#WhatTheTech 11

Written by:
Date Posted:
12 July 2019

We’ve handpicked some tech/security related news stories from the past week, in case you missed them.

“Alexa, what’s wrong with me?”
The government has announced that Amazon Alexa will now be able to offer expert health advice to users under a partnership with the NHS.

According to the government, this partnership should allegedly reduce the pressure on the NHS. Alexa will automatically search NHS web pages to find answers when asked a medical question. 

Data ethicists have questioned this move, asking whether the medical questions asked via Alexa will be encrypted, and where this data relating to patient queries would be stored. 

Amazon claims that multiple layers of authentication would protect the data stored from UK customers and that all information would be encrypted. Amazon has also confirmed that it will not build health profiles based on user’s queries, nor will it recommend or try to sell medical products. 

Would you trust Alexa with your medical queries? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @Hyve!

NHS vulnerable to hackers
According to cyber-security company, CyberMDX, certain anaesthetic machines used in NHS hospitals could be hacked if left accessible on a hospital computer network. 

If successful, hackers would be able to gain control of the anaesthetic machines, allowing them to change the amount of anaesthetic delivered to the patient. Alarms designed to alert the anaesthetist of any dangers could also be disabled. 

GE healthcare has said that a cyber-attack would not cause clinical hazard or patient risk. Anaesthetic devices are attended by anaesthetists and should, therefore, be monitored for any errors. They have said that while they do not plan to release any security updates for the anaesthetic machines at risk, hospitals should use secure network protocols to protect them from hackers. 

Cyber-security expert Ken Munro has argued that GE Healthcare has a part to play, and should be building devices with stronger security.

“Are you sure you want to post this?”
As a number of instances of antisocial behaviour and bullying have been linked to Instagram, the social media giant has now introduced an anti-bullying tool to help curb abuse. 

The anti-bullying tool prompts users to stop and consider what they are saying before posting comments by asking “Are you sure you want to post this?”. Using artificial intelligence, Instagram will recognize inappropriate comments which will trigger the prompt. 

Instagram will also soon offer the victims of bullying the option to restrict interactions with users who are causing them distress – a tool named Restrict. 

The firm’s chief executive, Adam Mosseri, has admitted that more could be done to prevent bullying on the social platform, saying that these are only two steps of a much longer path. 

Zoom vulnerability
A vulnerability in Zooms’s video-conferencing software has left millions of Mac users vulnerable to hackers.

Jonathan Leitschuh, a tech veteran, uncovered a way to force almost any Mac that has Zoom’s app installed to join a video call without requesting the user’s permission.

The flaw has been described by one user as ‘bananas.’ Although Zoom disagreed about the severity of the flaw, they have issued an update of their software, making it harder to hack.

We’ll be back next week with more tech news!

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