Mini Computer Upgrade

New Micro:Bit Mini Computer Upgrade

The new BBC micro:bit ‘mini-computer upgrade’ is given to school children, with AI and machine learning support. It was launched in 2016 as part of the BBC ‘Make it Digital’ campaign. Four years later over five million have been used by schools and children around the world. The project is no longer run by the BBC. It was taken over by the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, a non-profit group setup to make coding more accessible.

The new mini computer upgrade features include a microphone and speaker. It can help with listening out for doorbell sounds to playing back voice recordings. The device will include a touch sensor that could count how often a fly lands on a pad.

The new mini computer upgrade version of the palm-sized device is expected to be available from the middle of November. Other new sensors on the device including light, magnetism and temperature, to create a wider range of applications.

Micro Bit Educational Foundation said the changes were in response to requests from teachers around the world over the four years since it was first released.

‘The purpose of the micro:bit is to help children unlock their creative potential and learn how to shape the world around them,’ Gareth Stockdale, chief executive of the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, told BBC News.

Mini Computer Upgraded

BBC micro:bit to get its first major update since launching in 2016 including a new built-in speaker,
microphone and touch sensor and support for artificial intelligence

‘Learning coding and computational thinking can enhance their life chances in the 21st Century.’ 

The micro:bit is a similar concept to the Raspberry Pi but is much simpler and is more of an educational aid than the computer on a chip Pi. Both can be used for ‘maker’ style projects – in that you can attach sensors and other items to create real world projects. But the Pi is much more advanced, with slots to plug in monitors, keyboards and other ‘full computer’ devices.

The new micro:bit is a more powerful device combining all the same features of the original and extra features to enhance learning in the classroom, the foundation said. As well as new hardware features, the latest update includes a new technical platform adding support for AI and machine learning.  It is a palm-sized circuit board and has 25 LED lights that can be programmed to show shapes, numbers and letters. It also has a bluetooth chip for wireless connectivity.

BBC Director General Tim Davie said the micro:bit project has the same qualities that form the core of the BBC – to ‘inform, educate and entertain. Since its launch through our Make it Digital campaign, it has helped transform digital skills and learning,’ Davie said.

Five million micro:bits in use

There are more than five million micro:bits used in classrooms around the world, used to teach the basics of coding through interactive projects. It started as a way to support computational thinking in the UK, but since then the BBC micro:bit has gone on to global success. To use the device users write code on a computer, tablet or even a smart phone then transfer them to the device to make it perform tasks.

The previous version could flash messages and record movements . The new version now includes a microphone, more memory, speaker and touch sensor. The new device can do much more, including responding to sound.  It is estimated that about 25 million children have learnt computing skills on the device since 2016. The campaign is successful and is used in 60 countries.

The device is used in primary and secondary schools. As well as libraries and has even been used in universities to demonstrate coding applications.

“The [micro:bit] has a low floor and high ceiling – you can make it as advanced as you wish but it can also be very basic,” Keith Quille, a lecturer at the Technological University Dublin, told BBC News. “We teach it at primary schools and at university degree level. You don’t need lots of other tools to make it work, it’s very easy to use.”

The foundation says it transforms ‘students’ engagement with technology’. As well as building teachers’ confidence in leading digital skills and creative computing education.

Time for an upgrade

LIS clients benefit from our extensive knowledge and expertise. Clients who are on a monthly support contract receive remote support and software upgrades. As well as the latest security and access to upgrade their hardware.

Does your computer system run slow? Fed up with slow Internet speeds? Can you work from home like you do in the office? Contact the LIS Help Desk for an IT Audit. Our team will be able to recommend the most cost-effective solutions to bring your system up to speed.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#technology #computers #education #microbit

Ban ransomware payments

Should ransomware payments be banned?

The Government have been recently lobbied to ban ransomware payments. They have been asked to prohibit companies and individuals being able to pay ransom demands. Cyber criminals try to scam organisation with cyber-attacks using ransomware malware. The prohibition of ransom payments would cut the flow of income to attackers. As well as shutting down the desire to hit U.K. citizens and companies with ransomware.

Prohibition of ransom payments for ransomware could mean there is no point in cyber attackers going after U.K. Alexander Culafi a news writer from Search Security explores the ban ransomware payments story in more detail.

Ransomware payments

A security firm involved in the business of combating ransomware has called for a government ban on the
payment of ransoms by companies. There was no other practical solution other than to ban ransomware payments.

Paying ransomware demands could be illegal

Companies paying ransom when attacked by ransomware in an effort to retrieve their data has always been controversial because it encourages future attacks. Now, doing so may also be illegal.

The U.S. Department of Treasury today warned that paying ransomware demands may be illegal and that companies that do so could be prosecuted.

The warning came in advisories from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Both warned that any company that paid a ransomware payment, or a third party that facilitated a payment, could be prosecuted in the case that the hackers demanding the ransom were subject to U.S. sanctions.

There is an exception: Companies that are considering making a ransomware payment can do so but only with government approval.

Specific attention was given to third-party companies that facilitate ransomware payments. “Companies that facilitate ransomware payments to cyber criminals, encourage future ransomware payment demands. They also may risk violating OFAC regulations,” the Office of Foreign Asset Control said in its advisory.

Ransomware payments are controversial

Paying ransoms in ransomware attacks has always been controversial. Firstly, a serious ransomware attack could and has seriously crippled companies and cost them. Secondlay, hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business and costs. Finally, sometimes paying the ransom to obtain access to core business files is arguably worth it.

The counter-argument is that every single time a company pays a ransomware demand, it encourages future ransomware attacks. Hacking groups know this, which is why they keep deploying attacks.

An expert’s opinion

James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at security awareness training company KnowBe4 Inc. compares ransomware to the Italian Mafia.

“Many years ago, in Italy, there were many kidnappings by organized crime groups of the wealthy and affluent families,” McQuiggan told SiliconANGLE. “They would request large sums of money in exchange to return the victim’s loved ones. The kidnappings got so bad that the Italian government initiated a ban on paying any ransom to organized crime groups. The government would seize all financial assets to prevent the kidnapped families from getting the money to pay.”

He went on, “At first, the crime groups called the bluff of the families who couldn’t pay and killed the family member. However, after a short while, the organized crime groups realized they couldn’t pay, and quickly, the kidnapping and ransoms came to an end.”

Returning to today’s advisories, McQuiggan said that even if an organization wishes to pay the ransom, it would have to collaborate with the U.S. Treasury, FBI and other government agencies to send the funds. “The U.S. government’s recommendation of not paying comes with a similar notion of not negotiating with terrorists. Never pay the ransom when involved with kidnappings and thus, the anticipated action of reducing ransomware attacks,” he said.

Stay protected with LIS

Unfortunately, we are unable to stop cybercrime. However, we try and help prevent it. Our clients benefit from our Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus and Office 365 Security Package solutions. Can you afford to take the risk?

Practice safe IT. STAY PRODUCTED! Contact the LIS HELP DESK to discuss your options.

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#Ransomware #Cybercrime #Security #ITSupport

 

 

Robots conducting job interviews?

“Congratulations, you have been selected for an interview. For the professional minigamer position at Open Mind Corporation,” a robotic voice announces over a blank screen. “My name is Alex. I will be guiding you through the interview. The whole process will take no more than 10 minutes. Let’s hear your voice. … Smile for the camera. … Welcome to the interview.” Robots conducting job interviews help companies save time, money and keep social distancing

The conversational AI recruitment technology is validated and proven to objectively assess general work performance. As well as, identify competent candidates and reduce the risk of faulty recruitments. Designed and produced by Tengai AB is a HR Tech start up based in Sweden that is combining AI and an unbiased recruitment methodology in the world’s first interview robot.

Robots conducting job interviews?

Unbiased interviewer Tengai now available in English

Robots conducting job interviews: How it works

How exactly AI interviews work remains something of a mystery. The tech is driven by an interest in increasing efficiency in the interview process. The virtual interviewer/robot asks a standard set of questions (pre-designed rather than spontaneous or follow-up questions that probe into answers). It then evaluates candidates’ responses, including physical reactions and the cluster of words used. The physical reactions under scrutiny could include micro expressions. Unlike regular facial expressions which are difficult to hide or manipulate. As well as other forms of body language, vocal tone and volume and response time. Don’t panic just yet, it doesn’t appear that the algorithms judge an applicant’s appearance.

But how can the robot evaluate whether an answer shows ingenuity and creativity? As well as business acumen, a capacity for empathy or a collegial vibe? Doesn’t it take a seasoned interviewer—much less one with a pulse!—to do that?

Well, it’s conceivable that an algorithm could detect things like enthusiasm, passion, confidence and the quality of an applicant’s vocabulary, right? And isn’t it also conceivable that an algorithm could measure a candidate’s appreciation for social cues by examining responses and expressions? 

Large companies embrace the new technology

These systems are now being used by major companies, including Unilever, Vodafone, Intel, L’Oréal, Mars, and Citibank, to name but a few. Kevin Parker, CEO of Utah-based HireVue, one of the more prominent platforms in the space, tells me that one of the company’s customers, “a large grocery chain in the U.S.,” used the platform to interview about 20,000 people a day for stocker and cashier jobs. But A.I. interviews are also being used for internships and professional positions, especially in the age of social distancing.

Robots conducting job interviews: The risks

Some fear that AI run amok could engender disparate impact discrimination claims (i.e., where a facially neutral policy or practice disproportionately and adversely affects individuals with legally protected characteristics). For example, there is a fear that since AI may involve machine learning. The robot may develop assumptions over time regarding the suitability of certain groups of people for employment based on historical interview results with respect to members of those groups. 

If this technology does become the norm, some new skills will suddenly become just as important as your work experience, education and professional referrals. Whether you’re a database administrator or a regional sales rep, you might want to enrol yourself in an acting class or get a poker coach. “Impression plays a major role in personality analysis,” the researchers said. A study found that 7% of a person’s impression depends on the spoken word. 38% on vocal sounds and a whopping 55% on facial expressions.

The human touch

A recent study revealed that the number one reason customers dread calling companies for support is the growing probability that they will encounter a bot instead of a human upon connection.

LIS clients benefit from the human touch. We do not have robots that deal with our client issues. Contact the LIS Help Desk for an IT audit. You are only a phone call or email away from an IT partner that can help your business save time and money.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#AI #Interviews #ITSupport #Technews

 

EE switch on 5G

EE switch on 5G mobile network in UK towns

Mobile operator EE (BT) has started to extend their new 5G ultrafast mobile broadband network. This now covers an additional nine towns and cities across the UK. Including locations such as Southend-on-Sea, Stirling and Weybridge. Since the EE switch on 5G project launch, Internet coverage and speed are even better for customers.

The development means that EE’s 5G network are now live across busy parts of 80 UK locations. It will take a long time to reach the same level of coverage in each areas as has already been achieved by existing 4G networks. The operator’s website lists “Stirling” under towns, although these days it is usually described as a city.

At present the operator is only able to harness a 40MHz slice of the 3.4GHz radio spectrum band for their 5G service, although more bands are due to be released by Ofcom later this year (e.g. 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz). Nevertheless, they have so far been able to deliver better speeds than rivals at Vodafone, O2 and Three UK, although it remains to be seen whether this will last.

EE Switch on 5G

According to independent 5G testing by RootMetrics, EE’s 5G network achieved the highest average download speed and highest 5G availability in London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

An increase of speeds as EE switch on 5G

The operator has previously told customers to expect an increase in speeds of around 100-150Mbps from the EE switch on 5G scheme. Even in the busiest areas and at the same time they also predicted that “some customers” may break the 1Gbps (1000Mbps+) milestone on their 5G smartphones. The fastest speed possible when EE launched 4G in 2012 was just 50Mbps. But getting 1Gbps in busy urban areas, with only 40MHz of spectrum, is likely to be quite rare.

The most recent data from Opensignal did however confirm that their customers were achieving an average 5G download speed of 149.8Mbps (Megabits per second), which is well above the typical 4G average on their network of 33.1Mbps.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said: “A year ago, we started
the UK’s 5G journey by launching the first 5G network. In just one year,
we have already seen several incredible experiences and real-life use cases
that 5G enables, both for consumers and businesses, and there is still so
much more to come. 5G technology will continue to make our customers’
lives easier, make our networks more efficient, and help launch entirely
new ideas and businesses that we haven’t yet imagined.”

3 key benefits of 5G

A better connection in busy places: Ever struggled to get online while at a music festival or in a stadium, even though you appear to have a full signal? You will know how frustrating it is when your content eventually uploads much later or sometimes not at all. This happens when too many people try to connect in one place at the same time. Networks reach their limit, and everything slows down.

The 5G network will give you a more reliable connection in the busiest places and at the busiest times. That is because 5G has a greater bandwidth than 4G and can support more devices. So, you can stream sports in a stadium, download videos at a busy train station and share photos while partying at a music festival.

Faster speeds, better quality: 5G gives you faster mobile speeds than ever before. Making everyday tasks on your 5G-ready smartphone feel super-quick.

You will be able to download films onto your phone in seconds instead of minutes. So, if you are stuck for something to watch on the way home from work you can watch the latest blockbusters and box sets. Stream in the highest resolutions and watch big sporting events in all their glory. Enjoy smoother and better overall video calls.

Instant connection: 5G gives you an almost instant internet connection. So, whether you want to play a video, load an app, or control smart devices in your home, everything feels super-quick with 5G.

The faster speeds at which the 5G network responds to your commands is important for gamers, because it responds even more quickly to your button commands. What is more, 5G opens up exciting possibilities for new augmented and virtual reality experiences. This will transform the way you play games on the move.

Faster speeds for business

LIS clients benefit from our business telecoms services. Contact the LIS Help Desk to see how we can speed up telecoms and save you money. We have it all, and they are all delivered to you with our impeccable IT support.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#5G #Telecoms #MobilePhone ~#ITSupport

Online Covid scams

The Online Covid scams that steal your data

There have been some shocking online Covid scams in the last 6 months. As cyber-criminals have taken advantage of businesses during the global pandemic. It is important to make sure your business is not caught out. Our new video shows you the scams you should watch out for.

Business owners targeted in Covid-19 VAT deferral scam

HMRC have uncovered a new email scam produced by hackers. The latest of many recent scamming attempts by criminals is using the topic of coronavirus alongside the subject of VAT deferrals to trick you into giving away sensitive data.

A recent article published on the TechRader website, explains how hackers continue to exploit business vulnerabilities.

Aimed at small business owners, the fake HMRC email attempts to purloin confidential information from ventures struggling to cope with the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Between March and June 2020 HMRC allowed VAT payments to be deferred. The email scam pretending to be from the Revenue tries to dupe companies affected into revealing private information including account names, passwords and payment details.

Helpful tips to avoid online Covid scams

Know how scammers may reach you. Scammers are taking advantage of the increase in COVID‑19 communications by disguising their scams as legitimate messages about the virus. Alongside emails, scammers may also use text messages, automated calls and malicious websites to reach you.

Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information. If you receive an unsolicited request for information, take extra time to evaluate the message. Scammers will often ask you to input login information, or share bank details and addresses with them. They may also request payment via bank transfer or virtual currency.

Double check links and email addresses before clicking. Fake links often imitate established websites by adding extra words or letters. If it says something like “click here,” hover over the link or long press the text to check the URL for mistakes ─ being careful not to click it. Misspelled words or random letters and numbers in the URL or email address may also indicate a scam.

Search to see if it’s been reported. If somebody has sent you a fraudulent message, it’s likely they’ve sent it to other people as well. Copy and paste the email address or phone number. Alternativly, copy the most suspicious portion of the message into a search engine to check if it’s been reported.

Not Sure What IT Security You Need?

IT security is one of the most important parts of any network. Whether you are a small business or a multi national corporation. Over the past several years, IT and mobile networks have been targeted more by cyber criminals across the globe.

At LIS, we can conduct an IT security audit to help you identify the right level of protection for you. Contact the LIS Help Desk for your free consultation and find out how to protect your IT network against data breaches, viruses and more.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Covid19Scams #Top10Scams #DontFallForIt