What Is Going On?

Over the next few years, BT is phasing out its ISDN services and will move to a fully digital network utilising IP across a fibre-based service. All customers using this service will be transferred before 2025 before they switch off. There will be a forced migration phase between April 2025 to December 2025.

The switch-off is happening everywhere and fast. Germany, Japan, and Sweden are ahead of us as they are shifting. Estonia and The Netherlands, however, have already turned off their PSTN networks.

Why Is The Switch Off Happening?

The PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network, is a 20th-century technology designed to handle communications in an earlier era. As such, it's struggling with the demands placed on 21st-century telephones, which have more functions and offer more outstanding capabilities.

The old-fashioned phones from days ago are now considered "out of date" because they cannot keep up with the modern way of doing things.

With the introduction and popularity of mobile phone services, people have been looking to replace their traditional landline phones. Although they provide excellent service over a local distance, the way forward is via digital technology, as there is no limit on how you communicate.

The move to a more dynamic way of communication in the workplace other than face-to-face seems to be the new world. With instant messaging and video conference calls taking place whenever you are in day-to-day working life, the current PSTN and ISDN lines cannot function to demand. This is where VoIP, known as IP telephony and voice-over broadband, takes advantage.

Last Thursday, the 14th of September, Hotel and Entertainment giant MGM Resorts experienced a widespread outage after a cyber security attack forced it to shut down its systems across multiple properties.

MGM operates several hotels and casinos across the Las Vegas strip, including Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, and Aria, with its networks shutting down on Thursday. With the shutdown came major disruptions to the guests, with them reporting that ATMs and slot machines were out of order along with digital room key cards and electronic payment systems.

Many employees and guests had to resort to old-fashioned pen and paper to try and keep the resorts functioning.

How Did This Cyber Security Attack Happen?

A hacker group named Scattered Spider has taken responsibility for the attack and has been known to be behind at least 100 attacks on major US corporations and is considered a significant threat to Western companies.

The breach happened because the scattered Spider group members could harvest and buy logins, passwords and other sensitive information from compromised computers sold as data sets. These specific data sets contained a mid-level IT engineer at MGM, according to a London-based cyber security company called Dynarisk.

Within the same data set were another 95 employees with their login credentials stolen and resold. With these credentials, mainly because they were within the IT sector of the company, they could regain access to the systems and had a higher chance of doing so compared to front desk worker details.

The group is also known for impersonating employees they have studied over social media, like LinkedIn, in phone calls to company help desks where they try to generate fresh passwords. In this instance, a Scattered Spider organisation member could compromise an employee's phone number, allowing them to reroute a text message containing a one-time password to the hacker instead of the employee.

The stolen credentials, including passwords, were for a password authentication site known as Okta, which is used by many companies to verify their employee's details before granting them access to internal websites. MGM shut all its networks, fearing unwanted hackers could still lurk within their systems.

In the exhilarating world of equine hunter trials, every jump is not just an obstacle; it represents determination, skill, and the pursuit of excellence. For the riders and horses participating in the New Forest Hounds Hunter Trials, the thrill of conquering challenging courses has always been at the heart of their passion. This year, the event has received a boost of support from Silver Lining, as they sponsor a jump during this competition.

These breath taking images were taken by a member of the Silver Lining team who went above and beyond to set up the event banners the day before and braved the rainy weather on the day of the competition to capture the perfect shots. Their commitment to showcasing equestrian sports' talent and beauty is commendable.

We were there for the end of the 70-75cm individual class and watched as the pair started with teams working together to try to achieve the optimum time. It was a thrilling sight to see the riders and horses navigate the course with skill and precision.

As the class progressed to the 80cm height, anticipation grew as this was the biggest class of the day. Brave riders patiently awaited their turn to start the individual competition. The atmosphere was electric as spectators cheered on each rider.

Watching the individual competition was truly captivating. It was fascinating to see the horses and riders work together in perfect harmony, communicating through subtle cues and gestures. They moved as one, effortlessly manoeuvring through the jumps and obstacles.

In this silent partnership, a language only they understand, the riders and horses pushed themselves to their limits. They overtook each other with grace and determination, showcasing their skill and dedication to the sport.

The excitement continued as the 80cm pairs took to the course. The coordination and synchronization between two horses and riders were a sight to behold. Each pair showcased their bond and trust as they navigated the challenging jumps.

In order to handle cardholder data, businesses must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), regardless of their size. Compliance with this standard must be maintained at all times and validated annually. Credit card companies typically mandate compliance with PCI DSS and include it in their network agreements.

It is presented as the minimum criteria that all merchants should strive to achieve to avoid data breaches. For those who provide PCI solutions to merchants, products must be compliant, which means they have to meet the 12 requirements.

In this blog, you will learn what the 12 requirements are of PCI DSS, what they involve and how you can maintain them. 

The Data Security Standard

Before we delve into the 12 PCI DSS requirements, it's first necessary to understand the 6 overarching principles behind them. 

  1. Establish and sustain a secure network infrastructure.
  2. Safeguard cardholder data against potential theft or compromise.
  3. Implement a vulnerability management program to detect and address security loopholes.
  4. Deploy robust access control measures to ensure authorised access only.
  5. Conduct regular monitoring and testing of networks for potential vulnerabilities.
  6. Establish and maintain an information security policy to guide organisational practices.

If all of these principles are met, then the payment card transaction environment that it happens in is compliant. 


Today Meta has dropped its long-awaited competitor to Twitter which Mark Zuckerburg has branded as the 'friendly' alternative. He celebrated the launch by writing his very own post on Threads saying how he hopes to see the community grow to over one billion in numbers. He also appeared to share his excitement on Twitter which he hasn't been active on for over a decade, where he shared the spider man meme to show the similarities between the two apps.

Threads has hit new heights by crossing the 10 million mark within the first couple of hours of launch, being fully accessible within 100 countries. The app has already attracted celebrities such as Jennifer Lopes, Shakira, Richarlison and Tom Brady and the number is set to grow.

What exactly is Threads?

The app opens up to a scrollable feed of short-form text limited to 500 characters a post, with the added ability to upload videos and photos. These posts will include content from accounts users follow, and creators suggested by the platform itself recommends from its algorithms.

Viewers can interact with one another by liking, commenting, reposting, quote reposting and sharing their Instagram stories. While most features look incredibly similar to Twitter, its user interface designs still resemble Instagram's button icons, such as the same heart, comment, and share, which are similarly placed.

Nowadays, businesses have numerous options for processing card payments, especially with the rise of online payment platforms. However, some situations may call for traditional payment methods, such as accepting orders or payments over the phone. For instance, takeout restaurants frequently rely on card payments taken over the phone.

It is very dependent on the consumer as many people still prefer to pay for goods or services over the phone, especially if they are phoning you to find out more about their products.

Although taking card payments over the phone is still a valuable and real-time method, some view it as outdated and question its legitimacy for accepting card payments. Nevertheless, businesses can benefit significantly from this payment option. Keep reading to discover alternative and easy ways to process card payments without using the phone.

Before taking card payments over the phone, it is important to understand what rules and regulations you must abide by to ensure client data is safe. Between March 2022 and 2023, it was found that 3,412 phone-fraud incidents were reported to the UK police meaning now more than ever, it is crucial to go through the correct procedures for card payments in this digital age. 

In this article, we will examine the best method for handling card payments over the phone and emphasise the essential regulations businesses must adhere to when accepting payments through this channel. 

Apple and Google offer two distinct ecosystems of technology products and services with unique benefits and drawbacks, but which is better for you?

The technology industry has been dominated by two competing ecosystems for many years, Apple and Google. Both companies offer various products and services, including smartphones, laptops, cloud storage, and entertainment platforms. We'll compare the strengths and weaknesses of each ecosystem to help you choose which is suitable for you.

Apple Ecosystem

Apple's ecosystem is known for its seamless hardware and software integration across devices. The company's products are designed to work together seamlessly, creating a user-friendly and efficient experience. For example, users can start a task on their iPhone and finish it on their MacBook without interruption. This level of integration is unmatched by any other company and significantly benefits those who own multiple Apple devices.

One of the most significant benefits of the Apple ecosystem is its focus on security and privacy. It has a closed system that tightly controls the apps that can be installed on its devices. This approach has made it more difficult for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and has kept users' data secure. However, this approach has also been criticised for limiting users' freedom and customisation options.

What is Malware?

Malware is a broad term for any software designed to cause harm or exploit vulnerabilities in programmable devices, services, or networks. These malicious programs can take many forms, including viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware.

These types of software can have devastating effects on computer systems, such as causing crashes, slowing down performance, and stealing sensitive information without the user's consent. Malware is typically spread through email attachments, infected websites, and other types of online content. It is crucial to have reliable antivirus software installed on your computer.

Why do cybercriminals use malware?

Cybercriminals use malware for various reasons, most commonly to gain unauthorised access to computer systems or steal sensitive information. Malware can spy on users and monitor their activity, log their keystrokes (keylogging) to capture passwords and other sensitive information, or even lock them out of their own system until they pay a ransom (known as ransomware).

Cybercriminals may also use malware to create botnets, networks of infected devices that can be remotely controlled to carry out further attacks. Another reason why cybercriminals use malware is to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which can flood a target website or server with traffic and cause it to crash.

Overall, malware is an effective tool for cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data, disrupt services and systems, and make money through illegal means, which is why it continues to be a significant threat in today's digital landscape.

Vodafone's latest announcement to shut down its third generation of connective/network technology could potentially significantly impact individuals still using older and basic phone models, which may result in them being left behind in the digital age - a concern now coined as "digital poverty."

Vodafone is set to become the first major telecommunications company to shut down its 3G network, with pilot testing of the switch-off planned for Basingstoke and Plymouth in June. The telecom giant plans to phase it out throughout the rest of 2023, starting with Hull, Oxford, and Greater Manchester before eventually rolling out across South England.

Once these places successfully transitioned away from this network version, Vodafone has explained, "the rest of the UK will follow later in the year."

According to Vodafone UK's Head Network Officer, Andrea Dona, the usage of 3G technology has significantly decreased over the years. In 2016, more than 30% of customers used 3G, but now only 6% continue to use it. Vodafone's decision to phase out 3G is expected to set a precedent for other providers to follow suit and focus solely on the benefits of 4G and 5G networks.

Meta is finally allowing profiles to share more than one link within in there Instagram profiles meaning this could start the end of link-in-bios.

Rewind 13 months ago...

Around 13 months ago, Linktree, the company allowing many creators to post multiple links in one place, recently received increased funding. Financial backers included Index Ventures and Coatue Management, investing $110, equivalent to nearly £89 million. This put Linktree enviable by being valued at $1.3 billion or £1.04 billion.

Just over a year on, things look incredibly different. Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerburg's official account announced that Instagram users can now add up to 5 links to their bio on the app. He comments that it is "probably the most requested feature we've had."

Instagram and its users welcome the feature

Many users and creators have reacted with joy as it is now more accessible to integrate outside links onto the platform within their profiles. Until now, they have had to use Linktree or one of its competitors, which puts all the links on an external webpage on their profile. It means now you no longer have to prioritise what link displays on your profile. You can now have all 5.

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