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Weekly Cyber Security News

BA faces data protection fine of £183m

british-airways

British Airways faces a fine of £183.39m from the UK data privacy regulator the ICO for infringements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The proposed fine relates to a cyber incident notified to the ICO by British Airways in September 2018. In part it involved user traffic to the British Airways website being diverted to a fraudulent site; customer details were harvested by the attackers. Personal data of about 500,000 customers were compromised, believed to date from June 2018.

The ICO says it has found that a variety of information was compromised by poor security arrangements at the company, including log in, payment card, and travel booking details as well name and address information.

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Amazon Alexa given new NHS health advice role: But what about patient privacy?

amazon-alexaThe NHS says the move will help patients and ease the burden on doctors – but campaigners label it “a data protection disaster waiting to happen”.

Privacy questions have been raised over a newly announced partnership between the UK National Health Service and Amazon that allows patients to ask the Alexa voice assistant for health information.

Users who asked Alexa questions relating to health were previously provided advice based on a variety of popular responses, but now the assistant will provide information based on automatic searches of the NHS Choices website.

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St John Ambulance praised for response to ransomware attack

Charity’s response to ransomware attack demonstrates that it is possible to ensure minimal disruption if properly prepared.

St John Ambulance has reported that it was hit by a ransomware attack this week, but was able to isolate the attack and resolve it within half an hour.

Fortunately, the ransomware did not affect operational systems, but blocked access to the charity’s booking system for training courses and encrypted customer data.

The charity has been praised for its swift, effective and transparent response to the ransomware attack, which is currently the most common cyber criminal activity affecting individuals and businesses in the UK, according to the police.

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Pluribus: Facebook heralds its ‘superhuman’ poker-playing AI

pokerFacebook’s artificial intelligence team has made what it describes as a “superhuman” poker champion, a bot with the ability to beat world-leading human pros.

Facebook is heralding the AI bot, named Pluribus, as a major breakthrough: the first capable of beating as many as six players, in a game that involves “hidden” information – the cards that are yet to be revealed.

The team’s research also makes humbling reading for any poker players proud of their ability to spot a “tell”.

“We think of bluffing as this very human trait,” explained Noam Brown, the lead researcher from Facebook’s AI team, speaking to BBC News.

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Ransomware Hits Over a Quarter of UK Firms

Over a quarter of UK firms have suffered a ransomware attack over the past year, a major increase on figures from 2016, according to new research released by Databarracks.

The business continuity provider shared data from its upcoming Data Health Check survey, based on interviews with 400 IT decision makers.

It revealed that 28% of UK organizations have been hit by ransomware over the past 12 months. This is slightly lower than the peak of 29% in 2017, the year WannaCry hit, but much higher than the 2016 figure of 16%.

Databarracks managing director, Peter Groucutt, urged firms to formulate effective incident response plans, including recovery from backup.

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