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Alphabet’s Nest launches update to home security camera

Alphabet s smart home unit Nest is launching a high-definition update to its internet-connected home security camera, powered by Google s artificial intelligence technology, a year after the departure of its co-founder Tony Fadell1. This week s unveiling of the $299 ( ‘ 349/ 299) Nest Cam IQ, which will ship in late June, marks the beginning of the end for a relative dearth of new device introductions at the smart-home pioneer . Other new products are anticipated later this year. Nest Cam IQ draws on computer-vision technology from its Alphabet sister company Google to introduce new features such as face recognition, to improve the relevance of security alerts pushed out through its companion smartphone app. Last July, Nest launched a new version of its existing home camera that was designed for outdoor use . At that point, it had been more than a year since the company first released the Nest Cam, a home security camera based on technology it acquired with start-up Dropcam in 2014. The launch of the Nest Cam Outdoor came just weeks after Mr Fadell had been replaced by Motorola veteran Marwan Fawaz as the company s chief executive, amid criticism about the pace of new product innovations after the company was acquired by Google for $3.2bn in early 2014.

Nest’s Protect device Bloomberg

The learning thermostat for which it is best known was first introduced in 2011, followed by its Protect smoke alarm in 2013 . Greg Duffy, founder of Dropcam, criticised Mr Fadell s leadership of the company, saying that dozens of the start-up s employees had left soon after its acquisition by Nest, amid a continued lack of output . Mr Fadell pointed to several upgrades to both its hardware and software in the year leading up to his exit, telling the Financial Times in an interview last year: It takes a long time to innovate . You can t just redo one thing, you have to rebuild from the ground up. That is what Nest now says it has done with the Cam IQ, which includes an overhaul of its hardware design, as well as a new 4K sensor that allows images to be enlarged 12-fold, for a clearer look at potential intruders. Nest s new camera promises to be able to tell the difference between a person moving in a room and a pet or another shadow, reducing the frequent false alarms that can occur using simpler motion-sensing technology . Subscribers to Nest Aware, a premium service costing $100 a year, will also be able to receive familiar face alerts when family members return home. Our philosophy is that a security camera should be an intelligent camera a guard watching for you but thinking before they pick up the phone to call you, said Maxime Veron, Nest s director of product marketing. Over the past year, Nest s camera has seen growing competition from both lower-priced Chinese devices, such as Yi Technology, and newer entrants touting advanced AI technology behind the lens, including Amazon s new Echo Look2 and start-up Lighthouse.

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The camera market is definitely our most competitive market, Mr Veron said. Lighthouse, which has raised $17m from Android founder Andy Rubin s3 hardware investment fund Playground Global, uses 3D depth-sensing technology originally developed for self-driving cars to offer what Alex Teichman, chief executive, calls an interactive assistant for your home , allowing users to search a visual history of when family members or pets come and go, using their voice. We do see this fundamentally different to a home security camera, in the same way Amazon s virtual assistant Alexa was fundamentally different to a Bose speaker, Mr Teichman said in a recent interview with the FT . There has been some disappointment in the smart home generally . Somebody just needs to deliver on it. Ben Bajarin, tech analyst at Creative Strategies, said that consumer adoption of internet-connected cameras for the home was starting to pick up , largely driven by security . He pointed to the recent success of Ring, a smart doorbell that incorporates a video camera to let people see who is trying to get in. He added: You re seeing consumers adopt these cameras purely for security and for other things that might qualify as peace of mind, such as baby monitoring. Despite the proliferation of new start-ups in the sector, Mr Bajarin said that Nest, backed by the Google brand, could have an advantage because consumers were more likely to trust a brand they know: They are letting a camera or a smart lock into their house .

If Nest can keep that trust, they can make the most of that opportunity better than a no-name brand.

References

  1. ^ departure of its co-founder Tony Fadell (www.ft.com)
  2. ^ Amazon s new Echo Look (www.ft.com)
  3. ^ Android founder Andy Rubin s (www.ft.com)

NHS cyberattack is ‘biggest ransomware outbreak in history’

Getty Images / UniversalImagesGroup / Contributor The NHS cyberattack that hit hospitals across the UK is said to have been part of the biggest ransomware outbreak in history, according to Mikko Hypponen from F-Secure. Viruses, trojans, malware, worms – what’s the difference?1

Viruses, trojans, malware, worms – what’s the difference?


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Commenting on the news, Hypponen said the Wanna Decryptor attack was unprecedented, while cyber security expert Varun Badwhar said it gave a glimpse of what a “cyber-apocalypse” would look like.

“We’ve never seen something spread this quickly in a 24-hour period across this many countries and continents,” explained Badwhar. “So it’s definitely one of those things we’ve always heard about that could happen and now we’re seeing it play out.” The NHS hack is said to be creeping across the UK with reports of the ransomware attack hitting a range of other organisations in as many as 99 countries . In a statement, NHS Digital2 confirmed a number of NHS organisations had been affected by a ransomware attack . The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor3, a spokesperson said. Subscribe to WIRED4 At this stage, we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed . We will continue to work with affected organisations to confirm this.

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Hackers use ransomware5 to infect a computer or system before holding files hostage until a ransom is paid . It can infect a computer via a trojan, virus or worm. Wanna Decryptor encrypts users files using AES and RSA encryption ciphers meaning the hackers can directly decrypt system files using a unique decryption key . Victims may be sent ransom notes with instructions in the form of !Please Read Me!.txt files, linking to ways of contacting the cybercriminals . Wanna Decryptor changes the computer’s wallpaper with messages (as seen in tweets from affected NHS sites) asking the victim to download a decryptor from Dropbox . This decryptor demands hundreds in bitcoin6 to work. Affected machines are said to have six hours to pay, and every few hours the ransom goes up. “Most folks that have paid up appear to have paid the initial $300 in the first few hours,” said Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

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They added that the attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS because it is affecting “organisations from across a range of sectors” and NHS Digital is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations. The NHS incident appears to be part of a global cybersecurity incident with malware spreading to multiple organisations around the world . Security firm Check Point and Avast have said there have been 75,000 attacks in 99 countries . Telefonica in Spain has been the biggest confirmed incident outside of the UK but it also reports issues in Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and Germany.

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A spokesman for the National Cyber Security Centre7 and National Crime Agency said they were responding to an “ongoing international cyber incident” and confirmed there was no indication medical data or personal information has been compromised.” The specialist cyber crime officers from the NCA and police forces are now working with hospitals to respond to the attack preserve evidence . Read their advice on protecting yourself from ransomware8. A live map9 tracking the malware has plotted thousands of incidents around the world . Although, it is not confirmed these are all the latest version of the malware . This map tracks incidents of wcrypt and reveals how many of the botnets are online, and offline, in real-time .

A Unique IP chart below the map reveals the number of new botnets coming online, and the total . As of 7.17pm BST, there were 189 new, and 1,821 total botnets (up from nine just an hour earlier.) It is said that 24 NHS organisations have been hit .

The full list is below:

  • Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Wingate Medical Centre
  • NHS Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust
  • East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, Warwickshire
  • Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • St Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Derbyshire Community Health Services
  • East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Sherwood Forest NHS Trust
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare
  • Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Colchester General Hospital
  • Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
  • North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Morecombe Bay NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
  • NHS Hampshire Hospitals
  • Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

References

  1. ^ Viruses, trojans, malware, worms – what’s the difference? (www.wired.co.uk)
  2. ^ NHS Digital (digital.nhs.uk)
  3. ^ Wanna Decryptor (www.wired.co.uk)
  4. ^ Subscribe to WIRED (www.wired.co.uk)
  5. ^ ransomware (wired.uk)
  6. ^ bitcoin (www.wired.co.uk)
  7. ^ National Cyber Security Centre (www.wired.co.uk)
  8. ^ protecting yourself from ransomware (www.ncsc.gov.uk)
  9. ^ live map (intel.malwaretech.com)