Tech Digest daily roundup: NHS 111 software outage confirmed as cyber-attack

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A software outage affecting the NHS 111 service was caused by a cyber-attack, it has been confirmed. Advanced, a firm providing digital services for NHS 111, said the attack was spotted at 07:00 BST on Thursday. The attack targeted the system used to refer patients for care, including ambulances being dispatched, out-of-hours appointment bookings and emergency prescriptions. But the NHS said disruption was minimal. The National Crime Agency said it was “aware of a cyber incident” and was working with Advanced. BBC 

Amazon on Friday announced it has agreed to acquire the vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for approximately $1.7 billion, scooping up another company to add to its collection of smart home appliances amid broader concerns from anti-monopoly and privacy advocates about Amazon’s market power and ability to gain deeper insights into consumers’ lives. iRobot sells its products worldwide and is most famous for the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum, which would join voice assistant Alexa, the Astro robot and Ring security cameras. AP News

Chinese technology giant Tencent has disregarded rising tensions between Beijing and the West to invest in a British start-up building simulation software for the Army. In a deal said to be too financially insignificant to trigger a National Security review, the Chinese gaming company took part in a £15m funding round for Hadean, which develops technology to allow tens of thousands of virtual soldiers onto digital battlefields. In a further twist, Tencent joined the funding round alongside In-Q-Tel, a US venture capital investor backed by funds from the CIA. Telegraph 

Elon Musk said Saturday his planned $44 billion takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are ‘spam bots’ or real people. The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to sue him last month to complete the acquisition. Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract. Yahoo!

If you’re the owner of a Fitbit Versa, Versa 2, or Ionic, you’ll soon no longer be able to transfer music from your computer to your Fitbit device. In a support page spotted by 9to5Google, Fitbit says it’s discontinuing its Fitbit Connect app on October 13th, leaving you with only two ways to download music to your device: a paid subscription to either Pandora or Deezer. Fitbit Connect is a companion app for Mac and Windows computers that lets you sync fitness data between devices and transfer music to legacy Fitbit devices. The Verge 

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-minded search company, says it will start blocking trackers from Microsoft in its mobile apps and browser extensions, and soon its desktop web browser, following revelations in May that certain scripts from Bing and LinkedIn were getting a pass. In a blog post, DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg says that he’s heard users’ concerns since security researcher Zach Edwards’ thread that “we didn’t meet their expectations around one of our browser’s web tracking protections.” Ars Technica

Chris Price
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