Tech Digest daily round up: Smart cities target for hackers, warns NCSC

News, Smart Cities

Smart cities will be a target for hackers, and councils need to be prepared, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned. Sensors and internet-connected devices may improve urban services, but could also be used by hackers and foreign states to disrupt or spy. The NCSC – an arm of GCHQ – has published guidance for local authorities on how to secure what they call “connected places”. They warn that critical public services will need to be protected from disruption. Sensitive data also needs to be secured from being stolen in large volumes. Smart cities and connected rural environments promise a host of benefits. Sensors will monitor pollution or offer real-time information on parking. Cameras will track congestion and manage traffic flow. This should help improve efficiency, and help local authorities become more sustainable. BBC

Twitter users can now send money directly to their favourite influencers, charities and journalists through a digital tip jar. Select tweeters were suddenly granted the new feature on Thursday, with all English-speaking users now able to tip them through a preferred payment app on iPhones and Android phones. The social network said it wanted to give users a new way to earn money from its service instead of having to rely on ephemeral likes and retweets. For now it will take no fee, instead hoping to make its service more attractive to creators. Telegraph 

has surveyed some users on a potential new service called N-Plus, according to a report Thursday. That service could include custom playlists for TV series, behind-the-scenes production info and podcasts, Protocol reported. N-Plus would be an “online space where you can learn more about the Netflix shows and things related to them,” the survey said, according to the report. One of the suggestions in the survey was for N-Plus to list all the music used in TV shows so users can create playlists, the report said. Users could also create playlists of their favorite series and movies. N-Plus could even be a way for audiences to “learn about a planned show (pre-production) and influence its development with feedback before filming has finished,” the report said. CNet

Coldplay have released their new single “Higher Power”, debuting the track in space before it was transmitted back to Earth. The band, comprising Chris Martin, Will Champion, Guy Berryman and Jonny Buckland, teamed up with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet for the stunt. “Higher Power” was played aboard the International Space Station before a satellite beamed the track to Earth, at which time it was released officially on streaming services. Speaking to the astronaut, frontman Martin said: “Right now we aren’t able to play for anybody on Earth, so we thought we’d just play for you. It’s like our one-man concert.”  The track is produced by renowned Swedish songwriter-producer Max Martin. The music video for “Higher Power” sees Coldplay performing the track alongside holographic aliens. Independent

Remnants from a Chinese rocket are expected to fall back to Earth in an uncontrolled re-entry this weekend. The rocket, called Long March 5B, was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Centre on 29 April to carry Tianhe – the first module of China’s future space station – into orbit. The spacecraft contains what will become living quarters for three crew on the space station and was the first of 11 missions needed to complete the station. The body of the rocket is circling Earth and is about to enter the lower atmosphere. Its exact point of descent “cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its re-entry”, which is projected to occur on Saturday. Sky News 


Chris Price
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