Archive for May 2014

Ransomware posing a new threat to Android users

Ransomware, an evil type of Malware that looks to take your money through forceful and threatening means of negotiation, has returned to the forefront of security threats this week after it was found that Android users were at risk from ‘Koler’ ransomware.

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People who were unfortunate enough to experience ransomware in the past will know just how frustrating it can be. Victims are threatened by fake legal authorities, encouraging them to part with their cash in order to rid the troublesome malware from their device.  What makes it a particularly devious form of malware is the way in which attacks its victims should you refuse to pay. You will be either:

A) Locked out of the device permanently unless you pay, although they leave data alone and treat it as a ‘hostage’.

B) Encrypt your data so that you can’t use it, meaning you have access to your device but can’t actually do anything with it from there!

Usually, ransomware gains access to your computer through undercover online interaction, taking the form of a seemingly harmless software or application update. Should you install Koler on your android device, you could be at risk.

What is good to know is that the vast majority of apps are aware of Koler and will prevent it from being installed. A few tips for you to follow include avoiding apps you find in embedded adverts and making sure you have effective online security for your device. Most malware originates from illegal content but spreads throughout the internet easily over time.

A final piece of advice regarding this potential threat would be to consider backing up your android files using a cloud system, as Android doesn’t make it easy for you to back up your files.

eBay Hacking Concerns Continue

Yet another example of why data security plays such an important role for any online business came to light this week, with eBay confirming that a cyber-attack took place between February and early March.

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If you’re thinking that this is just another rogue hacking scheme, think again. Consider that an incredible 233 million people have had their personal details compromised, including their email addresses, phone numbers, account passwords and dates of birth.

It doesn’t stop their either. Don’t forget that eBay own the rights to PayPal, the online payment service that stores credit card details. Despite eBay insisting that PayPal hasn’t been compromised, can we really put our confidence in eBay holding on to such important data if they have failed to secure 233 million user accounts?

The database that was hacked contained all kinds of data, including encrypted passwords. As was the case with the infamous Heartbleed crisis, eBay have similarly encouraged their users to change their passwords as soon as possible, with many accounts still potentially in jeopardy.

On Wednesday, eBay introduced a feature that automatically provides you with instructions on changing your password, whilst they have also distributed emails and made the most of social media to let people know of the threat posed by the recent cyber-attack.

However, the question will now continue to roll on regarding what customers have to do to ensure that their details are kept safe online. There could even be a call for internet companies to cap the amount of personal data that they are allowed to obtain from their customers.

Unfortunately, the threat of online criminality is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, but you can protect your online business by making the most of our data security services here at Pronetic. Get in touch today for more information.

Paid or Free Antivirus?

Do you trust your security to free antivirus products or is it really worth paying to protect your systems from infection?

Probably a question most people have pondered at some time or other. While not intending to go into an in-depth analysis of security products, it’s worth sharing some anecdotal experience.

Virus AttackRecently we were contacted by a business who had discovered almost half their PCs had picked up an infection which had “removed” essential files. This brought work to a standstill – hence their urgent call for help. We were able to recover the missing files, which had been hidden by the infection rather than removed. On closer analysis we found that all the PCs had been hit by the same infection, but around half had successfully recovered and removed the offending intrusion. In every case PCs which had failed to disinfect were running a free security suite and those that recovered were using ESET. As it happens ESET is one of the products we recommend as it’s effective without placing much load on the system it’s protecting.

The other point to the story is that this business had enough ESET licenses for all its PC but just hadn’t had time to make sure ESET had been deployed across all systems. That’s just one reason why our managed antivirus service is popular.

Useful Password Management Tools For Your Business

We’ve all had to go through the struggle of forgetting our passwords at some point in our lives, but for a thriving business with all kinds of login details affiliated to social media sites and programs across the internet, it can really damage the productivity of a working day.

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Thankfully, various iOS-based applications specifically designed for password management are available in the App Store today, providing iOS users with useful organisation methods that combat the irritating prospect of forgetting your password and keep your online business secure.

It’s important for passwords to remain secure and this is what separates the good password management tools from the great ones. Here are three password management applications we feel your business can’t do without:

1Password

1Password is a really useful password management tool that gives you a wide range of useful features for a reasonable £17.99 in the App Store, whilst it’s also available on other separate operating systems. You can group your individual passwords together to create a well organised categorical system, whilst it can also create highly complex passwords for you to use.

mSecure

mSecure uses an encryption tool to ensure that a password remains secure at all times, whilst it doesn’t save any of your passwords away in the application itself, giving you an extra level of much needed security. You’ll receive automatic backup reminders every now and then and a useful password generator. One of its best features is its custom layout that lets you store all kinds of important data, from key codes and bank account data to safe combinations.

iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain is an incredibly useful tool that uses the secure iCloud storage system to maintain important data for you or your business, including credit card details, logins, networks and so on. It works across a number of different platforms and encrypts your important data so that you can access it from the iCloud whenever you need to. You’ll get a free 5GB account on installation, with room for expansion should you feel it necessary.

 

 

 

Ubisoft’s ‘Watch Dogs’ Pinpoints The Threat Of Poor Online Security

Ubisoft’s upcoming blockbuster ‘Watch Dogs’ is a game that focuses a lot on the general failings of the online world as it is today, with some of the basics of online security still being ignored by internet users across the world.

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The ability to hack and gain access to various government security protocols is pivotal should the protagonist succeed, whilst you might also find it necessary to distribute your affiliated crimeware across an entire society by accessing smartphones, tablets, pocket security devices and so on.

Many video games have looked to reinforce the bridge between the virtual world and reality, though few will have managed to succeed in similar style to that of Watch Dogs. It’s focus on digital security flaws and online hacking capabilities makes it a game that reflects the general attitude of society today.

With hacking becoming an all-too-familiar occurrence should vulnerable internet users fail to strengthen their online security, the market for internet security tools has grown and is slowly becoming an essential investment, from domestic users to corporate businesses and government officials.

Ubisoft probably aren’t intending for their latest project to act as an example to those who don’t make internet security a priority, although it’s likely that the general idea of someone from across the road being able to access your personal data, passwords etc. has enough of the fear-factor to persuade us to take action.

 

Microsoft Fix Internet Explorer Bug For All Operating Systems…Including Windows XP

Windows XP was hit with its first major threat since Microsoft stopped providing security updates earlier this week. The security flaw was present on Internet Explorer and gave any potential hackers the opportunity to take control of the user’s computer. You simply had to follow a bad link before you were targeted, which could easily occur in a domestic environment and equally pose a threat to online businesses.

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For people who use the updated version of Windows, the issue could simply be resolved by having automatic security updates turned on. However, we all expected Windows XP users to suffer greatly from the bug, so much so that it could finally drive the last remaining users away from the operating system.

However, the patch released by Microsoft isn’t the only step they’ve taken to get rid of the problematic bug. Interestingly, they’ve also dealt with the issue in Windows XP users, meaning that people who still rely on the aging operating system can live to fight another day.

The patch was released yesterday, so anyone who hasn’t got hold of it yet can head directly to Microsoft support. Alternatively, you may have already had automatic security updates turned on, in which case you don’t have to worry.

Dustin Childs of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing was quoted on cnet as saying “We have made the decision to issue a security update for Windows XP”, although he did stress that Microsoft doesn’t support Windows XP anymore and they still encourage people to switch to a newer operating system as soon as possible.