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Technology News Round-Up 3

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by Startacus Admin

Technology News Round-Up continued...

Attention Paid To Bitcoins

Bitcoins, the online virtual currency, recently leapt in value following an announcement by US Congress that they are exploring the possibilities of digital currencies. As an almost untraceable form of payment Bitcoins are usually associated with illegal and blackmarket online purchases. However as a stable global currency out of central bank control Bitcoins also have many legitimate uses. 

Shops and organisations including a Cyprus university are already accepting payment by Bitcoin and the first Bitcoin ATM was opened this month in Canada. 

Technology News Cybercriminals Beating The Banks 

A BBC investigation has revealed that spam, viruses and other malicious messages regularly get sent from computers on major banks’ corporate networks. The investigation shows the extent of Malware on UK networks and the losing battle many business are fighting against it.

Most Malware infections come from infected email attachments and it is likely that some banks’ computers were enrolled in Botnets - a network of hijacked computers used to send out spam and viruses or collect personal user data. 

Despite these problems the cyber security of UK financial institutions is thought to be better than most countries and many steps ahead of other UK businesses.

The UK National Cyber Crime Unit recently warned small and medium sized businesses of the dangers of Cryptolocker. The high threat virus hides in email attachments and if accidently installed ‘encypts’ all the computer’s files with a countdown timer to destruction demanding a payment of 2 bitcoins (approx £550).

Businesses are advised not to open suspicious email attachments, update virus checking software, and back-up files regularly. 
Running A Bar With A Raspberry Pi

Business automation no longer demands expensive hardware. A university of Oxford student has impressed the tech world by modifying a Raspberry Pi (the £16 British made mini-computer) to run the student bar.

 With some clever coding, the cut-price computer takes sales data from the till every 30 minutes to monitor stock levels and uses delivery emails from suppliers to keep track of incoming stock. It uses the same emails to automatically update prices should supplier costs change.

 The system also checks lighting levels and adjusts the volume and style of music based on the time of day and scheduled event. When the bar rota manager quit, the same Raspberry Pi was handed responsibility for staffing - sending out email requests to volunteers with a deadline to pick a shift before the system automatically assigned an empty slot. Volunteers are emailed a reminder safely before each shift starts.

The programmer, Johan Paulsson, says that with some work the Raspberry Pi would also be capable of dispensing drinks but the serving of alcohol by computer would break British licensing laws. 

The bi-monthly Startacus Technology News Round Up is written by Justin Firth - UK Chartered Marketer and Technology Enthusiast. To read more from Justin visit www.marketingnext.co.uk or following Justin on Twitter @marketingnextuk 

Read the last Technology News Round Up here.

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Published on: 24th November 2013

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