25 February 2020

Flooding stopped sensors monitoring river levels from working, admits Environment Agency boss

Sensors installed in rivers to detect rising water levels stopped working because of the sheer amount of water, the head of the Environment Agency has admitted.

The torrential rain is contributing to record-high river levels and England has endured more than double its average February rainfall so far.

Sir James Bevan told The Telegraph the floods "destroyed some of our assets", including the equipment that logs river height.

Speaking at the World Water Tech Innovation Summit in London, he said: "One EA team was anxiously watching the telemetry data from one particular river which was showing an astonishingly rapid rise when the water levels suddenly appeared to stop going up.

"The team breathed a sigh of relief until they realised that the graph wasn’t flatlining because the river had stopped rising. It was flatlining because the river had risen above the electrics running the gauge and overwhelmed the hardware."

He said the sensors will have to be replaced once lives and property have been protected from the floods.

Keep your passwords secure: hackers don't break in, they log in!

Hackers don't break in, they log in. That mantra, often repeated by security experts, represents a rule of thumb: The vast majority of breaches are the result of stolen passwords, not high-tech hacking tools.

These break-ins are on the rise. Phishing scams - in which attackers pose as a trustworthy party to trick people into handing over personal details or account information - were the most common type of internet crime last year, according to a recent FBI report. People lost more than $57.8 million in 2019 as the result of phishing, according to the report, with over 114,000 victims targeted in the US.

And as phishing becomes more profitable, hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the methods they use to steal passwords, according to Tanmay Ganacharya, a principal director in Microsoft's Security Research team.

"Most of the attackers have now moved to phishing because it's easy. If I can convince you to give me your credentials, it's done. There's nothing more that I need," Ganacharya told Business Insider.

Reading for today: Love God & your neighbour

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

Read all of Matthew 22 at Bible Gateway

When is a Brit Bike not a Brit Bike? When it's a Triumph...

For the first time in the history of Triumph Motorcycles, all volume production models will be built outside of the UK, as the firm confirms its intent to move the last two UK produced models to its Thailand factories.

But this isn’t completely the end of UK production, with Triumph saying they will continue to build around 4500 motorcycles a year at their Hinckley factory after all volume production has moved abroad.

The move, announced to Triumph employees on 20th February, will see the last remaining UK produced models – the Speed Triple and Tiger 1200 – join the rest of the range at the Chonburi, Thailand, production facilities. The net result for Hinckley is a reduction of around 2000 units per year, leaving only the high-end Triumph Factory Custom models and selected other special builds based on UK soil. The firm currently build around 65,000 bikes per year, with only 10% of that figure rolling out of the Hinckley facility.

UPDATE: Stuart Fillingham said (on 5 Jun 2020) This week Triumph motorcycles announced that to mitigate financial problems they are making 400 of their 2500 workers redundant. They are placing the blame on the pandemic but the route of the problem may run much deeper!

21 February 2020

This Lent, sign up for 40acts. Let's all try to make the world better - one act at a time

40acts is the generosity challenge for Lent, created by UK Christian charity, Stewardship. For ten years, 40acts has asked a question: what if Lent could be about more than just giving stuff up? What if it could be a time of radical generosity as well as spiritual discipline? Over the years, 40acts has become a movement of over 100,000 people on a mission to impact their communities with generosity – during Lent and beyond. 

Funky new (less boring) icons on the way for Win10

Microsoft refreshed Office's icons last year, and now it's Windows 10's turn. The software giant is rolling out updates to the icons for Windows 10's core apps over the months ahead, starting with the Calendar and Mail apps in a new Release Preview for Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. The company's design team explained that it wanted to break away from the flat, colorless icons you see today in favor of ones that are at once more consistent with newer branding (including apps available beyond Windows) and different enough that you'll have an easier time finding the one you want.

This is arguably an overdue move. Microsoft hadn't really touched Windows 10's main icons since its debut in 2015, so they risked feeling old. There were also inconsistencies creeping in, especially once Office got its new look. This update drags Windows 10's appearance into the modern era, and might just give you a more colorful OS in the bargain.

20 February 2020

GDPR: have you received a letter from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regarding the need for registration?

Have you received a letter received from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) regarding the need for registration? These letters concern the need for small businesses to register with the ICO, in order to demonstrate to their clients that they take their data protection obligations seriously.

Now, these are not SPAM! Apart from some businesses which may be exempt, it is important that every business that processes information pays a fee to the ICO, otherwise, they may be fined under the Data Protection (Charges and Information) regulations 2018 Act. And these fines can be as large as £4,000!

The fee for a small business is usually only £40-£60 per annum. But all small businesses should refer to the ICO website to check their eligibility and pay if required.

Under the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018, individuals and organisations that process personal data need to pay a data protection fee to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), unless they are exempt. Click here for the registration self-assessment test to see if you have to register / need to pay a fee.

17 February 2020

Norton – Was it a fraud from the start? Where has all the money gone?

Article by John Hogan - Editor of SuperBike Magazine. You’re about to read the first in a series of interviews relating to the Norton story. The story is not a good one for the UK motorcycle industry.

I first wrote about Norton in SuperBike magazine back in 2012, expressing my concerns. Stuart Garner called me a couple of weeks later and tried to give me the hairdryer treatment. He sounded like a posh schoolkid that had hidden his marbles in his bag and then blamed me for stealing them. My doubts of Stuart Garner’s ability to run a motorcycle brand like Norton have never gone away.

The mainstream Norton story relates primarily to pension fraud, you can read about that in detail in the Guardian. If you’re tired of reading, you’ll also be able to watch various ITV pieces on the same subject. I played a small part in helping those mainstream journalists understand the oily nuts and bolts side of the Norton business. During my research I’ve spoken to current and former employees, from the shop floor to the boardroom. A former accountant, Stuart Garner’s former PA, a burned business partner, an investor, multiple Norton buyers, Norton franchised dealers in the UK and on the other side of the planet, various Norton racers and Mr Stuart James Garner himself. Everything I’ve written is the result of speaking to the people involved, some were happy to be named and others weren’t. That’s their choice and I can respect that. It makes sense to me to start the story in 2008, when Stuart Garner bought into Spondon Engineering, prior to buying Norton and bringing it back to the UK.

You can read each of these interviews and make your own mind up as to whether Stuart Garner made a mistake thanks to Brexit and has only recently ran into trouble. Or is it possible that he’s planned every single element of the largest frauds the UK motorcycle industry has ever seen, and he began doing so back in 2008?

IOTA cryptocurrency shuts down entire network after wallet hack

IOTA Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind the IOTA cryptocurrency, has shut down its entire network this week after hackers exploited a vulnerability in the official IOTA wallet app to steal user funds.

The attack happened this week, Wednesday, on February 12, 2020, according to a message the foundation posted on its official Twitter account.

According to a status page detailing the incident, within 25 minutes of receiving reports that hackers were stealing funds from user wallets, the IOTA Foundation shut down "Coordinator," a node in the IOTA network that puts the final seal of approval on any IOTA currency transactions.

The never-before-seen move was meant to prevent hackers from executing new thefts, but also had the side-effect of effectively shut down the entire IOTA cryptocurrency.

14 February 2020

Norfolk PC drove at 101mph in 30mph zone 'while training'

A police driving instructor clocked speeds of 101mph in a 30mph area, a court heard.

PC Paul Brown, 48, of Norwich, denied 16 driving offences while in an unmarked police BMW X5.

Ipswich magistrates heard he drove with blue lights on, ran four red lights and reached speeds of 122mph.

He was cleared of the charges after telling the court he was carrying out continuous professional development (CPD) - a mandatory requirement.

Crazy! Can you imagine what would happen if a mere mortal (one of us) got caught running red lights & driving at those speeds? One rule for us, one rule for certain others, so it seems!

‘Splatometer’ tests reveal huge decline in number of insects

Two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades.

The research adds to growing evidence of what some scientists have called an “insect apocalypse”, which is threatening a collapse in the natural world that sustains humans and all life on Earth. A third study shows plummeting numbers of aquatic insects in streams.

The survey of insects hitting car windscreens in rural Denmark used data collected every summer from 1997 to 2017 and found an 80% decline in abundance. It also found a parallel decline in the number of swallows and martins, birds that live on insects.

Well, cant argue with science, can ya?...
Unless you're a motorcyclist. Then it seems that there are plenty of bugs about - mainly committing kamikaze dives all over our visors, jackets & bikes!

13 February 2020

Apple Mac malware detections overtake Windows the first time

Cyber threats aimed at Macs have outpaced those targeted at Windows PCs for the first time, signalling that Apple’s computers are not as secure as they once might have been. 

For some time, it was a commonly held belief that Apple Mac computers, such as the iMac, were pretty much immune to malware. This was largely due to the proliferation of Windows machines over Mac computers, and how macOS was previously built on a bespoke secure version of Unix with a locked-down ecosystem. 

However, the growth of Macs has seen them become a more tantalising target for hackers. And, according to the latest data from Malwarebytes, the security company detected an average of 11 threats per Mac endpoint in 2019, nearly double the average 5.8 threats per Windows endpoint. 

12 February 2020

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10 February 2020

Apple fined €25 million for deliberately slowing down old iPhones

Apple has been hit with a 25 million Euro fine (US $27.5 million) after it added battery management features to iOS that slowed down the performance of older iPhones.

An investigation by the French consumer watchdog DGCCRF determined that Apple had failed to properly inform iPhone users that applying an iOS update might slow down their devices.

DGCCRF began its investigation in January 2018, just weeks after it was discovered that Apple had been secretly throttling the speed of the iPhone 6, iPhone SE, and iPhone 7 as their batteries aged.

07 February 2020

Ewan McGregor talks about "Long Way Up" & riding the Harley LiveWire

All has been quiet on the Long Way Up front since the news broke that Ewan and Charley had completed the third instalment of their Long Way series, this time riding from the tip of South America to Los Angeles. That all changed this week when Ewan McGregor appeared on a US chat show and described the experience of travelling the Americas on the electric Harley Davidson LiveWire.

In the clip, from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Ewan explains that the choice to ride electric bikes was partly inspired by wanting to be “part of the new wave of transportation.”

The boy’s decision to ditch the internal combustion engine on their trip north was met with varying degrees of scepticism and admiration across social media when the news first broke. And, in Ewan’s own words, the choice of bike led to an experience that was both “amazing and quite tricky at the same time.” The biggest issue? You guessed it. Charging the bikes.

06 February 2020

Reading for today: on God using our hardships for our ultimate good

We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.

Win a refurbished Dell Laptop worth £500!

Encore-PC are offering you the chance to win a fantastic refurbished Dell Latitude 2 in 1 Laptop worth £500!

All you need to do is to complete the form HERE with the correct answer.

This Dell laptop is a great example of some of the quality refurbished laptops we offer. This one has a 12.3" touchscreen, Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD drive for smooth performance.

For an extra chance of winning, answer the question on the Encore-PC Facebook page.

05 February 2020

More dumb "smart devices" - hackable lightbulbs that could compromise your entire network!

Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has today revealed vulnerabilities that would enable a hacker to deliver ransomware or other malware to business and home networks by taking over smart lightbulbs and their controller.

Check Point’s researchers showed how a threat actor could exploit an IoT network (smart lightbulbs and their control bridge) to launch attacks on conventional computer networks in homes, businesses or even smart cities.  Researchers focused on the market-leading Philips Hue smart bulbs and bridge, and found vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-6007) that enabled them to infiltrate networks using a remote exploit in the ZigBee low-power wireless protocol that is used to control a wide range of IoT devices.

03 February 2020

Donline is 14 years old today!

I'm Don Tocher, a highly experienced freelance IT Consultant who previously worked for Synstar International (now known as Hewlett-Packard CDS), until I left to set up Donline Computer Consultancy on the 1st February 2006.

Donline delivers professional IT support for small / medium sized businesses, home offices, & home users. Donline specialises in bringing true enterprise class IT support to those without their own IT department, and in supplementing existing IT teams where additional skills or resources are required.

I feel very Blessed & thankful to God for this wonderful journey!
Thanks also to all of my ~600 clients for helping my business thrive over these last 14 years! 

01 February 2020

Make it cheap enough - some people would buy anything: Huawei outsells Apple in 2019, becomes No. 2 global smartphone vendor!

Market research firms Canalys and Counterpoint Research have posted their 2019 global smartphone market share reports. Both reports say the biggest mover is Huawei, which, thanks to a whopping 16-17 percent annual growth, claimed the No. 2 smartphone vendor spot in 2019, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple. Both firms have similar global market share numbers for 2019, with Samsung at around 20 percent, Huawei at 16 percent, Apple at 13 percent, and Xiaomi and Oppo at around eight percent each.

Counterpoint credits Huawei's success in its home country of China for its success, saying, "This was the result of an aggressive push from Huawei in the Chinese market, where it achieved almost 40 percent market share." According to the firm, China makes up 60 percent of Huawei's shipments.