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ransomware

This is the third and final part our blogs about the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)’s tips on keeping safe from ransomware.

What is the impact of ransomware?

ransomwareRansomware prevents you from accessing your systems, your data, or both until you find a solution. If those systems are delivering business critical services, this can have a serious impact on your reputation, finances and your customers. Even if you took a recent backup of your system, it may still take some considerable time to restore it and you may even restore a backup that has formant ransomware on it. This is why we help organisations to write Business Continuity plans and install backup solutions.

Limiting the impact of a ransomware attack

The following measures will help to limit the impact of an attack by ransomware.

Access control: Don’t use the administrator account for day to day business, and never share passwords.  The encryption may only apply to the data owned by a single affected user, but if you share logins then everyone is affected.

Need to know: limit the access to your data and file systems to those who have a business need to use them.

Keep backups of your data. Organisations should always have a fully tested backup solution in place. Backup files must never be directly accessible by any machines that could be infected by ransomware – or it could spread to your backups too.

What to do if your organisation is infected by ransomware

Unplug any affected machines from the network, and switch them off at the mains. Then call an expert for advice. We can help businesses prevent ransomware and we may be able to help you recover if you have been attacked.

Digitalquill – Experts in Cyber Security

Digitalquill are experts in removing and preventing malware and ransomware. For more information, call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk.

 

 

 

Hull IT Security

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recently published some guidance for businesses on keeping safe from ransomware. We are translating them into plain English and giving practical advice on staying safe online. We are experts in Hull IT security and can help your business to stay safe online.

How does ransomware infect your system?

Hull IT Security
online hacker attack

Computers become infected with ransomware in a number of ways. Often, users get tricked into running programs that appear legitimate, but which actually contain ransomware. These can arrive in emails, through authentic-looking attachments or links to websites that resemble real ones (also known as phishing). Recent ransomware infections have relied on vulnerabilities in Windows or other software. If this is the case, then simply visiting a malicious website may be enough. File transfers between computers (using external drives or USB memory sticks) can also cause malware to spread.

Preventing ransomware with enterprise security

Ransomware is one of the many different types of malicous software. You can minimise the risk of your business computers being infected by ransomware by using the same precautions as malware in general.

Vulnerability management and patching

A lot of ransomware exploits software vulnerabilities in your operating system, web browser, plug-ins and other applications. When such loopholes are discovered, software providers make patches available to close them. Keeping software updated is the most effective way to stop your system being compromised. Find out how to update your Windows operating system here.

Controlling code execution

Only your administrator should be able to install software on business PCS, and you should only be logged in as the administrator if that is your intention. All other business activity should be conducted through “normal” user accounts. Your Hull IT Support company will be able to check this for you.

Block certain internet traffic

It is recommended to using a security service to proxy outgoing internet traffic. You can filter out attempted connections based on categories or the reputation of the sites your users attempt to visit. If staff attempt to access a malicious site it can be blocked as “not for business use” and keep your files safe.

Digitalquill – Experts in Hull IT Security

Digitalquill can help you with all of your Hull IT support, East Yorkshire IT security and Lincolnshire ransomware prevention needs. We don’t just act proactively, we help you put systems and policies in place to make an attack less likely. The best approach is with a combination of antivirus software, backup and policy.

Don’t let your business be put at risk, act today. Call Digitalquill on 01482 424402, email suppor@digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

 

ransomware cyberattack

ransomware cyberattackUniversity College London, one of the UK’s leading universities, has been hit by a major ransomware cyber-attack. It follows last month’s attack when the National Health Service was subjected to a ransomware cyber-attack.

The university’s staff and students risk data loss, and the attack has caused substantial disruption. Ironically, University College London (UCL) is a “centre of excellence in cyber-security research”, having been awarded that status by GCHQ.

The attack is believed to probably originate from a “compromised” website, where clicking a pop-up page might have spread a malware infection.

Ransomware Attack? Here’s What To Do

It is terrifying to be presented with a demand for money. Your first instinct might be to make the payment – particularly when the malicious software alleges you have visited websites or downloaded files that could be embarrassing or illegal. Some ransomware even imitates Police services, showing an official looking logo. Don’t pay: No law enforcement agency operates in this way, and you should never enter your credit card details on a ransomware screen.

Probably the best way to stop ransomware is to prevent it by:

  • avoiding clicking links in emails,
  • never open attachments you are not expecting,
  • stick to known websites

If you see a ransomware prompt, what you must do is:

  • Stop using the computer immediately
  • Disconnect network cables and unplug your router to stop the infection spreading
  • Call an expert

Digitalquill Experts in Ransomware Prevention

Digitalquill are here to help you prevent and recover from ransomware attacks. We also help you to put systems in place to make an attack less likely. The best approach is a combination of antivirus software, backups and security policies because there is not a one-shot solution.

Don’t put your business at risk. Do not risk losing your sensitive or important data: act today. Call Digitalquill on 01482 424402, email suppor@digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.

 

Public Free WiFi

Free public WiFi. It’s a blessing for those with a need to connect on the go, and with low mobile data allowances. However, it can also be a curse. There are many dangers when connecting to a public network. How can you keep yourself safe?

Public Free WiFiFree Wi-Fi: The Risk for Users

We recently visited a tourist attraction in the UK and connected to the unsecured free WiFi. By using freely available tools on a mobile phone, we were able to identify all the users on the network and could easily have scanned their devices for open ports or other vulnerabilities. We interrogated a printer to avoid compromising anyone’s privacy, but hackers could have easily exploited the many devices connected to the network

Every time you connect to public WiFi you run the risk of your data being intercepted. Some unscrupulous criminals even create fake WiFi hotspots with the same names as real ones, so you actually connect to their data logger and not the internet. Imagine the consequences if your card data or personal information were to be stolen. Hackers can even install malicious software or ransomware onto your machine over free WiFi.

Digitalquill – Experts in Cyber Security

If you connect to public WiFi, then there are some simple precautions you can take.

For more information call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk.

password best practice

Security plays a big part in our business, and we regularly blog about security breaches. One of the most common ways people put their IT security at risk is through insecure passwords.

password best practiceResearchers SplashData looked at over 2 million passwords that had been leaked and made publicly available to come up with a “Worst Passwords List”. This list highlights the insecure passwords of people are using and which are easy to both guess or crack.

Is Your Password on the List?

Here are the most common 25 passwords people use. If yours is on the list, change it immediately and remember to never reuse the same password in multiple places.

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. 12345
  6. 123456789
  7. football
  8. 1234
  9. 1234567
  10. baseball
  11. welcome
  12. 1234567890
  13. abc123
  14. 111111
  15. 1qaz2wsx
  16. dragon
  17. master
  18. monkey
  19. letmein
  20. login
  21. princess
  22. qwertyuiop
  23. solo
  24. passw0rd
  25. starwars

How to Choose a Secure Password

Password security is simple to implement when you follow some basic advice:

  • Make passwords a minimum of 8-characters in length.
  • Don’t use a single word (like “princess”) or a commonly-used phrase (“letmein”).
  • Make your password hard to guess even if people know a lot about you. People can work out your date of birth, favourite band, favourite actor, dog’s name, from social media. If you use any of these for a password, then change it.
  • Make sure you hide personal information on social media.
  • Don’t use the same password on multiple websites. One password breach can then make dozens of accounts insecure.
  • Use two-step verification wherever it is available (e.g. where a text is set to your phone and must be entered to log in.)
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and software up to date.
  • Be wary of suspicious emails and websites – if in doubt, don’t click.
  • Install an antivirus program on your computer or use a managed service.

Digitalquill – Experts in Cybersecurity

For more information on password or IT security, call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk. We can provide you with a managed AVG antivirus solution for business.

Ransomware

Yesterday we covered how NHS services in England and Scotland have been hit by a large-scale ransomware cyber-attack that disrupted hospital appointments. The malware, known as  “Wanna Decryptor” or “WannaCry”, demanded users pay £300 (£230) to unlock their files.

How to Update Windows to avoid Ransomware

Early indications are that this attack relates to a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. Microsoft has released a patch for this vulnerability, but many users do not have this patch. It is tempting to ignore system requests to update your computer – but these updates are intended to keep you safe and should never, ever be ignored.

Here are instructions on how to update your Windows system to make sure you have all the latest security patches:

How to Update Windows 7

1: Click Start and then select control panel, select system and security

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2: Click on Windows Update

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3: The update status will be shown. Clicking “Check Updates” in the left-hand pane will force a check for the latest patches.

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4: You can select the updates to install by putting a tick into the boxes by each line.

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5: Finally, click “Install Updates” and follow the Wizard through to the end.

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How to Update Windows 8

1: Make sure your PC is plugged in and connected to the Internet

2: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

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3: Tap or click “Update and recovery”, and then tap or click “Windows Update”. You can type a “w” to bring it to the top.

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4: Tap or click “Check Now”.

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5: If updates are found, tap or click “View Details”.

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6: Don’t disconnect, unplug, or turn off your PC while the update is being installed.

How to Update Windows 10

1: Click Start (Windows Logo) and type “updates”.

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2: Press the Enter key, and the updates window will open: in there it tells you when your machine was last updated.

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3: Press “Check for Updates” to see if there are any new patches. If there are, you will be prompted to download them.

4: Leave the machine turned on and connected to power and the internet while it downloads the updates. When you next restart the machine, you will be asked if you want just to restart or to install updates and then restart. Select “Install updates and restart.”

Avoiding Ransomware

Remember some basic rules:

  • Do not open email attachments originating from people you don’t know or from people you do know, but are not expecting
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date virus guard (we can supply AVG for businesses)
  • Make sure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Digitalquill – Ransomware Protection for Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

If you do not have paid virus protection on your business systems, contact us for a subscription price for AVG for business to keep your data safe from hackers.

If you are worried that you may have been affected by ransomware, remove your network cable and turn off your wifi to prevent it spreading to other computers on your network, then call us on 01482 424402 and we will help.

NHS Ransomware Cyber Attack

NHS services in England and Scotland were hit on Friday by a large-scale ransomware cyber-attack that disrupted hospital and GP appointments. The incident is believed to be part of a wider, untargeted attack that affected computers all over the world.

Worldwide Ransomware Cyber Attack

NHS Ransomware Cyber Attack
©-Paulo-Resende-Dreamstime-Stock-Photos

Some hospitals and GPs were left been unable to access their patient data after their computers were locked by a ransomware program. The malware – “Wanna Decryptor” or “WannaCry” – demanded a payment of £300 (£230) to unlock their files. About 40 NHS organisations and some GP practices were hit. Who is behind the attack is not yet known, but the hackers demanded payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin, which is very hard to trace. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is working closely with the NHS to identify the attackers and assist with recovering the data.

Why were computers affected?

Early indications seem to indicate that this relates to a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. Microsoft has already released a patch for this vulnerability, but there are many users who for one reason or another do not have this patch. Computers that had not been updated were affected. We reported in December 2016 how the NHS is still running Windows XP in many hospitals, and the support contract ended over two years ago. It is tempting to ignore requests to update your system, but these updates are designed to keep you safe and should never be ignored.

What can I do about Ransomware?

If you do not have the time right now to read through our ten tips to avoid ransomware, our immediate advice is:

  • Do not open email attachments from people you don’t know or are not expecting
  • Make sure you have an up-to-date virus guard (we can supply AVG for businesses)
  • Make sure your operating system is updated with the latest security patches.

If you have any feeling, no matter how small that you have have been affected:

  • remove your network cable
  • turn off your wifi immediately

This will prevent it spreading to other computers on your network. Then call us on 01482 424402, and we will help.

If you are worried call us. Throughout the rest of this week, we will be providing details of how to make sure your system is up-to-date, for Windows 7, 8 and 10 users. If you need business IT support for your business then call us on 01482 424402 for more details on our cloud IT support service or our managed AVG Antivirus solution.

Google Hack IT Security

Once again a major IT security incident has been reported: this time it affects users of the popular online Office Suite, Google Docs.

Google Docs Phishing Scam

Google Hack IT SecurityGoogle claims to have stopped the offending “phishing” email within an hour. By then it seems like it had already reached a million of its users. The scam email appeared to come from Google Docs – the IT giant’s service for sharing and editing documents online.

If users clicked the link and followed the instructions, they would have given the hackers total access to their email accounts. Contact information was accessed and used, according to Google’s investigations. As a precaution, it is recommended to change your Google passwords.

The email consisted of an invitation to edit a Google Doc. The subject line said, “one of your contacts has shared a document on Google Docs with you”. The email address hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator[.]com was also copied into the message. The free email service Mailinator has denied any involvement.

If users clicked on the “Open in Docs” link in the email, they were then taken to a real Google-hosted page. That page asked them to allow an authentic-looking service called “Google Docs”, to access their email account data. If they granted permission, users were allowing the hackers to access to their email account and contacts. They also probably compromised all their documents hosted on the Google Docs platform. The malware e-mailed everyone in their contact list with a malicious link due to the breach.

Keeping your business safe from Malware

Malware attacks and phishing scams are becoming more common and more sophisticated. As a result, IT security is now essential for business. We wrote last week how half of British businesses have had an attempted hack. Keeping your business safe from IT Security threats is all about having the right combination of policy, hardware and software protection. Most of all, it relies on you being vigilant.

We can also provide you with AVG Cloudcare managed cloud virus protection; monitored IT support; online cloud storage; and document management systems so your data stays safe. It is not safe to use free services: recent hacks have hit major providers such as Dropbox. Probably the most noteworthy victim of recent cyberhacking was Yahoo – where 500 million accounts were compromised.

Digitalquill: IT Security Experts

To find out more how we can protect your East Yorkshire or North Lincolnshire business from malware, call Digitalquill today on 01482 424402, email support@digitalquill.co.uk or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk.

 

AVG Cloud Antivirus

Free antivirus software such as Windows Defender is free for a reason. If you want a premium service you need to pay. A fully managed cloud antivirus service is always up to date, always monitored and keeps your business safe from malware, ransomware and viruses.

AVG Cloud AntivirusIt’s simply not safe to run your business computers without virus protection. You can’t simply rely on free antivirus solutions for business use. Most of the free antivirus packages have licenses that prohibit commercial use and as they are intended for home use they are not professionally monitored around the clock. What’s more, your staff may be able to easily turn off the protection. This puts your business at risk of viruses and malware.

The answer is to invest in a proper business antivirus package. Digitalquill are proud to be an authorised seller of AVG. AVG Antivirus is one of the most popular virus protection packages on the market. It has a very low impact on your system and its always-on protection helps to keep your computer free from viruses, spyware, ransomware, rootkits, Trojans, and other kinds of malware. The protection is constantly being updated in the background. When you choose our fully managed cloud service you can rest in the knowledge that you will have a team of professionals working round the clock to monitor your system for potential threats.

When you sign up for our Cloud-based service, we will monitor:

  • That the Virus guard is installed and working
  • That the latest virus definitions are installed
  • That scheduled scans have been completed as specified
  • If viruses are found we are immediately alerted
  • We can initiate remote updates of virus definitions
  • We can initiate virus scans remotely on specific PCs or your entire system

Cheap Business Antivirus Software

It is not expensive to keep your business safe from malware with fully managed cloud virus protection. Our AVG service costs as little as £0.95 per month per user (when you buy 50 or more 24 month contracts). You will benefit from an expert team that monitors your system for threats 24/7.

For more information call us on 01482 424402 or email office@digitalquill.co.uk.