Tag: lse

Human drivers will bully self-drive cars

classic car, wikimedia commonsTechnology experts are starting to worry that human drivers will bully self-drive cars – simply because they can.

While self-driving cars promise to bring increased safety, comfort and speed to our roads. The rest of the road will be populated by men in white vans, BMW drivers and Italians who will make life hell for automated roadsters.

The London School of Economics and Goodyear conducted a study into social attitudes to self-driving technology. Drivers who are more “combative” will welcome the adoption of self-driving technology, because they assume it will be easier to “bully” self-driving cars than actual humans.

Self-driving cars will be programmed to avoid accidents, just as they should be. So given the choice between driving timidly or causing an accident just to prove a point, the self-driving car will slam on the brakes every time. The more aggressive drivers in this survey said that they’d treat self-driving cars like “learner drivers” and mess with their automatic heads.

One respondent he would be overtaking all the time because they’ll be sticking to the rules,” one Another said robot cars are going to stop. “So you’re going to mug them right off. They’re going to stop and you’re just going to nip around.”

So those who really should be self-driving are exactly the sort of people who should not be behind the wheel.  It is only a matter of time before self-driving will require a psyche-test to see if they should be allowed to drive.


Critics question Cameron's credit cut speech before u-turn

David Cameron has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn in his party conference speech, after planning to urge the British public focus on paying off their debts. The retailers went bonkers – because of fears that the speech would encourage stagnant economic growth in consumer spending.

The electronics industry in particular could have been hit. Hysteria reached fever pitch and eventually Cameron was forced to run with the “we’re in it together” message again. Consumers are already looking after their debts. 

For certain markets, like the quick-moving consumer electronics industry, they’re already floundering. PC and notebook sales are slow. Could his speech have made things worse?

Well, probably not.

According to economist Tim Leunig at the London School of Economics Cameron’s big idea for the big idea could have a knock on effect… if anyone bothered to listen.

“Electronics items are often discretionary,” he told TechEye. “Most of the time people don’t buy new TVs or MP3 players because their old one’s broken, it is to update and this means that they are inessential. And a lot of electronics goods are in fact bought on cards, so this could have a massive impact.”

However, calls for austerity on the high street would have likely fallen on deaf ears anyway.

Leunig reckons that such remarks from Cameron would have amounted to little more than party conference rhetoric.

“If everybody listened to calls for drops in credit card spending then it would be bad news,” he said.  “But in the past Cameron urged everyone to eat more fresh fruit and veg; when was the last time anyone paid any attention to him?”

Leunig continues: “The likelihood of anyone actually acting on it is negligible, and unless there were any moves to introduce a levy or so on you could only imagine the public in a country like North Korea actually changing their behaviour immediately.”

Mobile expert at uSwitch Ernest Doku also believes that it would take a masterful grasp on persuasion to get the public to cut back.

“People rely heavily on their phones in their day-to-day lives, and cutting back on mobile usage is unthinkable for many, who would prefer to make sacrifices elsewhere,” he told TechEye. “The mobile phone has become more than simply a device to keep you in touch with others, now, for many, it’s a status symbol.”

Although our pockets are empty, we’re still buying. So perhaps Cameron is wrong when he says the public are already keeping their bills at bay: “Consequently, despite a squeeze on people’s finance in recent years, the demand for mobile handsets has proven pretty resilient. For many, being without a mobile phone at all times is now unthinkable, and similarly, a phone which provides just basic functions is no longer enough.

“If anything, the hunger and demand for new mobile technology is gathering pace, and people would rather make other sacrifices before missing out on owning the latest handset.”

London Stock Exchange should wake up to malware threat

The London Stock Exchange has been hit by malware that infected user computers, in an attempt to persuade them into buying bogus anti-virus software.

It is thought that the breach of security occurred due to third party ads being installed on the website, though these have now been removed, with LSE claiming that site visitors would have only been infected if they had clicked through.

However, according to Ian Shaw, Managing Director of MWR InfoSecurity, it is still the LSE’s job to ensure that its site is safe for users to view, labelling the attacks “very concerning”.

“The London Stock Exchange has a responsibility to users to ensure that content on its site has been cleared, and that there is no open access to third parties in future that could allow such breaches,” Shaw told TechEye.

“With lots of businesses’ sites becoming mash-ups of different sources such as advertising, it is increasingly becoming a problem for all companies, not just on an operational level but also in terms of brand protection.”

The infection meant that Google was eventually blocking users from accessing it once the malware threat was established, as well as the search engine highlighting the fact that it had been breached in its search results.

Rather embarrassing for the London Stock Exchange, considering it comes not long after a similar attack on NASDAQ, though there are no immediately signs that the two attacks are linked according to Shaw.

“Of course it is very important that a stock exchange keeps this will involve a combination of human and technical measures to avoid the situation occurring again, as they are big targets,” Shaw said.

”The London Stock Exchange need to ensure that it completes a thorough investigation, as while this appears a regular attack, given the target and the similar incident at NASDAQ earlier in
the month the integrity of the site needs to be assured.”

Shaw insists that more thorough checks are needed to ensure that third party firms such as advertisers are not able to continue these breaches, as well as informing all site users that their personal information such as passwords may have been compromised.

“There is now consistent evidence to suggest that the security measures being taken by UK business to protect their online portals are insufficient, they are not keeping pace with the threats,” he said.

London Stock Exchange cyber attacks should be no surprise

When the London Stock Exchange (LSE) went caput early November last year there were whispers of sabotage. A report in The Times suggests that, yes, there was dirty work afoot.

“Make no mistake, the UK’s critical infrastructure is under attack. The threat is advanced and persistent,” an insecurity expert said to The Times. You may or may not remember other stories on TechEye last year which suggested that it’s not just that we have been under attack, rather that we are constantly under attack: and only some of what you hear about, the tip of the iceberg, will surface in reports. 

Distributed Denial of Service attacks have, in particular, been in the news thanks to the efforts of Anonymous and anti-Anonymous groups over the Wikileaks support fiasco. It is a relatively easy attack to perform and, as we reported, if there is a common cause summoning the collective outrage of any particular group to download a program and point it at a target can wreak havoc. 

Similarly, a cyber security expect with clearance at high levels revealed to us that Western governments have long been considering cyber warfare. “You would be a fool,” our deepthroat said to us, “to think that governments are not considering the applications for cyber warfare.”

Another confirmed that attacks on hospitals and power grids are likely. “Hospitals and other medical facilities operate under a very different regulatory framework than in other industries.”

If that’s the case – is it any wonder that “hacktivists” working through some far-flung proxy may be launching attacks on stock exchanges? After all – this is the heart of financial activity. 

Last year, the US government’s Homeland Security secretary thought a return to the Mutually Aided Destruction, or M.A.D model of the cold war, makes sense in cyberspace.

Michael Chertoff believes that world governments need to work on technologies to ward off attacks from elsewhere. Indeed – India was the first country to publicly take a step in geopolitical cyber defence. It announced that it has been gathering homegrown talent with the capabilities to fight off attacks – and more crucially, go on the offensive, too

Should we be alarmed? Maybe – the world is increasingly moving toward data as one of its greatest assets as the digital revolution keeps our money in computerised stocks and numbers over bullion. But should we be surprised? Probably not. The Times’ scoop is that it has confirmed attacks have happened. They were probably only a few of many. 

IT contractor sacked after London Stock Exchange network outage

An IT contractor has been suspended after a major network crash brought down parts of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) earlier this week.

The outage was a serious setback for the LSE, which had just recently introduced a new Linux trading platform that helped the exchange improve its trading speeds considerably. Something went wrong on Monday night and Tuesday morning, however, leading to a monumental network crash and a widespread investigation.

It is not clear if the crash was accidental or intentional, but the LSE is not ruling anything out. It has suspended the IT contractor who had access to the data centres and notified both the police and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), suggesting that their could be very serious consequences if this network failure was caused by a disgruntled employee.

In fact, sabotage is on the lips of many people within the stock community. One shareholder told the Financial Times: “There are still probably a few disgruntled individuals who are in the departure lounge at the moment,” commenting on the LSE’s cut of 10 percent of its staff members, which could be the root of the dissatisfaction.

A platform change to open source systems was to be announced on the day of the crash, but the LSE was forced to delay the move until next year due to the problems. This has caused further speculation as to the possible nature of the incident, with an anonymous source telling City AM: “There was an announcement about the platform change planned later the same day. It looks like someone may have been trying to undermine this.”

The LSE said it is conducting an internal investigation, but neither it nor the FSA would comment on whether or not they suspected the outage was intentional. The LSE did reveal that there was “suspicious circumstances” relating to the problem, which is enough to suggest that this was probably not an accident.

Ballmer stutters on questions at LSE, confirms Christmas slates, never heard of Stuxnet

Some excellent Tweets coming in from technology journalist Tim Anderson at Ballmer’s talk today at the London School of Economics – Mick Jagger went there for a while, by the way. We can’t report directly because we accidentally double booked and we’re at the ExactTarget conference at the Grosvenor (but more on that later).

Tim Anderson’s page, here, says that Ballmer probably doesn’t know exactly what Stuxnet is, given his response to a question, which confirms to us Vole Knows Security. 

He’s also been going on about Tweets, clearly PO’d at China’s lack of interest in cracking down on bootleg office products. “Enforcement of the law needs to be stepped up,” he probably shouted. 

Apparently Ballmer said he’s better off with the patent system we’ve got today than no patent system at all – dead on from Microsoft’s POV, except when it loses, of course. We think it is still contesting the XML debacle.

Ballmer is shouting his support for patent reform, Anderson reports. And Microsoft has paid out more than it has taken in.

Steve “Chair Chucking” Ballmer also has confirmed that there will be slates to buy by Christmas. Ctrl+alt+delete button unconfirmed. Anderson says Ballmer isn’t really answering questions, but there’s no news there.

“Someone ought to list all the questions Ballmer hasn’t answered,” he Tweets.

Then again, we’re not there. We’re reporting from a Twitter account. That’s Journalism!

Meanwhile here is the excellent live blogging by Charles Arthur, of The Grauniad

Pointless survey to tell if Apple fanboys are happy

Sometimes boffins sail up their own backpassages and lack so much common sense that is a wonder that Darwin’s laws do not apply to them and they don’t get eaten by giraffes.

This morning my dieting bowl of wheetabix was spoiled by the news that boffins the London School of Economics had developed a new iPhone app in a bid to “track the UK’s happiness across space and time”.

Called ‘mappiness’ it aims to help researchers understand how people’s feelings are affected by their immediate environment. Pollution, noise, weather conditions and green space will be among the factors that data will be compared against.

Lead researcher George MacKerron, of the LSE’s Department of Geography & Environment, said “By tracking across space as well as time, and by making novel use of a technology that millions of people already carry with them, we hope to find better answers to questions about the impacts of natural beauty, environmental problems – maybe even aspects of climate – on individual and national wellbeing.”

Yes,yes it is all very well, but MacKerron failed to understand one of the key problems with gathering such data on an Iphone. The problem being that the phone is in the hands of a subspecies of humanity which are the biggest, most ignorant, arrogant tossers on the planet, next to the First 15 Rugby team of any college in New Zealand.

Now MacKerron wanted the iPhone because it has a GPS making it possible to tell where the fanboy is being happy.

Now since an Apple fanboy is only happy when he is visiting an Apple store, immediately the figures are going to be distorted. In a few months time the LSE will announce that British people are only happy when they are in the vicinity of one of Jobs’ Cathedrals of Shallowness

Professor Lord Richard Layard, Director of the Well-being Programme at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance has predicted this by claiming that “It is the best method so far devised for understanding how people’s emotions are affected by the buildings and natural environment in which they move”.

The LSE will therefore come up with results that imply that we are only happy when we are listening to Coldplay and that most of British people live in subterranean levels of their mum’s house.

What the boffins at LSE have not twigged yet is that  the majority of Brits are not particularly wealthy, they are fairly independent thinkers and are capable of making a sane purchasing decision. This is why the majority of Brits have not bought one of Steve Jobs’ broken toys which require a rubber band to fix them.

What they need to understand is that the rest of humanity does not give a toss if an Apple fanboy is happy. Why would you care if someone gets joy out of buying an overpriced, and overheating, lump of shiny gizmo?

The best scientific use for the GPS in an Iphone 4 is to allow police and care in the community to swoop on the user and take them away to somewhere where they do not need make another stupid purchasing decision. Failing that you can use it to help target the laser array to nuke the beggers from space.