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cyber security

cyber securityAs reports say that data theft cases in the High Court are up 25 percent in just one year, the risk of hacking or industrial espionage remains high for UK businesses. It is not just external threats and malware that is putting businesses at risk – employees stealing customer databases is a growing risk.

Are you at risk of Industrial Espionage?

High Court cases involving theft of confidential data from businesses increased by 25 percent in 2016, with more cases than ever involving staff stealing customer databases from their employers. Although only 50 such cases were heard, experts believe that the true number is far higher, but employers lack the cyber security know how to detect breaches.

Staff turnover is one of the key drivers – employees are often tempted to take confidential data, such as customer databases, with them when they leave an employer to get a competitive advantage for a new employer or company they start up. Such theft of data is normally prohibited by contracts, but it can be near-impossible to prove that an ex-employee used stolen data if they begin to attempt to poach clients.

Poor IT Management Causes Security Risks

The problem is greater now that employees have easier access to confidential business data remotely. A range of devices, such as smartphones and online cloud storage can be accessed anywhere, even outside of the workplace. This reduces some of the risks of attempting to remove data on physical storage from the premises. Organisations are often slow to withdraw use accounts from members of staff who leave or are made redundant.

Digitalquill – Experts in Cyber Security

Digitalquill can help businesses in Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire with cyber security. We can help you design processes to keep your data safe, we can securely host cloud storage for your precious data and we can help you protect against cyber theft. We can also offer you a full local IT support service – pay as you go or on contract – so all your business IT security needs are covered for your peace of mind. Visit www.digitalquill.co.uk or call 01482 424402 and find out how we can help you.

Password Security

Password SecuritySome cyber criminals attempt to gain access to software and systems by using programs that guess your password. Such “brute force” attacks try millions of combinations of letters and numbers until they eventually find a password that works. They will begin by using common words so never use a dictionary word alone as your password. Every single additional character or number that you add to your password will exponentially improve its security. Breaches of security often happen simply because passwords are never changed from the default ones that come with a router or software program. You must always change the passwords on routers and other devices as soon as they are connected to your network.

Google Study on Account Hijacking

Google recently conducted a study to gain a better understanding of how criminals steal passwords. It analysed online black markets between March 2016 to March 2017 and found:

  • 788,000 credentials were stolen by keyloggers,
  • 12 million passwords stolen by phishing,
  • 3 billion lost in third-party breaches

12 percent of the records it found used a Gmail address as their username, and they found that seven percent of those reused the same password as Gmail. This shows that third party breaches are by far the most common way passwords are stolen and so if you reuse passwords on multiple sites there is a much higher chance of becoming a victim of cyber theft.

Set a Strong Password

Following some general rules can help your password stay secure:

  • The longer the better. The more characters in your password, the harder it is to crack. You don’t have to remember a string of unintelligible digits: even three dictionary words run into each other will be difficult to crack.
  • Use different types of character such as numbers, symbols and punctuation marks.
  • Avoid using dictionary words or names – especially single words on their own. Consider three random words such as “dogeggsandwich” or song lyrics such as “toseethestars”
  • If you must use dictionary words, put several together into a phrase and replace letters with similar-looking symbols.: @ for a, ! for I, $ for s, and so on.
  • Use a different password for every account. That way if one password is compromised the rest will still be safe – your most secure account is only as safe as the security on your weakest if you reuse passwords.
  • Avoid using personal information such as childrens names, birthdays, sports teams or pet names. If people know or find out this information they can target an attack at you personally by trying these passwords first.

Digitalquill –Hull Business IT Support

We can advise you on IT security if you are a small business in Hull, East Yorkshire or Lincolnshire. Call Digitalquill on 01482 424402 or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

 

Social Engineering

Social EngineeringWe all know that it is wrong to open attachments from unknown emails, follow links on social media that we do not trust and to download software from unauthorised sources. But these are not the only routes a criminal may use to get access to your business systems.

Cyber Crime Through Social Engineering

Social engineering is when a criminal manipulates an individual to enable criminal activity. In today’s cyberthreat-aware world people are less likely to click on links in emails that they do not know. But it may be possible for them to be tricked into doing so and take away the hard work for the criminal. Social engineering is becoming more common and people have been persuaded to grant access to systems and share information or even hand over money as a result.

Phishing

This is where emails are sent by criminals pretending to be someone else – often to hundreds of recipients at once. They claim to be from a bank, government agency or other trusted organisation. The aim is to get the recipient to reveal confidential email such as passwords.

Phishing East Yorkshire IT support
An example of a “phishing” email

Because the source appears to be legitimate, people are more likely to reply or click the link. It is possible to “spoof” an email address so the sender appears to be the correct email address, or they use similar – but inaccurate – email addresses to the real company.

Spearphishing

This is the same as phishing, but directed at an individual. The “sender” will often be someone that the person knows such as a colleague, boss or IT support company. Often, information obtained from social media sites will be used to make the email more convincing.

Digitalquill – East Yorkshire and Hull’s Internet Security Specialists

For advice on internet security for small businesses and Hull IT support call Digitalquill on 01482 424402 or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk to find out more.

 

 

cyber security nhs

We regularly cover internet security and high profile hacks on our blog, but how can you stay safe from hackers? Here are some internet security tips to stay safe online.

cyber security nhsUse a firewall

A firewall is a hardware or software barrier that sits between computer networks. They are used between areas that are trusted – such as your own corporate network – and untrusted – such as the internet. A firewall offers protection by controlling traffic that enters and leaves the network using a series of rules (or filters) set by the user. By blocking certain types of traffic, a firewall can protect against hackers accessing your systems.

Keep software updated

Any software – especially your operating system and web browser – on all your devices: computers, tablets and mobile devices – must be kept up to date. Publishers release regular patches to correct faults in the software that can be exploited by criminals. Older software must be replaced if it is no longer supported with security updates. For example, the devastating global WannaCry attack targeted an older version of Windows that had been patched but many users had not yet downloaded and installed the update.

Use a strong password

Some hackers access systems by using software. Such a “brute force” attack tries every combination of letters and numbers until they find a password that matches. They begin by using words from the dictionary so never use a single word as your password. Every extra character and number you add to your password exponentially improves its security. Often, breaches of security happen because passwords are not changed from the default one that ships with a device or piece of software. That is why you should always change passwords on new routers etc. as soon as they are installed on your network.

Digitalquill – Internet Security Advice for Hull Businesses

For advice on internet security for small businesses and to arrange for your Hull IT support, call us on 01482 424402 or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk to find out more.

 

Phishing East Yorkshire IT support

One of our clients has just queried an email they have received – they did the right thing querying it with us because it is a Phishing message.

East Yorkshire Companies Receiving Phishing Emails

What the fraudsters are attempting to do with these emails is to trick you into “logging in” to a fake website they have set up. They then have with your email credentials and password, which they can record and use later to gain access to your email account

Phishing East Yorkshire IT supportHere is the text of the email so you can recognise it if you receive it:

MailBox De-activation©

Hi <name>

We are doing a spam and fraudulent verification survey, which your e-mail account <name>@<company>.co.uk was listed  and has recently  been updated. It's important you verify your account  to help us survey your account better.  <name>@<company>.co.uk.

Verify Your Account Now

If verification is not gotten from you in the next 48hr, we will assume you are a fraudulent user and shut down your email account, till a proper verification recovery before you can access your account again

Thanks.

Admin !   ©2017 All Rights Reserved

This email was generated for %0%  with reference no. 2147dfff456345

 This is an automated message replies cannot be answered E-mail Server Admin .

How to Spot a Phishing Email

The features that make this an obvious phishing scam are:

  • It refers to “admin” and not your real IT company
  • The sender address is not in your address book
  • The English is poor and it is clearly written by a non-native speaker
  • It wants to scare you into clicking a link – a real IT company would not ask you to click a suspicious link

What to do if you get a suspicious email

You might argue that you have nothing confidential in your email account, however, think about how many other accounts on websites you have that are linked to your email account… Even if the password is different, once a criminal has access to your email account they can request a password change on any number of sites and therefore take control of almost all of your online accounts. They can use your saved payment credentials and start ordering items on your account for delivery to their own address. You will never know as they will delete the password, reset the email after taking your money.

Our advice if you receive such an email is that if you are unsure, delete the mail – or at the very least do not click any links and query it immediately with your IT support team.

Digitalquill – Experts in East Yorkshire IT Security

If you need IT support in East Yorkshire for your business, or have a suspicious phishing email, call Digitalquill on 01482 424402 or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk.

Free WiFi Hull IT Support

Free WiFi Hull IT SupportPublic WiFi hotspots can be really useful if you need to access the internet when you are away from home or work. But not all WiFi connections are secure and they can be used by criminals to steal your data.

Sniffing

This technique is used by criminals to capture the data you send over a WiFi network. They can steal login names, passwords and other information and then sell it on or use it to access your system. It is especially dangerous if you have the login details stored (or “cached”) on your device as they are sent across the network without you typing them in.

Evil Access Points

Sometimes criminals set up authentic-sounding WiFi access points to trick you into connecting to them. The network name could be a familiar company name or simply “FreeWiFI”. You actually connect to the criminal’s computer and all the information you type in goes straight to them.

How To Stay Safe on Public WiFi

There are some simple ways to stay safe on public WiFi networks:

Use a VPN

Digitalquill can provide you with a secure VPN for business travel. It encrypts data sent to and from your device so even if you connect to a malicious computer, your data will not be able to be read.

Can it wait?

If your activity is not essential, don’t do it over public WiFI. Tempting as it may be to check your bank balance on the move with your banking app, you risk losing your login details – and money – by doing so.

Use Mobile Data

If you are unsure, don’t connect to a public WiFI hotspot – use your phone’s 3G or 4G connection instead. Data passed over such a network is encrypted.

Digitalquill – WiFi Experts in Hull

For advice on internet security for small businesses and Hull IT support call Digitalquill on 01482 424402 or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk to find out more. If you want to set up a WiFi hotspot for your Hull business, call us – we can help with that too!

 

Australian Air Force Hack

Australian Air Force HackThe BBC reports that commercial information about Australia’s defence programmes has been stolen in a cyber hack. About 30GB of data was taken in the hack on a contractor, including the details of new fighter planes and ships. The data has been described as “commercially sensitive but not classified”.

Australian Government Defence Data Stolen

The breach began in July last year, but the Australian government did not find out until November. It is not known whether the hacker was working for a state or if it was someone working for another company.” What is known is that the exploit that the hacker used was patched 12 months ago but the company had not updated its software, and they were still using default passwords for their systems.

Cyber hack – it can happen to any business

Just because your business is based in Hull, East Yorkshire or Lincolnshire doesn’t mean that hackers will not be interested in your data. Commercially sensitive data can be stolen from any company. If you haven’t planned against the risks then you could find your business comes to a lot of harm. It’s not just rogue states and fraudsters that use technology to commit crime – increasingly, companies are employing hackers to steal data from their competitors or damage their system to harm their business.

Stay Safe from Cyber Crime

This latest hack shows that two messages we constantly reiterate were not followed:

Digitalquill –Hull IT Support Service

Do you have a small business in the Hull area, but not confident with computers? Do your IT issues take up too much time? Help is at hand: our East Yorkshire IT support service is low cost but offers great service. As well as Hull IT support we also take care of Scunthorpe Computer support, Hessle IT help for businesses and East Yorkshire computer services. For more information call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk

 

Equifax Hack
Equifax Hack
Credit cards, a chain and an open padlock is seen in front of displayed Equifax logo in this illustration taken September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illutration – RC1530D0D700

The major data breach at Equifax, the credit monitoring company affected 15.2 million records in the UK, relating to almost 700,000 customers, according to Sky News. The personal details of 143 million US customers were also stolen in the attack. The Equifax hack could well be the biggest ever cyber theft of financial information.

Equifax Hack – What was Stolen?

Names and dates of birth are amongst the personal details stolen from 693,665 UK-based customers of Equifax. The breach happened in May but was only reported last month. Most worryingly, 12,086 customers have had their email address breached and 14,961 customers have lost portions of their user names, passwords, and even their secret questions and answers and partial credit card numbers were stolen.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said in a statement:

“If you have been told that security details from your Equifax.co.uk account – such as your password and secret questions – have been accessed, then you should ensure those same details are not used on any other websites or accounts.”

No Business is Safe from Hackers

After Equifax announced the hack, they were subjected to many class action lawsuits in the US. How would your company cope if hackers accessed your customer data? Even if your business is far smaller than Equifax and located in Hull, East Yorkshire or Lincolnshire doesn’t mean your data is safe. If hackers access your data, then it can affect your reputation, and you risk a fined from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Digitalquill – Experts in IT Security

At Digitalquill we help businesses across Hull, and the East Riding keep their customers’ data safe from criminals. Whether you need help securing a wireless network, setting up the proper PCI-DSS compliant processes for handling credit card data, backing up your files or writing a security policy for your East Yorkshire business – we can help. For more information call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk.

 

 

Hull business IT security

Hull business IT securityCybercrime is currently on the rise, and law enforcement agencies expect it to continue to do so. As a result, organisations are constantly being subjected to new risks. According to the Metropolitan Police, A quarter of all businesses – and half of all small businesses – have come under Cyber-attack in the last 12 months. Who are the experts on Hull business IT security that can keep you safe from cyberattack?

Hull Business IT Security

According to the Office for National Statistics there are 5.5 milloin cyber offences every year – that is about half of all crime in the UK. The most common attacks are:

Ransomware – where attackers exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software.

Phishing – where emails are circulated with malicious links that employees click, and input their real passwords

What are the risks to Hull Businesses from Cybercrime?

Cybercrime can cause immeasurable harm to your finances, your reputation and your IT equipment. Data loss may include client or payment information, or even sensitive, confidential company information. It does not matter if your data is stored on your own server or in the cloud – it could still be at risk. And if you lose personal data then you may be fined by the Information Commisssioner.

Some of the threats come from:

  • Cyber Criminals – looking to steal your data or money, or disrupt your business.
  • Competitors – stealing confidential information or disrupting your operations.
  • Your own staff – Disgruntled employees have been known to steal data to hold a company to ransom. Others can be tricked or blackmailed into providing information.
  • Hackers – who want to breach your security to show off their skills.

IT Security Service for Small Businesses in Hull

Cybersecurity can be expensive if you employ a dedicated member of staff. That’s where Digitalquill comes in: our virtual IT director service can help you to get the building blocks in place for a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and company policies. Our Hull IT support service can help you with backups, data recovery and day-to-day measures to reduce the risk of cybercrime. Call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

Yahoo Hack

The biggest ever hack just got even bigger: it has been revealed that Yahoo has leaked the details of every single one of its users. Three billion accounts were compromised in total – which is the equivalent of half the people on the planet – in the 2013 Yahoo hack.

yahoo hackWhen we first reported the hack, Yahoo had said that around one billion of its user accounts were compromised. The total has been revised and the unprecedentedly large information leak is now confirmed as the biggest ever hack by quite some margin. Yahoo’s parent company, Verizon, re-evaluated the number after receiving new information.

What Information was Stolen in the Yahoo Hack?

The information included some of the most personal information about each person, including their usernames, passwords, telephone numbers and dates of birth. Experts had already warned that it was sensible to presume that those details had been leaked, and protect them accordingly.

Don’t Rely on Free Internet Services

The revelations are yet another reminder that businesses are unwise to rely on large, free public services. We have been contacted by dozens of businesses in the Hull and East Riding area who want to find a more secure local solution to safeguard their business data.

What Should I Do About the Yahoo Hack?

First of all, if you are a Yahoo user. Change your passwords. Change any other passwords that are the same – or similar – on any other internet sites. With three billion to choose from, the hackers may still get around to trying your login and password on other sites. If you think you may have been affected, contact an Internet Security Expert.

Digitalquill – Internet Security Experts

Of course, most people are not experts in cybersecurity – and that is where Digitalquill’s Hull Business IT Support Service comes in. Contact us for assistance with IT problems in East Yorkshire and for protection and prevention of hacking, malware, ransomware and viruses.

Call us today on 01482 424402, email support@www.digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.