News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

M&S uses portal to procure IT systems

Marks & Spencer is using a portal for the procurement of its IT systems in a bid to reduce the time its IT department spends sourcing equipment. The UK's largest clothing retailer is using the IT Index, a Mercato-powered procurement portal.

Suppliers aim to cut datacentre power use

IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and AMD have joined forces to launch a project aimed at reducing energy consumption in datacentres. The Green Grid project aims to bring together IT professionals who want to lower the overall consumption of power in datacentres worldwide. It will operate as an association of members who can share best practice in datacentre power management.

Error discovered on climate project

A "major error" has been discovered in the world's biggest distributed climate prediction project. The latest release, launched in February and promoted on the BBC, fails to take account of a phenomenon called "global dimming", which relates to the effect of man-made sulphate emissions in the atmosphere. The error has now been fixed and all computers running the model will be automatically restarted at the year 1920.

New agency to free police to chase hackers

A new agency to tackle child abuse is likely to free up police computer crime units to focus on investigating hacking attacks against businesses. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre will draw resources from the IT industry, charities and the police to tackle online and offline abuse. The unit will use sophisticated computer systems to trace victims and seize the assets of criminals. The centre, launched by Home Office minister Paul Goggins yesterday, will use advanced databases to share information on known and suspected paedophiles.

Urban Outfitters selects ATG for e-commerce

Fashion retailer Urban Outfitters is launching its first transactional website in Europe using ATG's Customer Experience platform. The new e-commerce system will use ATG's Campaign Optimiser, Commerce and Merchandising applications when it launches this summer.

ID and Passport Service to trial biometric checks

The Identity and Passport Service, created last month to oversee passports and ID cards, plans to trial fingerprint recognition technology next year. The service, which published its 10-year plan last week, plans to use fingerprint records and a facial biometric in electronic passports from the end of 2007. Other plans include interviews for all first-time passport applicants and a service to allow the private sector to check the validity of passports.

Directors in the dark about network security

One-third of company executives do not know whether their network security has been breached, according to a report commissioned by network security firm nCircle. The report found a lack of communication between IT departments and senior management, with nearly half of managers believing they are not kept adequately informed about IT security issues.

Unofficial patches could breach licence terms

Businesses could be breaking software licensing agreements by using unofficial patches provided by third parties, security experts have warned. Security firm Internet Security Systems said firms were tempted to use unofficial patches when flaws with known exploits remained unpatched by software suppliers for some time. But it said applying unofficial patches could violate software licensing terms, invalidating support agreements.

Rush for info crashes Standard Life website

Standard Life's website was brought down last week as visitors tried to find out about its demutualisation plans. It told customers that it was "working hard" to deal with an unprecedented number of visitors to the site. Its problems prompted calls from capacity specialists for firms to review the scalability of their infrastructure. "Often organisations are unaware of the lack of scalability," said Danny Quilton of Capacitas.

Non-US banks hit by more phishing attacks

Last month saw a big rise in phishing attacks on non-US banks. The increase was mainly due to a rise in the number of German banks being targeted, said security firm RSA Cyota. US banks are still the most targeted by phishers, with the UK second and Germany third.


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