Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Turn off your WiFi

Data protection and management specialists Credant Technologies has warned laptop users to turn off their WiFi signals before stowing theirlaptop in the boot of their car or stashing their laptop in the office cupboard or desk drawer, apparently out of sight of thieves. With BTOpenzone recently announcing it had passed the million WiFi access point mark in the UK and with cellular carriers boosting their coverage, WiFi use is expanding very rapidly

But this expansion is accompanied by an increasing availability of low-cost keyfob WiFi detectors, as well as quite sophisticated directional detectors, both of which can be used by thieves to detect the presence of an out of sight laptop. There may not be many of these detectors in the UK at present - but it is only a matter of time.

Credant suggest that the real focus of identity thieves is the company laptop, which, as well as being a saleable item in its own right, can also contain valuable company data that can potentially be sold to the highest bidder online.

And because many of the latest laptops have a set time - sometimes up to 30 minutes - before they go into sleep mode when the laptop lid is shut, it makes shopping centres in particular around 6pm on weekdays a prime source of notebook computers just waiting to be stolen.

That person waving their car keys around, ostensibly trying to find their car, may well be looking for cars emitting a strong WiFi signal.

You may not be able to totally prevent your laptop being stolen, but only switching on the WiFi when it is really needed and, of course, encrypting the data on the notebook drive, will go a long way to preventing your computer becoming just another statistic, and valuable data possibly finishing up in the hands of a competitor.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Chichester to start charging for parking in rural towns

In line with most authorities in Britain, Chichester District Council has decided to begin charging for off street parking in the district's rural towns. This will not start until April 2011, by which time it is predicted the recession will be well and truly over (if you believe anything the government say) and the pressure on the local economy will have eased. This will follow the introduction of CPE in spring of 2010

The intent is to allow the first hour free and then 20p per hour. Not a fortune you may think - anyone who can afford to run a car can afford these charges.

Despite this, there has been massive resistance from local pressure groups and traders. Of course, there is no such thing as "free parking". The costs of running and upkeep all have to be found out of local taxation. However, if the user pays this means the burden falls more fairly on car drivers who really need to park. Now the car parks are full of non-shoppers - tourists, commuters, dog-walkers, and those working in the towns.

This means that shoppers cannot find parking spaces near to the shops and currently have to drive around looking further afield for a place to park, often in the loading bays on the main road. Delivery lorries are then forced to double park causing gridlock for long periods of time, as anyone who has visited the area can confirm. Not only are local drivers inconvenienced by the congestion, but also any prospective visitor or tourist, faced with gridlocked traffic, is unlikely to stop to make a purchase.

In Midhurst for example shoppers can buy meat, veg, chemistry, hardware, greetings cards, pet supplies, stationary, from the high quality shops. The closest alternative sources of local produce are 15 miles away in Haslemere or Petersfield, where parking charges are 60p for 20 minutes.

Revenue controlled parking is resource efficient, ecologically sound, and equitable. That another local authority has seen the light is excellent news for our industry.