News in brief

Short takes on the week's news

Britannia to save £1.5m after network upgrade

Britannia Building Society expects to save £1.5m over the next three years after upgrading its network. The company's IT department worked with supplier BT's engineers to upgrade 188 branches. Britannia is looking at other technologies for its network, such as voice over IP and videoconferencing.

Education system needs overhaul, says Intellect

The UK must rethink its education system if it is to develop the skills needed to compete as a knowledge economy, according to IT suppliers trade body Intellect. "There remains a focus on old-style factory thinking, ensuring school leavers complete education with a certain amount of knowledge, but sacrificing their ability to think on their feet," said Beatrice Rogers, senior programme manager at Intellect. "The education system needs to sow the seeds of innovation."

Network security spend to increase by 23%

Worldwide spending on network security appliances and software will grow by 23% to £700m by the second quarter of next year, a report by Infonetics Research has predicted. Suppliers are responding to the demand by developing integrated content security devices that combine virus scanning, spam filtering and anti-spyware features.

Environment Agency intranet uses Autonomy

The Environment Agency is using Autonomy software to power information access across its intranet. The software will provide retrieval facilities to help employees locate the latest information on environmental concerns, allowing them to stay abreast of the latest research and developments.

Hackers use Hurricane Katrina for e-mail scam

Hackers are sending out e-mails disguised as news about the Hurricane Katrina disaster in an attempt to trick recipients into infecting their computers with malware from a bogus website. The e-mails contain a variety of subject headings including "Tropical storm flooded New Orleans", "80% of our city under water" and "Katrina killed as many as 80 people". Windows users who follow a link to a website claiming to offer news of the disaster risk their computers downloading a variety of malicious programs, including Trojan horses.

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