Cyber attack combined with Covid-19 puts Travelex into administration

More than 1,300 UK jobs at foreign exchange company Travelex will be cut as a major cyber security attack in 2019 combined with this year’s Covid-19 slowdown take their toll.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been appointed administrator and through what it described as a “complex restructuring deal”, which has seen some of its assets sold, has raised £84m and saved 1,800 UK jobs. 

Travelex was held to ransom by hackers in January after a cyber attack forced it to turn off its systems. It took a £25m hit after its systems were encrypted by Sodinokibi ransomware on 31 December 2019.

It was then put up for sale after the international travel industry shut down as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

PwC said: “The impact of a cyber attack in December 2019 and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic this year has acutely affected the business.”

There is also increasing competition

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Qualcomm chip vulnerability puts millions of phones at risk

Smartphone devices from the likes of Google, LG, OnePlus, Samsung and Xiaomi are in danger of compromise by cyber criminals after 400 vulnerable code sections were uncovered on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon digital signal processor (DSP) chip, which runs on over 40% of the global Android estate.

The vulnerabilities were uncovered by Check Point, which said that to exploit the vulnerabilities, a malicious actor would merely need to convince their target to install a simple, benign application with no permissions at all.

The vulnerabilities leave affected smartphones at risk of being taken over and used to spy on and track their users, having malware and other malicious code installed and hidden, and even being bricked outright, said Yaniv Balmas, Check Point’s head of cyber research.

Although they have been responsibly disclosed to Qualcomm, which has acknowledged them, informed the relevant suppliers and issued a number of alerts – CVE-2020-11201, CVE-2020-11202, CVE-2020-11206,

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5G for enterprises requires other tech to reap full benefits

5G for enterprises promises myriad benefits, but it won’t meet enterprises’ high expectations without other technologies.

5G has taken center stage in the telecommunications and networking industries, but it must share the spotlight to be successful. 5G’s costars include automation and 4G LTE, according to author Cathy Mulligan, as both will be essential for 5G to provide the higher network speeds and low latency it is capable of. Both automation and 4G LTE will help enable a broader ecosystem of speed and connectivity with 5G for enterprises.

In the book 5G Core Networks by Mulligan, Stefan Rommer, Peter Hedman, Magnus Olsson, Lars Frid and Shabnam Sultana, the authors explore fundamentals of 5G core network architecture and its effects on enterprises, including concepts such as security, network slicing, and network functions and services.

Editor’s note: The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

What should IT pros know about 5G

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‘Precipitous’ rise in network disruptions since March 2020

The inaugural 2020 ThousandEyes internet performance report, a first-of-its-kind study of the impacts of changing network usage due to Covid-19, has found that while global internet disruptions saw an unprecedented rise since lockdowns were introduced, not all outages were equal and more disruptions did not necessarily indicate systemic performance degradation.

Measuring performance over time, the internet and cloud intelligence company’s internet performance report assessed the availability and performance of internet-related networks, including those of internet service providers (ISPs), public cloud, content delivery network (CDN) and domain name system (DNS) providers.

The findings were based on data gathered from continuously monitoring bidirectional network performance such as latency, packet loss and jitter, between fixed vantage points connected to ISP networks in three global regions – North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific – as well as cloud inter-region performance for Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS

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Microsoft offers way out of TikTok impasse

Microsoft has confirmed it has offered to step in to buy the US operations of the controversial yet beloved video-sharing app TikTok from its Chinese parent, ByteDance, in an attempt to stave off a potential ban of the service in the US.

Due to its Chinese origins and a perceived threat to the national security of the US, ByteDance has become the latest target of president Donald Trump’s obsessive campaign against Chinese business interests. Speaking on Friday, Trump said he would move to ban TikTok in the US.

Over the weekend, Microsoft revealed its CEO, Satya Nadella, had spoken with Trump and that Microsoft was conducting discussions about buying TikTok in the US.

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the

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UK contact-tracing app to be launched ‘shortly’ as Northern Ireland deploys service

After appearing to have almost fallen off the radar, the UK’s coronavirus contact-tracing app is back and will be officially launched soon, according to Dido Harding, executive chair of NHS Test and Trace.

In the foreword to a UK government policy paper, Breaking chains of Covid-19 transmission to help people return to more normal lives: developing the NHS Test and Trace service, which sets out the steps the UK government is taking to combat the pandemic, Harding said that launching an app would be part of an “ambitious and challenging” plan that includes doubling testing capacity, making testing easily accessible to everyone, expanding local public health teams and launching backward contact tracing.

Harding said her team would deliver an app that reduces the risk of people contracting the virus and transmitting it to others. She said that when launched, the app would: enable citizens to identify symptoms and “seamlessly”

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