Posted on July 3, 2018 by staff

Cyber security briefing: Will this device end cyber-attacks?


Cyber-attacks could be consigned to history thanks to a new device.

A quantum random number generator created by Quantum Base and Lancaster University can be integrated into any electronic product and provides 100 per cent security for authentication.

Quantum Base QRNG is affordable and has been chosen for inclusion in the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2018 this week.

“We have created a small, low power device that produces pure random numbers,” said Quantum Base CEO Phillip Speed.

“It can be incorporated into any electronic product with little or no incremental cost once volume production is achieved.”

A certain Professor Brian Cox is one of those taking an interest in the device at the exhibition…

Is your smart fridge mining Bitcoins for criminals?

More and more functional household appliances are venturing online in this increasingly connected world.

We’ve reported before on how your coffee machine could be a security risk. But what about your fridge?

Hackers are now placing malicious software on people’s phones, smart TVs and even fridges which quietly mines virtual currency. In layman’s terms, your devices’ processing power is used to verify cryptocurrency transactions – and the criminal receives virtual currency as a reward.

If you were a victim of such an attack then you might notice your phone slowing down – but not so your fridge sitting there humming to itself.

“We saw organisations whose monthly electricity bill was increased by hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Maya Horowitz of Checkpoint, pointing out that even small uses of power can add up to big bucks in enterprise organisations.

NHS Digital’s huge IBM contract

NHS Digital has turned to IT giant IBM to shore up its cyber security defences following the devastating WannaCry attack which affected hospitals last year.

A three-year deal worth a reported £30 million will see IBM’s cyber security arm expand NHS Digital’s Cyber Security Operations Centre, which monitors NHS networks and defends against attacks upon health and social care organisations.

“This partnership will enhance our existing CSOC, which is delivered from NHS Digital’s Data Security Centre,” said Dan Taylor, programme director of the Data Security Centre at NHS Digital.

“It will build on our existing ability to proactively monitor for security threats, risks, and emerging vulnerabilities, while supporting the development of new services for the future and enabling us to better support the existing needs of local organisations.

“This will ensure that we can evolve our security capability in line with the evolving cyber threat landscape.”

Website takedown!

HM Revenue & Customs requested that a record 20,750 malicious websites be taken down in the last year – an increase of 29 per cent on the previous year.

However the tax authority warned that millions of taxpayers remain exposed to online fraudsters.

It called upon the public to report scams such as phishing emails and texts, where attackers dupe victims into clicking on a malicious link by pretending to be from a trusted company.

Twitter takes (two) steps to protect users

Twitter will soon support Universal Two-Factor (U2F) authentication to help protect users from spam and fake phishing accounts.

Rather than sending users a text message code, which can be intercepted, U2F requires them to push a button on a physical device – such as a U2F keyfob – to authorise a login. The new key will also only work on genuine Twitter pages.

The social media firm added in a blog post that existing accounts will also be subject to audit by the company “to ensure that every account created on Twitter has passed some simple, automatic security checks designed to prevent automated sign-ups”.

Be warned: A cyber breach is coming

All businesses should be making plans for the day they are finally breached.

A new report from KPMG claims that cyber-attacks are becoming inevitable these days despite security taking more priority at boardroom level.

The professional services company’s research with business leaders found that 39 per cent of UK firms agreed with the inevitability of being attacked.

The figure is even higher elsewhere in the world, with a global average of 49 per cent.

Bernard Brown, vice chair at KPMG UK, said: “The seeming inevitability of a cyber-attack crosses all borders and has now crossed firmly over the threshold for board-level discussions.

“Protecting the business from a cyber-attack has jumped further up the boardroom agenda and we are seeing businesses making their defences the best that they can be.”