News in brief: Goverment websites trimmed, IT skills gap, Oracle security patch

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

551 government websites to be trimmed down to 26

The government is to close 551 government websites and create 26 larger one-stop sites to help save money and simplify citizen access. The decision is outlined in a Transformational Government progress report. Relevant information from the closed sites will be transferred to and

IT skills gap is getting narrower, says survey

Businesses reported fewer difficulties recruiting skilled IT professionals in the second quarter of 2006, a survey by the sector skills council E-skills UK revealed. The proportion of companies reporting hard-to-fill vacancies fell from 25% to 12.5% between the first two quarters of the year. Despite the fall, more firms reported gaps in the skills of their existing workforce.

Oracle issues advance warning of patches

Oracle last week gave users advance warning of 55 security patches due out today (16 January) as part of its quarterly security fixing schedule. It is the first time Oracle has issued such a warning. The Critical Patch Update contains 55 new security fixes across all products. Some of the vulnerabilities addressed in the update affect multiple products.

Standard Life signs Coda to replace spreadsheets

Standard Life Investments has signed a contract worth £250,000 in software and services for Coda to replace spreadsheets with a scalable platform. By using Coda, Standard Life Investments plans to support transparent financial processes and improve reporting.

Hacking kit 'bypasses two factor security tokens'

A hacking kit that allows fraudsters to capture confidential information even when consumers protect their transactions with secure two-factor tokens, is being circulated on the internet, says security firm RSA. The universal man-in-the-middle phishing kit allows fraudsters to capture victims' data by intercepting messages before they are passed to genuine sites.

Carolyn Kimber takes the chair at CMA

The Communications Management Association has appointed Carolyn Kimber as its new chair. Kimber, former international communications manager at Atlantic Container Line, said she plans to work closely with regulator Ofcom to make sure the needs of the business user become a priority.

Don't rush to deploy Vista, schools told

The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency has warned schools and colleges against early deployment of Microsoft's Windows Vista and Office 2007. It said the products do not offer any new "must have" features that would justify the cost and risk of early deployment.

PayPal users to get two factor authentication

Online payment service PayPal is planning to offer users a password-generating key fob to deliver two-stage security to their accounts. The planned device, an RSA token, would display a new numeric one-time password every 30 seconds.

Worldwide IT spending to top £750bn by 2010

Users spent £595bn on IT globally in 2006, and spending will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 6.3% to reach £760bn in 2010, according to IDC. The analyst firm said worldwide software spending was expected to reach £172bn in 2010. The biggest IT spend was predicted to come from service industries, manufacturing and government, with healthcare, communications and government being the fastest growing markets.

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