This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 26th July 2013

M15 & GCHQ chase corporates for gaps in security
Security chiefs wrote to all FTSE 350 chairmen to take part in a “cyber governance health check”. Alarmingly, the FT/ICSA Boardroom Bellweather survey found that 4 out of 5 of the UK’s biggest quoted companies were NOT prepared for cyber attacks. Further, only 1 in 8 companies confirmed to the FT that they had read and acted on the warning. The seriousness of Government concern is such that they are now seeking questionnaire responses at Chairmen level only at the next audit this Autumn to avoid overlooking internal vulnerabilities linked to governance. Whatever the size of your organisation or however many resources you have at your disposal – you just need to be proactive and consider the wider aspects of your company’s security now and not trust to chance.

What iPhones declining market share tells us about Apple
Apple’s iPhone may hold significant mindshare when people think smartphone, but the statistics beg to differ. Q2 figures just released show Apple lost another 3% in smartphone market share, bringing the iPhone down to 13.6% worldwide. Apple is ignoring modern trends such as cheaper, specialist and larger screened phones. The high device profit margins within their streamlined portfolio is their priority rather than just winning the most popular smartphone race. Apple’s App Store may make them over $1 billion a year but the iPhone hardware division makes over $80 billion. For Apple it seems the money is in individual hardware sales, over services – the complete opposite to its nearest platform competitor Google.

SIM card security threat
Perhaps surprisingly, it has taken 20 years for the SIM card to be hacked. Now though, German cryptographer Karsten Nohl reports a hacking win. Sending binary code over SMS to a device using a SIM with DES, the code was rejected. However the phone’s SIM sent back an error code carrying its own 56 bit private key, which could be decrypted using cracking techniques. Mainly of threat to older SIM cards: calls can be listened to and costly purchases made. With 7Bn SIM cards in use worldwide, businesses need to consider the stringency of their BYOD security as devices could face attack via a remote exploit from which patching and protection from a central location could be difficult. Given that large corporates and central government will not have the benefit of new technology rolled out everywhere, they could be most at risk.

Google has another go at taking over your TV
On Wednesday Google announced the Chromecast, a tiny device that plugs into your TV giving you another way to access the internet. The $35 price tag makes it perhaps the cheapest and easiest way to watch Netflix or YouTube on your TV screen. The device gets power from the HDMI port so doesn’t need its own power plug. Chromecast does not come with a remote. It is controlled by a smart phone, tablet or PC. You can even transfer a video you’re watching on your PC in Chrome to the TV with a single click. Even with the cheap price tag, the ‘TV internet services’ market is already overcrowded. Newer Smart TVs have the functionality built in, game consoles have been doing this for a while and everyone from internet providers to Apple have joined in too. It seems we have a long way to go before Google can seek to monopolise the internet TV services market.