the aim of expanding to other areas in due course. The college, which will be a joint project between government, education providers and industry, aims to teach 5,000 students over the next five years.
It will offer a wide range of qualifications and apprenticeships, with the likes of Bank of America, Deloitte, IBM and the Raspberry Pi foundation, amongst some of the companies supporting the college.