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Top IT News of the Week (21/2022)

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Date published: 20th May 2022

Monday 16th of May 2022, London, UK – This week’s top IT news series delivers product updates from technology giants Google, Cisco and BT as well as ransomware updates from the infamous Conti ransomware group. 

IT news #1: Google launches Assured Open Source Software service.

Topic: Google, software update

The new offering is set to protect customers using the same end-to-end security capabilities Google uses for its own OSS portfolio. The Assured Open Source Software is expected to enter preview in Q3. It has been designed to enable companies and public sector users of open-source software to easily incorporate the same OSS package Google deploys in its developer workflows. The new service forms part of the company’s efforts to help make the open-source software ecosystem safer. Packages created by the Assured OSS service will be monitored, analysed and fuzz-tested to detect any vulnerabilities while corresponding enhanced metadata will incorporate Container/Artifact Analysis data. They will be deployed using Cloud Build, including evidence of verifiable SLSA-compliance, verifiably signed by Google, and distributed from a secure Artefact Registry. Google aims to centralise control and actively secure each stage of the supply chain to create an open-source dependency. Furthermore, Google Cloud has announced a new collaborative service collaborating with cybersecurity firm Snyk to help further developers understand their open-source dependencies and implement Assured OSS to reduce their risk factors.

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IT news #2: Conti ransomware group targets Costa Rican government.

Topic: Ransomware, cybersecurity

The group has urged citizens to go out onto the streets and demand their government pay the ransom. The ransomware group initially threatened to overthrow the Costa Rican government after demanding the country pay £8 million last week to restore critical government systems affected by a cyberattack. The pressure on the government has now been increased to make them pay the ransom by raising the demand to £16 million, the AP News reported. The group’s intentions as to why they target Costa Rica, in general, are not yet known. The group, however, is attacking from inside and outside of Costa Rica, President Rodrigo Chaves has said during a conference. He highlighted that the country was at war and that officials were battling a national terrorist group with connections inside the country. He also shared that the impact of the cyberattack was much broader than initially suspected, affecting 27 government institutions comprising state-run facilities. The group has also warned it has insiders within the government and emphasized the government has less than a week to pay the ransom.

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IT news #3: BT makes a £100m investment into its Division X business unit.

Topic: Telecommunications, digital transformation

Over the next three years, BT will focus on Division X which develops 5G, edge computing, IoT, cloud, and AI due to the nearly £100 million investment. These products and services will serve the manufacturing, health, port operations, transport and logistics sectors. Among the newly launched products, the company will release a 5G-powered robotic arm, which has the potential to lower the risk of injuries in high-risk industries like mining. BT will also introduce a Connected Healthcare Backpack equipped with a digital stethoscope and video technology, allowing first responders to treat patients in remote locations while getting help from a hospital-based expert. The investment is made as part of the newly-released Charter that aims to benefit the UK telecommunications company’s 1.2 business and public sector customers. It will also see the company launch new cyber defence and assessment tools, such as the Safe Security cyber health check tool, available to more extensive UK corporate and public sector customers. BT also plans to shorten the time required to install and repair ethernet connections. The proposed launch will increase broadband speeds for thousands of small businesses reliant on copper lines by combining 4G and fixed-line speeds.
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IT news #4: Cisco to optimise Webex for hybrid with ChromeOS.

Topic: Cisco Webex, hybrid working

The collaboration tool provider has entered into partnership with the IT giant to develop the Webex Meetings PWA for all Chrome OS devices along with collaboration services that aim to support wellbeing. Despite the partial return to offices and the introduction of the hybrid working model, collaboration tools are still just as popular as they were when the lockdown started. As part of its attempts to address this, Cisco has made developments to its core Webex collaboration platform and introduced support for wellbeing. Webex by Cisco has had a long-standing partnership with Google to improve its hybrid work collaboration tools, including software and devices alike. The Webex Meetings now offers a videoconferencing experience presented as a desktop application, made available directly from the user’s launcher and the shelf on Chrome OS. The company said this could allow customers to have the simplicity of web-based technology and the robustness of local applications. Users can install the application on their Chromebooks just like any desktop app and join meetings with one click from the launcher without opening the browser to enter the URL. It can also help users minimise the number of tabs to manage to drive focused work and better real-life interactions.

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