Week in Tech: It’s Coming Home

Have you seen one yet? Heard peeps around the office talk about out it? Even tried to get involved in such convo’s? No, I’m not talking Love Island, I’m talking about WORLD CUP FOOTBALL, the show that’s gripping the world as we know it.

Controversial rogue nation host chat aside, for England fans specifically, it truly is a euphoric (and often heart-breaking) roller-coaster ride of emotions – a chance for unity among die-hard’s to not-so-die-hard fans to cheer, moan and get incredibly opinionated over our Three Lion’s footballing pups.

But aside from the beautiful game, seeing as this is a Week In Tech blog, please bear with me as I outline somewhat techy stories that link to the World Cup, thankfully there’s quite a few…

VAR: blessing or plague?

As you may be aware, something is very different in the 2018 World Cup. For the first time ever, the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) system is being used to help make decisions during games. And already we are seeing it cause mass controversy.

Despite all the complaints, England fans truly would’ve loved to had VAR back in 86’, as Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ may not have stood.

It’s not all VAR – Russia are using the World Cup as a test bed for latest sport tech

Other innovations on display over the next five weeks of footy include microchips in the balls to collect data on shooting and passing techniques, and even camerawork available in 4K and 8K.

Both innovations allow precise tracking and even more of the detailed stats that fans love. (FIFA will also make a nice wedge when it resells the real data to Entertainment Arts, for incorporation into EA’s football video games).

Footy fans can feel even more immersed in the action, as this is the first world cup to allow fans to stream games in VR.  

But beware, crims are out to get you if you’re streaming

That is, if you’re using a dodgy site (iPlayer / ITV Hub you’re all good), as such sites are a breeding ground for clued up crooks to hack your personal details and use them for unscrupulous activities.

Researchers at Check Point Software Technologies identified a phishing campaign linked to the start of this year’s FIFA World Cup, where attackers lured victims into downloading a fixtures schedule and result tracker, which was actually malware!

Whoever you may support, it really isn’t worth risking being hacked by using a suspect site (unless you’re in tight spot and England somehow reach the final*, then it’s definitely worth taking a punt).

*Unlikely to happen.