A Gibraltar police boat, Spanish Guardia Civil boat and Spanish fishing boats during a protest by Spanish fishermen last year. (Getty)
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Morning call: The best from Gibraltar

A selection of the best articles about politics, business and life on the Rock from the last seven days.

  1. Gibraltar urges action over fishing-boat gun incident

The Guardian reports: “Gibraltar authorities have asked the Foreign Office to take "immediate and firm action" after two residents in a fishing boat said they had a gun pointed at them last weekend by an officer of Spain's guardia civil. The Spanish police officer also rammed their boat in the incident, the Gibraltar government said in a statement on Tuesday.”

  1. EU urges Gibraltar, Spain to probe cigarette smuggling

Yahoo reports: “The EU's anti-fraud office on Monday urged Gibraltar and Spain to launch legal action after it found signs that organised crime was behind a rise in cigarette smuggling in southern Spain. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) made the recommendation after completing a probe it launched in August 2013 at the request of Madrid into a sharp rise in cigarette smuggling across the border between Gibraltar and Spain between 2009 and 2013.”

  1. A-Level Results: Gibraltar schools perform well despite new UK pass threshold

GBC News reports: “Gibraltar’s A-level results have remained steady above the 95 per cent pass rate, despite a UK government initiative to tighten up the threshold of pass rates across the country. This year also saw a pupil from Westside School becoming the first ever to get four A stars.”

  1. Gibraltar cracks down on speeding drivers

The Olive Press reports: “Keep your eyes peeled on Gibraltar’s roads. The Rock has begun preparations for the instalment of roadside ‘speed cameras’ in hazardous locations.”

  1. Jazz festival artists announced

GBC News reports: “The line-up for this year’s International Jazz Festival has been announced, with tickets now available from the Ministry of Culture at the City Hall. The headlining international acts are: Eliane Elias with guest Randy Brecker, and Fillet O Soul with guests Mica Paris, Omar and Madeline Bell.”

  1. Gibraltar soldier is best recruit

Gibraltar Chronicle reports: “A Royal Gibraltar Regiment soldier, Private Thomas Darby, 17, has been awarded the ‘Best Recruit’ following a successful completion of the Combat Infantryman’s Course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire.”

 

 

 

 

 

A year on from the Spending Review, the coalition's soothsayer has emerged to offer another gloomy economic prognosis. Asked by ITV News whether he could promise that there wouldn't be a double-dip recession, Vince Cable replied: "I can't do that.

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Cyberspace: the final frontier

With a Gibraltarian team set to enter the finals of the Cyber Security Challenge UK, Guy Clapperton looks at some of the fundamental mistakes people still make in securing their personal and business networks.

A few years ago I was stand-in news editor for a computing publication which had better remain nameless. I was asked to go and check the regular person’s database of press releases for stories. It was inaccessible unless you had the password, so I just tried p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d. I was in immediately.

It wasn’t a problem as the organisation wanted me to have the information, but what if it hadn’t? What if I’d been in HR or finance instead, and had malicious intentions? Presumably that little hole has been plugged by now but it’s indicative of the sort of managerial rather than technological issue people can face if they’re not careful. The Cyber Security Challenge UK laudably highlights the talents of young people when it comes to working out means of protection and the excellent progress of the Gsec team from Gibraltar is promising. However, two things stand out as needing to be addressed: first, the extent of the problem, and second, the basic errors people like my ex-client still make.

Extent

The extent of the problem is hard to pin down when you’re in the press. Walk into a room full of CEOs and ask who’s been hacked and regardless of the truth, nobody is going to confirm it’s happened to them because nobody wants it publicised. This is reasonable enough, and when someone like Sony a few years ago or Ashley Madison more recently suffer Cyber-attacks you can be sure these are just the ones the press has heard of. There is other data, though, to suggest the issue will continue to grow. This article is being published on Tuesday 9th February, designated Safer Internet Day, and to mark it security company Kaspersky Lab has published research that suggests 12% of 16 to 19 year olds in the UK know someone who has done something illegal on the Internet; 35% would be impressed if a friend hacked into a bank’s website and replaced the homepage with a cartoon and one in ten would be impressed if a friend hacked into an airport’s traffic control systems.

There wasn’t any data on how many teenagers would say any old thing to shock a researcher. However, the first point is the most salient – over one in ten suggest they’ve seen someone do something illegal electronically. So, if you’re a business owner or just concerned about your security it’s just as well to ensure that a number of previous clangers don’t affect you.

Managerial errors

Security is far from just electronic. A handful of things can go wrong because staff haven’t been briefed:

  • You protect all electronic copies of every sensitive document and someone prints one of them out – and leaves it on the printer for an hour before picking it up. Or leaves it in a hotel lobby, on a train…all of these things have happened and hard copy print isn’t protected or encrypted.
  • You have visitors to your company and one of your employees nips to the loo. This is fine as long as their screen saver covers anything sensitive pretty quickly, and as long as the screen saver is password protected so someone wiggling the mouse or pressing a key won’t be able to get at all the details.
  • Pet names, partner names and the word “password” have never been good passwords and it remains poor practice to keep the default PIN that came with your phone’s voicemail.

Finally, back on the technology side, if you have a small network and it’s big enough to have a network administrator, don’t forget to ensure their administrator password is changed frequently and not easy to guess. There have been instances in which this hasn’t been done, and that password controls the system that can change all the other passwords and lock you out.

A lot of it is common sense. The Gsec team will be looking to defend people from more sophisticated attacks – but never overlook the obvious.

The New Statesman will be publishing a supplement on Cybersecurity in the issue dated 26 February.

Guy Clapperton is the freelance journalist who edits the New Statesman’s Gibraltar hub. You can also find him in the Guardian, Computer Business Review and Professional Outsourcing which he edits.