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5 December 2014 by Jenn Granger

Black Friday, online health threats, a new ‘peerless’ malware emerging from a surprise source, and why apprenticeships can boost your biz. Now, I’m sure you’ve all got trees to get tangled in and Xmas parties to…. get tangled in – so go on and enjoy your weekend you crazy kids!

fridays_at_fastSony attack steps up a notch

Last week the GOP hacked Sony’s computers, causing an embarrassing headline but seemingly doing it for the lols as much as anything. But now it’s been found that an immense amount of info has been taken – mostly personal employee information including medical and salary details. Stuff that should never see the light of day. It’s been suggested that there’s ‘strong evidence’ North Korea was behind the attack, as it was unhappy with the film that’s about to be released showing the planned assassination of its leader Kim Jong-un.

Many Sony films were leaked in the attack but this wasn’t one of them, which – admittedly – North Korea would want to keep in the dark. The country’s UN envoy Ja Song-Nam said there would be a “merciless response” if the film was not cancelled, though he has since denied it was them. It’s hard to know exactly how far North Korea’s cyber skills extend but they’re thought to be pretty good; and apparently there have been similarities between the code used here and in an attack on South Korea last year. However, #GOP hasn’t been linked to North Korea and it would be quite unusual for them to take retribution in this way.

Are driverless cars coming to your city?

Greenwich, Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes are all going to be home to driverless car projects as of next year. Bristol’s hosting Venturer Consortium, which is investigating whether driverless cars will help reduce congestion and make roads safer; Greenwich has a project of its own, also looking into automated shuttle cars and cars that will autonomously valet park; and MK and Coventry are joining forces to host the UK Autodrive programme.

“Our plan with the practical demonstration phases is to start testing with single vehicles on closed roads, and to build up to a point where all road users, as well as legislators, the police and insurance companies, are confident about how driverless pods and fully and partially autonomous cars can operate safely on UK roads,” said Tim Armitage from Arup, one of the companies involved. The tests will last from between 18 to 36 months and begin on 1st January.

TV for colour blind people

Spectral Edge, a company from East Anglia Uni has developed Eyeteq, a tech for TVs that will help colour-blind people watch shows, by altering the colours frame by frame without messing them up. A colour blindness awareness group is asking for the tech to be part of all TVs as standard, which would be ace – the colour change is so slight that it wouldn’t really affect anyone else’s viewing.  It’ll be great for times when, for example, a sports match is on and the teams are playing in red and green colours; which might sound statistically unlikely but happened recently when Liverpool and a Bulgarian team were playing.

The tech is currently in the proof of concept phase, and they want to upgrade and refine the specs to eventually license it for future manufacturing. This could also be ground breaking for gamers who end up accidentally shooting the wrong side because they can’t differentiate between the colours. It’s been given good feedback so far from colour blind testers, and there’s a free app for you to test it too!

Facebook death sentence

Trolls have been getting harsher punishments recently, but this has taken the whole idea to a scary level, after an Iranian man has been sentenced to death for posting “offensive” material on several different Facebook accounts and “insulting the prophet of Islam”. He’s admitted that he did it but said he was in ‘poor psychological condition’ at the time. His wife has also said that he was tortured psychologically and told he’d face further punishments if he didn’t confess.

Human Rights Watch has said the “sowing corruption on Earth” offence under Iranian law covers all manner of things that would essentially let authorities “prosecute, convict, and sentence political dissidents and others exercising their basic rights to freedom of speech, assembly, association, and religion”. A FB page against the decision has 2,400 likes, but so far the Iranian government is not budging; and as the Supreme Court upheld the sentence he may face death by hanging.

Fact of the week: Gangnam Style has become the most watched YouTube video ever, viewed more than 2,147,483,647 times. Not only has the er, unique video become the most viewed, it’s caused YouTube to change the maximum view limit to 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 – more than nine quintillion.

And if you’ve not heard about the NASA Orion launch have a wee catch up now – it’s all up in the air!

Be careful what you wish for ladies

What have you seen this week that’s worth sharing?

Have a great weekend!