Lenovo laptops’ security compromised by Superfish

Computer security

If you have a Lenovo laptop then you might want to think twice before using on a Wi-Fi hotspot. The technology manufacturer has been increasingly criticised in recent weeks after it transpired that many of their laptops have been sold loaded with dangerous adware to unwitting customers.

Consumers who purchased Lenovo laptops since September will find that their machines came pre-installed with the programme Superfish, and this means that their security is seriously compromised.

Superfish is a type of adware that uses your data from searches on Google, Amazon, and other websites to add its own shopping results to your browser. However, as if this wasn’t irritating enough, there is a far more sinister problem associated with Superfish.

Superfish installs a single self-signed root certificate to your computer, which might not sound particularly worrying, however it is really dangerous. It creates a giant hole into browser security and enables anyone else on the same Wi-Fi network to silently hijack your browser and gain access to bank details, passwords, and all other kinds of sensitive information.

That means that if you’re using a Lenovo laptop on a Wi-Fi network in a public area, such as a coffee shop or local McDonalds, then there is a chance that someone could be accessing all your personal details with consummate ease.

Equally as worrying is the distinct apathy with which Lenovo seems to have responded to the issue. The company claims that it is has no insight that their machines have led to any nefarious activity, and that Superfish has now been disabled. Simply uninstalling Superfish however does not remove the problematic root certificate that leaves these laptops so open to infiltration.

It would seem that the only sure-fire way of removing the threat would be to wipe the entire machine and install a non-Lenovo version of windows, such as vanilla Windows. But with the hassle this brings, who wants to do that? Lenovo appear to have dropped a big one here.

If you require help with your computer security, speak to the team at JDM Computing today.

 

Ofcom Plans for UK to be at Cutting Edge of IoT

IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been much talked about over recent months. Now, with an estimated 40 million devices in the UK connected to the IoT, Ofcom has stated its intention to ensure the country plays a leading role in the development of IoT.

Ofcom has published plans to create a regulatory environment to foster innovation and investment in this fast-growing sector. By the year 2022, in the UK alone, 320 million devices are expected to be connected to the IoT.

Ofcom’s plan focuses on data privacy, network security and resilience, spectrum availability and network addresses, responding to a consultation launched last summer. To ensure the Internet of Things progresses on both a UK-wide and global basis, Ofcom will work with the ICO, the government, other regulators and businesses.

What is the Internet of Things?

Before we go any further, let’s take a minute to discuss the Internet of Things. What exactly is it, and how will it affect us?

Essentially, the IoT is a network of devices and physical objects that can communicate with each other over the internet, without the need for human intervention.

IoT goes beyond the items you’d expect to be connected, such as smartphones, laptops and PCs, extending into everyday household and business products. For example, in the not too distant future, your car, thermostat, kitchen appliances and lights, may well be connected through the Internet of Things.

Benefits are numerous for both businesses and individuals, offering advantages from energy saving to product and vehicle tracking. Your fridge may be able to inform you when you’re out of milk and send out an order for more. Your office heating system will turn itself off when there’s no one left in the building. It’ll save money and boost efficiencies.

Last March, prime minister David Cameron said: “I see the internet of things as a huge transformative development – a way of boosting productivity, of keeping us healthier, making transport more efficient, reducing energy needs, tackling climate change.”

The IoT is the future of online technology – and Ofcom’s plans aim to ensure that in the UK, we’re at the cutting edge of it.

42% Now Moving To The Cloud For Flexible, Mobile Working

Cloud  computing

A new industry report shows that 42 per cent of global business executives are now using the cloud to enable a flexible and mobile workforce.

Cloud computing appears to have now moved beyond the preliminary experimental stages to become an almost everyday tool for the workplace.

The survey, completed by KPMG, collected data from over 500 executives in the financial services, retail, media, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. According to the study, people are mostly migrating to cloud-based services in search of ways to reduce costs – this was the case in last year’s study too.

However, in 2014, the study suggests, growing numbers of businesses are using cloud technology to create large-scale change, across both individual business units and the enterprise. Forty-two per cent of respondents said the cloud was enabling them to better enable a flexible and mobile workforce, while 37 per cent said this technology was being used toimprove alignment and interaction with their customers, business partners and suppliers.

In contrast, a study by KPMG in 2012 showed that just 15 per cent of executives were planning a move to the cloud to boost mobile and flexible working.

The cloud

According to the organisation, employees’ expectations are now a lot different to what they were a decade ago. At work they demand the same level of technology they have access to in the home environment, and the cloud is enabling this to happen. The cloud enables access to documents from any device, in any location where there is an internet connection available.

However, despite the increase in the uptake of the cloud, there are still concerns. Fifty-three per cent of those responding to the survey claimed data loss and privacy risk were some of the most significant challenges when using the cloud. But this is a large drop from 2012, when 83 per cent of respondents cited the same concerns.

If you would like to find out how using the cloud in your office environment could benefit your business, speak to the team at JDM Computing.

Black Friday Chaos Takes Out Tesco, Currys, Argos Websites

Black Friday is a phenomenon that has recently come across the pond, gracing British shoppers with huge discounts for a few days only, and helping people bag a bargain before Christmas. As Black Friday begins, already stores and websites are feeling the extra pressure.

Black Friday started for supermarkets like Tesco on the stroke of midnight, with some prospective buyers queuing all night to get their first pick of the offers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, chaos has ensured, with bargain hunters fighting, people being knocked to the ground and huge crowds surging in supermarket aisles.

Already this morning, at least two people have been arrested at a Tesco branch, and the supermarket’s Stretford store was closed after fighting broke out. There are also reports of a woman being injured by a falling TV, requiring an ambulance to be called.

Sir Peter Fahy, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said about the Tesco situation: “The events of last night were totally predictable and I am disappointed that stores did not have sufficient security staff on duty. This created situations where we had to deal with crushing, disorder and disputes between customers. It does not help that this was in the early hours when police resources are already stretched.”

Black Friday online shoppers take down websites

Online, it’s a similar tale with websites crumbling under the extra bulk of customers. Game and TopShop have reportedly been affected by the onslaught of extra shoppers.

Currys black friday

Curry’s currently has a queuing system to even get on the website, Argos is out for an unspecified amount of time, and Tesco Direct has been giving the same “Sorry for making you wait” message for several hours.

Argos Black Friday

For ecommerce sites this is a certainly a lesson in preparation that even the biggest of retailers have seemingly thus far failed to adopt. Website downtime is unprofessional and irritating at best – for mission critical applications it can be downright disastrous, not to mention very expensive.

We’ll leave you with a video of the Black Friday carnage – a sea of TVs in Blackpool’s Tesco. If you’d like to speak about preparing your business networks for future peaks in traffic, speak to the team at JDM today.