Microsoft action interupts innocent users

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Microsoft has obtained a court order to halt traffic to servers in order to halt the Cyber-criminal activity of some users. This has had the effect of interupting millions of innocent users. The giant has been accused of being’heavy-handed as in stopping the criminals it also interupted data to legitimate sites.

In a blogpost, Microsoft lawyer Richard Boscovich said it had taken the action against domain administration firm No-IP.com for its “roles in creating, controlling, and assisting in infecting millions of computers with malicious software”.

He said No-IP’s infrastructure had been used to spread the Bladabindi and Jenxcus family of malicious programs in 93% of the cases it had seen. Over the past 12 months, he said, Microsoft had detected variants of the two viruses more than 7.4 million times.

The thieves behind the malware could steal data from infected machines, record keystrokes and listen to any sounds taking place around a computer, he said.

officeMicrosoft had taken the legal step of making itself the controller of the 23 domains because No-IP had not done enough to police them, wrote Mr Boscovich. A federal court in Nevada granted Microsoft the right to take over the No-IP domains.

Once it had had control of the suspect domains, he said, Microsoft had applied filters so only “clean” data had got through and that helping the malware spread had been caught and discarded.

In response, No-IP said Microsoft’s action had been “draconian” and had wrongly “affected millions of innocent internet users”.

No-IP speculated that Microsoft had underestimated the amount of data traffic flowing towards the domains it was now administering, which had caused service disruptions for many legitimate customers.

“Millions of innocent users are experiencing outages to their services because of Microsoft’s attempt to remediate hostnames associated with a few bad actors,” wrote No-IP in a statement posted on its site.

Having problems – Call us at MBM and we will be happy to take a look

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How does your computer become infected ?

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There are literally dozens of different ways a computer can become infected with spyware, viruses, and other malware. Below is a list of the most common ways a computer can contract these infections listed in the order we believe are most commonly done.

Please be aware –  everyone  who uses the computer should be aware of how to properly use it  and protect it from malicious software.

NIgel_Mills_MBMAccepting without reading

By far one of the most common ways a computer becomes infected is the user accepts what he or she sees on the screen without reading the prompt or understand what it’s asking.

Some common examples:

  1. Whilst browsing the Internet, an Internet advertisement or window appears that says your computer is infected or that a unique plug-in is required. Without fully understanding what it is you’re getting, you accept the prompt.
  2. When installing or updating a program, you’re prompted (often checkboxes already checked) if it’s ok to install additional programs that you may not want or are designed to monitor your usage of the program.

Opening e-mail attachments

Another very common way people become infected with viruses and other spyware is by opening e-mail attachments, even when from a colleague, friend, or family member. E-mail addresses can be made up and even when genuine your acquaintance may unsuspectingly be forwarding you an infected file.

When receiving an e-mail with an attachment, if the e-mail was not expected or from someone you don’t know delete it. If the e-mail is from someone you know still be cautious when opening the attachment.

Not running the latest updates

Many of the updates, especially those associated with Microsoft Windows and other operating systems and programs, are security updates. Running a program or operating system that is not up-to-date with the latest updates can be a big security risk and can be a way your computer becomes infected.

In addition to running operating system updates, the plugins associated with your browser can often contain security vulnerabilities. Make sure you have the latest versions of plugins. Contact MBM for details of the latest updates.

Pirating software, music, or movies

If you or someone on your computer is participating in underground places on the Internet where you’re downloading copyrighted music, movies, software, etc. for free, often many of the files can contain viruses, spyware or malicious software. This is a highly dangerous practice and you should have procedures in place to stop users doing this.

No antivirus spyware scanner

If you’re running a computer with Microsoft Windows it’s highly recommended you have some form of antivirus and spyware protection on that computer to help clean it from any infections currently on the computer and to help prevent any future infections.

Downloading infected software

Finally, downloading any other software from the Internet can also contain viruses and other malware. When downloading any software (programs, utilities, games, updates, demos, etc.), make sure you’re downloading the software from a reliable source and while installing it you’re reading all prompts about what the program is putting on your computer.

Where can I find out more?

We are happy to advise on your business protection at MBM. We are your IT department at the end of a phone – keeping your business – in business.

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Protected against the latest viruses ?

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You may have heard or seen the news coverage about a computer virus called ‘Gameover Zeus’. The FBI and National Crime Agency (NCA) in the USA managed to take control of a network of infected computers (known as a botnet) in an attempt to stop the network growing any larger.

MBM_42Emails_Blog_smallThe botnet is used to send annoying Emails with attached zip files that pretend to be from organisations you are familiar with (ie your bank, utility company etc). However, if you open the file attachments, the malware it contains will install on your computer and it too then becomes part of the infected network of computers.

Once on your computer the virus searches for private information such as bank account details and sends the data back to the hackers.

The press are reporting that it will take the hackers two weeks to regain control of the network and recommence. Therefore there is a small window for users to ensure their anti virus software is up to date and perform a scan.

MBM Customers Protected

If you are an MBM customer, you will be using our Panda Cloud Protection anti-virus software which we ensure is updated. Our centralised management tool tells us that our clients with this software are up to date and protected from Gameover Zeus.

Own anti-virus?

But what about customers or businesses who use their own anti-virus tools?

Jason Timmins, Technical Director at MBM, suggests that you first ensure that you have anti-virus software, second that the anti-virus sofware you use has the latest updates and thirdly, that you perform an up to date scan of your computer and remove any infections it finds.

For further information about the virus visit:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27681236 

http://www.getsafeonline.org/nca 

For further information about IT Security visit our website: http://www.mbmltd.co.uk/IT-Security.aspx

MBM can ensure you have the best anti-virus software and ensure your business is secure. Call us on 01902 32 44 94

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What are Trojans ?

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Looking at common terms within the IT world we look today at Trojans.

Trojans are malicious programs that perform actions that have not been authorised by the user. These actions can include:

Blocking data deleting data modifying data copying data disrupting the performance of computers or computer networks

Unlike computer viruses and worms, Trojans are not able to self-replicate.

How Trojans can impact you

Trojans are classified according to the type of actions that they can perform on your computer:

  • Backdoor
    A backdoor Trojan gives malicious users remote control over the infected computer. They enable the author to do anything they wish on the infected computer – including sending, receiving, launching and deleting files, displaying data and rebooting the computer. Backdoor Trojans are often used to unite a group of victim computers to form a botnet or zombie network that can be used for criminal purposes.
  • Exploit
    Exploits are programs that contain data or code that takes advantage of a vulnerability within application software that’s running on your computer.
  • Rootkit
    Rootkits are designed to conceal certain objects or activities in your system. Often their main purpose is to prevent malicious programs being detected – in order to extend the period in which programs can run on an infected computer.
  • Trojan-Banker
    Trojan-Banker programs are designed to steal your account data for online banking systems, e-payment systems and credit or debit cards.
  • Trojan-DDoS
    These programs conduct DoS (Denial of Service) attacks against a targeted web address. By sending multiple requests – from your computer and several other infected computers – the attack can overwhelm the target address… leading to a denial of service.
  • Trojan-Downloader
    Trojan-Downloaders can download and install new versions of malicious programs onto your computer – including Trojans and adware.
  • Trojan-Dropper
    These programs are used by hackers in order to install Trojans and / or viruses – or to prevent the detection of malicious programs. Not all antivirus programs are capable of scanning all of the components inside this type of Trojan.
  • Trojan-FakeAV
    Trojan-FakeAV programs simulate the activity of antivirus software. They are designed to extort money from you – in return for the detection and removal of threats… even though the threats that they report are actually non-existent.
  • Trojan-GameThief
    This type of program steals user account information from online gamers.
  • Trojan-IM
    Trojan-IM programs steal your logins and passwords for instant messaging programs – such as ICQ, MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Pager, Skype and many more.
  • Trojan-Ransom
    This type of Trojan can modify data on your computer – so that your computer doesn’t run correctly or you can no longer use specific data. The criminal will only restore your computer’s performance or unblock your data, after you have paid them the ransom money that they demand.
  • Trojan-SMS
    These programs can cost you money – by sending text messages from your mobile device to premium rate phone numbers.
  • Trojan-Spy
    Trojan-Spy programs can spy on how you’re using your computer – for example, by tracking the data you enter via your keyboard, taking screen shots or getting a list of running applications.
  • Trojan-Mailfinder
    These programs can harvest email addresses from your computer.
  • Other types of Trojans include:
    • Trojan-ArcBomb
    • Trojan-Clicker
    • Trojan-Notifier
    • Trojan-Proxy
    • Trojan-PSW

How to protect yourself against Trojans

SOSBy installing effective anti-malware software, you can defend your devices – including PCs, laptops, Macs, tablets and smartphones – against Trojans. A rigorous anti-malware solution will detect and prevent Trojan attacks on your PC anti-malware products that defend the following devices against Trojans:

  • Windows PCs
  • Linux computers
  • Apple Macs
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets

We can advise on and install anti-malware products at MBM

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New labelling System helps IT Support Customers

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MBM is rolling out a new system for managing customers’ devices which are included in their IT Support contract with MBM. The new labels, which are easily identifiable, will be placed on all equipment covered by MBM.

MBM

 

 

 

 

 

 

The labels include a unique QR Code which provides MBM with all the information we need about the hardware including: device type, age, owner, location and support history.

Jason Timmins, technical director at MBM, explains: “It’s important for both our customers and our support team that we can easily identify a device when there is a problem. The new asset labels will help to provide us with a more streamlined process for repair, maintenance and inventory.”

The new labels will be rolled out during planned site visits. For more information contact jason@mbmltd.co.uk

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Free guest wifi is more important than Coffee!

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So says one of our Facebook Fans – so think about the total service that you offer visitors to your premises.

Offering your customers the ability to connect their mobile devices to your wireless internet can be highly beneficial, especially if you work in a retail or leisure environment.

Businesses can also offer guest wireless access from a private office which is ideal for contractors or associates working on-site.

NIgel_Mills_MBMNigel Mills, managing director of MBM, advises businesses to keep their business WiFi separate from guest and visitor WiFi and encrypt it to ensure customers don’t inadvertently access your wireless traffic. He suggests businesses might also want to consider guest users accepting Terms of Service before allowing access to the Internet or impose time limits or bandwidth limits. The guest gateway can also be used to capture useful information such as name and Email address which can be used for marketing purposes at a later date.

Need reliable WiFi for your business?

Want secure WiFi for guests & visitors?

Unsure how to set it up & manage it?

MBM can guide you through the WiFi maze and ensure your business is set up securely and has the right hardware for your needs and provide ongoing support. Call us on 01902 32 44 94

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Are you just putting up with a slow broadband connection ?

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If you’ve ever experienced a slow internet connection or the loss of your connection for an hour or two, you’ll understand just how frustrating it can be.

MBM_42Emails_Blog_smallWe use the Internet so frequently during our working day to send and receive emails, for research and information, to access documents or software within the Cloud and so on; that we forget what it would be like to work if we didn’t have it at all.

So why do so many businesses whose core activity is so dependent on a good internet connection, put up with a slow one that can’t cope with their business’s usage or one that’s intermittently up and down?

MBM’s Business Broadband Service

MBM’s Business Broadband service is supplied using four of the best broadband networks in the UK: BT, TalkTalk, Cable & Wireless an Opal Telecom. Using four networks means that we can offer our customers the best broadband service that is available in their location.

If reliability is key, we offer a pair of broadband services supplied over different networks so if one service goes down, the second service steps in thereby minimising disruption to your business.

And if you have a problem, you don’t wait in a call queue – you simply ring MBM.

Want to talk through the options available to you and your business? Call us on 01902 32 44 94

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Do you know what a gateway is ?

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A gateway is a node that allows you to gain entrance into a network and vice versa. On the Internet the node which is the stopping point can be a gateway or a host node. A computer that controls the traffic your network or your ISP (Internet Service Provider) receives is a node. In most homes a gateway is the device provided by the Internet Service Provider that connects users to the internet.

disksWhen a computer server serves as a Gateway node, the gateway node also operates as a firewall and a proxy server. A firewall is a system created to prevent unauthorized admission into a private network. A proxy server is located right between a client application such as a web browser and the real server. The proxy server sees if the client applications requests can be carried out by the real server.

Usually a gateway is associated with a router. A router is a device or sometimes computer software that lets you know the next network data should be sent to next. A router can be connected to two or more networks at a time, it decides the next destination of the data based on it’s comprehension of the condition of the networks. A gateway is associated with a router because a router which uses headers and forwarding tables to figure out where packets or data is sent provides the path through which information is sent in and out a gateway.

So a gateway is one of the many ways we can communicate over the World Wide Web. The gateway allows us to enter different networks on the internet so we can transmit data back and forth. There’s also software available where you can be able to run several networks on a computer. As you have come to see by now having a gateway on your computer has it’s many benefits.

You can get a little smarter by installing different gateways within your business – speak to MBM on how we can help you with this.

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Are you aware what the withdrawal of XP really means ?

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You are probably aware by now that very soon (just over a fortnight) Microsoft will withdraw support of their XP product. However what does that really mean for you and your business ? Well lets spell things out

officeIt means that there will be no security updates or patches brought out for windows XP not only that but there will also be no support provided either – yes this is a big deal. This will mean any machine or business that still runs on XP by the time that support is terminated will have their security greatly compromised, it will also most likely be a breach of security standards.

There will also be no third party application support for windows XP, meaning that it is more likely that third party applications will not run on windows XP.

There is a solution and we can help you get there but you really cant afford to leave it any longer – make no bones about it not acting could cost you your business. A cloud solution is just a phonecall away – call the goto guys for more info on Microsoft 365.

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Why your business shouldnt wait any longer for 365 migration

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Still companies are waiting before migrating to Office 365 – We can only deduce that they are crossing their fingers that their systems will cope following the withdrawal of support for Windows XP next month. At MBM we can offer you a managed cloud solution on Windows 365 and will support you through the migration process.

As well as being a replacement for XP there are several benefits for your business in upgrading.

office

Top Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 for Small Businesses

  • Saves time and money.
  • Anytime, Anywhere Access.
  • Professional Face for Your Business.
  • Easily Communicate and Collaborate Inside and Outside Your Organization.
  • Simple to Learn, Straightforward to Use.
  • Email, Collaboration, and Online Meeting Solutions.
  • Safety and Security.
  • 99.9-Percent Availability, Money-Back Guarantee
  • Flexibility for Your Business.

Need help ? Call for a no obligation chat – our friendly team are always happy to talk you through your future IT  plans

 

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