01 October 2021

Welcome to today's '7 Things'.

Adrian Weckler Adrian Weckler
Technology Editor

1. Confidence in Ireland’s cybersecurity tanks

Tech leaders surveyed now say that Ireland’s setup is “not fit for purpose”. They also say we should get ready for further attacks, especially on public bodies such as the education system.

Is this a surprise? Last week, an Irish Minister of state with responsibility for cybersecurity said that 30,000 Windows 7 PCs in the HSE is no big deal. (Ossian Smyth also apparently didn’t know that Wannacry was ransomware, wrongly correcting a TD who said as much.) There’s still no permanent director of the National Cyber Security Centre. And cabinet ministers still get away with casually saying that their phone was hacked to deflect from potentially embarrassing enquiries about what was stored on their phone.

Tech companies aren’t blind to this. And they’re increasingly getting worried that the state isn’t up to the task of basic national cybersecurity.

I explored this in depth on today’s podcast with cybersecurity expert Paul C Dwyer and Senator Gerard Craughwell, who says that Ireland’s security readiness is “a joke”.

2. Magnet boss says ‘no more bots’

I interviewed John Delves, the boss of Magnet+ (the new name for Magnet and Airspeed). He says that customer service bots are out and human agents are back in. He also promises an answer within 6 rings.

3. 230,000 ‘left-behind’ senior citizens to get tech lessons

Might your parent or grandparent find this useful? Older citizens struggling with the basics of smartphones, laptops and online services will be helped under a new scheme organised by charities retirement associations and funded by Vodafone.

4. Phones, laptops and creepy glasses: what to buy, what to avoid

What recently-launched tech products are flops? Which ones are genuinely worth getting? With the dust now settling on the main tech launches of the year, here’s what you need to know.

5. Ask Adrian Helpdesk

This week, I answer a question from a man who says he wants a way of recording radio shows to listen to later while riding a tractor or milking cows.

6. Fitbit’s new fitness tracker is… fine

Fitbit’s new Charge 5 is a little bigger and more powerful than the slim Charge bands of previous years. But is a fatter, more advanced wrist-gadget worth the extra €30? Here’s my review.

7. Review: iPad 9’s front videocamera upgrade makes it the best value tablet you can get

Apple’s newly-upgraded base iPad model may look identical to last year’s version. But a key upgrade to its front-facing camera, as well as engine improvements, make it a relative bargain.

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