Cyber Attack Prevention

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Category: IT News, IT Security, IT Support, Latest.

The National Crime Agency have announced that online users have two weeks to prepare for a “powerful cyber attack”. Two pieces of malware software known as GOZeuS and CryptoLocker are at the centre of this alert and are reported to be responsible for hundreds of millions of pounds of fraud globally.

At The PC Support Group, we’re putting together an action plan to best protect our customers

All computer users are being warned to ensure their security software and operating system are both up to date, and to run scans to check for any problems. Important files should also be backed up.

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Child Internet Addict

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Category: IT News, IT Security.

According to new research, over a third of young people believe they are addicted to the internet.

The poll, carried out on behalf of Tablets for Schools, a charity that campaigns for the increased use of tablet type devices in education, unearthed some shocking statistics on how much today’s young people actually rely on devices that allow them to access the web.

One 12-year-old who was interviewed as part of the survey said: “The internet nearly always controls my actions.

“I have been told that I am addicted to the internet, and prefer its company rather than being with other people. I feel lost without the internet.”

Being addicted to the internet at a young age can have dangerous consequences with potential exposure to cyber bullying, violent and pornographic content.

So how can you tell if you’re child – or a young person you know – is addicted? Here are five things to look out for:

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Heartbleed Bug

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Category: IT Security, Latest.

If some of the headlines from the past week or so are to be believed, all our email accounts and social network sites are easy targets and the information about us they contain are just waiting to be hacked to within an inch of their lives at any time with little anyone can do about it.

But don’t panic just yet. It might not be as bad as you think.

So before you start saying Farewell to Facebook or “ta-ra” to Twitter, here’s a little more information about the Heartbleed bug, what it does, how it works and how you might be able to fight it.

1. What is the Heartbleed Bug?

Basically, the Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. It’s official name is CVE-2014-0160 and allows an attack to read information from a web server even when it’s supposed to be secured against intrusion. The bug affects an OpenSSL extension known as “heartbeat” which makes it possible to keep a secure communication channel open without re-negotiating security protocols.

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Computer Virus

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Category: IT News, IT Security, IT Support.

The PC Support Group has issued a warning to all computer users about a type of computer virus attack which appears to be affecting an increased number of systems in recent weeks.

This relatively new type of malware is capable of bypassing anti-virus/anti-malware protection by changing its appearance, and until anti-malware software is made aware of the new ‘strain’ it isn’t able to block it.  This process can take hours from when the virus is released and as a consequence there is a window of time where systems are particularly exposed and vulnerable to attack.

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File Recovery

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Category: Business, IT Security, IT Support.

Keeping computers up and running is a fundamental requirement for any business.

Companies are starting to recognise the importance of having good data backup processes but this is only part of the picture. If there is a major incident, how quickly can the backed up data be restored to provide operational systems again? Many small businesses don’t know, and most lack an effective IT Recovery Strategy.

Whether you are a sole trader or running a business with thousands of customers, system failure can result in loss of crucial data, time, money and clients.

There are 4 main points to consider:

  1. Location – where can you continue to operate if you are unable to gain access to your regular office or if it is destroyed?
  2. Data – have you backed up your data to a safe place?
  3. Equipment – how quickly can you obtain new hardware on which to run your systems?
  4. Configuration – how quickly can the systems be set up again and who will do this?

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Backup Button

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Category: IT Security, IT Support.

If there’s one important task computer users regularly ignore, it’s backing up their data. The data on your hard drive is the most critical and valuable item inside your computer (far more important than the hardware itself), and can’t be easily replaced if lost.

The files on your computer are very fragile. They can be destroyed or damaged by a software malfunction, viruses, Trojan worms, physical damage (such as dropping a laptop)
One of the biggest reasons people neglect backing up is that they don’t know where to start, what tools to use, or how to go about it. They also think it’s going to take a lot of time, cost and effort. and user error.

There are a lot of different options out there, all with their own merits. Here are just a few of the options that are open to you.

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Spam Emails

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Category: Business, IT Security, IT Support.

Junk emails, or Spam are emails sent to you without consent by people or businesses with which you have no relationship. Receiving Junk email can cause significant problems for your business as it can clog up your email system and often carries viruses or spyware.

The problems of junk email

You may wonder why it is so important that Junk email is managed. Here are just a few reasons:

  • If you are constantly receiving Spam email it will use up your internet bandwidth (effectively costing you money) and important messages can be delayed or blocked.
  • Spam is often sent with the intention of spreading viruses or spyware. Opening Spam emails could infect your PCs.
  • Many junk emails messages are inappropriate and contain material that could offend people in your company.
  • Even relatively harmless spam can distract staff and waste their time as they check the content and follow links to irrelevant web sites.

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Category: IT Security, IT Support.

A New Year detox is top of the “To Do” list for many of us in the first week of January – but there’s no need to limit the big clean-up to your body.

I spend much of my life giving advice about backing up, repairing and renewing IT systems. I can get especially evangelical about it at this time of year, when quieter work flows for many organisations make it easier to contemplate bad habits and think about the essential steps to a healthier IT set-up. So the first of my New Year resolutions is to protect your data properly.

It’s ironic that a typical company will have locking doors, alarms and insurance policies to secure their physical property, but very little in place to guard against the loss of the information that allows the company to operate.

Put another way, if your office building burnt down, it would cause serious disruption, but the permanent loss of data could be catastrophic. A business simply can’t operate without the matrix of information that underpins operations such as invoicing, sales, stock, HR, and contracts with customers and suppliers.

And don’t just consider the back-up – think about how quickly and easily you can get your systems operational again. Just because you have the data backed up doesn’t mean you’ll be operational again in hours – it could be days. Ask your IT provider for an estimate on the recovery time and decide if further processes or systems are needed to protect your business.

The second resolution is to minimise downtime risk. You can achieve this by maintaining and monitoring your IT systems properly. Yes, it does require resource, but the investment pays off in terms of efficiency.

And, finally, for those with old creaking servers, don’t think that simply replacing them with a new one is the solution. Take a look at the various cloud-based solutions. It could mean you can upgrade sooner than you think and have a more flexible system.

Phone Scams

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Category: IT Security.

IT phone scams have been around for a number of years, but we have recently seen a surge in the number we have had reported to us.

 

The scam works where the caller offers ‘computer support’ but in reality is setting out to defraud.

Last year alone the Metropolitan police closed down 19 websites that were believed to be scams – teams at Indian call centres were ringing computer users claiming to be from IT support companies. The users were then told there were problems with their computers, which could be fixed.

After being told to download a program that hands over remote control of their computer so the caller can install ‘fixes’, the PC users are told of a charge of up to £200 for subscription to ‘the preventative service.’ But in the majority of cases the ‘fixed’ computers never had any problems in the first place.

The reports of people being cold called and bullied on the phone are both widespread and troubling. There will never be a situation where a company will legitimately cold call you saying they have detected errors on your computer.

If someone calls you unsolicited claiming to want to help you fix your computer, we offer the following advice:

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls about security problems, even if they claim to be from a well-known company.
  • Never provide credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited call.
  • Do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.
  • Make sure you have up to date virus protection and security for your PC

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of this cold calling scam should report the matter to National Fraud Authority, via its website (www.actionfraud.org.uk).

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Category: Business, Home Computing, IT Security.

It may be wrong and it’s certainly illegal but according to a recent survey we have conducted, one in two Wi-Fi users in the UK still access someone else’s wireless Internet network without permission.

Wi-Fi ‘piggybacking’ has been around since the dawn of wireless computing, with people obtaining free Web access by using networks which have been left unsecure because the owner has not set a password. Over half (58 per cent) of the 300 respondents we surveyed around the UK admitted to the practice. What’s more, almost one in three people believe there’s nothing wrong with it – despite the fact that dishonestly using an electronics communications service with the intent to avoid paying is an
offence under the Communications Act 2003.

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