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Fiona Burgess is the Business Development Manager of Revell Research Systems, a Management and Technology Consulting Practice based at Exeter in the United Kingdom.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the authors.

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Review Entries for Day Monday, October 19, 2009

Alastair Revell, the Managing Consultant of Revell Research Systems, has just been elected to the Council of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers (IAP), which is the Institution's governing body. The Institution is Britain's leading professional organisation for people who work in the development, installation and testing of business systems and computer software.

 the iap coat of arms
The Coat of Arms of the 
Institution of Analysts and Programmers,
which were granted in 1994.

The Institution was established in 1981, although its roots stretch back into the 1970s, and was incorporated as a limited company by guarantee in 1993. Alastair Revell consequently also becomes a director of the corporate body.

Alastair Revell's election occurred at the Institution's Annual General Meeting in London, on Saturday, 17th October 2009. He became a Fellow of the Institution in 2006 and has been instrumental in establishing the IAP's undergraduate prize at the University of Plymouth, which was first awarded in 2008.

Posted by Revell Research Systems
Monday, October 19, 2009 2:22:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] General | IAP | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Microsoft released today its largest batch of patches ever, addressing some 34 vulnerabilities.

The batch comprises of some thirteen bulletins, eight of which are deemed critical by Microsoft - the most serious category in its classification scheme.

Worryingly, the FTP vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) is already allegedly being exploited.

Posted by Revell Research Systems
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 9:11:56 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, October 08, 2009
The South West Branch of the BCS Chartered Institute for IT has announced the first event of its 2009/2010 programme. The event, entitled Towards Online Safety 3.0, will be delivered by Ken Corish, the Education Advisor for Plymouth City Council, on Tuesday, 13th October 2009, at 7:30pm, in the Plymouth Lecture Theatre (Block C), Portland Square, University of Plymouth.
Posted by Revell Research Systems
Thursday, October 08, 2009 8:46:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] BCS | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bletchley Park, the Word War II code-breaking centre, has just been granted £460,500 by the Lottery Heritage Fund. The money will be spent on helping the site become a world heritage and educational centre.

Bletchley Park is important to the IT profession because it is largely regarded as being the birth place of the modern computer. Alastair Revell wrote about its importance to the IT profession on his blog in May 2009.

Posted by Revell Research Systems
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 6:02:11 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Revell Research Systems has just launched a Twitter account:-

Obviously, we will welcome anyone who wants to follow our progress, news and thoughts!

Posted by Fiona Burgess
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 6:10:55 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Saturday, September 19, 2009

The new branding for the British Computer Society has been launched on their web site today.

The visual identity has switched from blue to green, but the actual changes it is making are deeper and far more reaching than just colour changes!

The new web site refers largely to the "BCS" rather than the "British Computer Society" and has added a strap-line to its logo: "The Chartered Institute for IT", which seems to underscore its intention to play a larger role in IT internationally and to promote chartered status amongst IT professionals world-wide.

The BCS certainly seems determined to take up the mantle that naturally belongs to it and to start leading the IT profession in the United Kingdom and further afield.

In particular, it has revised how it will award Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status. It has added two extra stages to the assessment process, including an exam and a mandatory interview and presentation, which will apparently be largely conducted online.

An interesting development is the new Certificate of Current Competence, which will be renewable every five years. This seems to resemble the practice certificates used in some other professions, which are designed to show that the practitioner concerned is considered to be currently capable to practice. Information about this aspect of the changes being brought in are scant at this stage, but it seems this will be available to Chartered IT Professionals to prove that they are up-to-date.

The BCS has often been seen primarily as a learned body and perhaps has drawn criticism in the past for not representing "the industry". The BCS seems intent in redressing the balance, while not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Another change is the establishment of the BCS Academy of Computing, which looks set to become the focus of its learned activities.

Posted by Revell Research Systems
Saturday, September 19, 2009 12:26:09 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [1] BCS | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tony Collins' blog covers the recently published joint report by The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institution of Engineering and Technology and The British Computer Society.

The report essentially recommends that important IT projects should be lead by appropriately qualified chartered professionals - either Chartered Engineers (CE) or Chartered IT Professionals (CITP). The report is available from The Royal Academy of Engineering's Web Site.

Alastair Revell has welcomed this report and has blogged on the topic. He articulates the practice's view that the Chartered IT Professional (CITP) qualification is coming of age and marks an important stage in the development of the IT profession in the United Kingdom.

Posted by Fiona Burgess
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 11:25:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, July 02, 2009

We have recently seen a slight twist in the usual phishing emails that are designed to lure the unwary to web sites with malicious content. These emails, usually informing the recipient that they need to confirm their bank details or other credentials, have become common place and most users are probably sufficiently aware not to be tricked.

However, we have seen a number of emails recently that inform the user that they have a message in their secure inbox on their bank's web site and that they need to urgently log in to read it. Needless to say, the actual link in the email goes nowhere near a reputable bank!

The twist is that several banks and social networking sites do actually use the concept of a secure inbox on their web site to ensure confidential communication with their customers (remember email is far from confidential) and frequently send a normal email to alert the user that they have items needing their attention.

Such emails would be easy to spot if the recipient didn't use the bank that is purported to have sent the email. However, we think some of the emails are sufficiently similar to the branding of existing banks to potentially trick the unsuspecting, who may be customers of the impersonated bank.

We expect this scam to also target social networking sites, such as Facebook, in the near future.

These new phishing emails are, then, very plausible if you use banks or social networking sites that have this facility and use the same branding...

Our advice is NOT to click on links in suspicious or unexpected emails.

You can easily assess the danger of many links by simply hovering the mouse over them. Most newer email programs, such as Microsoft Outlook, will show a popup tooltip displaying the real target for the link. You must examine the link details very carefully to ascertain whether they are safe.

 a screenshot of a phishing email showing a tooltip displaying the real target address for the link

A screen-shot showing a typical tooltip that is displayed when a link is hovered over in Microsoft Outlook. Note that although the link purports to take the reader to their secure inbox, the link actually targets a Russian web site (ie: a .ru domain).

The trend is to embed the name of a well-known bank into the links to trick even the wary. A typical link might look like, etc.

If in doubt, don't!

Posted by Revell Research Systems
Thursday, July 02, 2009 12:01:01 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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