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NCSC shares cyber guidance for large infrastructure builds

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NCSC shares cyber guidance for large infrastructure builds

Michael Flippo – stock.adobe.com

Balfour Beatty and McAlpine are among the large construction firms to have input into latest NCSC guidance for ensuring the security of major infrastructure projects

Alex Scroxton

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Published: 23 Aug 2022 12: 30

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published refreshed guidance for construction firms working on major infrastructure projects, such as HS2, developed in collaboration with both government and industry.

The NCSC has been working alongside construction sector kingpins such as Balfour Beatty and Sir Robert McAlpine, as well as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Centre for the Protection of National infrastructure (CPNI), to address the information security risks that dog projects of extreme size, value and complexity.

The resulting best practice guide – which is now available for interested parties to download from the NCSC website – offers advice to help firms keep sensitive data safe from malicious actors by offering tailored advice on the data created, stored and shared in joint venture projects. It covers physical, personnel and cyber security.

“Joint ventures in construction are responsible for some of the UK’s largest building projects and the data they handle must be protected to keep crucial infrastructure safe,” said Sarah Lyons, deputy director for economy and society resilience at the NCSC.

“Failure to protect this information not only impacts individual businesses but can jeopardise national security, so it’s vital joint ventures secure their sites, systems and data.

“By following this new guidance – a first-of-its-kind collaboration between industry and government – construction firms can help put a holistic strategy in place to effectively manage their risks.”

“With cyber attacks becoming increasingly more intelligent, cyber security and protecting our own, our employees, our supply chain and customers’ data has never been more important,” added Balfour Beatty CIO Jon Ozanne.

“The introduction of the new Information Security Best Practice guide will play a key role in helping to combat the operational risks faced across the sector; raising the standard and educating those to the measures required to protect against cyber threats.”

Sir Robert McAlpine CISO Andy Black said: “Cross industry collaboration is important to help the construction sector level up its approach to information security. We are grateful for this opportunity to share our expertise and collaborate with our peers, the NCSC, BEIS and CPNI to develop this best practice guide for joint ventures.”

Among the guide’s recommendations are:

  • To establish information security governance and accountability within construction joint ventures, and to secure board-level engagement;
  • To identify staff who will hold responsibility for assessing specific information security risks, and developing a shared information security strategy;
  • To understand the specific risks and any regulatory requirements for the joint venture, and agree a shared risk appetite across all parties;
  • And to develop and agree on a shared information security strategy to manage and mitigate the risks holistically, including physical, personnel and cyber risks.

Earlier this year, the NCSC issued more generalised cyber guidance for the construction industry, pitched more at small and medium-sized organisations and sole traders or contractors. This guide, which was co-written by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), can be found here.

This guidance is split into two parts, with the first aimed at helping owners and managers in construction understand why they need to pay attention to cyber security and why it matters, and the second aimed at providing more practical advice for staff with responsibility for IT equipment within construction companies and on building sites.





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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives
Nothing Ear (stick) held by a model on white background



(Image credit: Nothing )

True to form, Nothing has just announced the full reveal date for its upcoming audio product, Ear (stick). 

So, an announcement about an announcement. You’ve got to hand it to Carl Pei’s marketing department, they never miss a trick.

What we’re saying is that although we still have ‘nothing’ conclusive about the features, pricing or release date for the Ear (stick) except an image of another model holding them (and we’ve seen plenty of those traipsing down the catwalk recently), we do have a date – the day when we’ll be granted official access to this information. 

That day is October 26. Nothing assures us that on this day we’ll be able to find out everything, including pricing and product specifications, during the online Ear (stick) Reveal, at 3PM BST (which is 10AM ET, or 1AM on Wednesday if you’re in Sydney, Australia) on nothing.tech (opens in new tab)

Any further information? A little. Nothing calls the Ear (stick), which is now the product’s official name, “the next generation of Nothing sound technology”, and its “most advanced audio product yet”. 

But that’s not all! Apparently, Ear (stick) are “half in-ear true wireless earbuds that balance supreme comfort with exceptional sound, made not to be felt when in use. They’re feather-light with an ergonomic design that’s moulded to your ears. Delivered in a unique charging case, inspired by classic cosmetic silhouettes, and compactly formed to simply glide into pockets.” 

Opinion: I need more than a lipstick-style case

Nothing Ear (stick) – official leaked renders pic.twitter.com/FrhKmRttmiOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that I want Nothing’s earbuds to succeed in world dominated by AirPods; who doesn’t love a plucky, eccentric underdog? 

But in order to become some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, there is room for improvement over the Nothing Ear 1, the company’s inaugural earbuds. 

Aside from this official ‘news’ from Nothing, leaked images and videos of the Ear (stick) have been springing up all over the internet (thank you, developer Kuba Wojciechowski) and they depict earbuds that look largely unchanged, which is a shame. 

For me, the focus needs to shift from gimmicks such as a cylindrical case with a red section at the end which twists up like a lipstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of theater, but only if the sound coming from the earbuds themselves is top dog. 

As the natural companions for the Nothing Phone 1, it makes sense for the Ear (stick) to take a place similar to that of Apple’s AirPods 3, where the flagship Ear (1) sit alongside the AirPods Pro 2 as a flagship offering. 

See, that lipstick case shape likely will not support wireless charging. That and the rumored lack of ANC means the Ear (stick) is probably arriving as the more affordable option in Nothing’s ouevre. 

For now, we sit tight until October 26. 

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.  

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers
Woman watching YouTube on mobile phone screen



(Image credit: Shutterstock / Kicking Studio)

You might soon have to buy YouTube Premium to watch 4K YouTube videos, a new user test suggests.

According to a Reddit thread (opens in new tab) highlighted on Twitter by leaker Alvin (opens in new tab), several non-Premium YouTube users have reported seeing 4K resolution (and higher) video options limited to YouTube Premium subscribers on their iOS devices. For these individuals, videos are currently only available to stream in up to 1440p (QHD) resolution.

The apparent experiment only seems to be affecting a handful of YouTube users for now, but it suggests owner Google is toying with the idea of implementing a site-wide paywall for access to high-quality video in the future.

So, after testing up to 12 ads on YouTube for non-Premium users, now some users reported that they also have to get a Premium account just to watch videos in 4K. pic.twitter.com/jJodoAxeDpOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that Google has been searching for new ways to monetize its YouTube platform in recent months. In September, the company introduced five unskippable ads for some YouTube users as part of a separate test – an unexpected development that, naturally, didn’t go down well with much of the YouTube community. 

A resolution paywall seems a more palatable approach from Google. While annoying, the change isn’t likely to provoke the same level of ire from non-paying YouTube users as excessive ads, given that many smartphones still max out at QHD resolution anyway. 

Of course, if it encourages those who do care about high-resolution viewing to invest in the platform’s Premium subscription package, it may also be more lucrative for Google. After all, YouTube Premium, which offers ad-free viewing, background playback and the ability to download videos for offline use, currently costs $11.99 / £11.99 / AU$14.99 per month.

Suffice to say, the subscription service hasn’t taken off in quite the way Google would’ve hoped since its launch in 2014. Only around 50 million users are currently signed up to YouTube Premium, while something close to 2 billion people actively use YouTube on a monthly basis. 

Might the addition of 4K video into Premium’s perk package bump up that number? Only time will tell. We’ll be keeping an eye on our own YouTube account to see whether this resolution paywall becomes permanent in the coming months.

Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the newest movies to latest Apple developments as part of the site’s daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned a gold standard NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme. 

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

USB-C als Ladestandard in der EU

Mundissima / Shutterstock


Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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