News

Ransomware Attack Update
May 14, 2017

Update 15 May 2017 21:00

Activity today has been relatively low with the expected 'second wave' of attacks almost non-existent.

Security researchers around the world are examining the worm. Firstly, in order to see if there is a way of recovering machines that have fallen victim, and secondly, to see if it's origins can be traced.

It is looking as though the worm is the work of the so-called Lazarus group, which were behind previous attacks on Polish banks and other institutions.

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As everyone knows that there was a massive ransomware attack on many organisations across the world, including the NHS, on Friday.  Indeed, experts are forecasting further attacks are imminent.This newsletter explains what we know about the attack and how it could affect you.

What We Know

The virus took control of users' files, demanding payments; Russia and the UK were among the worst hit countries.

Security experts have warned that another attack is imminent and could be unstoppable.

The attack was not targeted at specific organisations.  The attack is sent to random computers and is probably initiated by clicking on an email or a link in a website.

It is not known whether this was an attack initiated by a criminal organisation or a lone person in their back bedroom.  Doubtless we will find out in time.

After taking computers over, the virus displayed messages demanding a payment of $300 (£230) in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock files and return them to the user.

Microsoft issued a patch to protect against the vulnerability that was exploited by the attack back in mid-March.  If this patch is applied then your computers should be safe.  Computers running Windows XP are particularly vulnerable as Microsoft stopped issuing security updates to these machines three years ago in 2014.  XP machines therefore cannot be patched.

It is thought that computers running Windows 10 have not been targeted in this last attack so are thought to be safe.

Furthermore, even if the patch wasn't applied, if you have up-to-date and active anti-virus or anti-malware products then an occurrence of the malware should be detected.

Is my Company safe?

If you subscribe to our Managed Services plan, then we ensure the latest Microsoft patches are applied to all computers on your system as they are released.  If your subscription includes our anti-virus software then we also ensure this is up-to-date and that scans are run regularly.  We are also notified of any issues as they arise.

Furthermore, we have been manually checking the systems of our Managed Services customers over the weekend in order to ensure all patches have been applied to servers.  We have also been pushing out updates to workstations (so long as they were switched on).  We will be carrying out a further push of updates throughout Monday as machines come online.  It is important that if you are asked to install updates and/or reboot machines, then you do as requested.

If you have any questions regarding the above, then please contact us.

Microsoft makes emergency security fix
May 9, 2017

Microsoft has released an urgent update to stop hackers taking control of computers with a single email.

The unusual bug, in Microsoft anti-malware software such as Windows Defender, could be exploited without the recipient even opening the message.

Researchers working for Google's Project Zero cyber-security outfit discovered the flaw at the weekend.

Samsung S8 Phone First Look (BBC)
April 21, 2017

First look at Samsung's new smartphone. The main iPhone competition.

BBC News Site

Vista: The End is Nigh
April 18, 2017

More than 10 years after its launch, Microsoft is finally laying to rest the much-unloved Windows Vista.

The operating system will no longer receive any more updates or patches, and users have been urged to upgrade to a newer operating system or risk security threats. 

More at IT Pro

Microsoft Edge
April 17, 2017

Microsoft are showcasing the new Edge browser this weelk in a series of posts.

Details here.

Windows 10 Creators Update
April 17, 2017

Microsoft have released an update to Windows 10 entitled the Creators Update. It is available through the usual Windows Update process and will be on your Windows 10 PC automatically. Timing will depend on your update cycle.

Details here.

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