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March 13, 2014

Also in the news this week – 14 March 2014

Public wi-fi increasingly targeted by hackers

Troels Oerting, head of Europol's cybercrime centre, has told the BBC that people should only send personal data across trusted networks and warned that public wi-fi hotspots are increasingly being targeted by attackers. When people communicate with a bank, online shop or log in to social media sites in free wi-fi hotspots, there is an increased chance of attackers capturing their security data, according to Oerting. The warning comes only a few months after the European parliament turned off its public wi-fi system after a potential "man-in-the-middle" attack was identified. Charlie McMurdie, former head of the UK's cybercrime unit and now a senior security analyst at PWC, said: "A lot of mainstream criminals have identified there are easy opportunities and vulnerabilities just walking down the street and exploiting wi-fi networks that exist in every coffee shop."

Deadline approaches for consumer credit licence holders

Businesses with an OFT licence that want to continue carrying out consumer credit activities after 1 April 2014 need to register for interim permission. This renewal is necessary because the Office of Fair Trading is to close down. Responsibility for consumer credit licences is being passed to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The government has said that the new regime will bring "greater supervision and enforcement of standards". To get interim permission, businesses must register with the FCA and pay a fee of £350 (£150 for sole traders). Those that don't register by 31 March 2014 will no longer be able to legally continue with consumer credit related activities.

Military skills offer strategic advantage in business

A new report from economist Professor Merlin Stone commissioned by TIME:REBOOT VCT has found that leadership skills learned in the armed forces are transferring well to the business world. 62% of senior executives polled said business leaders with a military background perform better under pressure and 60% think that they are better at defining goals and motivating others. In addition, 88% of ex-military entrepreneurs believe their training has helped them to be more successful. Professor Stone said: "Our research shows that many senior executives of companies and investors view a military background in entrepreneurs and people running companies as a positive."

Retail footfall down due to floods

The latest figures from Ipsos Retail Performance have shown that there was marked decline in footfall during the recent flooding. Footfall was down 5.3% against February 2013 and there was also a month-on-month fall of 12.2%. Hardest hit was south west England and Wales, where numbers for February fell 8.1% on 2013. The week commencing 9 February, normally boosted by Valentine's Day trading, was the quietest of the month. Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: "What we saw in February was unusual, in that most of the month was affected." However, he added: "We see this just as a blip, rather than anything more significant."