Tony Freeth Informational

Technology in Shared Workspace

TFI Joins Flexsa : “Fix the Future” programme

TFI is delighted to join the Flexible Space Association or Flexsa as a service partner. Flexsa is the only trade association in the UK for the flexible space industry representing both operators and also the industry’s supply chain.

Tony Freeth has been involved with Flexsa (and its forerunner the BCA) since 2000 and TFI looks forward to participating again for the benefit of members. Trade Associations such as Flexsa, GWA and GCUC play an important role in advancing the industry and particularly in assisting new entrants to find their feet and learn from members’ collective wisdom.

Called Fix the Future As a benefit to Flexsa members, TFI is happy to provide 2 hours free advice to any Flexsa member.

Just contact us here or leave a message on +44 0203 404 4982

See our Flexsa entry here

August 2021

Fix the Future

TFI is offering a free ‘Fix the Future’ chat to FlexSA members. This is a chance to discuss your technology concerns with someone independent – that is, someone other than your technology suppliers!

‘The technology in-tray for Flex operators has never been fuller. Workspaces today operate on 25, even 50, different software applications ranging from CRMs to automated infrastructure to KPI reporting. Technologies such as user apps, integrated access control, sensors, roaming communications, and environmental management increasingly build better user experiences and thus your brand.

Meanwhile the very fabric of communications is being torn up, with 5G and private networks that make the old-style Internet look very simple indeed.

But today’s problems intrude. Often you just want to make what you have work better and so take the load off your staff.

A chat with TFI can just be a second opinion, help with suppliers, contracts or product selection, an audit, and even some research for your possible expansion plans.

Consultations are for an hour or so, and TFI will draft you a short consultant’s report. The time and report are given free.

“Fix the Future” offers operators a chance to discuss what’s on your mind now… and perhaps identify what should be on your mind for the future.’

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Warnings on Ubiquiti Wi-Fi Data Breach

HACKERS GAIN ACCESS TO UBIQUITI WI-FI CLOUD PLATFORM. OPERATORS WHO USE UBIQUITI NEED TO TAKE ACTION

Ubiquiti: “Know more about your network than ever before”. TFI: “They surely didn’t mean hackers”.

Many coworks and shared workspaces use Ubiquiti Wi-Fi access points. Some also use their network switches and cameras. Their guest Wi-Fi system is popular with smaller coworks. Operators use Ubiquiti because it is cloud based, easily deployed, multi-location and especially affordable.

Unfortunately, once an intruder gets inside a cloud system the potential damage is enormous. In this case there is a whistleblower claim that hackers gained super admin level some months ago, that is, access to the whole platform. Ubiquiti acknowledge that a ransom attempt was made, which reports claim was Bitcoin in excess of $2million value in return for silence about the hack.

Having your core technology hacked is a concern. Perhaps even more of a concern is the suggestion that Ubiquiti have been less than forthcoming in their response, downplaying the significance. The Ubiquiti statement is certainly hard to find (headlined “account notification“) and the impression is that the company wishes to minimize the event.

In summary, there are two risks for operators: a potential and recent loss of customer personal data, and the future risk of bad actors taking over your hardware. One is a legal and data privacy issue, the other is the risk of deliberate interruption to your business operation. And there’s an intangible risk: how will potential customers regard an operator’s use of this vendor.

Get the background

To assess the claims and the risk, read the ‘whistle-blower’ bulletin from Krebs Security. Addition background at ArsTechnica and The Verge. You can find some background colour of variable value on YouTube as well.

Ubiquiti provide cloud managed Wi-Fi access points under the brand Unifi, as well as network switches, door access, security cameras, fixed wireless access, and phones. Wi-Fi products are here.

Take Action

  • Do you use Ubiquiti Unifi products? Do you know if you use Ubiquiti?
    There are ways to search your network if you don’t know. Hardware is not always obvious or marked.
    You should have an asset register. TFI has forthcoming publication on how to maintain asset databases.
  • [UK and EU] Do you have a Data Protection Officer (DPO)? If you use Ubiquiti, this officer should be informed and plan a response. In the UK, the Information Commissioners Office defines the role and your responsibilities under GDPR. EU will be similar.
  • Did you source Ubiquiti through a reseller? Have they already contacted you with a mitigation plan?
    If your reseller has NOT contacted you, then you may want to have a conversation about your expectations with them. Do you need help with supplier management?
  • Take Action to secure your systems. The expectation is that users of Ubiquiti systems should have changed passwords and instituted2FA (2 Factor Authentication) sometime after mid Jan 2021. Have you?
  • Is there a need to communicate with your customers? That will depend on what products you have deployed.

Ubquiti screenshot
Ubiquiti, supplier of workspace Wi-Fi, suffers data breach.

Follow Up

If you need assistance or more information, please contact us via Twitter, LinkedIn or the contact form here.

We will follow up this story in a few weeks.

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