Microsoft Adds Ransomware Protection To OneDrive

OneDrive ransomware protection

 

OneDrive Ransomware Protection

Here’s a scenario for you.

You know all about ransomware and how it can affect your computer. But did you realise it can also spread to your files stored in the cloud?

Microsoft does, which is why it’s creating some new OneDrive protections.

As a result, you can now ‘roll back’ the files stored in OneDrive to versions stored up to a month ago. This helps you get back to a point before the malware infection occurred.

Better still, it will use its automated threat-detection system. This figures out when the ransomware began infecting those files. You then get an alert, via your phone, so let you know that an infection has taken place.

What’s the catch?

You have to subscribe to Office 365, although the Outlook protections aren’t yet available to the Office 365 version of Outlook.

How does it work?

According to a recent article in PCWorld.com:

“What’s new is that Microsoft has adapted its Files Restore capability—previously only for OneDrive for Business—and brought it into Office 365 subscriptions for home users. Not only will Microsoft detect an attack, but you’ll be notified by any channels that Microsoft would normally use to send you messages: email, a popup notification, and more.

“Then, you’ll be able to enter OneDrive and essentially “roll back” to an earlier day. You’ll want to pick a day before Microsoft alerted you about the attack, naturally.

“Microsoft has also taken security within Outlook a step further: Now you can password-protect links to folders or files. That’s handy: Previously, there was really no real way to protect links to files or folders from being shared to anyone. Both the ransomware detection and link protections are available starting Thursday, Microsoft said.

“If you are concerned about those links being forwarded, Microsoft has begun to address that, too. In Outlook.com, you now have the option of encrypting a file or preventing it from being forwarded, or both simultaneously.”

 

 

 

Using Dropbox For Business To Work Better And More Safely Together

Dropbox for Business

 

With GDPR legislation on the horizon, we thought we’d let you know about an alternative way to transfer your documentation – Dropbox for Business.

Dropbox for Business is a great way to simplify your work, with a central place from which to access and share your files.

It delivers all the features your business needs, including:

Flexible storage plans

You have the ability to choose the right plan to ensure your team has the space it needs to be productive.

File and version recovery

It provides a quick way to recover deleted files and restore previous file versions.

Team folder manager

Get visibility and control of team folders, including sync management.

Link permissions

You can password protect your links or set expiry dates to grant temporary access.

Dropbox Paper

Dropbox paper gives you a simple and powerful way to create, share and keep your team in sync – with the added benefit of admin controls.

Smart Sync

Access every file in their Dropbox, directly from their desktop, using very little hard disk space.

Admin dashboard

Monitor team activity, view connected devices and audit sharing activity.

Account transfer tool

You can easily transfer files from one user to another when responsibilities change.

Groups

Create groups to manage team member access to specific folders efficiently.

Remote wipe

Clear files from lost or stolen devices to keep company files in the right hands.

Third-party app integrations

Extend the power of Dropbox with over 300,000 connected apps.

Live support

Get answers to your questions quickly via priority phone, email and chat support.

If you’re not already using it or thinking of upgrading your current DropBox account to a business one, pop along to their website and compare the different plans they offer. 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Keep Prying Eyes Away From Your iCloud Pictures

iCloud picture security

 

Your pictures capture important personal memories. You store them in iCloud to ensure they’re safe from crashing PCs or malware disasters. But are they really safe?

OK, you’re unlikely to fall victim to unscrupulous hackers who mercilessly stalk the rich and famous, but that doesn’t mean you can be relaxed about the security measures you take to protect your photos.

To help you rest easy at night knowing your pictures are safe and sound, here’s a 5 step process that will make sure prying eyes can’t get near your photos.

1. Controlled backup

The first stage is to know what data is being backed up to your iCloud.

Go to Settings > iCloud and you’ll see a list of apps and services that automatically backup to the cloud. All you have to do is switch on or off the ones you want to be backed up.

2. Powerful passwords

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the importance of strong passwords. Even though Apple places a restriction on the number of password attempts, it’s essential you create a strong password. That means using upper and lowercase, plus numbers and symbols to create a password that you can remember and that’s super strong.

3. Two-factor authentication

The two-factor authentication feature adds an extra layer of security. To enable it, go to Settings > iCloud > Password & Security > turn on two-factor authentication.

Now, when you sign into your account, you’ll be asked to enter your password and a verification code that will be sent to your phone when you login.

4. Switch off iCloud

After having said how great iCloud is, this might seem a bit of an odd one to you.

The problem with storing your precious memories in the cloud is that you don’t have control as to how they are stored, so if you’d rather not use iCloud and prefer to backup to an external hard drive, go to Settings > iCloud and scroll to the bottom. Here you’ll find the option to ‘Sign out’.

5. Manual backup

If you decide to go with our last suggestion and switch off automatic backups to iCloud, you’ll have to backup manually using iTunes.

Yes, it’s a pain, but you do at least get to control where your backup is stored.

First, make sure you’re running the latest version of iTunes, then connect your iOS device and choose File > Device > Backup.

Once you’ve done that, open iTunes preferences and select the Devices tab. This will show you the name of the device and the date and time iTunes created the backup.

 

There you go – that’s how you can either make sure your iCloud account remains safe from hackers, or backup your pictures using iTunes. Whichever method you choose, stick to our advice to make sure your memories stay safe and secure.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Protect Your iCloud Pictures From Prying Eyes

iCloud security

You probably have loads of pictures stored in iCloud.

You’re probably not a world-famous celebrity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take their security seriously. After all, do you really want to run the risk of your personal photos making their way on the web?

To help you keep your images safe from prying eyes, here’s how to make sure you have the tightest possible security for your iCloud pictures.

1 – Control what is backup to iCloud

Head over to ‘Settings’ and then scroll down to ‘iCloud’. You will see a list of apps and services that are automatically backing up information to the cloud.

By turning off apps and photos you can effectively control what is backed up to iCloud.

2 – Reset your password

There’s no getting away from the fact that the best security comes from strong passwords.

Hackers used to gain access by using a tools that ran through likely password combinations until they found the right one. Apple has now placed restrictions on the number of password attempts that can be made, but it’s still a good idea to have a strong password that can’t be cracked.

You can do this by using a combination of upper and lowercase characters, numbers and symbols.

3 – Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication improves the security of your Apple ID and all the personal information you store with Apple.

  • Go to Settings > iCloud > tap your Apple ID
  • Tap Password & Security
  • Tap Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

When you want to sign into your account in the future, you’ll be required to enter your regular password followed by a verification code that will be sent to your phone at the time of login.

4 – Turn off iCloud

One way of beating the hackers is simply not to use iCloud.

If you don’t want to use the service, go to ‘Settings’ then ‘iCloud’ and scroll down to the bottom where you’ll see ‘Sign out’. Click on this and you’ll get the option to delete your account.

Alternatively, you can turn off the iCloud drive.

5 – Manually back up using iTunes

If you decide not to use iCloud, you’ll have to manually back-up your content using iTunes, giving you more control of where your backup is stored.

Once you’ve made sure you’re running the latest versions of iTunes, connect your iOS device to your computer, choose ‘File’ > ‘Devices’ > ‘Backup’

If you’re using iTunes 10.7 or earlier you can right-click the device from the list and choose Backup Now.  Once finished, open iTunes preferences and select the Devices tab. Here you’ll see the name of the device along with the date and time iTunes creates the backup.

 

By using one of these simple work arounds you can make sure your photos are kept safe from hackers – regardless of whether you’re a celebrity or not.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Say Farewell to OneDrive’s Unlimited Storage for Office 365 Users

OneDrive cloud storage changes

 

Once upon a time, paying Office 365 subscribers enjoyed unlimited OneDrive storage, increasing the platform’s competitiveness against the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox. But now Microsoft has changed its mind because, apparently, the unlimited storage privilege had been abused by some users.

According to their official blog:

“Since starting to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings.”

They also added that, in some cases, users used 75TB of storage, which is 14,000 times the average used by Office 365 subscribers.

The changes mean that subscribers for Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal and Office 365 University will go back to a 1TB limit for OneDrive storage. If you are on one of these plans and currently have more than 1TB stored in your OneDrive account, you can keep the increased space for 12 months.

To sum up:

  • Microsoft is offering pro-rated refunds to users who decide ti withdraw from their Office 365 subscription
  • Paid users of OneDrive will also experience downgrades, with the 100GB and 200GB storage options being replaced by a 50GB service for a monthly fee of $1.99 (currently standalone storage plans won’t be affected)
  • Free storage on OneDrive will decrease from 5GB to 15GB for all new and current users, with the bonus of 15GB for camera roll storage also being discontinued

Not such great news if you use the service.

It will be interesting to see how many current users will move their cloud storage services in light of Microsoft’s changes.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

Source: Techtimes

 

Which is The Best Cloud Storage Service of 2015?

 

Finding the right cloud storage service for your needs can be tricky.

There are 3 main players:

  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • Google Drive

Of course, they each offer different benefits, so to help you work out which is best for your needs we’ve sifted through the pros and cons.

Service overview

Dropbox

Quite basic, Dropbox allows you to store files in the cloud, arranged in folders and sub-folders – a bit like you would on your desktop.

You can also choose to share folders with others – very handy if you want to email a large file to someone.

OneDrive

This offers much the same as Dropbox, but it’s integrated with the Microsoft and Google ecosystems.

Previously known as SkyDrive, if you have a Microsoft email account (Outlook or Hotmail) you already have OneDrive and access to Office Online (it’s also one of the apps included with the Windows 8 OS).

Google Drive

This is much the same as OneDrive except it’s integrated with Google Docs as well as Android and Chrome OS. In a similar way as above, if you have a Gmail account, you already have Google Drive.

How much to you get free?

Google Drive and OneDrive are the most generous offering 15GB free storage per user. You only get 2GB with DropBox.

As for bonuses, the picture is a bit different.

OneDrive offers a recruitment incentive bonus: recruit 1 friend and get an extra 500MB, which goes up to a maximum of 5GB if you recruit 10 friends.

You can also earn an extra 15GB of storage when you activate your camera roll backup on iOS, Android, Windows or Windows phone to save photos automatically to OneDrive.

Dropbox also offers a bonus scheme: for each person you invite to Dropbox (and who joins), you get an extra 500MB with a maximum of…wait for it…16GB. By far the most generous.

So which one is right for you?

Only you can decide that, but hopefully this quick insight will make that an easy decision.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: alphr.com

Cyber Attacks Move to the Cloud

This article comes from a recent report in Computer Weekly.

A recent study shows that with an increase in the adoption of cloud-based services, cyber attacks on cloud environments have almost reached the same level as attacks on traditional IT.

The 2014 Cloud Security Report by Alert Logic is based on an analysis of data from cloud and on-premises infrastructures of 2,200 customers.

In the past year, the study found that brute force attacks on cloud environments climbed from 30% to 44% of customers, and vulnerability scans increased from 27% to 44%. These typically involve a number of attempts testing multiple common credential failings to find a way in, while vulnerability scans are automated attempts to find a security weakness in applications, services or protocol implementations that can be exploited.

“As more enterprise workloads have moved into cloud and hosted infrastructures, some traditional on-premises threats have followed them,” said Stephen Coty, chief security evangelist at Alert Logic.

“This reinforces the necessity for enterprise-grade security systems specifically designed to protect cloud environments,” he said.

The report is also based on data from “honeypot” computer systems set up on the internet – those that are expressly set up to attract and trap people who attempt to penetrate other people’s computer systems. These attract attackers to observe attack types and frequency.

The report shows that 14% of malware collected through the honeypots was considered undetectable by 51 of the world’s top antivirus suppliers as attackers re-package variants of malware like Zeus or Conficker.

“Antivirus still has a role as it detecting the other 86% of malware, but organisations have to do a lot more than that to ensure they can catch the malware that antivirus will not.”

According to the report, widespread acceptance of cloud computing in enterprise IT increases the need to secure cloud infrastructure in a way that rivals protection of the traditional datacentre.

To meet this requirement, the report said IT and security professionals must understand the types of threats targeting cloud computing environments, and whether traditional security technologies can perform effectively in cloud environments.

“They must also understand that cloud is a shared responsibility between the service provider and the customer,” said Coty.

“The cloud provider is responsible for foundational services and things like hardening the hypervisor, but users remain 100% responsible for everything at the application layer, including security,” he said.

According to Coty, this means cloud consumers still need to think about features such as secure coding, access management, software virtual patching, monitoring applications and security monitoring.

Cloud consumers also need to talk to their providers about what they need to do from a security point of view, and ask questions about their encryption strategies and how they patch their hypervisors.

“Finally, it is important to stay informed about the kinds of potential threats to your cloud environment to enable you to ask the right questions of your service provider,” said Coty.

“Knowledge is power because knowing what you are vulnerable to will help you to defend your environment a lot more efficiently and work better with your service provider,” he said.

Hybrid Clouds: The Pros and Cons

A Hybrid Cloud isn’t the easiest Cloud model to use securely, but with the right architectural approach, it can be provide the flexible service your customers want.

Before going on, what is a Hybrid Cloud?

Well, it’s a combination of public (e.g. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure etc. ideal for clients with low-risk commodities), private (those built exclusively for a single organisation tailored to their specific needs) and community Cloud service (build for a discrete community such as the Police).

A Hybrid Cloud is an excellent choice if you have an overall service that’s made up of a number of different components, some of which are sensitive and some that are not. Or if you’re launching a web service, but are unsure of what demand is likely to be so you want something that can cope with sudden demand surge.

As already alluded to, security can be an issue as you have to deal with the security considerations of both public and private Clouds.

Lee Newcombe, Chief Information Risk Advisor, Infrastructure Transformation Services Practices, Capgemini UK says:

“This is where the true value of security architecture shines through.  If you have invested in defining a set of consistent and comprehensive logical security services (including functional and non-functional aspects) then you can choose appropriate physical implementations for each of those services relevant to the cloud deployment model and achieve the desired levels of security.   Furthermore, if you have established a relationship with a Service Integration and Application Management (SIAM) provider, then you can also ask the SIAM to provide a set of common security services across your cloud-based supply chain.   Services such as identity management, security monitoring and PKI management can all be centralised and re-used where necessary.   An upfront investment in security architecture enables you to support your business stakeholders to adopt cloud services rather than frustrate their desire for agile, flexible service provision. Hybrid cloud is certainly not the easiest cloud model to deploy securely, however an architectural approach to security, conscious of business context, makes an appropriately secure deployment possible.”

Understanding your business needs (both current and future) will help you determine which Cloud solution is right for you.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Cloud Computing: The Fall of Legacy Tapes

If ever there was a strong case for turning to the Cloud, it’s the future (or rather lack of) of legacy cloud servicestapes.

Legacy tapes are backups that tend to sit in expensive offsite storage vaults. Many of them are of no use, but have to be kept due to legal, compliance and regulatory purposes.

The bigger issue however, is that many of the irreplaceable tape backups are inaccessible because modern machines can’t handle legacy formats.

So there’s a whole lot of backup data out there that can’t be used. The answer for many companies is to retain old hardware just so the tapes can be accessed should the need arise.

But this is just part of a wider IT problem facing many companies.

According to research conducted by EMC, estimated unscheduled downtime costs UK businesses £379,519 per year, which doesn’t include security breaches or data loss. The study showed that globally, IT and senior business executives found that reduced investments in critical areas of IT (e.g. continuous availability, integrated backup and advanced security) hampered IT resilience and recovery after downtime.

Even if downtime is short, there is an immediate impact on the business, which is where the Cloud comes into its own.

The main advantages are:

  • Greater flexibility by adapting bandwidth as the business grows
  • Cloud computing providers take on most issues related to disaster recovery, restoring services faster
  • Businesses benefit from automatic software updates (including security updates)
  • Reduces capital expenditure
  • Employees can work from anywhere
  • Greener way of working
  • Greater security

The pay as you go feature of many Cloud services make it affordable for all businesses. Considering its flexibility and security advantages, it’s definitely an option all companies should investigate, negating the need for expensive offsite storage and backups that could, potentially, become obsolete.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

 

Cloud Computing – The Pros and Cons

Our clients ask us a lot of questions about cloud computing.

They read about how great it is, but are concerned about data safety.

To give you some background, cloud computing is basically the outsourcing of your IT services remotely over the internet. At the most basic level it means you putting your data on a third party server and accessing the software over the internet instead of on your individual computer or private server.

So is it a good idea? Only you can decide that, but here are a few of the pros and cons to help you make up your own mind.

Pros of cloud computing

Let’s start with the pros.

It does mean you can have access to all sorts of facilities that you may not have previously been able to afford because you don’t have to buy or maintain servers or company data storage facilities.

But it isn’t all about cost savings. Because data back-up is automatically stored on the cloud application it can save time too, not to mention the long-term flexibility it gives you in terms of storage and processing power.

Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, there are down sides too.

Cons of cloud computing

The main issues and risk with cloud computing relate to data protection and privacy.

As you already know, when handling personal data, you are subject to the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). One of the Act’s protocols provides that all data must be kept safe.

The main issue here is that, potentially, when in the cloud your information could be stored overseas (and outside the EU), which triggers another protocol under the DPA, namely that data mustn’t be sent outside the EU unless that country has an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects.

Basically, you must check to see where your data is stored and if overseas, you must ask for a list of countries where the data will be processed and what safeguards are in place.

Of course, not every cloud backup provider operates overseas. Our own cloud backup service has military encryption when transmitting data and the data is stored in 2 locations across London.

So the best advice we can give is make sure you do some digging to find out exactly how your data will be stored, where and how securely it will be transmitted.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.