May 5 2021
Welcome to our daily tech news roundup – this is the place where we keep you up to date on the latest technology happenings, cybersecurity news, and more. Here’s what’s going on in the tech world today:
Will ransomware gangs cause the downfall of Bitcoin?
Back in the day, paying a ransom was paid via a briefcase filled with cash, left in a discreet location for the criminal to pick up, but now it’s far more complicated than that. When cyber-criminals target a person or organisation, they almost always demand payment in Bitcoin, as it’s so difficult to lock down. Notes can be marked, but should cryptocurrency also be tracked?
Over the course of the past couple of years, ransomware has become an epidemic, and now, experts are calling for more aggressive regulation on crypto in order to protect organisations against this threat. Ransomware gangs collected over £400 million last year, and no organisation was off-limits, with schools, councils, and hospitals being targeted without mercy. The US Department of Justice has established the Ransomware Task Force, and their latest proposal is to pierce the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions, something that bank regulators and financial crime investigators globally would agree with. However, this does have implications on user privacy – what about the transactions that aren’t criminal? Do you want the DoJ peering into your crypto-wallet? Read more here.
Another day, another Facebook faux-pas
Facebook is in hot water yet again, following reports that the social media giant approved adverts targeting teenagers with inappropriate content. This included gambling, smoking, and extreme dieting. It was Reset Australia who blew the whistle on this, by setting up a Facebook page and exploring ad options. By doing this, they were able to create targeted adverts, based on the social network’s profiling of its users’ interests.
Facebooks Ad Manager identified users under 18 who were interested in alcohol – so Reset Australia set up a cocktail recipe type advert to 52,000 children. For each alcohol related advert, Facebook charged $3.03, but smoking ads were charged at $130-$210 and Reset Australia reached 1,000 minors with a vape pen ad – worrying stuff.
A Facebook rep had this to say: “Keeping young people safe across Facebook and Instagram is vital. We have significant measures in place… including automated systems and human reviewers. Anyone advertising on our platforms must comply with our policies along with all local laws and codes, such as those restricting the advertising of alcohol to minors in Australia.” Read more here.
Wales is prioritising business cybersecurity
The Welsh police, private sector, and several notable academics have joined forces to create The Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales. The WCRC is part of a country-wide network that provides businesses with affordable cybersecurity services, plus advice about how to mitigate security risks. Core Membership with the WCRC is actually free, and allows access to cybersecurity resources and tools, plus a helping hand to guide newbies on their way. There are several different membership options that are priced according to what level of support businesses need.
Paul Peters, the Director of the WCRC had this to say: “I have seen first-hand the significant threat that businesses across our region face from cyber criminals. I have witnessed the damage a successful attack can do to organisations of all sizes from sole traders to multinational organisations. The Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales team is committed to helping local business owners understand more about the threats they face and to help them get better protected.” Read more here.
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