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With fears still looming over the cyber-attacks that started on Friday it would appear that they are slowing with few reports of new attacks in Asia and Europe.

Many firms have employed experts over the weekend in attempt to prevent new infections however Microsoft have warned that these attacks should serve as a wake-up call.

A total of 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries were affected, with the attacks preventing access to a computer or its data. The WannaCry ransomware has demanded money to release the data and if no payment is made within seven days it threatens to delete the files.

It also demands £230 ($300) to restore access to the data however, the ransomware warning said that the price will double after three days but organisations are being advised to not pay any ransoms.

It has been said that the US delivery company FedEx has been affected along with 61 of the UK’s NHS organisations. Renault had to halt production in France had to be halted and Russia’s interior ministry also reported 1,000 of its computers infected, according to the BBC.

So What Really is WannaCry?

It is the programme used in the global cyber attacked, known now as WannaCry, ransomware or Wanna Decryptor. It was spread through phishing emails and on systems without up-to-date security patches.

The attack could infect more systems, according to experts from the National Cyber Security Centre. However, the National Crime Agency (NCA) along with investigators from around the globe are trying to find those responsible for the attacks.

Top Tips for Avoiding Infections

  1. Make sure that you keep your software up to date to ensure any bug fixes are made to your computer.
  2. Be wary of emails with attachments where you are unsure of the original source.
  3. Avoid dodgy websites and downloads so that your computer is at lower risk of infection.
  4. Back up any of your important files so that you always have a spare copy.

A new free public Wi-Fi is now available in Hastings at hotspots along the seafront. 

Hastings Borough Council is pleased to announce the new free public Wi-Fi at a number of hotspots along the seafront including the Stade area at Rock a Nore, Pelham Beach, the promenade at The Source Park and Pier and Warrior Square, St Leonards.

“We are really excited about this new project which has been grant funded by the Coastal Communities Fund. For some time we have wanted to provide free public access for non-commercial use in the town and this is a great start” said Cllr Dawn Poole the council’s lead member for regeneration.

“You’ll know when you’re in the Wi-Fi hotspot areas; look out for the purple Wi-Fi logo and stickers. To get started you will need to register for the service via your mobile device and then you’ll have free access for a 12 hour period any day you want.”

“It’s so easy and will give everyone in the area residents and visitors alike the opportunity to access information at their fingertips for free! Our thanks must go to everyone involved in this project especially our network installation contractors Technology Box; a local company based in Rock House” added Cllr Poole

Hastings Borough Council has used the Coastal Communities Funding for a range of projects including signage, kiosks, public realm improvements, business mentoring for tourism and seafront businesses.

 

Chancellor George Osborne announced the spending plans for the next four years in the Spending Review and the current state of the economy in the Autumn Statement.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, public finances are set to be £27 billion better off by 2020.

It was revealed that the government is expected to borrow £8 billion less than forecast due to it hoping to secure £10.1 billion budget surplus by 2020.

The statement brings disappointing news for transport, energy, business and the environment as resource budgets will fall by 37%, 22%, 17% and 15% respectively.

In terms of policing in England and Wales, there are not any plans to make any cuts but the government aims for a rise in spending by £900 million by 2020.

From April 2017 there will be a two-child limit on child tax credit claims and the family element of tax credits will be scrapped for new claimants.

Healthcare is vital for any country and so the health budget will rise to £120 billion by 2020-21, which now stands at £101 billion. The NHS in England will receive an upfront cash injection of £3.8 billion next year as part of £8 billion added funding between next year and 2020-21.

The education budget will rise by £10 billion by 2020 and there will be a new 30-hour free childcare subsidy for parents of three and four-year-olds but this will be limited to parents working more than 16 hours each week.

From April 2016, there will be a 3% surcharge on stamp duty for buy-to-let properties and second homes however, there are plans to hand £2.3 billion to private developers to build 400,000 new homes in England.

State pension will rise by £3.35 a week to £119.30 next year and each individual and small business will have their own digital tax account by the end of the decade.

Transportation could be on the mend with capital funding of transport projects set to rise by 50% by 2020 and £250 million to make sure motorways and other roads in Kent are supported.

i-Jam Media, who are an advertising sales agency based in Hastings, have announced that they are working with the prestigious TEDxBrighton event again this year and will be securing sponsorship for this year’s event.

The Brighton TEDx talks are independently organised by a volunteer team and have grown rapidly over the last few years and is now a sell-out event with over 1000 delegates attending 2014’s event, which is held at the Brighton Dome. The delegates themselves come from a wide range of industries from tech start-ups to global corporations and the public sector and anyone in technology, education and design (which, incidentally, is what TED stands for) will be there to hear the speakers talk on a whole range of diverse topics.

The one-day event is held on the 30th October and has a theme on Losing Control. The line-up of speakers has already been announced. There will also be another one-day event called the ‘Ideas Lab’, which will showcase emerging technologies such as start-ups and other businesses from across the region.

If you are interested in going along then please visit their website here where you can find out about who is speaking and where to get tickets. Likewise, if your business could benefit from being associated with TEDxBrighton then please call i-Jam Media today on 01424 205481 or visit their website here. There are opportunities to find out about sponsorship (some options are sold out) and advertising on the day to the delegates.

A new limit for contactless card payments has increased to £30 making it easier for UK customers to pay for items.

The number of people using contactless cards in the UK has risen because not having to enter a pin number or provide a signature makes payment easy.

The initial limit was £20 however the technology giant Apple has also allowed its customers to use Apple Pay on their devices, which is another factor of the increased limit.

Despite certain hesitation from the consumer group Which?, who warned that data could be easily stolen by determined fraudsters, transactions for the first half of this year was £2.5 billion. This figure is higher than the previous year, which was £2.32 billion spend in total.

Both contactless payments and Apple Pay have proven to be secure, with Apple Pay using touch ID on the iPhone 6 and a passcode on the Apple Watch.

Weekly supermarket shops are now easier for customers as the average £25 shop will be covered, the UK Cards Association said.

Local e-learning company Cherrystone have had their full range of products endorsed by the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL).

ITOL is the UK’s elite professional body for learning and development professionals, and promotes commitment to the highest standards in the learning and development profession. It pursues this mission internationally as well as in the UK, with a presence in over 30 countries.

ITOL director Harry Bundred said: “I have been very impressed by the quality of material produced by Cherrystone. I am confident that it will be of great value to trainers, managers and individual learners.”

Through the Cherrystone website, you can quickly access a wide range of ebooks, videos and audio recordings, on topics including personal development, leadership and management, and health and safety. The products are reasonably priced and the easy to use credits system means that you can target your spending on the areas which are most relevant to you and your business. Signing up is free and you will immediately receive a free e-book which is full of top tips for managing your business. All of Cherrystone’s video content is free to access until the end of June –a great reason to sign up today!

Every month, the directors at McPhersons share some useful financial tips especially for Business in Hastings readers. This month, Ainsley Gill looks at the recent announcement regarding paper tax forms being replaced with digital accounts.

Changing over to digital could make it much easier for over 11 million taxpayers and 12 million companies.

The Chancellor, George Osborne announced the end of the paper annual tax form and he promises to bring in digital tax accounts for all individuals and small businesses.

These new tax accounts unveiled in the March Budget and will be accessible at any time from a computer, smartphone or iPad. They will perform just like an online bank account.

The Treasury are selling the idea as a concept that will make it much easier for the 11 million taxpayers and 12 million companies who currently fill in an annual tax form to pay the right tax at the right time without filing a return. It describes the current system as complex, costly and time consuming.

Many believe the digital process is more to do with transparency for the Government and Treasury. When people log on to their account, they will be able to see how their tax is calculated as HM Revenue & Customs automatically updates it with information from employers, the Department for Work and Pensions, pension providers and banks. People will be able to pay their taxes when it is most convenient to them by linking to a bank account and arranging payments by instalments or by Direct Debit.

Instead, firms will be able to provide details in ‘real time’, the Government will benefit from prompt payments from this up to date information.

This change should help growing companies who will no longer have to pay a ‘one off’ big end of financial year tax demand because HMRC has calculated their payments on the previous year’s information.

According to the Treasury, the switch will be completed by 2020. In early 2016, 5 million small businesses and the some 10 million individuals will have access to their own digital tax account (or their accountant may access it for them).

By 2017, the first group of people with simple tax affairs will no longer have to complete an annual return. By 2020, businesses will be able to link their accounting software to their digital tax account so they can feed in information as they choose.

People who currently do their tax return on paper can continue to do so if they wish, but over time this is thought to reduce in favour of digital returns.

Need more help?

This feature aims to give some informal hints and McPhersons are offering small businesses free advice so get in touch now to arrange your free meeting 01424 730000.

The new Apple Pay system will launch in the UK in July but will be limited to £20 payments. Many retailers and UK banks have decided that they will offer the new system, all apart from Barclays who will not.

The system works by iPhone 6 or Apple watch users touching their devices to contactless pads and nothing more. However, Apple Pay will be similar to the existing contactless card payments where the amount per transaction is capped at £20.

Despite the contactless cards being capped at this amount, the limit on both debit and credit cards is due to increase to £30 in September. This could also be likely for Apple Pay payments and it is possible that agreements with some retailers could mean that they will allow higher payments.

Another bonus to Apple Pay is that it allows customers to pay online by simply using their own fingerprint. The new fingerprint technology has become popular and eventually new technology could overtake those existing ones such as cash payments or normal chip and pin.

Once Apple Pay has come into effect, retailers including Marks and Spencer as well as Waitrose have announced that they will offer the service. Tesco will not be adopting the system and ASDA is another supermarket that will not be using the service, along with its parent company Walmart who has not signed up in the US.

Apple Pay does not mean that businesses will have to install any new payment hardware because it will use the same existing contactless system and so it will be easy for companies to use the system, should they decide to.

Apple has created a system that will cause competitors to try to fight back and it is said that the phone company, Samsung, is likely to launch something similar in the UK later on this year.

Hi Tech Hastings company Alpine Components train engineers from GlaxoSmithKline site at the Innovation Centre

Alpine Components’ Chief Technician and trainer Micky Jackson recently carried out a training session at the Innovation Centre for six engineers that work at the blue-chip pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Worthing.

ultraprobe 9000

The high technology training was organised to help Glaxosmithkline fully utilize a piece of equipment they purchased back in 2013, which is called an Ultraprobe 9000. The product is a portable, hand-held ultrasonic detector, which can detect high frequency sounds and translate them in to an audible frequency.

This technology will enable the GSK engineers to find very small leaks that can seriously disrupt production or waste energy and money. The company also plans to use the equipment to monitor and trend the condition of mechanical components on-site, such as bearings, pumps and gearboxes. This will allow GSK to detect mechanical defects at an early stage and prevent unexpected failure and downtime of critical machinery.

The Hastings based company export thermal imaging and ultrasonic products such as the Ultraprobe 9000 all over the world and have shipped this equipment to more than 60 countries.

Alpine Components are grateful for the opportunity to host training days and events like this at the Innovation Centre, and would also like to thank the Sussex Exchange for the catering that was provided during the training days.

Hi Tech Hastings company Alpine Components train engineers from GlaxoSmithKline site at Innovation Centre

Alpine Components’ Chief Technician and trainer Micky Jackson recently carried out a training session at the Innovation Centre for 6 engineers that work at the blue-chip pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Worthing.

E-learning, the use of electronic technology to provide training and education, is becoming increasingly prevalent as a method of delivering both personal and work-based learning.

The prevalence of laptops, tablets and smartphones has made it possible for people to access learning when and where it is convenient to them – on the train or bus to work, in the office or, in Hastings, even on the cherrystone elearningbeach!

Berry Winter, Managing Director of local e-learning provider Cherrystone Ltd said: “People are starting to find that a few minutes of ‘bite-size’ learning, at a time and location which is convenient to them, can be just as beneficial as a full day’s training course.”

Many large organisations, ranging from local authorities to multi-national organisations, are now using e-learning as part of a ‘blended learning’ approach, combining online learning with traditional face to face methods. This blended approach saves money and time through utilising technology, while retaining the benefits of face-to-face contact through shorter and sharper workshops and courses.

E-learning can be easy, engaging and exciting and is a new way of learning that many can appreciate. If you are looking to learn new skills or want insight and ideas on how to handle on workplace based situations then this could be the easiest way to learn these things.