This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 19th April 2013

UK SMBs Main Target For Cyber Threats
Symantec’s latest Threat Report shows cyber attacks having risen by 42% in 2012, with the UK being the subject of 20% of all global threats. Whilst smaller businesses with weaker security systems are traditionally the initial target, these are seen merely as stepping stones for larger company breaches. BYOD trends have added to the headache with virtualisation, mobility and cloud requiring security across all devices (32% of all mobile threats were aiming to steal information). Even if companies have not been directly attacked, their websites have been compromised, spreading malware (30% up on the previous year). We believe companies must be more proactive and create “defence in depth” security measures, as it is no longer an option to ignore this issue if they are to stave off future attacks.

Microsoft obtains its largest patent licensee with Foxconn
Microsoft will be celebrating this week with the news it has secured its largest ever patent licensee with Taiwanese phone maker Hon Hai, owners of Foxconn. Although details of the deal are currently scarce, Microsoft will be getting a flat fee per Android device produced, accounting for 40% of Smart Phones worldwide including Kindle Fire. These patents include how file names are implemented, data management and contact databases. Microsoft already extracts royalties from most big name Android manufactures such as Samsung, LG and HTC. Adding Foxconn gives Microsoft a highly profitable new revenue stream, which is more per device than the manufacturers make on the sale of phones themselves.

Amazon takes on Google with their App Store
Amazon has announced over the next few months it will be extending support to almost 200 countries from their app store that runs on top of Android for the Kindle Fire tablets. The Amazon Appstore for Android will support more countries than the native app store available on other Android tablets, such as Samsung and HTC. Indicating Amazon’s commitment and momentum in the mobile sector it will drive sales of Kindle devices in countries where Google’s app store is not supported. In our opinion, it also fuels rumours of Amazon’s move to the Smart Phone sector later this year. Without the support of additional countries, the company would have trouble launching worldwide.

Sony streams in to lay claim to world’s fastest home internet
Google Fiber has been generating internet chatter with its rollout of 1Gbs internet access in America. However Sony have announced what they claim is the ‘world’s fastest commercially-provided home internet service’, which launched in Japan this week providing 2Gbps downloads. We think Sony may be using the service to help the launch of their next-gen HD streaming service later in the year, driven by their acquisition of Gaikai. The launches of these super speed internet connections could make the commercial and business thin client PCs mainstream. From our point of view, it is no coincidence that Google and Sony who would be interested in delivering these services, are preparing the groundwork to make this a reality.

Money on a flashstick
Bitcoin a new virtual currency is making waves. Whilst used for buying goods and services online its distinct feature is its anonymity and independence. Hard to regulate and with transactions tough to trace, it’s a growing honeypot for black marketeers. It’s also an interesting alternative to cash if you are in a country caught in a crisis. Largely disliked by banks and governments, it appealed sufficiently however to the Wikelvoss twins, who went public this week claiming to own 1% of the internet currency worldwide ($11m). They have preserved security from hackers by keeping their digital cash on flashsticks in safe deposits in different banks. Anonymity is a big attraction, however the risk due to wild fluctuation in bitcoin value will keep the meek at bay. We consider that if it continues to grow, it could signal a new player in the global economy. In the meantime, businesses will be more comforted by traditional forms of payment for services, rather than in kind.