April 2024 Newsletter

Posted By: Mark Tuesday 14th May 2024 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This month: Charity & Social Responsibility, Incident response planning, touchless computer gaming, AI goes nuclear, Prof Ross Anderson obituary + a new team member.

Newsletter Image: Charity & Social Responsibility

Charity & Social Responsibility

At LaneSystems, we take social responsibility seriously. We want our business to be accountable to the wider community and make sure we’re adopting ethical, sustainable and responsible business practices. We hope our practices provide a benefit to those charities and non-profits in need of vital IT services.

More Than One – Ethical Product Use and Disposal

We have programs for responsible product use and disposal, such as electronics recycling initiatives.

For many years, we have been supporting as many local charities as we can. Our “More than One” Policy sees us donating computer equipment on a regular basis, often working with our current partners to find their old equipment a new home when they upgrade their own.

By saving money on new equipment, the charities we support can instead invest vital funds in their services and support.

Skills and Time-Based Volunteering

It’s not just donating old equipment. We leverage our IT expertise to assist local non-profits with tech support and other IT services. We also help finding the right partner for a project or event, while we can source funding and discounts for charities to get the appropriate software and hardware.

We provide the installation and security man power to keep charity businesses safe and secure.Unfortunately, cyber criminals don’t leave charitable organisations out of their sights.

Charity Tech Fund

While we’ve been providing much needed IT equipment and IT services to charity partners for many years, we’ve only ever kept a simple overview on our website.

LaneSystems is committed to giving 2.5% of profit on hardware sales towards I.T. equipment for the nominated charity for the month. From this month onwards, our website charity page will keep a more public rolling tally of our monthly work with our partners. We’ll be providing regular updates on the organisations we’re partnering with and the amount provided in equipment and labour provided.

St Teresa’s Hospice

During April, we have donated £2550 in equipment and labour to St Teresa’s Hospice, a registered charity providing palliative and end-of-life care and support in South Durham & North Yorkshire, as part of an ongoing infrastructure project. This will help St. Teresa’s save on continuing costs of the running of their secure I.T. infrastructure.

Keep up to date with all our charity partners on our website.

Newsletter Image: New Team Member – Shaw Kidd

New Team Member – Shaw Kidd

We are delighted to announce the addition of new service desk technician, Shaw Kidd, to our IT team. With a passion for technology and a knack for troubleshooting, Shaw is always eager to help out wherever he can.

Having served in the RAF for 8 years, Shaw developed invaluable skills in teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability. Now, he’s applying his military experience to the world of technology, eager to learn and contribute in new ways.

Shaw already made an impression when Michel took the team out Go Karting and for a meal at the Peking Garden in Stockton.

Shaun Sedgwick was the winner, with Damian Macdonald second and Shaw a creditable third. A great time was had by all.

Welcome to the team, Shaw!

Newsletter Image: Does Your Business Have An Incident Response Plan

Does Your Business Have An Incident Response Plan

An April report from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) paints a concerning picture regarding cyber security incident response awareness amongst UK businesses.

The report emphasises the lack of preparedness and proactive measures among UK businesses and charities in dealing with cybercrime, highlighting the need for better incident response plans and greater awareness of cybersecurity.

DSIT Report Summary

Incident Response

Only 22% of UK businesses have a formal incident response plan for security breaches, which experts find surprising.

Reporting Rates

A mere 10% report the most disruptive breaches to the police, and even fewer to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Action Taken

Post-breach, 39% of businesses took no action, while others focused on staff training or minor security updates. Notifications about cyber incidents were only given to clients and customers 5% of the time.

Awareness Decline

There’s a downward trend in businesses seeking cybersecurity information, with only 41% doing so, reflecting a decrease in awareness of security initiatives.

Cost of a breach to UK Business

According to figures reported by The Register, it’s estimated that around 312,000 registered business in the UK were targeted by some flavor of cybercrime in the past year,and 27,000 registered charities – 22% and 14% of the total respectively.

According to DSIT’s data, the average business that suffered any kind of security breach took a financial hit of £1,206. For medium and large businesses, this was predictably much higher than any micro and small organisations at £10,830. With data theft it becomes more costly, averaging £6,940, with an average high of £40,400 for medium and large businesses.

Be Prepared – Be Cyber Aware

A clear, robust, plan for dealing with a cyber-attack — or any cyber security incident — is vital to keeping your business running with minimal disruption. Corporate data disasters come in many forms. As a business you never know when this may occur. Help safeguard the future of your company with data recovery services from LaneSystems. We can also help your business become Cyber Aware and get your company certified with Cyber Essentials Plus. Contact us today for further information.

Newsletter Image: Touchless Computing Makes Gaming Accessible

Touchless Computing Makes Gaming Accessible

The BBC reports on the use, in gaming circles, of a relatively new concept of touchless computer technology that could allow anyone to play any game, using only standard laptop equipment.

MotionInput is a groundbreaking suite of touchless computing technologies developed by UCL Computer Science academics. It allows users to interact with computers without traditional input devices like a mouse or keyboard. Instead, it leverages facial expressions and physical gestures captured by a standard laptop’s built-in webcam.

The project began during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 when UCL researchers aimed to reduce virus spread in hospitals. They devised a touchless computing solution that didn’t require specialised equipment — just an everyday PC with a webcam. Initially designed for clinicians, it quickly evolved into a transformative tool for broader societal empowerment.

Empowering People

Students and academics at UCL have contributed to MotionInput, designing, building, and testing AI solutions for various controlled motions, conditions, and human capabilities. The goal is to make computing accessible to everyone, regardless of physical abilities.

MotionInput collaborates with tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Intel, and HP, as well as world-leading charities and the NHS. These partnerships aim to expand the reach of touchless computing and create equitable opportunities for all users.


MotionInput offers an array of AI-enhanced features, including:

  • Facial Navigation: Control using facial expressions.
  • Hand Gestures: Gesture-based input.
  • Eyegaze Navigator: Navigate by eye movements.
  • In-air Multitouch and Touchless Mouse: Interact without physical contact.
  • Speech Commands: Voice-based control.
  • Custom Motion Icons: Personalised gestures for specific actions.

Touchless Gaming

A notable application of MotionInput is touchless gaming. Users can play games using only their laptop’s webcam, creating custom inputs that suit their needs. Whether running, jumping, or expressing joy, MotionInput makes gaming accessible to all.

Dr Lynsay Shepherd, senior lecturer in cybersecurity and human-computer interaction at Abertay University, says:

“In the context of gaming, it’s important that computers and consoles are accessible for individuals, something that has become particularly evident in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

“Games can reduce feelings of social isolation and support positive mental health, and people with accessibility issues deserve opportunities to engage in gaming.”

MotionInput aims to revolutionise how we interact with computers, emphasising inclusivity and freedom of movement. The software which supports it is available for free on the Microsoft Store.

Newsletter Image: AI Goes Nuclear In Conflict Simulations

AI Goes Nuclear In Conflict Simulations

In a study [PDF] conducted at Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Northeastern University, and the Hoover Wargaming and Crisis Simulation Initiative, researchers explored how artificial intelligence (AI) models behave in simulated wargames and diplomatic scenarios.

Aggressive Approach In All Tested LLMs

When AI acted as diplomatic agents, it tended to choose an aggressive approach, including the use of nuclear weapons. The unpredictability of AI decisions led to hard-to-predict escalations, often resulting in nuclear attacks.

The study used five large language models (LLMs), including versions of Open AI’s GPT, Claude (developed by Anthropic), and Llama 2 (developed by Meta). Even in neutral scenarios without initial conflicts, most LLMs escalated within the considered time frame. GPT-4-Base executed nuclear strike actions 33% of the time on average.

GPT-3.5 and Llama-2 tended to be the most violent, while Claude showed fewer sudden changes. Claude was designed with explicit values to reduce harmful content.

Caution Needed

Understanding the implications of using LLMs in sensitive areas like decision-making and defense is crucial. As AI technology integrates into military contexts, caution is urged.

Vice News, who first reported on the study, asked why LLMs were so eager to nuke each other?

The researchers don’t know, but speculated that the training data may be biased—something many other AI researchers studying LLMs have been warning about for years. “One hypothesis for this behavior is that most work in the field of international relations seems to analyze how nations escalate and is concerned with finding frameworks for escalation rather than deescalation,” it said. “Given that the models were likely trained on literature from the field, this focus may have introduced a bias towards escalatory actions. However, this hypothesis needs to be tested in future experiments.”

AI’s behavior in simulated wargames highlights both its potential and risks. Responsible deployment and ethical considerations are essential as AI continues to play a role in global security.

Newsletter Image: Professor Ross Anderson (1956-2024)

Professor Ross Anderson (1956-2024)

The world recently lost a brilliant mind in the field of computer science and information security when Professor Ross Anderson, died at the age of 67. His legacy is etched in the practical applications of security engineering that touch our everyday lives.

A multi-faceted genius, Ross Anderson defied categorisation. His interests spanned a vast spectrum, from cryptography to adversarial machine learning, and from information hiding to security psychology. As a decorated security expert and celebrated engineer, he left an indelible mark on the field.

Contributions to Real-World Security

Anderson’s work was driven by real-world problems. He authored and co-authored numerous papers,many of which he generously shared under the Creative Commons License. His influence extended to the design of widely used technologies, including chip and PIN bank cards, and, his efforts to expose security flaws in ATMs led to global changes in their design.

Anderson’s book, Security Engineering, first published in 2001 and now in its third edition,remains a cornerstone in the field. This authoritative book covers infrastructure, embedded systems, cloud services, and social media. Just as Anderson was an authority on information security, his book continues to provide rich insights for practitioners and researchers alike.

Champion of Privacy and Policy

Beyond academia,Anderson was a tireless advocate for privacy and security. In 1998, he founded the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), a thinktank that influenced UK tech policy. FIPR played a crucial role in amending the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, preventing browser surveillance without warrants and raising authorization levels for police access to passwords and decryption keys.

His brilliance, dedication, and fearlessness in challenging the status quo will continue to inspire generations of security professionals. Ross will be remembered not only for his technical prowess but also for his unwavering commitment to making the digital world safer for all. His legacy lives on in the code we write, the systems we secure, and the privacy we protect. RIP.