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DIGIT Tech News Roundup: 19th of July 2019

Ross Kelly


News Roundup September

This week’s edition of DIGIT’s Tech News Roundup column features some of the top stories permeating the airwaves in the week beginning 15th July.

DIGIT’s Top Trending Stories

Boarding pass security flaw uncovered by Scottish cyber firm

Research from an Edinburgh-based cybersecurity firm, 7 Elements, has uncovered vulnerabilities in check-in software used by scores of airline operators.

The security vulnerability, research shows, could enable users to access and view other people’s boarding passes, along with other sensitive personal details. While the flaw has since been patched by Amadeus IT Group – the software creator – the flaw raises serious questions over boarding pass security.

Amadeus Group creates software for the travel sector, with its products used by around 500 airlines globally, including US travel giant United Airlines.

This particular flaw, known as an IDOR vulnerability (Insecure Direct Object Reference), was discovered by 7 Elements CEO David Stubley as he awaited a flight home from Birmingham to Edinburgh with Flybe. Both Amadeus and Flybe were informed of the vulnerability.

While waiting for his flight, Stubley began testing the structure of the Amadeus web application’s URL. In a proof of concept, Stubley commented: “It was possible to enumerate supported airlines of the Amadeus Check-in Application using the URL generated as part of an airline mobile application check-in process.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

UK’s only orbital rocket showcased on moon landing anniversary

The only UK-developed rocket to reach space and place a satellite into orbit is making its first appearance in England this weekend (19-21 July) since being recovered from its Australian landing site.

The Black Arrow (R3) rocket is set to be displayed at the 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford – the world’s largest military show – just 92 miles from its programme’s original test site on the Isle of Wight.

The rocket was brought to Scotland from its landing site in the Australian Outback earlier this year by rocket developer Skyrora, almost half a century since its launch.

Completing four rockets between 1969 and 1971, Black Arrow’s third flight marks the only successful UK-led launch and serves as a representation of the UK’s potential in the new global space race.

The theme of this year’s RIAT, ‘Air & Space: Inspiring the Next Generation Air Force’, will see the three-day event focus on Britain’s growing space sector. Major Tim Peake – the first UK astronaut to visit the Space Station – is also due to attend.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

AI research is suffering from a gender diversity ‘crisis’

Less than 14% of AI researchers are women, with numbers decreasing over the past 10 years, a study by innovation foundation Nesta has revealed.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is changing our world, but those producing these cutting-edge systems are predominantly male.

Not only does Nesta’s report show a severe gender diversity gap in AI research, it also shows that, in relative terms, the proportion of AI papers co-authored by at least one woman has not improved since the 1990s.

The report, which examined publications on arXiv, a repository with more than 1.5 million preprints widely used by the AI community, also revealed just 18% of Oxford’s researchers with AI publications on arXiv are women, this falls to 15.6% for Cambridge.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Wind farms produce enough energy to power every Scottish home twice over

Scottish wind farms have produced enough energy to power every home in Scotland two times over, according to statistics published this week.

Data from WeatherEnergy shows that from January to June this year, wind power output was at a record high across the country.

More than 9.8 million megawatt-hours were generated throughout the six months period, capable of fuelling nearly 4.5m homes both in Scotland and further afield.

In fact, wind energy production has reached such a point that this could be used to power thousands of homes across the north of England.

There are approximately 2.46m households in Scotland, according to Scottish Government statistics, while ONS figures show there are 2.01m households in the English local authority areas north of a line between Blackpool and York.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Glasgow Metro 5G trial could give commuters augmented reality ‘infotainment’ services

A trial scheme between the UK and South Korea will see 5G-powered ‘infotainment’ experiences for commuters on the Glasgow Metro.

The UK Government’s Digital Minister, Margot James, announced the £2.4 million ‘5G RailNext‘ project earlier this week, which aims to test how 5G services can provide “uninterrupted ‘infotainment’ services” that could deliver augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) content for passengers.

This will likely include real-time travel information, video streaming and gaming, through to services accessible through wearable devices such as headsets.

Initially, the project will run across the Seoul Metro system, with a follow-up demonstrator in Glasgow, and long-term the UK Government hopes to explore future use on the London Underground system.

“5G is the future of connectivity and we want the UK to be a world leader,” James commented. “This collaboration with South Korea will explore innovative ways to use the technology to deliver content and services on transport networks in Seoul and Glasgow.

“I’m delighted that this will create new partnership and business opportunities for UK SMEs, academia and local government.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

UK boards are failing to address growing cybersecurity risks

Cybersecurity breaches have cost UK mid-market businesses roughly £30 billion over the past 12 months, a survey has found.

Conducted by assurance, tax and advisory firm, Grant Thornton, the survey revealed that 53% of UK mid-market businesses – which have a turnover between £15 million and £1 billion – have suffered financial losses of between 3% and 10% of their revenue due to a cybersecurity breach.

Those with the most severe cases reported losses as high as 25%. Despite potentially high losses, nearly two-thirds (63%) of surveyed companies had no board member tasked with the responsibility of handling cybersecurity. That same number also said they did not carry out a formal review of their cybersecurity framework or assess their security risk.

In addition to not taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, the interviewees also revealed they had not adequately made their staff aware of potential cybersecurity risks – just over one-third (36%) said they had provided cybersecurity training for their employees over the past year.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

In Case You Missed It…

Can you trust FaceApp with your face?

FaceApp has been taking the world by storm with millions of users signing up to gain a glimpse of how they might look in decades to come.

However, since the photo-editing tool has gone viral, some have raised serious concerns over the app’s terms and conditions. It has been argued that the company is taking a ‘cavalier’ approach to user data, with some people verging on the conspiratorial and claiming it could be a tool that Russian state propagandists could use to create deepfakes.

The company that created FaceApp has since released a statement addressing concerns, noting that ‘most images’ are deleted from its servers within 48-hours of being uploaded. The firm also said it only ever uploads photographs that users specifically select for editing – and not additional images from one’s camera roll.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article via the BBC.

IBM revenue continues to fall as it chases cloud leaders

IBM’s recent acquisition of Red Hat will likely accelerate growth, the company has said, despite reports that overall revenue has fallen for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Revenue at the technology giant fell by 4.2% from the year prior to around $19 billion (£15.1 billion), according to stats published in its second-quarter earnings. Despite these concerning numbers, IBM’s cloud business continues to improve, marking a 5% rise on the year previous with $5.6 billion (£4.5 billion) in revenue.

Continued improvements in the company’s cloud business do paint a rather negative picture, regardless of increased revenue. Data published this week shows that the firm still lags behind rival providers, such as Microsoft or AWS. Amazon’s cloud computing contingent still leads the marketplace and boasts impressive annual growth – with a significant jump of 41% in the first quarter of this year.

Microsoft Azure, additionally, posted revenue growth of a staggering 73% in the third quarter of its fiscal year.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article via IT Pro.

Big Brother surveillance could discriminate against workers, claim unions

Plans to introduce ‘Big Brother-style’ CCTV in Glasgow could pose a “very significant” threat to workers’ rights and civil liberties, trade unionists have claimed.

Concerns have been raised by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) that Suspect Search surveillance system deployed across Glasgow could prove to be discriminatory if left unregulated. The trade union has called on Glasgow City Council to consult with unions over these growing concerns.

The £1.2 million system, which has been delayed for five years due to data protection laws, formed part of a £12.6 million upgrade to the city’s CCTV system.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article via The Ferret.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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