In the loop: investing in innovation and a spate of phishy emails

While Google was quick to act on a cybercrime incident, this week also saw Amazon announce the opening of a new innovation centre and banks make plans to move staff out of London

In the loop: investing in innovation and a spate of phishy emails

Google Docs users are the victim of a phishing campaign

From high-profile companies like Yahoo suffering from security breeches to GCHQ launching an accelerator to beef up the nation’s digital defences, cybersecurity has scarcely been out of the headlines of late. Businesses big and small are increasingly waking up to the threat posed by creative cyber criminals and this week Google was the latest target of a widespread phishing attempt.

Typically, phishing campaigns see criminals try to gleam sensitive information from people under the guise of being a trusted entity. In this case, Google Docs users were sent innocent-appearing emails that appeared to contain an official link, taking them to a page that asked them to authorise an app to gain access to their account. Once granted access, the app could then get into the victim’s address book and carry on the campaign by emailing their contacts.

And while Google said it managed to stop the attack in around an hour, about a million of its users were reached in that window. It clearly doesn’t matter if you’re a small-scale startup or a web giant: cybercrime is an ongoing threat to all businesses.

Brexit prompts JP Morgan to move hundreds of jobs out of the UK

As the prime minister gears up to guide Britain through its divorce with the EU, it seems some voices from the financial community are starting to get the jitters. We learned this week that US bank JP Morgan is to relocate up to 1,000 bankers currently working in the City to Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Daniel Pinto, JP Morgan’s head of investment banking, said: “We will have to move hundreds of people in the short term to be ready for day one, when negotiations finish, and then we will look at the longer-term numbers.”

Also this week, Standard Chartered revealed that it’s looking into setting up a new subsidiary in Germany and Goldman Sachs’ chief executive Lloyd Blankfein told the BBC that he believed London “will stall” because of the risks posed by the Brexit process. So while many startups are still feeling bullish about their prospects, it seems some of the big players in the financial sector are already voting with their feet and preparing for the worst.

Amazon to open a 60,000 square foot UK hub in Cambridge

Amazon already uses some automation on its factory floor, has launched a drone trail and has of course given the world Alexa: an AI-powered voice assistant. And now the retailer has revealed that it plans to up the ante even more by opening a shiny new research and development centre in Cambridge that will assist in the development of these kinds of new technologies.

The site has a capacity for 400 people. A host of knowledge and software engineers and machine-learning, data and speech scientists are expected to take up residence there in a bid to keep Amazon on the forefront of disruptive technology. 

Commenting on the announcement, minister of state for digital and culture Matt Hancock said: “This is fantastic news – Amazon’s increased investment in developing cutting-edge technology in Cambridge is another vote of confidence in the UK as a world-leading centre of invention and innovation.” We’re looking forward to seeing what they cook up in Cambridge once the facility gets up and running.

Busy Brits are facing burnout

Technology allows us to be increasingly productive, juggle multiple tasks and stay connected at all hours. But this hyperproductivity could also be contributing to a whole lot of stress. According to new research from Bupa, the health-insurance company, Brits are trying to cram an extra 90 minutes into their waking days, with 54% experiencing health issues like stress, fatigue, illness or injury as a result.

According to the study, the average person spends 16 hours awake but tries to do 17.5 hours worth of tasks. As part of this always-on culture, Brits spend an average of 11.5 hours working – which includes commute times – filling the remainder with activities like exercising, catching up on emails or online news and getting on with personal admin. Only 5% actively spend part of their day chilling out. So perhaps with the weekend approaching and Mental Health Awareness Week round the corner, it’s worth switching off, easing up on the to-do list and making relaxation a priority.

Maria Barr
Maria Barr

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