71% of UK companies are not prepared to face a cyber attack

A new study has revealed 71% of UK organisations don’t believe they are “cyber resilient”.

In the report, titled The Cyber Resilient Organisation in the United Kingdom: Learning to Thrive against Threats, compiled by Ponemon Institute, businesses cited insufficient planning and preparedness, inadequate capability to respond to incidents, and a lack of clear ownership as reasons why they felt their ability to fight off and deal with the aftermath of cyber attacks was in doubt.

“When security incidents occur, organisations need to react quickly and decisively to ensure attacks are managed before they turn into serious business crises. That’s the foundation of cyber resilience,” said John Bruce, CEO and co-founder of Resilient Systems – the creators of an incident response platform designed to help companies deal with cyber attacks.

“By preparing and provisioning for these situations, and aligning the people, processes, and technology for response, organisations can improve their security posture and actually thrive in the face of cyber security incidents.”

cyber attack

Ponemon’s report is timely given the number of high-profile hacks that have occurred in recent months and years.

These include attacks on Sony, Talk Talk and the attack on Ashley Madison, who have recently taken to masking users’ profile pictures in desperate bid to avoid another security failure.

“Despite the growing importance of cyber resilience, the research shows serious issues that need to be addressed if UK organisations are to survive the next wave of cyberattacks,” said chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, Larry Ponemon.

“Until cyber resilience becomes a coordinated, organisation-wide effort and the necessary technology and processes are put in place, organisations will remain vulnerable.”

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Despite cyber attacks becoming more frequent and high profile, 56% of the study’s respondents reported that their organisations’ leaders do not appreciate that a lack of cyber resilience represents a major risk to the well being of their enterprises and brand images.

Businesses will be forced to become wiser on these issues, however, as the regulatory burden for companies operating inside the European Union will grow with the upcoming introduction of the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will bring mandatory data breach reporting to Europe for the first time.

The full study is available to download directly from Ponemon Institute.

Robot takes first steps towards building artificial lifeforms

A robot equipped with sophisticated AI has successfully simulated the creation of artificial lifeforms, in a key first step towards the eventual goal of creating true artificial life.

The robot, which was developed by scientists at the University of Glasgow, was able to model the creation of artificial lifeforms using unstable oil-in-water droplets. These droplets effectively played the role of living cells, demonstrating the potential of future research to develop living cells based on building blocks that cannot be found in nature.

Significantly, the robot also successfully predicted their properties before they were created, even though this could not be achieved using conventional physical models.

The robot, which was designed by Glasgow University’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, Professor Lee Cronin, is driven by machine learning and the principles of evolution.

It has been developed to autonomously create oil-in-water droplets with a host of different chemical makeups and then use image recognition to assess their behaviour.

Using this information, the robot was able to engineer droplets to have different properties­. Those which were found to be desirable could then be recreated at any time, using a specific digital code.

“This work is exciting as it shows that we are able to use machine learning and a novel robotic platform to understand the system in ways that cannot be done using conventional laboratory methods, including the discovery of ‘swarm’ like group behaviour of the droplets, akin to flocking birds,” said Cronin.

“Achieving lifelike behaviours such as this are important in our mission to make new lifeforms, and these droplets may be considered ‘protocells’ – simplified models of living cells.”

One of the oil droplets created by the robot

The research, which is published today in the journal PNAS, is one of several research projects being undertaken by Cronin and his team within the field of artificial lifeforms.

While the overarching goal is moving towards the creation of lifeforms using new and unprecedented building blocks, the research may also have more immediate potential applications.

The team believes that their work could also have applications in several practical areas, including the development of new methods for drug delivery or even innovative materials with functional properties.

Mac spyware stole millions of user images

A criminal case brought against a man from Ohio, US has shed more light on a piece of Mac malware, dubbed Fruitfly, that was used to surreptitiously turn on cameras and microphones, take and download screenshots, log keystrokes, and steal tax and medical records, photographs, internet searches, and bank transactions from users.

Source: Ars Technica

Drone swarm attack strikes Russian military bases

Russia's Ministry of Defence claims its forces in Syria were attacked a week ago by a swarm of home-made drones. According to Russia's MoD Russian forces at the Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility "successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)"

Source: Science Alert

Las Vegas strip club employs robot strippers

A Las Vegas strip club has flown in robot strippers from London to 'perform' at the club during CES. Sapphire Las Vegas strip club managing partner Peter Feinstein said that he employed the robots because the demographics of CES have changed and the traditional female strippers aren’t enough to lure a crowd to the club anymore.

Source: Daily Beast

GM to make driverless cars without steering wheels or pedals by 2019

General Motors has announced it plans to mass-produce self-driving cars without traditional controls like steering wheels and pedals by 2019. “It’s a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production car with no driver controls,” GM President Dan Ammann told The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Russia-linked hackers "Fancy Bears" target the IOC

Following Russia's ban from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, the Russia-linked hacking group "Fancy Bears" has published a set of apparently stolen emails, which purportedly belong to officials from the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and third-party groups associated with the organisations.

Source: Wired

Scientists discover ice cliffs on Mars

Using images provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have described how steep cliffs, up to 100 meters tall, made of what appears to be nearly pure ice indicate that large deposits of ice may also be located in nearby underground deposits. The discovery has been described as “very exciting” for potential human bases.

Source: Science Mag