News in brief

Brief takes on this week's news

Electronic records of US army veterans stolen

Electronic data on up to 26.5 million former US soldiers has been stolen from the home of a data analyst at the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The data includes names, social security numbers, birth dates and disability ratings for the veterans. The data analyst who lost the data was not authorised to take the records home. An investigation is underway.

IT skills ‘have direct impact on productivity’

Most businesses believe that the skills of their IT staff have a direct impact on their organisation’s productivity, according to research by E-Skills UK. Of those businesses surveyed, 70% believed that the IT skills of other employers also had a defining impact on productivity. The research found that the majority of vacancies for IT professionals were in systems development and systems design, followed by technical support.

Royal Liver to roll-out CedarOpenAccounts

Royal Liver Assurance is set to replace its legacy core accounting system with eFinancials software from CedarOpenAccounts. The new tools are expected to improve processes within the friendly society’s finance and procurement departments and enable the provision of a single shared financial service across the organisation.

Worldwide server sales are on the increase

Worldwide server sales increased by 13.7% in the first quarter of 2006, compared with the same period in 2005, although revenues remained flat, according to figures from analyst firm Gartner. Worldwide server revenue totalled £6.6bn on shipments of two million units, up from 1.7 million units in the same period last year.

Web conferencing can expose firms to hackers

Web conferencing software can expose businesses to external hacking attacks, according to penetration testing company SecureTest. Hackers working with an inside accomplice can use the software to harvest sensitive corporate information. Web conferencing sidesteps traditional security barriers, SecureTest said.

Zfone software encrypts internet phone calls

Scientist Philip Zimmermann has developed software to encrypt internet telephone calls. The program, Zfone, is designed to protect callers from future threats, such as spyware developed to eavesdrop on conversations.

Fashion chain to launch transactional website

Fashion retailer Oasis is launching a transactional website this autumn. The e-commerce platform used for the website is a managed service from software supplier Fresca. Oasis will be the first brand within the Mosaic group, which also owns Coast, Karen Millen and Whistles, to launch a transactional website.

Barclays gives users free anti-virus software

Barclays Bank is to provide its 1.6 million online banking users with F-Secure’s Anti-Virus software. Customers using Anti-Virus will also have the option to upgrade to F-Secure’s Internet Security software for a reduced price of £9.95 a year, saving £29.

Yahoo and eBay join forces to carry online ads

Search engine Yahoo and auction website eBay are to link some of their services more closely. As part of the deal, eBay will carry adverts supplied by Yahoo on its US site. The move will bring advertising to one of the last remaining untapped online communities.

Ofcom CEO will stand down in the autumn

Stephen Carter has announced his intention to quit as chief executive of telecoms and media regulator Ofcom. He leaves on 15 October, but between now and then will only lead the watchdog on operational and financial matters.


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