Networking News Security

TalkTalk Defends URL-Tracking Anti-Malware Service

The Virus Alerts service will log all websites visited, but won’t infringe users’ privacy, says TalkTalk

TalkTalk is going ahead with tests of a network-based anti-malware service which logs all the URLs visited by its customers, despite fears that it will breach users’ privacy.

The Virus Alerts service, which TalkTalk tested in secret until users uncovered the project in July, records all web addresses visited by TalkTalk customers and can warn users who are visiting a site known to contain malware. Users complained in July that it was tested on them without their consent, and compared it to the notorious Phorm service, with which BT intended to target adverts based on user activity.

Users now have an opt-in to Virus Alerts

To avoid the criticism which surrounded July’s secret trial, users will be invited to opt-in to the new test, and the system will not track individual browsing histories, according to a blog by Clive Dorsman, managing director of technology at TalkTalk.

A FAQ on the new service argues that network-based anti-malware is better than that installed on individual PCs, because it allows the ISP to protect other Internet devices in a home as well as PCs, covering  “the whole connected home”.

“We now expect to be able to commence trials for a limited number of customers who have agreed to test our anti-malware system in the next few weeks,” said Dorsman. “This system will warn customers who opt into the service about sites they try to access, which we know to be infected with viruses or other malicious software.”

ThoughVirus Alerts, provided by Chinese network company Huawei, tracks all the sites visited by TalkTalk customers, Dorsman said “the system simply records the destination website URLs; it does not record who sends the request or other personal data with the URL.”

In September, the Information Commissioner investigated TalkTalk over the Virus Alerts test, but apparently it has been convinced that this test is above board. Dorsman said TalkTalk has “had some useful discussions with the relevant public bodies.”

On a different front, TalkTalk is championing user privacy, in opposing the Digital Economy Act, which would require it to monitor users’ downloads and issue warnings to people sharing copyright material. BThis month, BT and TalkTalk won a judicial review of the Digital Economy Act.

Goverment IT Mobile & Wireless News

TalkTalk Threatens Legal Action Over Mandelson’s File-Sharing Strategy

But TalkTalk’s challenge to Mandelson’s plan to disconnect illegal file-sharers depends on EU laws that are still under debate

Internet service provider TalkTalk has threatened to take legal action over Lord Mandelson’s plan to disconnect illegal file-sharers – but lawyers say the ISP’s case depends on European laws that are not yet passed.

TalkTalk’s executive director of strategy and regulation Andrew Heaney said in a blog post that Mandelson’s approach was “based on the principle of ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and substitutes proper judicial process for a kangaroo court”. He also warned that “TalkTalk will continue to resist any attempts to make it impose technical measures on its customers unless directed to do so by a court or recognised tribunal.”

The business secretary announced yesterday in a speech at the Cabinet Forum that the government’s “three strikes” policy on illegal file-sharing will be implemented by July 2011, unless his initial strategy of issuing warning letters brings about a 70 per cent reduction in online piracy. However, he emphasised that “technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting.”

Mandelson’s hard-line approach to file-sharing has already been heavily criticised by ISPs such as BT and TalkTalk, which have complained about the high costs of implementing such a scheme as well as the difficulties of enforcement. TalkTalk has even launched its ‘brightdancing’ ad campaign as a protest against Lord Mandelson’s plans to disconnect people accused of internet piracy without a trial.


Earlier in the month TalkTalk staged a demonstration in Middlesex, in which an internet security consultant used Wi-Fi hijacking to download content, including Barry Manilow’s hit Mandy. Within a couple of hours he had identified 23 wireless connections that were vulnerable to Wi-Fi hijacking on a single street . The aim was to demonstrate the difficulties of proving who is to blame for an illegal download, and that Mandelson’s plan to disconnect offenders could result in a large number of innocent victims.

However, the feasibility of TalkTalk having a serious legal case against the government over file-sharing depends largely on the outcome of formal talks in the European Commission to resolve differences of opinion on internet piracy laws. On 6 October, European telecoms ministers formally rejected the parliament’s key amendment – the now infamous Amendment 138 – which allowed governments and rights holders to force UK ISPs to disconnect their customers from the internet.

In its place, the new provision reads that “Any such measures liable to restrict those fundamental rights or freedoms may only be taken in exceptional circumstances and imposed if they are necessary, appropriate and proportionate within a democratic society… Any measures may only be adopted as a result of a prior, fair and impartial procedure ensuring inter alia that the principle of presumption of innocence and the right to be heard of the person or persons concerned be fully respected.”

Rob Bratby, partner in technology and media law firm Olswang, told eWEEK Europe that some kind of compromise should be reached in Europe over the next couple of months. However, with the date of the government’s digital economy bill in late November fast approaching, the question is whether there is enough time for Mandelson to unite public opinion.

News Security

Targeted Malware Shows Massive Surge

Different strains of malware have increased more than a hundred-fold over 2009 according to a report

Spam levels for 2010 peaked in August at 92.2 percent of all email worldwide, with the number of different strains of malware increasing more than a hundred-fold over 2009, according to a new report from Symantec released on Tuesday.

Targeted attacks, which focus on particular organisations, and which only emerged five years ago, also increased to around 77 each day by the end of 2010. The figures come from Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence 2010 Annual Security Report.

Fluctuating spam levels

Spam levels fluctuated throughout the year, peaking in August and averaging 89.1 percent, an increase of 1.4 percent over 2009, Symantec found.

For most of the year spam from botnets accounted for 88.2 percent of all spam, but that figure was reduced to 77 percent by the end of the year, following the closure of spam affiliate Spamit in early October 2010. By the end of the year the total number of active bots had returned to roughly the same as that at the end of 2009.

The total number of botnets worldwide is between 3.5 million and 5.4 million, Symantec said.

Rustock remains the dominant botnet, with spam output more than doubling since last year to more than 44 billion spam emails per day and more than 1 million bots under its control. Grum and Cutwail are the second and third-largest respectively.

The botnets made use of new tactics to keep their spam campaigns active in 2010, according to Symantec.

“From leveraging newsworthy events like the FIFA World Cup to taking advantage of the widespread popularity of URL shortening services and social networks, the spammers deployed a variety of tricks to bypass spam filters and lure potential victims,” said Symantec Hosted Services senior anayst Paul Wood, in a statement.

Polymorphic malware

The huge increase in malware variants is largely due to the growth in polymorphic malware variants, which are typically generated from toolkits that allow a new version of the code to be generated automatically, according to Symantec.

An example of this includes the Bredolab family of Trojans, which accounted for about 7.4 percent of all email-borne malware in 2010. Bredolab is “pay per install” malware, designed to seize control of the victim’s system so that it can be used by attackers or sold to another botnet.

Symantec noted that the boom in targeted attacks shows that more types of organisations are now being attacked.

“While five years ago large and well-known organisations were often targeted, today the scope of targeted organisations has expanded and now no organisation is safe from attack,” Wood stated.


Tech Firms Call On Vaizey To Safeguard Net Neutrality

Skype and eBay are among signatories to an open letter which has called for the government to back its promises over net neutrality

Internet heavyweights such as Skype and eBay have added their names to an open letter to culture minister Ed Vaizey, in which they call for a clear political commitment from the government to preserve net neutrality.

Last month, Vaizey clarified his stance on net neutrality (i.e. the unbiased running of Internet service access), saying that he is a supporter and that his comments at the Financial Times World Telecoms conference earlier in November had been misunderstood.

He had been reported as saying at that event that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be allowed to prioritise traffic from certain content providers, bringing an end to the principle of net neutrality.

Two Speed Internet

This appeared to indicate that Vaizey endorsed a “two-speed” Internet, where ISPs could potentially charge content providers such as the BBC with its bandwidth hungry iPlayer for faster transmission into UK homes.

But he later denied this was the case.

“My first and overriding priority is an open Internet where consumers have access to all legal content,” Vaizey told the Daily Telegraph. “Should the Internet develop in a way that was detrimental to consumer interests we would seek to intervene.”

Despite this, concerns remain. For example the founder of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has previously told The Guardian newspaper that net neutrality has been a topic of conversation between Vaizey and himself. “We have discussed it on the phone but I can’t say, yet, that we’re entirely in line,” he was reported as saying.

Open Letter

And this concern has prompted the open letter from big businesses to Vaizey, which calls for him to put in place five key rules to stand by the government’s commitment to net neutrality. A copy of the letter is available on the ISP review website.

“We welcome your recent statement that the UK Government supports access to the open Internet,” the letter starts off. “In particular we support your call for adherence to the openness principle both for fixed and mobile access to the Internet.”

“This is the first time that such a clear political commitment has been made in the UK to preserve the end-to-end principle that underpins the Internet, and the benefits it brings to citizens, consumers, businesses and economic growth,” the group said in the letter.

The letter then sets out five key principles to complement the government’s commitment.

First it says that the Internet must kept open for anyone to use in any way they wish, within the law. Second, the letter asks that traffic management be kept to a minimum and, crucially, deployed for purely technical, security or legal reasons. In addition, the letter also asks that information about traffic management is relayed to anyone who may need to know.

Fourthly the letter asks that “Future investment in network capacity and underlying infrastructure must take place in a way that is consistent with the end-to-end principle and where new models of Internet access do not compromise openness.”

The fifth and final demand is that “For competitive markets to function effectively, the regulatory framework must be fit for purpose and able to respond to abuses by network providers.”

Neutrality Concerns

The letter is signed by Coadec, Ariadne Capital, Consumer Focus, eBay, Eden Ventures, Imrg, the National Union of Journalists, the Open Rights Group, Oxford University, Reevoo, Skype, TechHub, Truphone, The Filter, we7, Which? and Yahoo Europe. Interestingly however, it seems that the BBC has not signed the letter, despite the corporation’s head of future media and technology, Erik Huggers, advocating the need for net neutrality last month.

The letter signals the concern of many organisations keen to ensure a free Internet where everyone is treated the same. However both Ofcom and the European Commission have questioned the need for net neutrality regulations in a highly competitive market, and a consultation is currently being carried out on the issue.

The letter in the UK comes at time of ideological firestorm in the United States over intervention, after the US regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which has proposed “rules” for an open Internet designed to stop mobile operators and telecoms providers from discriminating against Internet traffic from rivals.

The FCC, has had to deal with complaints that ISPs are not fairly treating the companies that use their data pipes.

Goverment IT Networking News Security

File-Sharing Case Against UK Teenager Is Dropped

A teenager charged with distributing copyrighted material using the BitTorrent site Oink has been acquitted due to lack of evidence

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped its charges against a teenage boy – who was charged in 2007 with illegally distributing copyrighted material – in a move that is bound to reflect badly on the government’s decision to crack down on Internet piracy.

Matthew Wyatt was only 17 when he was arrested by Cleveland Police, after sharing three albums and one single on popular BitTorrent file-sharing website Oink. According to his lawyers, Wyatt was not responsible for uploading the copyrighted material, but found the music files on a publicly accessible music site and moved them to Oink.

Lack of evidence

On 10 September 2007, several police officers and industry representatives entered Wyatt’s family home and seized more than 160 items. He was charged with distributing copyrighted material so as to prejudicially affect the copyright holder – a criminal offence that carries a maximum custodial sentence of ten years.

“Matthew Wyatt was the victim of a cynical attempt by the record industry to legitimise its heavy-handed tactics and dubious methods by using police resources and the public purse,” said David Cook, of Burrows Bussin Solicitors, which represented Wyatt.

However, the CPS has been forced to drop the case a few weeks before Wyatt’s trial was due to start, due to an oversight by the CPS and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. The two bodies failed to trace the digital watermarks of the copyrighted material back to the source, preventing Wyatt from being prosecuted.

“At no time during the course of this prosecution did the CPS actually produce any evidence that the material in question was in fact copyrighted,” said Cook. “In a world where kudos can be gained through early leaks, and fake tracks consisting of live versions, white noise and loops are rife, we believed that this was a dangerous gap in the evidence. We also found it extraordinary that the copyright holder was never asked to identify the tracks as being theirs.”

Making an example

Cook also claims that charging Wyatt with a criminal offence, rather than treating it as a civil case, was inappropriate. “Case law definitively states that copyright offences arising out of BitTorrent should be put before a civil judge,” he said. “In this case, there appeared a simple reason behind the decision to charge with a criminal act – the IFPI wanted to make an example of Matthew Wyatt.”

The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) expressed disappointment with CPS’s decision to drop the case, but said it did not undermine the case for tackling the “serious damage done by pre-release piracy”.

Last week, the leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman, rejected calls for full debate on the government’s controversial Digital Economy Bill – which could oblige Internet service providers to disconnect illegal file-sharers. The Bill has already passed its third reading in the House of Lords, and the government plans to pass it swiftly, as part of the “wash up” process at the end of the current government’s term. The bill will get a second reading in the House of Commons, which is expected to be the date on which the General Election will be announced. Protesters say this will prevent a full debate on the bill, despite widespread criticism of it.

Oink trials

In January, Alan Ellis – computer programmer and founder of Oink – was unanimously acquitted of conspiracy to defraud, in the UK’s first illegal file-sharing trial. When police raided Ellis’s home in October 2007 they discovered that the site had 200,000 members, who had downloaded 21 million music files. They also found almost £185,000 in his accounts.

However, Ellis explained that Oink did not host any music itself but simply indexed the files users had available on their computers. This allowed members to download music from other users for free. “All I do is really like Google, to really provide a connection between people,” he told police officers.

Despite the verdict, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), said the verdict was a “terrible disappointment”, showing that “the law is so out of touch with where life is these days”. Head of IFPI John Kennedy, said at the time that the industry was considering civil proceedings against Ellis, in a bid to retrieve the £185,000 he raised from the website.

News Security

US And Russia In Talks To Prevent Cyber Arms Race

The US is in talks with Russia and the UN to improve Internet security and prevent the breakout of cyber warfare

The US is in secret talks with Russia and the United Nations about strengthening Internet security and limiting military use of cyberspace, according to a report in the New York Times. The content of the talks is still unknown but the news marks a significant policy shift in the US, which has resisted entering into such talks for years.

Many countries, including the US, are developing weapons for use on some of the computer networks that are integral to large-scale operations, such as banks, electrical power systems, government offices and military organisations. These include “logic bombs” that can freeze computers at crucial times or damage circuitry, “botnets” that can disable or spy on websites and networks; and microwave radiation devices that can burn out computer circuits from miles away.

While the dangers of virtual conflicts are recognised, none of the countries involved wants to hinder any future deployment by revealing the technologies they have developed, according to James Lewis, a senior fellow at the centre for strategic and international studies and a cyber security expert. Both the US and Russia have sophisticated cyber warfare capabilities they are reluctant to document, Lewis told the Guardian.

Despite this, the Russians have long been pushing for an international treaty, similar to treaties that have limited the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, to tackle the increasing challenges posed by military activities to civilian computer networks. The US had previously resisted, arguing that it is impossible to distinguish between the commercial and military uses of software and hardware.


However, back in May, President Barack Obama declared an end to the country’s uncoordinated attempts to “deter, prevent, detect and defend” against cyber-attacks, promising a new approach to online security. “In this information age, one of your greatest strengths – in our case, our ability to communicate to a wide range of supporters through the Internet – could also be one of your greatest vulnerabilities,” Obama said at the time.

Since then, some commentators have begun to see signs of a move towards resolving what has been described as an international arms race. “In the last months there are more signs of building better cooperation between the US and Russia,” said Veni Markovski, a Washington-based adviser to Bulgaria’s Internet security chief and representative to Russia for the organisation that assigns Internet domain names. “These are signs that show the dangers of cybercrime are too big to be neglected.”

Progress has not been made on all fronts, however. In May, Obama also promised to appoint an official in the White House to handle all matters relating to cybersecurity, but has so far failed to do so. “The urgency for progress in cyber security remains, and, therefore, so does the need for the appointment of a qualified, credible, senior level official to the cyber security coordinator post,” wrote TechAmerica President Phil Bond in a letter to Obama in October.


Tesco Expected To Disrupt UK Banking With Outsourced Model

Tesco and others are using outsourcing and new IT to break further into the UK banking sector

The banking crisis has opened up the UK financial services sector to new entrants which will use new software licensing models to help them break into the previously closed market, according to analysts.

In a research note released this week, analyst group Datamonitor outlined its view on how technology could help new entrants break into the UK banking sector. In particular the analyst singled out retail giant Tesco which is hoping to expand on its foothold in financial services and offer customers full-blown banking services. Tesco has previously been in partnership with troubled RBS group but recently bought out its banking partner in favour of going it alone.

“That relationship is now winding down, however, with Tesco having bought RBS out of the partnership and established a timetable for the business to transfer to other infrastructure. Tech vendors say that Tesco has already selected its core banking system provider and intends to run the software itself,” said the report’s author Rik Turner, senior analyst with Datamonitor’s financial services division.

The report does not go into detail about what banking platform Tesco has selected but explains that other entrants are using new approaches to banking technology to give them a competitive edge against the troubled incumbents. For example, Vernon Hill, the US entrepreneur who founded Commerce Bancorp, plans to open a UK financial services institution called Metro Bank in October this year. Hill apparently plans to use banking software from Swiss firm Temenos but will avoid having to lay-out hefty up front IT costs by using a rolling payment approach.

“In terms of the IT platform that Metro Bank will be using, Hill has signed a deal with Swiss core banking provider Temenos for its T24 Model Bank. He has also expressed his amazement, in an interview with Retail Banker International magazine, that: “The typical outsourced IT model that all new US banks use, where you pay per account per month rather than paying the money up front, has never been used in the UK.” Industry sources say the deal with Temenos reflects that method,” Turner stated.

According to Turner, Metro Bank is not the only banking group that will adopt this approach to its banking software. “Core banking system providers tell Datamonitor that they have had talks with entrepreneurs from areas such as the Middle East, some of them with links to sovereign wealth funds, and that the common theme in all such conversations is for any venture in the UK to be, like Metro Bank, more opex- than capex-led with regard to its IT infrastructure,” the report stated.

New approaches to banking technology won’t just have an impact on banks but also other tech vendors that already supply software to the financial sector according to Datamonitor. “The big US players Fidelity and Fiserv should be in a good position, given that the service bureau model is in their DNA. Temenos says it has gained such expertise since its 2007 acquisition of German software company Actis-BSP. Computer Sciences Corp is also looking to pick up such business through its relationship with Oracle’s i-flex banking software division,” the report stated.

However, although Swiss banking software provider Temenos should benefit from its involvement with Metro Bank, the tech company has also been linked to some of the previous fall-out from the banking crisis.

In March, Scotland’s largest building society, Dunfermline Building Society was sold today to Nationwide in a move underwritten by the UK Treasury. Dunfermline, was reported to have lost £31 million in setting up an expensive IT subsidiary to outsource mortgage activity at other financial institutions.

Dunfermline Solutions mortgage IT system was developed in cooperation with Temenos, over a period of at least five years. In a case study on Temenos’ website, Stewart Cooper, director of operations for Dunfermline discussed how the building society was using Temenos’ Globus application to develop its own mortgage IT system that would be distributed via Dunfermline Solutions.



Tesco Adopts CA Software For Carbon Audit

Retailer Tesco is using CA’s ecoSoftware to manage its carbon emissions worldwide, with cap-and-trade laws due in the UK

The UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco, will use CA’s ecoSoftware to manage and reduce its carbon emissions worldwide, and meet the UK’s requirements for carbon accounting.

Tesco has been keeping track of its carbon emissions for several years, and plans to reduce them by 50 percent before 2020, compared with a baseline of 2006, but the data collection has been difficult, according to Simon Palinkas, head of Tesco’s Green IT group.

“It’s been a time-consuming process, which we’ve done manually, with spreadsheets until now,” said Palinkas. “It has become an unmanageable task – those spreadsheets were not sustainable.”

Tesco has used the CA ecoSoftware to automate the collection of the data it already collected, and apply workflow, so the data is reliable and backed by an audit trail, which would stand up to the external examination which will be applied when the UK’s carbon reduction commitment comes into force in April 2010, requiring larger companies to buy and trade carbon credits.

“We need a process for people to follow, so the data is validated,” said Palinkas. “At Tesco we like things to be out of the box and simple.”

The software was adaptable enough to handle existing sets of data, he told eWEEK Europe: “It’s not the tail wagging the dog – we didn’t have to change the way we operate to adopt this system.” The company is moving to further automate, and get real-time energy usage data for better control, he said.

The Carbon Reduction Commitmentn (CRC) will require companies using more than 6000MWh or electricity a year to register by next April, and buy carbon credits, at a price of £12 per tonne of CO2, said Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard Company, at an event organised by CA.

Although awareness of the CRC rules is improving, most companies are not ready, warned David Metcalfe, director of green analysts Verdantix: “A year ago, there was a fear that business might boycott this. Now they are on board, but a lot of them will get in a panic.

IT departments are unprepared for carbon trading, analyst firm Gartner warned earlier this year. Accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers has produced a model of how to report carbon emissions.

Around 22 products are available for carbon accounting, but most have not achieved much recognition so far, said Metcalfe: “The market leader is Microsoft Excel,” he said, referring to home-made solutions like Tesco’s spreadsheets.

Tesco selected CA comparing against other products, said Palinkas, and in all a few dozen Tesco staff will use the software: “We’ll have them trained up in the next few weeks.”

Tesco has 468,000 Tesco employees, and 4,000 locations in 14 countries. Compared with 2006 figures, the country plans to halve emissions from its buildings by 2020; halve the emissions produced by its distribution network by 2012; and halve emissions from new stores by 2020. The company has already halved its energy use per square foot in its UK stores and now sends no waste at all to landfill, Palinkas said.

some green campaigners would prefer Tesco to compare its carbon emissions to figures from 1990, in line with organisations meeting the Kyoto targets, but the company argues differently.


Tesco To Provide Free In-Store Wi-Fi

Supermarket chain Tesco is testing free in-store Wi-Fi in four of its stores, with plans to roll out across the UK

Tesco is set to become the first British supermarket chain to offer customers a free Wi-Fi Internet service inside its stores.

The company is currently piloting the scheme in four outlets around the UK. Tesco’s chief information officer Mike McNamara said that if the trials prove successful, the technology will be rolled out across the company’s 2,700 stores, adding to the free Wi-Fi available from other sources.

Read reviews as you shop

Tesco believes that in-store Wi-Fi will offer customers a richer shopping experience [ie: it will make them buy more – Editor], allowing them to compare prices and read product reviews as they shop. The company hopes the move will help to reinvigorate its domestic business.

“You can stand Canute-like and pretend nothing is happening … or you can say it’s happening, and I am going to help it happen,” McNamara told the Financial Times. “My guess is it will go to all stores.”

Much of the required infrastructure is already in place, as Tesco already uses Wi-Fi in its own operations. However, the company warned that if customers “sit there streaming video forever”, it may have to switch off the service.

Wi-Fi is already provided in a number of food and drink chains, such as Starbucks and McDonalds, allowing customers to surf the net over a cup of coffee or a hamburger. Some analysts are now predicting that retailers will be next in line.

Indoor positioning

As well as allowing customers to surf the web, Wi-Fi can also be used to provide indoor navigation services, using Wi-Fi triangulation. Tesco already offers an iPhone application that can locate any grocery product on any shelf, allowing customers to “satnav” their way around the store.

The company installed a prototype “satnav” system at the Tesco Extra in Romford earlier this year, but warned that it would not be rolled out to customers in general for a while. “We have to think about how useful it’s going to be,” said Nick Lansley, head of R&D for, in a blog post. “It would be awful if we did all this work but few customers really used it.”

While indoor location-based services can be useful for the consumer, it can also enable retail chains to gather intelligence on how consumers shop. For example, they could track how customers move around a store and place their products accordingly.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots

Consumers are becoming increasingly used to accessing the Internet over public Wi-Fi.  Both BT and Virgin Media offer a network of public Wi-Fi hotspots in city centres across the UK, offering data transfer speeds of up to 8Mbps and up to 5Mbps respectively. Providers often allow free access for specific users – for instance BT offered free access to iPad users.

Many people are still waiting to see how the government’s Digital Economy Act will impact on provision of Wi-Fi hotspots. Under the terms of the Act, all Wi-Fi hotspots have been declared “public communications services”, which means the owner of the free Wi-Fi hotspot will be held responsible for any misuse of the connection.

Meanwhile, small businesses and entrepreneurs in the US who offer Internet access to their customers are being urged to properly secure it, to avoid allegations of online piracy.


News Security

Tesco Triggers Nokia N8 Price War

Tesco has triggered a price war for Nokia’s long-anticipated answer to the Apple iPhone, the N8, by undercutting the Finnish vendor’s official online price

On  by Tom Jowitt 3

Last week Nokia confirmed rumours that its forthcoming flagship smartphone, the N8, will arrive at the end of this month. But now it has been revealed that UK supermarket Tesco will significantly undercut Nokia’s online pricing for the desirable handset.

Nokia has already announced that its online shop will sell the N8 for £429 SIM-free. Indeed, it is taking pre-orders for the phone which will arrive in the last week of September.

Meanwhile, the N8 handset will also be available from UK operators (O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Three Mobile and Virgin Mobile), as well as high street retailers (the Carphone Warehouse, Phones4u and Tesco Phone Shops) from 1st October.

O2 and Vodafone for example are offering the handset to users free of charge, if they sign up to a two-year contract, for a £35 a month for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited Internet. T-Mobile is offering a similar £25 per month deal that gives users 900 minutes.

Every Little Helps

But for those users not wishing to be tied into a two year contract, there is a cheaper option from Tesco.

While the SIM-free option direct from the Nokia store will cost £429, the same phone from Tesco Direct will be priced at £329, a clear £100 cheaper than buying it direct from Nokia.

That said, the Tesco Nokia N8 will be locked to the Tesco Mobile Network (piggybacked on O2′s network).

It remains to be seen whether Tesco’s move will trigger a full scale price war for the handset.

Tesco Mobile was contacted for comment but did not respond to eWEEK Europe UK at the time of writing.

N8 Specs

The Nokia N8 will include a 12-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and Xenon flash. It also records HD quality videos, with its own editing suite and plays them back with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, either on its screen or through an HDMI-out socket. It will have new Ovi apps and social networking – with a single app covering Facebook and Twitter.

It is also the first Nokia phone to use the Symbian^3 operating system – an open source OS backed by Nokia – although its future use of the OS seems to fraught with questions after Nokia said it would drop Symbian from its N range handsets in favour of the MeeGo mobile OS.