21 February 2024

Electric car charger pulled over fears hackers could use it to attack National Grid

An electric vehicle charger has been pulled from sale amid warnings that foreign hackers could use it as a “weapon” to cause electricity blackouts.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards, the consumer safety regulator, has told charger company Wallbox that its Copper SB electric car charger does not comply with cyber security laws. That means it cannot be sold because it cannot be properly secured against hackers.

Critics say continued sales of the Copper SB charger, which sells for around £500, risks letting hostile nations disrupt the UK’s critical national infrastructure.

Wallbox has sold close to 40,000 electric car chargers in Britain, although it is not known how many of these are the affected model. Copper SB chargers already installed in homes are not being recalled.

www.telegraph.co.uk


20 February 2024

Navalny: The disciple who 'laid down his life' to fight Putin


A Christian historian and analyst of Russia told Premier that the death and courageous example of Putin-opponent Alexei Navalny are impacting even those "who are sympathetic to the Putin narrative" in Russia.

Navalny, who was 47 and a professing Christian convert from staunch atheism, was announced dead on Friday, having died in a penal colony in the Arctic Circle.

His mother and lawyer have been stopped from seeing his body, while his widow Yulia claims he was poisoned with Novichok by the Kremlin.

Navalny survived an FSB Novichok attack in 2020, becoming unwell after getting on a plane in the Siberian city of Tomsk for a flight back to Moscow.

Five months after falling victim, he decided to return to Russia and was arrested on arrival.

Speaking on Premier's Inspirational Breakfast, historian Martyn Whittock said Navalny's legacy would be one that enables other Christians to stand up to Putinism in Russia, despite the Orthodox church's official support for the leader.

www.premierchristian.news


16 February 2024

Google extends a helping hand to Windows 10 users with its auto-updating ChromeOS Flex solution

Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system has been available for almost three years now. However, its adoption has been rather slow for varied reasons, including the stringent system requirements for the OS. 

Windows 10 continues to dominate the market share with a 66.45% stake, while Windows 11 comes in second with 27.83%. Microsoft has been urging users to upgrade to Windows 11 ahead of Windows 10's cutoff date, which is slated for October 2025. The tech giant has heightened pressure on Windows 10 users to make this upgrade, and was recently spotted using full-screen multipage popup ads to further this agenda.

As it happens, there might be an extended lifeline for users who may not be able to upgrade to Windows 11. Google will let businesses install an auto-updating version of ChromeOS Flex on Windows devices that are not eligible to upgrade to Windows 11, while simultaneously ascertaining security and sustainability.

For those unfamiliar with ChromeOS Flex, it's simply a version of Google's ChromeOS operating system that can be installed on x86-64-bit devices. Google has listed several reasons why users should consider transitioning from macOS or Windows OS to ChromeOS Flex, including its capability of extending the lifespan of existing devices thus preventing e-waste, energy efficiency, flexibility, and familiarity.

Google's decision will allow users to continue using their old PCs, even after Microsoft cuts support for Windows 10. Last year, a public interest research group filed a petition asking Microsoft to reconsider its decision to cut support for Windows 10. The group pointed out that over 40% of users still run Windows 10.

Consequently, if Microsoft moves forward with its plan to cut support for the OS, it could potentially lead to "the single biggest jump in junked computers ever." This will push the company further away from its sustainability and environmental goals.

When Microsoft cuts support for its Windows 10, it'll no longer ship updates, new features, or bug fixes to the OS. This will leave users who continue using the OS susceptible to malicious attacks from hackers. However, Google's ChromeOS Flex OS will continue receiving regular security updates and features, thus allowing users to keep using their existing PCs.

www.windowscentral.com


Microsoft will end Publisher support and remove it from Microsoft 365 in October 2026

Microsoft has published some big news for its Office users. Microsoft Publisher, a program for designing brochures, flyers, newsletters, posters, and other print materials, will soon reach its end of life. The company plans to end Publisher support in October 2026 and remove it from the Microsoft 365 subscription afterward.

The announcement was quietly published on the official Microsoft Support website. The company says that the reason behind the decision was to "focus on new benefits" and "provide customers with the tools they need to achieve what matters." However, no tools for you if you are a Microsoft Publisher user. The company will kill the software in less than two years.

According to the support document, most of the Publisher features for creating professionally branded templates, envelops, and label printing are already available in other Microsoft 365 applications. Therefore, you can use Word or PowerPoint as a replacement for the outgoing app. Microsoft also promises to share more as it is "exploring modern ways to achieve common Publisher scenarios" in Word, PowerPoint, and Designer.

Existing Publisher users can continue working with the app until October 2026. In that month, Microsoft will end Office 2021 LTSC support, including Publisher. As for Microsoft 365 users, the company will remove Publisher from their systems once it reaches the end of life.

www.neowin.net


15 February 2024

Southern Water customer data was stolen in ransomware attack

Southern Water: On Monday 12 February 2024 we announced that data from a limited part of Southern Water’s server estate had been stolen and was at risk following an illegal intrusion into our IT systems. This arose from our ongoing investigation into suspicious activity, as detailed in our statement on 23 January 2024.

We are very sorry that this has happened.

We continue to work with our expert technical advisers to confirm whose data is at risk. Our initial assessment is that this is the case for some of our customers and current and former employees.

We have engaged leading independent cybersecurity experts to monitor the “dark web”. They continue to report to us that, since we were named on the cyber criminals’ site on 22 January 2024, they have found no new evidence of the data potentially involved in this cyber incident being published online. They will continue to carry out their checks for as long as is necessary.

We take data protection and information security very seriously and, in accordance with our regulatory obligations, we are making contact with anyone whose personal data may be at risk.

Based on our forensic investigations so far, which are ongoing, we are notifying in the order of 5 to 10 percent of our customer base to let them know that their personal data has been impacted. We are also notifying all of our current employees and some former employees.

www.southernwater.co.uk


08 February 2024

Deepfake scammer walks off with $25 million in first-of-its-kind AI heist

On Sunday, a report from the South China Morning Post revealed a significant financial loss suffered by a multinational company's Hong Kong office, amounting to HK$200 million (US$25.6 million), due to a sophisticated scam involving deepfake technology. The scam featured a digitally recreated version of the company's chief financial officer, along with other employees, who appeared in a video conference call instructing an employee to transfer funds.

Due to an ongoing investigation, Hong Kong police did not release details of which company was scammed.

Deepfakes utilize AI tools to create highly convincing fake videos or audio recordings, posing significant challenges for individuals and organizations to discern real from fabricated content.

This incident marks the first of its kind in Hong Kong involving a large sum and the use of deepfake technology to simulate a multi-person video conference where all participants (except the victim) were fabricated images of real individuals. The scammers were able to convincingly replicate the appearances and voices of targeted individuals using publicly available video and audio footage. The Hong Kong police are currently investigating the case, with no arrests reported yet.

www.arstechnica.com


05 February 2024

A sizable chunk of the US’s electricity generation is wasted on mining bitcoin

 

Electricity demand associated with U.S. cryptocurrency mining operations in the United States has grown very rapidly over the last several years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) preliminary estimates suggest that annual electricity use from cryptocurrency mining probably represents from 0.6% to 2.3% of U.S. electricity consumption.

This additional electricity use has drawn the attention of policymakers and grid planners concerned about its effects on cost, reliability, and emissions. Key challenges associated with tracking cryptocurrency mining energy use include the difficulty of identifying cryptocurrency mining activity among millions of U.S. end-use customers and the dynamic nature of the crypto market, where mining assets can be moved rapidly to areas with lower electricity prices.

www.eia.gov


31 January 2024

Donline is 18 years old today!

It's quite incredible to think that I started Donline Computer Consultancy 18 years ago - on 1st February 2006!

It's such a great Blessing to have so many wonderful clients. Apart from the work (very much appreciated!), we have forged some great relationships & friendships along the way. So a huge thank you to all those who have travelled this journey with me. Good Lord willing: here's to many more years!

So to celebrate the Anniversary: the 18th Trustpilot feedback (click here to leave feedback on Donline) - will be sent a very nice Donline goodie bag! 

www.donline.co.uk


29 January 2024

Chris & Denise Arthey - upcoming Speaking engagements

 
Chris and Denise Arthey were involved in a life-changing road accident while on a motorcycle road trip in 2008. They both lost their left legs above the knee.

On work assignment in the USA, they were exploring South Texas when a drunk driver veered into their lane at 80mph, colliding with them almost head-on. They both suffered multiple injuries and Chris was in a coma for many days with internal injuries and severe concussion.

After a long and painful recovery, they were both able to resume the vocations they love. They both enjoy physical fitness, and Chris competes in endurance sports. Using prosthetic legs he has run marathons, competed in the British Paratriathlon Championships, climbed Kilimanjaro and trekked to Everest Base Camp.

They are both ambassadors for Blatchford who make their prostheses, helping with training, trade shows and conferences, product development and testing. Chris now has a master’s degree in Biomechanical Engineering.

Chris & Denise are good friends of ours. They are lovely people & truly inspirational! We originally met at a Motolegends breakfast meeting. Last year they spoke powerfully & movingly at our Church Men's Group. With the extent of their injuries, many people would have given up - but they have both risen above their disabilities to greater heights and achievements. Their faith shines through their book, and is truly an inspiration to us all. I love their book & can highly recommend it - enjoy!

Chris & Denise will be speaking at Beaulieu on 24 Feb 2024:
www.beaulieu.co.uk

Also at IAM RoadSmart Solent club night, Otterbourne, Tue 9 Apr 2024: 
www.iamroadsmartsolent.org.uk

www.chrisarthey.co.uk


19 January 2024

And so it begins: BMW will deploy Figure’s humanoid robot at South Carolina plant

Figure today announced a “commercial agreement” that will bring its first humanoid robot to a BMW manufacturing facility in South Carolina. The Spartanburg plant is BMW’s only in the United States. As of 2019, the 8 million-square-foot campus boasted the highest yield among the German manufacturer’s factories anywhere in the world.

BMW has not disclosed how many Figure 01 models it will deploy initially. Nor do we know precisely what jobs the robot will be tasked with when it starts work. Figure did, however, confirm with TechCrunch that it is beginning with an initial five tasks, which will be rolled out one at a time.

www.techcrunch.com


Apple's 1984 advert. You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain

In Apple's 1984 advert, Big Brother said: "Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology – where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"

Apple finished the ad with: "On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce the Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like [Orwell’s] Nineteen Eighty-Four."

The Telegraph has published an excellent article on the background to the Apple 1984 advert, it's making and where we are now - recommended reading! Funny how Apple were pointing the finger at IBM, but now we are ruled not by Big Brother but tech bros such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and current Apple CEO Tim Cook

www.telegraph.co.uk


17 January 2024

Open Doors: World Watch List 2024. Where do Christians count the highest cost for following Jesus?

 

Around the world, 365 million Christians count the cost of following Jesus. For some, it means always being treated unfairly and fighting for justice. For others, the price is paid in bruises and beatings; in prison sentences and pain. Some have to give up their home, their family, their security, even their lives.

Today, the new World Watch List 2024 is launched. Read it to see where our courageous church family are paying the highest price for their faith – so you can stand alongside them in prayer, support and speaking out. Their inspiring testimonies and crucial prayer requests can help us unite as one global church, boldly living for Christ.

www.opendoorsuk.org


16 January 2024

Post Office latest: Fujitsu boss apologises for Horizon scandal

Fujitsu Europe's boss has admitted the firm has a "moral obligation" to contribute to compensation for sub-postmasters wrongly prosecuted as a result of its faulty IT software.

Paul Patterson said Fujitsu gave evidence to the Post Office that was used to prosecute innocent managers. He added that the Post Office knew about "bugs and errors" in its Horizon accountancy software early on.

The global chief executive of Fujitsu, Takahito Tokita, also apologised. Making his first public comments on the scandal to the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Tokita said: "This is a big issue, which Fujitsu takes very seriously."

When asked if he would apologise, he added: "Yes, of course. Fujitsu has apologised for the impact on the postmasters' lives and their families."

www.bbc.co.uk


12 January 2024

Reading for today: on hope


When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. 

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Read all of Psalm 118 at Bible Gateway


03 January 2024

Windows 11 still unable to escape the shadow of Windows 10

 

Many users are still steering clear of Windows 11 as Microsoft continues to shovel AI into its flagship operating system and prepares updates to mollify regulators.

The latest figures from Statcounter – there are no official numbers from Microsoft itself – paint a grim picture for the Windows vendor. Windows 10 does not appear to be going anywhere: in December 2022 it accounted for 67.95 percent of the market share and by December 2023 the figure was 67.42 percent.

Despite the updates lavished on Windows 11 during that twelve-month timeframe, Windows 10 still reigns supreme.

Windows 11 grew from a market share of 16.97 percent in December 2022 to 26.54 percent in December 2023, although it is debatable how much of that came from Windows 7 hardware being retired. The obsolete operating system's share dropped from 11.2 percent to 3.35 percent in the same period.

Hardware refresh remains a challenge. Microsoft's stringent hardware requirements are a blocker for some users who might otherwise consider moving from Windows 10 to Windows 11. A PC capable of running Windows 10 would likely be just as capable of running Windows 11 if not for Microsoft's insistence that a recent CPU and other hardware are necessary.

www.theregister.com