Home Workers – This is for you

The interests and cyber security needs of our customers are at the heart of everything we do. This is particularly important during these unprecedented and challenging times.

Millions of people the world over have made a sudden shift to working from home due to the current global circumstances. With our customers in mind we are developing material to help you stay safe and secure when you are online.

Protect those around you by staying connected, private and by sharing valid information.

Unfortunately, as you may be aware, cyber criminals are taking advantage of the anxieties and concerns around the coronavirus, Covid-19.

This has led to a flood of phishing mails that either attempt to steal log-in details belonging to remote workers or install malware on to a victim’s computer. Other infection methods are also being used such as websites that harbour malicious code and apps that are actually fronts for ransomware among other things.

To Protect yourself here are a few useful tips……

Mac malware email draftsEmails
Whenever you receive an e-mail that asks you to click or open a link, take a GOOD look at the sender’s actual email address, not just the displayed name (which could be a trick). You can usually see this by hovering your mouse over the sender’s name.

teleconferencing makes the world smallerWebsites
If opening links from within an e-mail, look in the URL address bar to see the domain hosting the web page, is it what you would expect – or is it a website you have never heard of? Again, you can hover your mouse over the link without clicking to see the destination website.

Dr Larry RobertsYour Systems
Keep your operating system and apps updated – this ensures you have the latest patches against any known exploits

Snoopers' charterLock or close your laptop when you’re taking a break, this will ensure that others in your home don’t accidently click on malware links or otherwise mess up your work.

With these tips in mind, please take an extra moment to review incoming emails, and the websites you visit to avoid becoming a victim of these attacks. Be extra careful around your online banking and financial investments and don’t be fooled by easy money. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

We express our gratitude to those of you who are working on the frontline to combat this virus and offer our sympathies and best wishes to those who have been impacted.

We’re in this together! Stay safe both online and offline!  If you need any help with anything mentioned in this blog please get in touch.

With Kind Regards

The MPMIT Team, offering local IT support in byte sized chunks to Micro businesses and Sole Traders in the Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and the surrounding areas.

Do You Know What “Vishing” Is?

Have you heard of the term “Vishing”?

It is a fraudulent act whereby someone telephones you pretending to be from your bank, the police or other reputable organisations and tricks you into handing over your personal details. These are then used to commit fraud.

How to spot Vishing

Those that commit vishing are quite technically savvy, so much so that the number they are calling from (that appears on your phone) may be masked to make it look legitimate.

To help you stay one step ahead here are a few of the ticks they use that you should look out for.

  • Telling you a fraud has been detected on your account – they’ll prey on your natural concern to encourage you to transfer money to a different account. Remember that the police and your bank will never as you to withdraw money from a cash point, or transfer money to another account
  • Suggest you hang up and then call the official bank phone number – they won’t hang up so they can be sure that you’re reconnected directly with them again
  • Asking you to enter your PIN into the handset – again, this is something you would never be asked to do by the police or your bank
  • Asking you to put your card and PIN in separate envelopes to be collection – your bank will never collect your card in person, or ask you to buy good with your card and hand them over for safe keeping

What should you do if you think you’ve been conned?

The best advice we can give is to get in touch with your bank straight away.

Vishing is a growing problem, so it’s important you remain vigilant at all times. Remember that your bank will never ask for your confidential information over the phone and neither with the police.

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

Destroy Your Data–5 Ways to Say Goodbye

goodbye

The thought that you could unwittingly open your data up to unscrupulous hackers is at the forefront of most peoples’ minds. But what about when you dispose of your old computer, hard disk, or USB stick?

If you don’t destroy your data before disposing of your hardware or dropping it off at your local recycling centre, you could see your personal data fall into the wrong hands.

Here are 5 top tips for data destruction from PCPro – well worth a read.

1. Overwrite it

Simply deleting files or formatting them won’t do it. Although they appear removed from your OS, they’ll still be lurking in the recesses of your hard drive.

The answer is to overwrite the data at least 3 times. The article in PCPro suggests using the Gutmann method, which ‘writes a series of 35 patterns over the hard drive’, their preferred free tool is Eraser.

2. Smash it

To eradicate the data you have to physically destroy the hard drive, or more accurately, the platters within the hard drive.

This can be done using various methods: hammering large nails through it, using a sledgehammer to pummel it, take an angle-grinder to it, or dunk it in dilute hydrochloric acid.

The easiest method is to unscrew the hard drive using a Torx screwdriver and remove the platters, which can then be sawn and generally destroyed.

3. Demagnetise it

Although this method won’t work on USB sticks or SSDs (because there’s nothing magnetic about those data storage devices), it can be used on hard drives.

But be warned, waving a household magnet over it won’t be enough to delete your data. Demagnetising (or degaussing) isn’t a viable home data destruction method as degaussing machines are rather expensive.

4. Disc destruction

We’re not talking about scratches as they would have to be pretty deep to make any impact, so you might as well go the whole hog and destroy the disc.

Cut it up using a strong pair of scissors or shears, or, if your shredder has a slot for CDs, use that and dispose of the bits in separate bins to make sure it can’t be put back together again.

5. Purge your printer

Believe it or not, lots of printers have built in hard drives and may automatically store a copy of any document that passes through it – bet you didn’t realise that.

Assuming you’re not planning on selling on the printer (or returning it to the lease company), remove the disc and destroy it. If you do want to sell it on, connect the printer to a PC and wipe it using the a data erasure tool.

So there you go, 5 ways to make sure you don’t pass on any of your sensitive data without realising it.

 

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

How Safe is the Data on Your Smartphone?

mobile phoneIn today’s day and age, we all shred important documents to minimise the risk of fraudsters getting hold of our personal data. But what about your smartphone?

Think for a moment about what is stored on it – your emails, bank account information, social networks and that’s just the tip of the ice berg. This wealth of personal information could potentially be swiped by malware (malicious software) or by someone physically stealing your phone.

Bet that’s got you thinking.

But they’ve got safeguards – haven’t they?

Sure, the iPhone has a ‘sandbox’ configuration making the OS pretty secure, but advances in malware means you should never rest on your laurels thinking your phone’s manufacturer has got everything covered.

As for Android phones, they are more closely related to PCs to, potentially, are an easy target for hackers.

And let’s face it, regardless of what magic software your phone contains to fend off would-be hackers, if it gets stolen, it’s game over.

Keeping your smartphone safe

A lot of advice about staying save is common-sense, but it never hurts to reiterate it:

  • Only download official apps from reputable dedicated app stores
  • Always check the areas of your phone you’re allowing the app to have access to (e.g. access to sending SMS messages shouldn’t always be needed, and can be exploited to rack up huge bills using premium rate numbers)
  • Regularly update your smartphone’s OS
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions when you’re not using them

To stay extra safe,  you can also take the extra step of utilising a mobile security product such as Bullguard Mobile Security.

At the end of the day, keep your smartphone secure when out and about and be vigilant about what you download on to it. Remember, one phone can hold a lot of information about you – so make sure it stays safe.

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

Bribery Act – Is Your Business up to Speed?

Way back in July 2011, the Bribery Act 2010 came into force.

It applies to all businesses within the UK.

If you’re a business owner, have you taken the necessary steps to make sure you comply?

The Bribery Act contains 4 main criminal offences, namely:

  • Offering, promising or giving a bribe
  • Requesting, agreeing to receiving, or accepting a bribe
  • Bribing a foreign public official
  • Failing to prevent a bribe being paid on an organisation’s behalf

Potentially, your business could fall foul of this legislation if it can’t show that it has put in place ‘adequate measures’ to prevent bribery taking place.

What do you need to do?

Your first step will be to determine whether there is a risk that an employee, agent, subsidiary partner, or other person carrying out services for on your behalf, carrying out an act that falls within any of the four offences listed above.

For more guidance, the Government has published these guidelines on the 6 principles every business should follow to help you ensure compliance with the Act.

So, are you compliant?