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Your teams are being targeted

Sharks circling targeting users

Like spearing fish in a barrel.

The sharks are circling.

Advances in technology have seen great benefits to humankind as a whole. Each step forward for mankind, sees an additional step forward for the criminal underground.

Machine learning is becoming more wide spread. If your company uses Adwords, you may well be using their own machine learning on which of your adverts performs better based on the demographic and information of the person they display the advert to.

In the past many of us will have received an email purporting to be from a bank or parcel carrier that we’ve never used. You may well have become accustomed to saying to yourself, but I don’t have a Western Union account etc.

What now if the machine learning was reading your public social media, of you and your friends and tailoring the email or social post to match what you wanted to see. Imagine if you suddenly saw a post on your social feed that said
I know you went to insert place last year and I wondered if you’d seen these photos of the place insert sample image ,
catch up soon
insert a name of a friend

  • How closely would you look at the poster's signature
  • Would you click and check out the photos ?
  • What if it said update your Adobe Reader / Gallery Pack software when you did ?
  • Did it all seem legit ?
  • What if on the gallery page you visit theirs more social engineering, such as donate to just giving page ?
  • What would your employees and friends do ?

In research published this month shows that by using machine learning to facilitate socially engineered phishing campaigns they are achieving a 5-14% better rate of return.

  • How does a 5-14% higher chance of breach fare with your company?
  • When and how did you last assess your risk of attack?
  • What action have you taken to reduce that risk ?
  • Are you ready for the onslaught ?
  • What actions have you already taken to upskill your employees?
  • What packages are there that can assist you ?

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Just when you thought it was safe to go online

Facenet and dating of the future

Sometimes there are times when you read something that makes you consider the future in a very poor light. Having this particular program made publically available at this early stage of development is also a cause for concern of how skewed the world will become in the near future.

Many people will have by now at sometime in their adult life joined , have a close friend or family member that has experienced one of the online dating services. The services generally rely heavily on the basis of instant attraction. In many, you are presented with a visual of the person before any details of the personality are supplied to the browser. Again on the visual impact, the browser can choose to like / skip etc.

Think now to the newly released python script, from Charles F. Jekel and Raphael T. Haftka of the University of Florida [arXiv:1803.04347 [cs.CV]], that based on just 20 of your likes is able to build a generic facial representation, which when applied to further images has an accuracy of 60% of knowing if you will like that image.

Once trained on 406 profiles, where each like represented a different classifier, it was over 70% accurate. Being one of the first algorithms in the area, accuracy is likely to improve over time. The question being then is where will this lead ?

Will you be able to take your liking profile from one supplier and use them with another. The reality of how oddly familiar this all seems, think about where else your liking data is used for marketing. Marketing teams will see the usefulness of this data being collected. Will the privacy agreement you’ve signed protect you liking data. The company you use could use that data for their own purposes as long as it is in their privacy agreement.

Fast forward a few years, and every website you visit could be presented by a computer generated personna that is facially configured to match your dream person. How could you resist not purchasing 63 pallets of widgets that you really don’t need just because you want to please them.

During the rise of computers we were wowed by the amazing graphics and realism that slowly grew as processors became more powerful. Soon the realism will not be realism but a distortion of reality based on our dreams and desires.

Back in reality however, it may just be time to think twice about how you let companies use your data, not all of your data is input by you on a clearly laid out form. Your data is how you navigate, how you interact, how you choose, what you look at. Under GDPR companies must release all your data they collect about you to you, and must tell you how they are processing it.

For more information about the FaceNet script see * arXiv:1803.04347 [cs.CV]

For more information about GDPR email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Exploring off world and the work going on behind it

arXiv:1701.07550 [cs.RO]

It’s not something you’re likely to be thinking about as you wandered around the supermarket at the weekend picking up groceries. However, maybe just maybe you were potholing in a dark cave somewhere in the Pennines, just then you may have thought to yourself how agile you have to be, and how many different ways there are of getting from A to B, and how careful you have to be about getting stuck in a corner. By now you may be drawing parallels with IT and how that sounds amazing similar, be assured there are companies out there that can help you with that, but back on track to where this blog was going, which was to an off world object, be it moon, mars, asteroid.

You’ve probably seen the amazing Nasa mars lander photos of the surface, not to mention a few conspiracy theory add ons and alien sighting add ons, what lies below the surface is still something of a mystery. What is known is that there are caverns, and possibly lava tubes, now place yourself into theory mode, and consider how you would explore those tubes remotely.

Seeing the picture of the rover from Nasa doesn’t do justice to its size, and simply driving into a tunnel won’t help as there’s no light for recharging, no knowing how deep you might need to drop down, and once in unlikely to be able to transmit a signal back to earth.

Well the people, Himangshu Kalita, Steven Morad, Aaditya Ravindran, and Jekan Thangavelautham from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University have released their paper ( Path Planning and Navigation Inside Off-World Lava Tubes and Caves, 2018) on just those considerations.

The team produced a theoretical paper with some amazing ideas on how to overcome these issues and explore the caverns. Their SphereX bouncing robots will communicate back to a base station, carrying mirror tiles, which will be laid down to bounce a laser light from the rover outside for light, communications and power, they demonstrate how serious things can really look fun, and inspire the fact that space exploration once again is having a ball.

The algorithms and technology that they have for 3D mapping of tunnels with multi hopping robots, and their “TransFormer” strategy for recharging their robots deep inside a cave, can not be done justice in a short blog post.

Hop over and download their paper for yourself

Have an inspired week ahead, everything we do here today brings us closer to being there tomorrow


How much downtime is acceptable ?

System 36 - 30Mb Hard drive

Many years ago, once a year, in a production factory that ran 24/7, everything would come to a halt for the Test. While the Test was in progress all orders were stopped, people hung around like they were waiting for the starting gun of a race.

Deep inside a locked room people would be busy dismantling and inserting a loan hard drive into the System 36 and then the big restore from 12 inch disks in magazines, 1st the monthly back up, then the weekly back up, then the daily back up. After many hours and copious cups of coffee and boxes of biscuits, the system would be sent live to see whether everything had worked successfully. The downtime was costly, and that was thankfully without any live customers trying to connect online to see the status of their order.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, and replication was the in thing. Some companies built whole triplicates of their server rooms, with a duplicate site only a few miles away, ready for raiding for parts, and another site a few hundred miles away ready for major disasters. Testing the fail-overs resulted in many issues of lost orders, lost data as people didn’t realise they were entering data onto the temporary fail-over test systems.

Fast forward to a few of years ago, Enterprise companies were migrating to the cloud, aware of the cost, but knowing of the saving of having a system that would be always on and able to expand and reduce as the demand suited, backups are still required but testing of those can be done in a separate cloud area without disrupting the main business.

Fast forward to today, and the costs have lowered, and now every business Small and Medium can enjoy the cloud benefits. Whether it is full in the cloud servers through Azure, or using Cloud services such as Office 365 and G-Suite.

What comes next is open to debate, but the server-less architecture looks to be a fair bet, which will see that server you built dynamically grow or shrink depending on how busy and how much work it is doing. So you won’t be paying for power you’re not using, and you will be saving the environment.

Stick with us and we’ll keep you up to date


PS. Don't forget to try out our downtime cost calculator

10 Reasons to Fly to the Cloud

You’ve been told that everyone is moving to the cloud. Now before you start booking plane tickets to see where they are, let’s take a look at some reasons why you might want to consider more cloud activity in the near future.


When you’re working in the cloud, the whole team have the same information at the same time, and many tools will allow live collaboration regardless of physical location.
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