Byte Me Article 394 – 2018 In Review

2018 is drawing to a close much faster than it has any right to.  We still have this project to sign off on and this work to finalise and all these other plans to complete, and as for Christmas shopping???  This year has flown by fasted than any other in my memory, although along the way there have been some significant developments in the IT field.  Let’s have a look at some of those major milestones.

Computer security has come under further review right across the board – from the upper echelons of government defence departments and national security agencies, through global enterprise and “smart industries”, small and medium business and right down to home users and their Internet banking.  Computer security is a massive global problem and China has now been officially named as one of the main perpetrators. 

Beside incidences of computer hacking to gain direct information from someone else’s computer or network there are several popular and increasing threats.  “Man, in the middle” email scams see a 3rd party intercepting an emailed invoice from one of your regular goods or services supplier and simply changing the BSB and Account information on the invoice.  This has an end user unknowingly paying money direct to the hackers account.

Email spoofing scams also nett the creators with a good percentage of monetary returns.  Once they know a business owner’s or CEO’s email address they can try sending an email to the accounts section of that company (using the owners email address) requesting an urgent payment for an account or sudden expense.  This also, often results in the accounts person unknowingly paying money direct to the hackers account.

Phone scams are also on the rise, especially when you can have a foreign, hard to understand caller impersonating your Telco.  The rising use of off shore call centre by some of our largest Telcos is adding great quantities of fuel to this fire (don’t get me started)!  On the flip side, banks in general are showing their true colours and throwing the cloak of responsibility directly onto the end user.  Previously they often reimbursed money lost through computer hacking while they were able to sack another 1000 tellers for the month and push more customer onto Internet banking.

Not all was bad news for the year.  Many security firms have now produced a range of software and hardware offerings to combat these Internet based threats.  These offerings will form the basis of many of my articles next year.  Intel announced their Generation 8 processors which good power increase over their previous models.  This performance gap was particularly large in the mobile computing sphere where the latest models offered significant increases while consuming less power. 

I have stated this in previous articles however, one of the biggest developments in computer speed and reliability in the last 20 years has been the further development and large price reductions of solid state drives (SSD’s).  Particularly in the last 12 months we have seen SSD prices approximately halve to the point that we don’t like to sell a new computer (desktop or laptop) without one.  The retro fitting of an SSD to an older computer can also breathe new life into it. 

If a computer is currently running a mechanical hard drive, we have seen unprecedented improvements to its performance from an upgrade to an SSD.  This has occurred in computers that were near new, right through to computers that were up to 8 years old.  Stay tuned for more informative articles along this topic.

Lastly this year has also shown a toughening of insurance policies with insurers further tilting their fine print to lessen their responsibilities in providing a like-for-like replacement.  For customers that may have had something go wrong with an expensive corporate grade computer, insurance companies will try to replace it with a piece of junk shipped directly from a Brisbane based chain store.  Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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