FS Fives, Wednesday, July 27

First up, we bring you news of a partnership agreement signed by Glasgow University and researchers in China to collaborate on the development of faster chips to power the internet.

According to new proposals unveiled by the University, work will begin on establishing an international optoelectronics industry base in the Lingang area of Shanghai.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed earlier this year by the University and senior representatives of the Shanghai Lingang Science and Technology Innovation City Economic Development Co. Ltd – a subsidiary of the Lingang Group which specialises in industrial park development – and the Shanghai Shunmao Information Technology Co., a private company established to manage and commercialise some of the technology which will be developed by the new initiative.

The agreement has led to the establishment of the Shanghai Lingang International Photonic Integrated Circuit Joint Laboratory (PIC Lab). PIC Lab aims to accelerate the development and commercialisation of optoelectronic integrated chip technology, integrating multiple optical components on a single chip and packaging the chips with high-speed electronics, to address the demand for high speed network connections for the next generation of the internet.

Edinburgh Napier identifies new cyber threat

Research carried out by the Cyber Academy at Edinburgh Napier University has helped the company responsible for around 30% of all web traffic identify a new cyber security threat.

Akamai Technologies, whose content delivery network is one of the world’s largest distributed computing platforms, is investigating a new DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) reflection and amplification method that abuses TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol).

In a threat advisory posted on its website, the firm, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, cites research by Edinburgh Napier which has helped it understand the risk posed by the DDOS reflection.

It said: “Akamai SIRT is investigating a new DDoS reflection and amplification method that abuses TFTP. This is yet another UDP-based protocol that has been added to the list of DDoS amplification scripts available for malicious use.

“A weaponized version of the TFTP attack script began circulating around the same time as publications regarding research on the possibility of this attack method were posted. The research was conducted by Edinburgh Napier University.”

As of April 20, 2016, Akamai has mitigated 10 attacks using this method against its customer base.

Ransomware most profitable malware type “in history”

Continuing with the cyber security theme a summary of Cisco’s 2016 Midyear Cybersecurity Report has identified ransomware as being the most profitable form of malware in history.

The internet giant expects the trend for these attacks to continue with ‘even more destructive ransomware that can spread by itself and hold entire networks, and therefore companies, hostage.’

“New modular strains of ransomware will be able to quickly switch tactics to maximise efficiency,” says HelpNet Security. “For example, future ransomware attacks will evade detection by being able to limit CPU usage and refrain from command-and-control actions. These new ransomware strains will spread faster and self-replicate within organizations before coordinating ransom activities.”

Solving the housing crisis

Computer coders, designers and housing professionals are coming together in a hackathon to find innovative solutions to Scotland’s most acute housing problems.

The weekend-long event has been organized by Shelter Scotland in a bid to explore fresh avenues that could help tackle homelessness and poor-quality housing.

Teams will be tasked with designing “digital solutions to real world problems”, with a panel of local tech leaders judging entries at the end of the weekend.

Conrad Rossouw, digital manager at Shelter Scotland, said: “This is going to be a really exciting weekend and we are all looking forward to seeing what the teams can come up with.

 And finally…Just when you thought it was safe to come out from behind the sofa, without being hit by Pokemon Go, it turns out Apple is interested in AR. Very interested.

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