Review of IT News Stories in 2017

It has been a pretty turbulent time in the IT world over the last 12 months, with headlines mostly consisting of malware attacks and data breaches.

Back in January, the ICO laid out it’s guidance for GDPR, something which many companies have only recently started to address.

At the same time, we also saw price increases from all of the large manufacturers (as much as 15% in some cases) citing the falling value of the pound.

We also saw the launch of the retro Nokia 3310, with extended battery life over it’s smart-phone rivals, it even included the classic game snake.  Although it was never a massive sales success, it did manage to raise the profile of  Nokias higher-end handsets.

However, it was the second quarter of 2017 that things really started to get interesting.
One of the biggest stories of the year was WannaCry.  Normally, a ransomware attack wouldn’t make the headlines, but WannaCry was the exception.  Although this was a world-wide attack it became associated with the NHS due to the crippling effect it had on their systems.  To the point where appointments and operations were being cancelled.  For the first time, a ransomware attack was having a direct effect on the public.

Only a month later, another attack caused chaos, when an infected tax software update which was sent to businesses in Ukraine spread worldwide, disrupting the operations of some of the world’s biggest companies, included shipping giant Maersk and the delivery company FedEx.  Strangely, no one seemed to be able to decide what this one was called.  It was originally thought to be a strain of Petya ransomware, however, after some key differences were discovered, security experts seemed to go with “NotPetya”

Bitcoins future seemed in doubt after plans to tackle the amount of time that it takes to register a transaction fell apart.  A compromise was reached in order to make the underlying blockchain more efficient, however processing time still remains an issue.  But on the whole, what a year it has been for the crypto-currency, which started 2017 worth less than $1,000 and by the middle of December had climbed to just under $20,000 and has since tipped towards $13,000.

September, saw the announcement that the giant credit reporting company Equifax had been hacked.  The data breach is thought to have compromised the personal details of over 143 million people.

However, one of my personal favorite IT related stories surrounded the launch of the new Nissan Leaf.  It just so happens that is owned by a man called Uzi Nissan, who owns a company called Nissan Computer.  Mr. Nissan bought the domain name back in 1994, when Nissan the car manufacturer were still called Datsun.  Which means that Nissan (the car firm) use or in the UK.  So when Nissans UK Social Media team sent out a tweet which linked back to when promoting their new car potential customers didn’t quite find what they were looking for.

If Nissan’s own employees can’t link to the correct website, I wonder just how many members of the public make the same mistake on a regular basis, In hindsight, it may have been sensible for Nissan Motors to have checked whether was available before they decided to change their name.

It has certainly been an interesting year, and you can be sure that 2018 is not going to see a decline in the number of cyber-attacks that we’re all facing.

So if you’re still looking for a new-year’s resolution, perhaps you could think about taking password security more seriously.

Hackers have databases containing millions of  passwords which have been obtained from previous data breaches.  Using automated procedures, these passwords along with dictionary words can all be checked against a username within a matter of minutes.  So it’s always best to use complex, hard-to-guess, hard-to-crack passwords.

It’s best to use different passwords for different websites, but at the very least, try not to mix passwords you use for personal sites with those you use for business.  That way if your yahoo email account is compromised it isn’t going to give the hacker access to data relating to your business.

If you want to learn how to protect yourself even further then give us a call.


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