Posts Tagged ‘technology’

One of the UK’s leading anti-terrorist experts has warned of a criminal exodus from the high-street onto the internet.


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The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee have criticised Government policy in its recent report about Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.

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With the modern world is increasingly dependent on smart technology, experts are becoming concerned with the alarming cyber security skills gap.

A gap that is only going to grow according to Michael Brown, the head of the cyber security company Symantec, who says that the company has estimated that there will be 6 million jobs globally by 2019 of which 1.5 million will go unfilled.

It’s a situation that has led to high demand in the healthcare, technology, engineering and computer science industries, with demand according to the recruitment website Indeed outstripping supply at the moment by three times.

In a bid to deal with the crisis leading educational institutions are taking action and encouraging the need for cyber security research.

Newcastle University’s School of Computing Science, an acknowledged Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research is now running a free online course for those who want to learn more about how to keep safe online taught by university lecturer Dr. Steve Riddle.

The course will begin on 20th March though some handy tips have been been revealed ahead of the course for avid learners to read. Already a discussion is taking place with over 340 participants located in Europe, America, Africa and East Asia.


Photograph by Jisc.

Photograph by Jisc.


1) Make sure your passwords aren’t easy to guess. Hackers can use a “brute force” dictionary attack to crack short passwords in seconds so avoid your birthday, your names, proper words (even with replacements such as “5” in place of “s”) and sequences like ABC or 123.

2) Try and use a different email address which you can reserve exclusively for online shopping. This means that if you are compromised, you can minimise the damage.

3) Never click on a link in an email, even if it seems to come from someone you know. Criminals are now getting cleverer and are spear phishing – using personal information to send individual targeted emails rather than “spamming” large numbers of people.

4) Have one bank account which you can use exclusively for online shopping. This means that if cyber thieves do get through your security, they can only access a relatively small amount of money.
Don’t use the same password for more than one account for the same reasons as in 1) above.

5) If it’s easy to guess plus if you use the same one over and over again, it can be disastrous if you are the victim of a cyber attack.

6) Never put your whole wallet on a contactless reader on a bus or train – there’s a chance it can read all of your credit and debit cards and you could end up paying more than you bargained for.

7) Change your privacy settings on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter so that only people you know can find out information about you.

8) Use an online wallet such as PayPay or Google Wallet to pay for items on line, which means your credit card details won’t be sent to online retailers.

9) Check out new online retailers before you make a purchase for the first time. A quick search will highlight if anyone else has had a problem.

10) Be careful about accepting cookies on websites to prevent being tracked as you explore the internet.



Researchers have found that many women are their own worst enemies when it comes to beating gender bias in technology careers.

Photograph by Southbank Centre.

Credit: Southbank Centre.

The so-called ‘imposter phenomenon’, ‘queen bee syndrome’ and a condition known as ‘leaky pipeline’ create a vicious circle in which girls and women damage their own chances of success in this prestigious and highly paid industry. Interviewed on the PassW0rd:Woman radio show on Resonance FM, Dr Teresa (Terri) Simpkin explained:”These women find it hard to internalise their own success in the technology industry…they think someone’s going to tap them on the shoulder and say that they should not have got the job, it was all a mistake.

Girly girls

Based on more than five hundred interviews with women in technology industries in the UK, Australia and Canada, Simpkin’s research at the Anglia Ruskin University includes an interview with a Canadian sound engineer who believes she never got promoted because she wears brightly coloured skirts and bows in her hair. “I’m too much of a girly girl” she fears.

Statistical research by the Women’s Engineering Society finds nearly 100,000 female graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are unemployed or economically inactive.

One by one women are working together to change this narrative. To provide some insight, Helen Baker British QA Director sat down to talk with a PassWord reporter  about her experience working in the technology industry. Being a woman is one of many strengths which has seen her surpass entry levels to be placed in a senior position in a career with an all-male peer group.

W.O.W Festival

Women have long found sanctuary from misogynistic workplace ideologies at the Southbank Centre which has been home to the Women of the World Festival for the past seven years founded by Artistic Director Jude Kelly.

The week-long festival sees women from all different ages, race and backgrounds, from the ‘girly girls” to the ‘butch’ gather to discuss and share their experiences as women in society. Living in a hyper-connected culture it is no surprise that women and technology is a focal point of conversation in March 2017.

The ‘Violet Nights: Miss Representation’ segment discusses how women are no longer relying on traditional media for an accurate portrayal of their experiences. Films, TV and music videos often depict women as less dominant or powerless. It seems we are in a new age ‘tech bubble’ where instead of consuming media women now use social media to ‘prosume’ – a term coined by Alvin Toffler, the American futurist and technology writer.

Photograph by Southbank Centre.

Credit: Southbank Centre.

It’s an environment where women produce their own representation of themselves therefore shifting the power balance. Wikipedia is popularly being used as a platform for women-led research teams to share historical female accomplishments thus starting a new rhetoric of empowerment.

Dr. Sue Black OBE, UK government advisor and digital skills expert is a living testament to how technology will make you powerful. Sharing her knowledge to help a demographic close to her heart she founded #Techmums in 2012. Her workshops are designed to empower women using technology, helping women regain confidence by teaching new practical skills and knowledge.

The #Techmum team at WOW festival were made up of volunteers, all successful in their careers ranging from healthcare to the public sector willing to assist Dr.Black for the day where she taught about python coding and mobile app development. After a successful session Dr. Sue Black sat down for a one-to-one interview which you can listen to in the following podcast:



Life-saving fabrics and  Google Glass are the must-haves at London’s Wearable Futures fest.

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