Beware – Technical Support From Your ISP Could Be a Scam

ISP pop up scam

 

A recent article in Transcendit caught our eye, so we wanted to bring its content to your attention.

It’s to do with pop-up ads.

You might think the reign of the pop-up scam was now over, but sadly not. The latest hacking scam is a pop-up advert that pretends to be from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the worrying thing is just how authentic it looks.

It gives you a phone number and the message: ‘Our system scans have detected malicious software on your computer. Your personal photos, credit card information and passwords may be at risk. Contact our certified technicians for immediate assistance.’

The most convincing part is that it looks as if it’s come straight from whoever provides your internet.

The scam works because these legitimate-looking ads persuade potential victims to call the hackers directly, rather than the other way round. Then it only takes a little social engineering to convince victims that something on their computer is causing trouble, and encourage them to install something to ‘fix’ the problem.

What should you do if you get a pop-up?

If you get one of these and are worried that your computer may have been infected, run your own scan for viruses and malware using Windows Defender, or your own security program.

If you do get an alert informing you that your computer has been hacked, look up the number for your ISP and contact them directly, without using the number on the pop up.

If you’re still concerned, give MPMIT a call on 01449 770704 and give our IT support team a look. They’re happy to talk your through ways to secure your computer against viruses and malware.

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

How Protected is Your Company?

keep data safe

 

One of the biggest headaches you face is keeping your business data safe from prying eyes.

You might think that because you’re not one of the big global players no one would bother about hacking into your systems, but cyberattacks on small businesses are becoming more common.

Data is big business and your clients rely on you to take every possible precaution to keep their personal information safe, so you owe it to them to make sure you’re covered.

Chinks in Your Armour

If you’re reading this thinking, “this doesn’t apply to me, I’ve got it covered,” think again.

Did you know that 25% of tablets and 35% of smartphones used in businesses are not equipped with security software?

Can you in all honesty say you’ve got 100% coverage?

This gap is leaving businesses vulnerable to all sorts of infections and attacks because they can come from anywhere at any time:

  • 39% come from accessing unsecured websites
  • 23% from downloading programs from the internet
  • 19% of malware comes via email

Those are some pretty scary statistics.

So what can you do to protect your business from such attacks?

Small Business Protection

You can protect your business without it costing the earth.

After scouring the marketplace, we recommend that our clients use Panda Security’s Small Business Protection.

It doesn’t cost the earth and offers lightweight, powerful antivirus protection for both new and older PCs. You can download it and enjoy complete protection without having to ask for technical assistance.

They’ve even produced this infographic to help illustrate the benefits of the product. We hope you find it useful.

Panda Security Small Business Protection

For more information about the product, get in touch and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

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

Beware Poor Passwords – The LinkedIn Data Leak

Hacker - Salvatore Vuono

 

Do you remember the recent LinkedIn data leak?

Some 117 million usernames and passwords of LinkedIn users were put up for sale on the dark web, which were believed to have been stolen back in 2012.

LinkedIn is not the only company that fails to secure its services properly. It’s becoming an alarmingly common trend and you can take your pick from any number of high profile organisations that have been hit by data breaches.

But are these big businesses really to blame?

Granted, you would hope their platform’s were secure, but any hacker, if determined enough, will work out a way of breaking through their security, which is why it’s so important to accept responsibility for your personal information.

I should just mention that LinkedIn has recently taken steps to protect its 400 million members and has sent out a mass email explaining these steps.

LinkedIn statement

This is what LinkedIn had to say about the matter:

What Happened?

On May 17, 2016, we became aware that data stolen from LinkedIn in 2012 was being made available online. This was not a new security breach or hack. We took immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of all LinkedIn accounts that we believed might be at risk. These were accounts created prior to the 2012 breach that had not reset their passwords since that breach.

What Information Was Involved?

Member email addresses, hashed passwords, and LinkedIn member IDs (an internal identifier LinkedIn assigns to each member profile) from 2012.

What We Are Doing

We invalidated passwords of all LinkedIn accounts created prior to the 2012 breach that had not reset their passwords since that breach. In addition, we are using automated tools to attempt to identify and block any suspicious activity that might occur on LinkedIn accounts. We are also actively engaging with law enforcement authorities.

LinkedIn has taken significant steps to strengthen account security since 2012. For example, we now use salted hashes to store passwords and enable additional account security by offering our members the option to use two-step verification.

What You Can Do

We have several dedicated teams working diligently to ensure that the information members entrust to LinkedIn remains secure. While we do all we can, we always suggest that our members visit our Safety Center to learn about enabling two-step verification, and implementing strong passwords in order to keep their accounts as safe as possible. We recommend that you regularly change your LinkedIn password and if you use the same or similar passwords on other online services, we recommend you set new passwords on those accounts as well.

For More Information

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Trust & Safety team at tns-help@linkedin.com. To learn more visit our official blog.

Poor passwords

According to The Register a company called Kore Logic got hold of some of the hacked LinkedIn passwords and analysed the data to find out what passwords people are using.

You will be as shocked as we were at the results.

In descending order these are the most common passwords for LinkedIn accounts:

  • 123456
  • linkedin
  • password
  • 123456789
  • 12345678

‘123456’ is used more that than a million times while the second-placed ‘LinkedIn’ comes in at 207,000 times. And it’s startling to see ‘password’ is still used as a password.

The moral of this tale is to create passwords that are complex and difficult to guess. Use a mixture of numbers, letters, lower and upper case, and symbols.

Yes, they will be tough to remember, but you call always create a password protected spreadsheet to hold all your password information or use one of the many password management tools that are available.

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

Why We Recommend BullGuard Internet Security

BullGuard Internet Security

 

We always recommend BullGuard Internet Security to our clients, which inevitably means they ask why.

That’s why we decided to write this post so we could give you the low down on why we think it’s the best product on the market.

For starters, in January this year UK consumer champion Which? endorsed BullGuard Internet Security 2016 with a Which? ‘Best Buy’.

BullGuard Security

On top of that, it also offers you all of this:

It’s simple to install and easy to use.

BullGuard installs in minutes. Its intuitive layout makes it simple for you to run a quick scan, adjust protection levels, back up your files, customise your settings and more. Everything is just one click from the main BullGuard home screen.

Malware and Spyware Protection

The latest version of Antivirus includes Behavioural Detection, which spots new viruses by how they act on your computer. Together with Signature-based Detection, which deals with known malware, they make up a multi-layered defence system for PC that’s virtually impenetrable.

Safe Browsing

Some websites have malicious code hidden in them. Or they are used to launch phishing attacks. The BullGuard protection software checks the websites that come up in your searches and lets you know which ones are safe.

Stop unwanted applications take control

Some programmes contain adware, they install toolbars and modify your system settings. They’re not malicious like trojans or worms but they can change your browser settings, alter your home page and direct you to another search engine by default. BullGuard’s unwanted app tool flags up these programmes and stops them from changing your settings.

Advanced Backup

There is a whopping 5GB of FREE online storage included so you can keep your important data, photos, music and more safe. You can choose what you want to back up and how often, or just set the feature to auto backup. You can even back up content directly from folders with one click. Plus your back-up data is easily accessible whenever you want to view it or restore it to another computer or even your smart phone.

Firewall

This is your first line of defence against unwanted hackers and identity thieves. The firewall protects you against network attacks and prevents cyber crooks from entering your system.

Spam filter

BullGuard Spamfilter keeps out junk mail and email scams, like phishing attempts, virus spreading and foreign language spam. You can also customize filters to block emails you don’t want to receive.

PC Tune Up

You’ll never have to wait again to get your computer up and running. BullGuard’s PC Tune Up removes unnecessary files and frees up memory so your computer runs faster

Vulnerability Scanner

Checks your computer for out-dated software that hackers and viruses can exploit to gain access to your system, damage it or steal personal information. Once this software is flagged up it can then be removed.

Free 24/7 support

The BullGuard support team is there for you 24/7, providing expert advice and quick answers to your questions.

 

As you can see, it’s a pretty comprehensive internet security package. If you want to learn more give us a call. 

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

Look Out Windows 10 Hackers Are About

Windows 10 hackers

 

This shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise, but hackers have latched on to Windows 10.

Let’s face it, considering the number of spoof emails and malware there is floating around the internet these days, the latest from Microsoft’s stables was not going to remain unscathed for long.

Phishing attempts have already been detected.

One of the latest pretends to be a Windows 10 installer, but in fact installs ransomeware instead. The hackers send out emails claiming to be from Microsoft with an email attachment. The claim is that by unzipping the attached file you’ll receive a Windows 10 upgrade.

Of course, that’s not what you get. This particular one originates from Thailand, but you’ll need to be vigilant because the email’s colour scheme is very similar to the Windows 10 update app.

Protecting yourself from the hackers

The growing number of phishing tricks like this one highlights the need for protection.

Here at MPM IT we recommend BullGuard Internet Security because it guards against ransomeware and it features behavioural-based detection so new malware strains are identified and stopped.

But don’t take our word for it. Recently, it was awarded Best Buy status by the UK’s leading consumer champion, Which?

In their own words, BullGuard Internet Security was as impregnable as Fort Knox!

That’s quite an accolade.

Having the right protection and remaining vigilant at all times is the only way to stay safe and out of the clutches of the hackers.

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

7 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

Internet privacy

The Internet has undoubtedly made your life easier.

You can find just about anything on it from the comfort of your own home and has made shopping around a lot easier.

As a business owner its transparency means you can use your website analytics to help define effective marketing campaigns. Mind you its transparency isn’t always good because it’s helped agencies such as GCHQ to develop tools and techniques to “snoop” on what people are doing whilst online.

You may think that’s a good thing, especially in today’s terrorist threats, but so you really want ad agencies scooping up information about your web movements so they can sell them on to the highest bidder?

If you’d rather they didn’t, here are a few tips to help you.

1. Search engines

Google is the number one search engine of choice for most people, but it also makes oodles of cash tracking your searches by selling on their data to advertisers.

How can you browse in peace? Well, the simple answer is to switch from Google to one of the smaller engines such as Blekko and DuckDuckGo.

2. Internet browsing

If you’re a Mac user you probably use Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari, but you guessed it, they all snoop on you and track your searches even if you’re using private search mode.

If you want the snooping to stop switch to Firefox, Tor or Opera.

3. Email

You probably remember a while ago the fuss and bother that hit the fan when it came to light that Hotmail and Gmail were scrutinising the content of your emails. Again, the simple answer is to switch to a provider that encrypts your emails to keep them safe from prying eyes – such as Hushmail and Zixmail.

Mind you, changing email addresses is a bit of a faff, so I guess this one depends on how much you want to protect what you’re sending to people.

4. Social networks

These are the biggest giveaways of personal data. They are regularly trawled by hackers, criminals and the police. Pulling away from the digital social scene entirely may not be your cup of tea, so use them wisely and always be on your guard.

5. Encrypting files

For some this may seem a bit over the top, but if you’re serious about protecting your privacy encrypting all your files is the way to go.

Its a great way to keep all your files secure whether you’re sending them over the internet, backing them up or carrying them around on your laptop. The best place to start is by encrypting your hard drive.

Goof encryption tools include VeraCrypt and AxCrypt and if you use Windows 7 or 8 you can use BitLocker. Of course, your encryption is only as good as your secure password!

If you store you data in the cloud use a product such as BullGuard Backup.

6. Internet service providers

Yes, you guessed it, most of the popular ISPs also monitor your internet usage – including chat services, videos and Skype.

If you want to stop their income-generating fun try one of these services – VoxOx instead of Skype and Google Hangouts, Vimeo and Veoh rather than YouTube, Tresorit instead of Dropbox and Google Drive, and Crypto.cat and Pidgin.im rather than Gchat or Facebook chat.

7. Smartphones

The easiest way to stop apps from snooping is to ditch your smartphone and go back to your old school Nokia.

That might be a bit extreme, so how about switching off location services and turn off the apps that track you in the background. A useful app that roots out those that snoop is Protect My Privacy, which is available for both Android and iPhone.

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.com

Protect Yourself from Clickjacking

We always like to keep an eye out for information that will help you stay safe online, so when we saw an article about Clickjacking on Netsecurity we wanted to bring it to your attention.

Clickjacking happens when a scammer places an invisible button over the top of a seemingly innocent web page button using a transparency layer so you can’t see it.

This practice has been around since 2008, but the use against Facebook users has brought it to the public’s attention once more.

There have been incidents of an innocent web page with a button reading “click here to see cute puppies”, but when you do click an invisible button takes you to a link you’d really rather not follow. The button could:

  • Trick you into changing privacy settings on your Facebook account
  • Trick you into “liking” something you wouldn’t normally like
  • Trick you into adding yourself as a Twitter follower for someone who doesn’t deserve you
  • Trick you into enabling something on your computer (such as a microphone or camera)

Yikes!

So, how can you prevent your clicks from being clickjacked? The article goes on to make the following recommendations.

1. Update your Internet browser and plug-ins such as Flash

If you haven’t updated your browser to the latest and greatest version available, then you are not only missing out on an upgrade that might possibly prevent you from getting clickjacked, but you are also not taking advantage of the other security updates that are part of newer versions of Firefox, IE, Chrome and other Internet browsers.

You should also update browser plug-ins such as Flash because some older versions may be vulnerable to clickjacking attacks.

2. Download Clickjacking Detection / Prevention Software

While some Internet browsers offer limited built-in clickjacking protection, there are several robust clickjacking detection/prevention plug-ins that are available for browsers such as Firefox. Several of them are even free.

Clickjacking prevention is not only the responsibility of the user. Websites and web application developers also have a role in preventing their content from being exploited by clickjackers. The Code Secure Blog has some excellent suggestions on how to write code to assist in the detection and prevention of clickjacking.

 

Just spending a few minutes making sure your systems are up to date could save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

The Internet Explorer Fights Back

boxerThe last post about Malware may have caused you a few sleepless nights. But you’ll be pleased to here the IT world isn’t all doom and gloom – because it’s fighting back.

Internet Explorer 9 is capable of blocking 99% of all socially-engineered malware.

What’s socially engineered malware?

It is designed to exploit the user rather than actual security flaws in your system. So it’s the scenario when you’re given an incentive of some sort to take an action. Of course, this then backfires on you and your computer is infected with cyber nasties.

No software in the universe can prevent the user from falling for these tricks but IE9 provides a security barrier which, in most cases, protects us (the user) from our own stupidity.

 Just 1% of social engineering attacks bypass IE9, with the browser blocking or warning customers for the rest of 99% of socially-engineered malware. Huge compared to Opera 10 for example, which lets all attacks pass.

According to NSS Labs (a security research and testing organization), “with a unique URL blocking score of 94% and over-time protection rating of 99%, Internet Explorer 9 was by far the best at protecting users against socially-engineered malware.”

This power comes from IE9’s SmartScreen technology which helps protect customers by detecting and blocking websites that distribute socially-engineered malware and phishing attacks.

It effectively adds an additional layer of protection by warning users when they attempt to download a higher risk application.

So if you want to stay safe online use IE9 – it could protect you from yourself!

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

Computer Security for Businesses on a Budget

padlockSecurity of your IT systems is, or at least should be, paramount.

As a small business, a crash of systems or data loss, could cause untold damage to your business – it could even close you down.

Therefore, regardless of your budget, you must ensure your security measures are adequate.

 

To help you out, here are 5 ways to enhance your security settings.

1. The weakest link

The weakest link in your small business security chain is your staff.

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on fancy security systems, one careless click on a dodgy link, an insecure password or unsecure download could undo all your good intentions.

Staff education is the key. By instructing them in good practice you will minimise the risks of human error leading to a security breech.

2. Don’t waste money

Where is your largest security spend? Make sure the data you are protecting warrants that level of protection.

Not all the data you have will be attractive to potential thieves. Remember one size doesn’t fit all so make sure you look objectively at your systems and allocate the lion’s share of your security budget on the areas it is needed most.

3. Patch

Patches and software updates are generated for a reason, not just to annoy you. They don’t cost you anything other than a bit of time to install them. Make sure you check and install updates regularly to make sure your systems are as secure as possible.

4. Be strong

Make sure you all your staff are aware of the need for strong passwords. Creating a proper password policy within your company will have a dramatic effect on the security of your systems.

5. Lock it

The other points have looked at keeping your software and systems secure but you also have to keep your hardware secure too. It sounds obvious but make sure your building is securely locked after hours because your IT security is only as good as your building’s security.

These simple 5 steps will help you achieve a standard level of security for your systems. IT security should always be at the top of your list – how safe is yours?

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

Staying Safe Online–Shop Safely

shoppingThere’s nothing better than a spot of retail therapy.

Of course, with the internet, you don’t even have to get wet doing it! Now if the weather’s a bit pants but you need to do a spot of shopping all you have to do is go online.

But things aren’t always as they seem.

How many websites have you come across offering a free trial offer? You probably can’t believe your luck, sign up and think nothing of the screen that asks for your credit card details – just to cover p&p you understand.

But 9 times out of 10, you’ll start receiving and be billed for other products that you probably don’t even want. Once you head back to the website to find out what’s going on you spot the teeny tiny print that informs you should you wish to cancel at any time, please call our customer services department who will be happy to help. Yeah right – they’d be happy to help if you could actually get through to them.

This type of distance selling is governed by rules but only in the UK. So if the site you visited is based overseas you’re unlikely to get your cash back.

Be vigilant and stay safe

The internet is a safe place to buy provided you follow a few simple rules and use a bit of common sense.

  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Use sites you know, so if you’re just dabbling with internet shopping stick with the big national stores.
  • Research what you’re buying to get the best deal. But if you find a site that’s selling the product vastly cheaper than anyone else, listen to the alarm bells that should be ringing in your head very loudly.
  • For security use your credit card or, even better, a Paypal account – that way the buyer never gets to see your credit card details. Only use your debit card if you trust the site.
  • Never, ever give your bank account details – even if they don’t take credit cards or Paypal and you really, really want the item.
  • Only buy from sites that use a secure service and display either https:// or the padlock symbol.
  • Anyone can fall foul of hackers so always check your statement when you receive it and report anything unusual no matter how small an amount or even if it’s refunded later on. If you don’t recognise it, check it out.

Buying online is convenient, fast and can often get you a better deal than you’ll find on the High Street.

Just remember to be vigilant and take a few simple steps to stay 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.