Friday Five: Cyber attacks on the UK hit record high

Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Cyber attacks on the UK hit record high

Britain’s cyber security agency had to tackle a record 777 cyber incidents over the past year, with coronavirus vaccine research a prime target for attack. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ, said a number of the incidents were linked to hostile states, including Russia and China.

This included a global hacking campaign, blamed on Russia’s foreign intelligence service, which most impacted the US government. The SolarWinds breach is “one of the most serious cyber intrusions of recent times”, said the NCSC. Another major incident, linked to a Chinese state-backed actor, involved an attack on Microsoft.

2. Rural folk missing out on broadband scheme

Some rural residents in Northern Ireland who suffer from poor internet access have been told they do not qualify for a £165m ultra-fast broadband scheme — despite the fact that new fibre cables are passing their homes. Project Stratum promises full-fibre broadband with speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second to 76,000 rural properties.

It is part of a major investment run by the Department for the Economy. Anyone who lives in an area where a broadband service with a speed of 30Mbps is available or expected to become available soon is excluded from the scheme. But some residents who say their connection is much slower say they’ve been unfairly left out.

3. Why employee experience is vital for brands

What does your customer want from you today?That was the question posed by Roy Capon, CEO of Zone and head of digital experience at Cognizant, to two of the UK’s foremost marketers — Katie McAllister, CMO at Tui UK and Ireland, and Ali Jones, customer director at Co-op — at this year’s Festival of Marketing.

This Marketing Week article looks at the highlights from the debate, in which the panel discuss why adapting your business to ensure employees are engaged is just as important as responding to new consumer behaviours, if brands want to be seen as customer experience leaders after the pandemic.

4. Apple allows self-repairs to newest iPhones

Apple is now allowing some of its customers to self-repair their own iPhones — after long prohibiting anyone except approved technicians from handling its proprietary parts and software. In a sharp turnaround, Apple said users will have access to genuine Apple parts and tools for consumer repairs on the two newest iPhones.

The shift is a reflection of President Joe Biden embracing the ‘right to repair’ movement — which affects everything from smartphones to cars and tractors. It is a response to the infusion of software into more everyday products — as well as the practices of manufacturers who make products difficult and costly to repair.

5. TikTok tries to curb dangerous challenges

TikTok is trying to strengthen the detection and enforcement of rules against dangerous online challenges. Just over one in five teenagers has participated in an online challenge, a TikTok survey suggests. But only one in 50 has taken part in a “risky and dangerous” — and fewer than one in 300 a “really dangerous” — one.

There has been wide concern about the proliferation, across various platforms, of potentially harmful online challenges. Last year, the ‘skull-breaker’ challenge, shared on TikTok, was linked to injuries. And this year, doctors warned of the risk of the ‘milk-crate challenge’, which invited the foolhardy to climb pyramids of milk crates.

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