Entries by

,

Apple, Google and Microsoft In Password Collaboration

Apple, Google and Microsoft have announced that they are joining forces to support a common passwordless sign-in standard that will allow websites and apps to offer consistent, secure and easy sign-ins across devices and platforms.   The Problem With Password-Only   Relying on password-only authentication is known to present many risks and challenges such as managing multiple […]

,

New Powers So UK Regulator Can Hold Big Tech Firms To Account

The UK government has announced that it is giving statutory powers to the new Digital Markets Unit (DMU) regulator to enforce pro-competition rules and protect users from the “unfair practices” of big tech companies.  New Watchdog To Prevent Abuse of Market Power  Following a consultation in July 2021, the government says that it is giving […]

Where Are We At With VR These Days?

In this insight, we look at where Virtual Reality (VR) is now, plus what predictions there are for its future.  Potted History  Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulated and fully immersive experience that obscures the natural world, which is used for entertainment, education and business. The very first VR headset / head-mounted display (HMD) dates […]

THE IMPACT OF LITHIUM MINING

With our devices using lithium-ion batteries and with Electronic Vehicles (EVs) currently dependent on lithium for their rechargeable batteries, we look at the environmental impact of lithium mining, and what the possible alternatives could be.  Lithium  Lithium is a naturally occurring element found in ionic minerals like petalite, lepidolite, and spodumene, and is a soft, silvery-white […]

Tech Tip – How To Reduce Your Phone Battery Consumption

With so many of us depending on our smartphones for many aspects of our business and personal life, and with electricity prices rising, here are some ways to reduce battery consumption and save electricity: Use Dark Mode (for OLED screens). Stick with 4G rather than 5G. Reduce your screen refresh rate (via Settings). Opt for […]

,

Recording Phone Calls On Your Mobile

In this article, we look at the legal issues around recording calls on your mobile, and the different methods for doing so.  Is It Legal To Record Phone Calls On Your Mobile?  In the UK, as an individual mobile phone user, generally speaking, secretly recording a conversation is not a criminal offence and is not […]

How Can Musk Add Revenue To Twitter?

In this article, we look at the immediate challenges ahead for Twitter with Elon Musk now at the helm, plus we look at some of the likely ways that he could start adding more revenue.  What Happened?  Billionaire Elon Musk recently became Twitter’s largest shareholder after acquiring a 9.2 per cent stake in the social […]

,

More Control To Remove Personal Data From Google Searches

Google has announced that it is changing its policies to allow more types of personally identifiable information removal requests.  Personal Information Showing Up In Google Search  Google acknowledges that personally identifiable information of some users can and does show up in Google search queries. This can make users concerned, e.g. about how it could be […]

Pernicious Pegasus Plagues (Another) Prime-Minister

With many governments (including the UK Government) being targeted with Pegasus phone-spying software, there’s now news that Spain’s PM’s has also been hit.  What Is Pegasus?  Pegasus spyware is sold by Israeli-based NSO Group to governments to carry out surveillance by infecting phones with surveillance software. The software is sold to nation states, for millions […]

Sustainability-In-Tech : Switch Off ‘Vampire’ Devices And Save An Average Of £147 Per Year

New research by British Gas (Centrica) has revealed that UK households could save an average of £147 per year on their electricity bills by switching off their ‘vampire electronics’.  What Are Vampire Devices?  So-called ‘vampire devices’ are those household electronic devices, plugged into the mains, that continue to drain power even when left on standby. […]

Tech Tip – A Neat Way To Remove The Background From A Photo 

If you need a really fast and simple way to remove the background from any photo, you may wish to try using ‘removebg’. Here’s how it works:  – Go to www.remove.bg.  – Click on ‘Upload An Image’ to upload the photo from your device that you would like to remove the background from.  – The […]

Pegasus Spyware Discovered In Downing Street

The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab has reported finding evidence that Pegasus spyware was being used to listen-in on UK government networks for 10 Downing Street and the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices (FCO) in 2020 and 2021.  Pegasus  Pegasus spyware is sold by Israeli-based NSO Group to governments to carry out surveillance by infecting phones […]

,

What Are ‘Toxic’ Backlinks?

In this tech insight, we look at what ‘toxic’ backlinks are, how to identify them, and how to remove them.  Backlinks Backlinks (incoming links) are believed to be one of Google’s top three ranking factors. Trustworthy backlinks from websites with a high authority score are a factor which contribute to higher search engine rankings. However, […]

Nightmare at Netflix?

In this article, we look at the possible causes of the recent large losses of Netflix subscribers, and what’s next for the global streaming giant.  200,000 Subscribers Lost  In its Q1 results, the world’s biggest global streaming service, Netflix, revealed that it had lost a massive 200,000 subscribers in the first 3 months of the […]

,

Watching TV To Be Allowed In Automated Vehicles

The UK Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that following changes to The Highway Code, users of automated vehicles will be allowed to watch TV on built-in screens.  Viewing Content On Built-In Screens  Following a public consultation launched a year ago on how self-driving vehicles can be used safely on UK roads, the DfT […]

Tech Tip – Type Faster In Windows 11 Using ‘Voice Typing’ 

Windows 11 ‘voice typing’ feature uses online speech recognition so that you can enter text on your PC simply by speaking. Here’s how to use it: Firstly, make sure you’re connected to the Internet, have a working microphone, and have your cursor in a text box. Press Windows logo key + H on a hardware […]

,

1000+ ‘Deepfakes’ On LinkedIn

Researchers from the Stanford Internet Observatory have reported finding more than one thousand ‘virtual’ employees on the LinkedIn platform.  Faces Created By Artificial Intelligence  Virtual employees in this case are AI-generated photos of employees, the photos of whom don’t belong to any person (living or dead) and are made from mixtures of faces mashed together […]

‘Hostile’ Twitter Takeover

In this article, we look at the next phase of Elon Musk’s attempt to control Twitter – a so-called ‘hostile’ takeover.  The Next Stage In The Twitter / Musk Story – Hostile Takeover  Billionaire Elon Musk recently became Twitter’s largest shareholder after recently acquiring a 9.2 per cent stake in the social media company. Twitter […]

,

What is Web 3.0?

In this tech-insight, we look at what Web 3.0 is, together with its main benefits plus some concerns about it.  What Is Web 3.0?  Web3 / web3 / Web 3.0 (a term coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood) is the next phase in the evolution of the Web. It is based on blockchain […]

,

Survey Reveals 55% Of Devices Can’t Upgrade to Windows 11

A survey by IT asset management platform Lansweeper has revealed that 55 per cent of devices are not capable of upgrading to Windows 11.  Survey  The survey, based on an estimated 30 million Windows devices from 60,000 organisations, has revealed that on average, only 44.4 per cent of workstations are eligible to receive the automatic […]

Tech Tip – Setting Up ‘Gestures’ In Windows 11

Being able to use gestures on the touch screen or touchpad of your Windows 11 device can help make work faster and easier. Here’s how to set them up: Gestures that are supported by Windows 11 include tapping, scrolling, zooming, and three and four-finger-finger gestures. Here’s how to enable them on the touch screen of […]

, ,

Do Mobiles Cause Cancer?

In this insight, we look at the history of fears about a possible link between mobile phone usage and cancer, then we look at the latest studies, conclusions, and expert opinions.   History   Claims that mobile phones could cause cancer (e.g. brain tumours) can be traced back to the 1990s when mobile phones were first used […]

,

Dumbphone Revival

A report by SEO software firm SEMrush has shown that so-called ‘Dumbphones’ are experiencing a revival, but why?   What Is A ‘Dumbphone’?   Dumbphones are mobile handsets that lack the advanced functionality characteristics of a smartphone and typically have press-button based inputs, a small non-touch display, and can just make and receive calls and SMS text messages.   […]

,

What’s All the Fuss About The Digital Switchover?

In this article, we look at what the digital switchover is, why it’s needed, what the challenges are, and why it’s now been paused.  The Switch To ‘Digital Voice’  Back in April 2021, BT Openreach announced that starting from the end of the year and finishing in 2025, it would be “switching off the UK telephone […]

,

WhatsApp’s New Features To Improve Voice Messaging

WhatsApp has announced that it will soon be introducing some new features to improve its voice messaging.   Voice Messaging   WhatsApp’s voice messaging, introduced back in 2013, saves typing and is a fast way and free way to send expressive, encrypted messages. WhatsApp says that its users send 7 billion voice messages on average every day. […]

Tech Tip – Using Microsoft’s Floating ‘Edge Bar’

The Edge Bar is a handy floating sidebar / mini (Bing) browser that comes with the latest version of Edge in Windows and makes searching and accessing email and other platforms faster and easier. Here’s how to enable and use it: Open Edge and click on the three dots (top right). Select ‘Settings’. Select ‘Edge […]

,

Warning: Scam Aid To Ukraine Emails Circulating

The UK’s national fraud reporting centre, Action Fraud, says that it has received 196 reports of scam emails claiming to be raising funds for victims of the war in Ukraine.   Facebook Post   In a Meta / Facebook post on 18 March, Action Fraud reported:   “We’ve received 196 reports about FAKE emails purporting to raise money […]

,

What is Lapsus$?

In this article, we look at the cyber-crime gang Lapsus$, how they operate and the details of some of their recent high-profile attacks.  Lapsus$ ?  Lapsus$ is reported to be a mostly teenage cyber-crime gang (hackers), mainly based in South America, yet with its alleged multi-millionaire teenage leader based in Oxford, UK. The gang, which […]

,

EU To Limit Power Of Large Tech Platforms

The EU Parliament, Council negotiators and lawmakers have agreed new rules under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) that will limit the market power of the big technology companies and open up the market for competitors.  What Is The Digital Markets Act?  The Digital Markets Act (DMA) from the European Commission has been designed to ensure […]

GIF Creator Died. Just What Did He Invent?

In this insight, we look at how Stephen Wilhite invented the GIF file, and how his invention has endured while the Internet has undergone vast changes.  Who Was Stephen Wilhite?  Stephen Wilhite is regarded as one of the inventors who changed the face of the Internet. White worked at CompuServe in the 1980s. Founded in […]

Tech Tip – How To Do A ‘Disk Cleanup’ On A Windows 10/11 PC

Freeing-up space and getting rid of junk files can help a PC perform faster and better. Here’s how to use the built-in Window ‘Disk Cleanup’ tool to find and delete those old junk files: In the Start menu, search for Disk Cleanup, and select Disk Cleanup. Wait for Disk Cleanup to analyse the selected drive. […]

Deepfakes About War

Deepfake videos of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky have appeared online this week, both with quite different messages.   What Are Deepfake Videos?   Deepfake videos are made using deep learning technology and use manipulated images of target individuals (found online), often celebrities, politicians, and other well-known people to create very convincing […]

Germany Warns Against Use of Kaspersky Anti-Virus

Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has warned that Russia-based Kaspersky’s anti-virus software could be used for spying or launching cyber-attacks.   Russian Companies Forced To Launch Cyber-Attacks?   The warning was aimed at Russian IT businesses who, claims the BSI, could be used via the software to carry out offensive operations, or forced against their […]

,

CEOs Could Go To Jail Quicker

A recent revision to the (draft) Online Safety Bill could mean that executives who don’t comply with the regulator’s information request could start facing penalties such as jail just two months after the bill becomes law.  The Online Safety Bill  The UK government’s Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021 and now introduced to parliament, […]

Tech Tip – Adding Notes To Passwords With New Chrome Password Manager

A new feature to Chrome’s built-in password manager means that users will soon be able to store notes with their passwords. The feature, currently limited to Chrome’s latest Canary release, means that: A “Notes” field will appear in Google Chrome’s password manager underneath the username and password fields. The option will appear when either editing […]

3% of Users Responsible For 92% Of Breaches

A report by Security Company ‘Elevate’ has revealed that 3 per cent of users are responsible for 92 per cent of malware events for businesses, indicating that a small number of users create the most risk.    2016 to 2021    ‘The Size and Shape of Workforce Risk’ report, conducted on data provided to the Cyentia Institute […]

,

Mobile Malware Surges By 500%

Proofpoint researchers have reported that, starting in early February, there has been a 500 per cent jump in mobile malware delivery attempts in Europe.  Trend  According to the researchers, this rise is in keeping with a trend that has been evident in the last few years where attackers have been increasing their attempts at smishing […]

What’s all the Fuss About Wordle?

In this article, we look at what Wordle is, and how a change of ownership has led to some online criticism.  What Is Wordle?   Wordle is a free, web-based word game where players have six chances to guess a randomly selected five-letter word. Each day there’s a different word to guess. Players choose letters from […]

,

What Is ‘Scalping’?

In this insight, we look at what scalping is and why some people are looking to introduce legislation to stop it.   Scalping   The term “scalping” refers to stockpiling popular products and reselling them at a higher price for profit (the secondary resale market). This being a tech insight, this article will look at how technology […]

Tech Tip – Windows 11 : Realign the Start button To The Left

If you’ve started using Windows 11 and, as a long-time Windows user, you’d prefer the Start button to still be on the left rather than centred, here’s how to move it back:  Press the Windows Key + I to open the ‘Settings’ app.  Select ‘Personalisation’ and ‘Taskbar’.  Select ‘Taskbar behaviours’.  Click ‘Left’ under ‘Taskbar alignment’.  […]

Microsoft Halts Sales In Russia

In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft has suspended all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia.   Other Aspects Of Its Business Too   Microsoft has described how it has been “horrified, angered and saddened” by the “unjustified, unprovoked and unlawful invasion by Russia” which has led to its decision to suspend sales to Russia.   In addition […]

Microsoft Delays Price Increases (For 2 Weeks)

Microsoft has announced that higher demand for cloud services resulting from home and hybrid working is the reason why it will delay its planned commercial price increases for Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft 365.   Two Week Grace Period   An announcement posted in the ‘Partner Center’ section of Microsoft’s website states that the commercial price rises announced back in […]

,

What’s All the Fuss About Starlink?

In this article, we look at what Starlink is and why it has been making the news in the last couple of weeks.  What Is Starlink?  Starlink, operated by billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX company uses a constellation of low orbit satellites around the earth (launched by SpaceX rockets) to provide broadband internet. Starlink provides satellite […]

What Is ‘Agile’ Working?

In this article, we take a brief look at what agile working is, plus how technology contributes to it.  Agile   Agile working refers to the idea of connecting processes, people, technology, time, and place to create a dynamic workforce. By giving workers the freedom and maximum flexibility to work where and when they want, thereby minimising […]

Tech Tip – Personalising News With Widgets

If you’re finding that you’re keeping up with the news more lately, try using ‘Widgets’ to catch upon the news at a glance in Windows 11. Here’s how: Sign into your Microsoft account. To show or hide the widgets board, select the Widgets icon on the taskbar, press the Windows logo key + W, and […]

How Worried Should We Be About Cyber Warfare?

In this article we look at how cyber-attacks have been used by Russia against Ukraine, how this may spread to other countries, and what businesses can do to prepare. Cyber Attacks – A Part of ‘Hybrid Warfare’  State-sponsored cyber-attacks are now very much an ongoing threat faced by all countries but, specifically in the case […]

Ransomware Study : Most UK Firms Pay

A study by security firm ‘Proofpoint’ has revealed that 82 per cent of UK organisations whose systems were infected by ransomware in 2021 opted to pay the ransom.  Much Higher Than The Global Average  Despite cybersecurity and government agencies warning against paying, Proofpoint’s ‘2022 State of the Phish’ report states that this UK figure for […]

Comparing Browsers

With reports that Microsoft Edge is about to beat Safari to become the second most-popular browser, we take a brief look at what different browsers have to offer.   Google Chrome   The most popular browser with a 65.38 per cent share of the market, Google Chrome is supported by Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS. Its popularity […]

Tech Tip – How To Make Sure All Data Is Removed When Re-Setting A Windows Device

If you need to use the “Remove everything” option to reset a Windows device, and don’t want to leave any data behind (a known current issue), here’s the latest workaround from Microsoft: Sign out or unlink OneDrive before resetting the Windows device. Instructions can be found in the “Unlink OneDrive” section of the Microsoft support […]

,

Firms Prepare For The Quantum Apocalypse

In this article, we look at what the ‘quantum apocalypse’ is, and what businesses are doing to prepare for this threat.  What Is The Quantum Apocalypse?  The so-called ‘quantum apocalypse’ refers to the unspecified point in the future where someone (e.g., threat actors or a foreign power) has a functioning quantum computer that can break […]

,

Why Solid Black Bars May Be Best For Redacted Text

In this insight, we look at how to best to avoid redacted text from being ‘unredacted’ by certain software tools, and we look at what researchers advise based on recent experiments.  The Problem  For businesses and organisations, the increased need for data sharing and/or making some data public can mean that certain (sensitive) parts of […]

,

Ex School IT Technician Jailed For Cyber Attack

A sacked school IT Technician who took revenge by deleting data and sabotaging his old school’s network (and by wiping the computers of everyone who was logged in) has been jailed.  Revenge Hack  As reported on Leicestershire Live, a court was told that Adam Georgeson, 29, who was dismissed from his job as an IT […]

Tech Tip – Windows 11 – Quickly Organise Open Apps

Organising your open apps on the screen in a way that suits you can be a great help to productivity and can save time. Here’s how to choose the right snap layout in Windows 11: Hover over a window’s maximise button OR press Windows logo key + Z. Choose a snap layout from the 6 […]

,

‘Adult’ Websites Will Be Legally Required To Verify Age

Under the draft Online Safety Bill legislation, adult websites (i.e. pornographic) site operators will be legally required to verify the age of website visitors or face tough penalties. Online Safety Bill For those who run commercial porn sites, the bill, which expected to be introduced to parliament in the next few months, looks likely to […]

,

What Is The Online Safety Bill?

Following recent announcements of a toughening-up of the (draft) Online Safety Bill, we look at what the bill is, and what its implications are. What Is The Online Safety Bill For? The UK government’s Online Safety Bill is (draft) legislation that’s designed to place a ‘duty of care’ on internet companies which host user-generated content in […]

,

How Microsoft Will Block Macros To Stop Malware

Microsoft recently announced that it will be blocking Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros by default as a way to stop the spread of malware. Since these macros are important automation tools for Microsoft Office apps, how is this going to work? What Are Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Macros? Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) […]

,

£23 Million For AI And Data Science Scholarships

The UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced funding of up to £23 million for AI and data conversion courses in England. Help Underrepresented Groups To Join World-Leading Industry The government says that the funding will create (postgraduate) conversion courses that could help underrepresented groups get tech jobs, even if they […]

Tech Tip – Windows 11 – Connect With Anyone Using The Chat Icon

Windows 11 has Microsoft Teams as a pre-installed app that users can access from the Taskbar by clicking the ‘Chat’ icon. To connect with anyone, if they’re on iOS, Android or Mac, here’s how: Click on the Chat icon in Windows 11 Taskbar and click on the Get started button. Confirm the Microsoft Teams account. […]

,

30% Rise In Crypto-Laundering

A report by blockchain data platform ‘Chainalysis’ has shown a 30 per cent increase in cryptocurrency being used for money laundering in 2021 compared to the previous year. $8.6 Billion The 2022 Crypto Crime Report noted how cybercriminals laundered a massive $8.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency in 2021. The figure was arrived at by compiling […]

Study Shows No-One Is Immune From Phishing

A new report from F-Secure has revealed that the most technically competent staff are just as likely (if not more likely) to fail a phishing test exercise. Phishing Phishing attacks typically involve sending emails that appear to come from a legitimate company/organisation (e.g., a bank) in order to gain an individual’s confidence, so that the […]

,

How to Avoid Being “Doxxed”

In this article, we look at what doxxing is, some examples of doxxing, and what can be done to protect ourselves and our businesses from being ‘Doxxed’. What Is Doxxing? Doxing is a 90s hacker term meaning for dropping (personal) dox where ‘dox’ is a slang term for documents. Doxxing is a malicious act where […]

Tech News : Google Change Stance Over Legacy G Suite Account

Google has offered new alternative options to free Legacy G Suite account holders who it had previously said would have to upgrade to a paid subscription by 1 July. What Is A Legacy G Suite Account? Google’s free edition of G Suite, known as Workspace, was first made available to businesses, organisations, and schools from […]

Tech Tip – An Easy Way To Transcribe Your YouTube Videos

If you’d like an easy way to get a text transcript of your YouTube videos, try using YouTube’s built-in transcript tool. Here’s how: Log in to YouTube and go to YouTube Studio. Select Subtitles from the sidebar (left). Select a video, choose the language, and click on ‘Confirm’. To edit the text transcript that appears […]