Cyber and Information Security News: Your Weekly Roundup

It’s the next instalment of the ISMS.online series of cyber and information security news.

Happy Friday the 13th, by the way…

4 minute read

The ICO show their teeth

 

This week the Information Commissioner‘s Office announced some recent action they have taken in the finance insurance and credit sector. The ICO issued an enforcement notice to Vanquis Bank Limited, under section 40 of the Data Protection Act 1998, for breaching text messaging and email marketing rules.

The credit company, who are based in Bradford, are reported to have sent an astonishing 870,849 unsolicited text messages and 620,000 emails to members of the public. These communications were intended to promote the company’s range of credit cards but were not able to demonstrate they had been given consent to contact them for marketing purposes.

Fighting cyber crime

 

Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, has said this week that the threat of cyber attacks is ‘as serious as terrorism’ in an interview with the Daly Telegraph. This comes after GCHQ’s funding was significantly increased following the cyber attack on the NHS earlier this year. Much of this additional funding has now been directed to fighting cyber crime and preventing attacks.

Flemming said that there had been 600 cyber security attacks that had been considered serious enough to promote a ‘national response’.

 

“We see that in the way terrorists are constantly changing their weapons, or states are using their full range of tools to steal secrets, gain influence and attack our economy”.

 

If GCHQ is to continue to help keep the country safe, then protecting the digital homeland – keeping our citizens safe and free online – must become and remain as much part of our mission as our global intelligence reach and our round-the-clock efforts against terrorism.”

Mining crypto-currencies

 

One of the great things about cyber currencies is that you can’t exactly lose any coins down the back of the sofa.

They can, however, be mined from their virtual safe using malicious code and lots of expensive computer hardware.

The quite legitimate process of generating cyber cash through website traffic has been around for years, using Coin Hive or JSE Coin script. If a site receives 1 million visitors in a month, then they can expect to generate around £88 worth of cryptocurrency.

But it has been reported this week that a number of file-sharing websites, and sites owned by schools and charities, have been used by hackers to generate cyber currencies. It works by installing scripts on to these websites, which then uses the computers of visitors to then mine the ‘cash’. This can leave victims with huge bills relating to the servers that the hackers have used to mine the currency.

Quantum – the internet, but better

 

Computer scientists have been hidden away in labs for years, building the next generation of quantum computers, that are faster and more powerful than anything we have seen before. They will be capable of solving several complex calculations at one time.

The types of quantum computers that are being built at the moment.

 

  • Light Particles
  • Trapped Ions
  • Superconducting Qubits
  • Nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamonds

 

This is all very exciting, but scientists have already started to ask the question – can the technology of our current internet match the power of these new computers? The obvious answer is no. So in comes the ‘light-based internet’.

The plan for the light internet is that it will be super fast, as well as much more secure than what we currently experience. We’ll keep an eye on these exciting developments, but it sounds like the future’s bright.

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