MPs launch inquiry into digital currencies

The House of Commons Treasury Select Committee has launched an inquiry into digital currencies and distributed ledger technology. The inquiry will examine the role of digital currencies in the UK and possible opportunities and risks for consumer, business and government; and will consider the potential impact of distributed ledger technologies (ie.blockchain) on UK financial institutions and infrastructure.

Beware the malicious use of AI warns major new report

Governments must collaborate with technical researchers to investigate, prevent and mitigate potential malicious uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, according to the authors of a new report. Its authors suggest AI may increase the incidence of some existing cyber threats by reducing the cost of cyber attacks, as well as introducing new threats and risks.

Marco Polo prepares for DLT trade finance pilot

Global banking initiative Marco Polo is to pilot a distributed ledger technology (DLT) trade finance solution, following a successful proof of concept. The initiative has developed a solution for post-shipment trade financing powered by TradeIX’s TiX platform and R3’s Corda blockchain technology. The platform enables real-time connectivity between trade participants, removing the data silos which prevent the free flow of information – causing inefficiencies and discrepancies.

Lloyds Banking Group launches £3 billion strategy including IT overhaul

Lloyds Banking Group has announced healthy profits, a share buyback and a three year, £3 billion strategic investment programme, with a strong focus on digital. The banking group announced pre-tax profits of £5.3 billion, a 24 per cent rise on the 2016 figures and the highest profit since 2006, although actually a lower figure than had been predicted by some analysts.

C-suite security strategies may be misguided

UK executives of companies affected by security breaches may have the wrong priorities: basing responses to breaches on short-term priorities and taking misguided security investment decisions, according to a survey by security provider Centrify.

Tech industry urges UK government to align with EU data regulations beyond Brexit

Two major technology industry organisations have pressed UK government ministers on the need to maintain alignment between data privacy laws and regulations in the UK and Europe after Brexit. A letter sent from techUK CEO Julian David and the Information Technology Industry Council CEO Dean Garfield to international trade secretary Liam Fox stressed the need for the UK to continue to comply in full with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) after Brexit.

Microsoft security vulnerabilities increasing – but removing admin rights fixes most of them

Reported security vulnerabilities in Microsoft technologies have more than doubled since 2013 – but most could be mitigated by removing admin rights, according to research from Avecto. 685 vulnerabilities were reported during 2017, compared to 325 in 2013 and 451 in 2016, according to Avecto’s annual Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report. The number of critical vulnerabilities has increased by 60 per cent over the same period; and there has been an 89 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities reported in Microsoft Office products.

Surprise, surprise: fraud and cyber attack volumes both rising

Numbers of both fraud and cyber attacks are increasing, according to Kroll’s tenth annual Global Fraud and Risk Report. 84 per cent of the 540 senior executives surveyed for the report said their company had been affected by at least one instance of fraud in the previous 12 months, up from 82 per cent in 2016 and only 61 per cent in 2012.

Touchstone Innovations funds re:infer - an AI start-up automating business communications

Touchstone Innovations has led a $3.5 million funding round in re:infer, a London-based start-up that uses AI to automate the process of understanding high volumes of human communications. The company claims its machine learning and analytics technology can provide organisations with “a new perceptual capability to listen and understand all of their communications in real time and at scale”.

Gartner: chatbots will run a quarter of customer service interactions in 2020

Gartner predicts that chatbots – virtual customer assistants (VCAs) – will be running 25 per cent of all customer service and support operations by 2020, up from just two per cent in 2017. The research firm’s forecast is based on the excellent results chatbots are delivering to some organisations today, with some reporting reductions of up 70 per cent in customer enquiries received through other channels after implementing VCAs.

Opencell and Vodafone pilot indoor 4G for high rise offices

The days of mobile reception blackspots in your office could be numbered: Opencell and Vodafone have launched the first centralised indoor 4G mobile signal solution at engineering and construction firm AECOM’s new European headquarters building in the City of London.

Capgemini benefits from rising demand for cloud and digital transformation

Capgemini has announced reasonably healthy full-year results for 2017, as the company continues to benefit from demand for cloud services and digital transformation. Digital and cloud revenues at the French IT services firm grew 24 per cent year on year to reach almost €5 billion. Overall revenue grew by four per cent to €12.8 billion, with net profit up 11 per cent to €820 million.