Archive for September 2016

Your Latest IT Newsletter

Yahoo Hacked – 500+ Million Users Exposed.

Yahoo is now facing a class lawsuit from a New York man, Ronald Schwartz, over the 2014 data breach whereby 500 million users (at least) have been compromised. The company has been accused of gross negligence and the lawsuit is on behalf of those people affected in the United States.

<More>

Which? Condemns Windows 10.

It appears that Microsoft has had a more than a small slew of complaints about its latest Windows incarnation, Windows 10. Which? (the consumer rights people) have been public about complaints they’ve received, plus their findings of a survey, in which over 5,500 members were polled back in June of this year.

<More>

Curiosity Killed the (Victorian) Cat.

A number of infected USB sticks have been sent to Melbourne (Victoria) households recently, prompting a warning from local police. The (unmarked) devices contained a range of malware, including rogue media-streaming services.

<More>

Tech Tip – Who’s Copying You?

If you are ever concerned about people copying your web based content, then you can use proprietary services like Copyscape to protect your work.

<More>

Tech Tip – Who’s Copying You?

If you are ever concerned about people copying your web based content, then you can use proprietary services like Copyscape to protect your work.

However, there is, of course, a cost associated with that so if you’re only running perfunctory checks now and again to see where (or if) your material has been repeated, you can simply use trusty old Google.

Simply highlight a sample of several words within your text that should be unique to your own content and hit CTRL ‘C’ i.e. control C. This then copies that text to your clipboard.

Go to google and enter two separate double quotes as in “”. Then, paste your clipboard between the pair of double quotes with the CTRL ‘V’ (control V) and hit “search”.

Because entering text within a pair of double quotes asks Google to look for that text exactly , the results returned (if any) must include the text you searched for. With any luck, the return will show “0 Results” and you’ll have no cause for concern.

If (apart from occasional citations of your work) you have someone that is repeatedly and grossly plagiarising your work, you may wish to consider issuing a semi-formal ‘cease and desist’ request before taking more drastic action.

Curiosity Killed the (Victorian) Cat.

A number of infected USB sticks have been sent to Melbourne (Victoria) households recently, prompting a warning from local police. The (unmarked) devices contained a range of malware, including rogue media-streaming services.

Whilst this occurrence took place in Australia, leaving deliberately infected USB sticks in places for unsuspecting members of the public to access is not uncommon.

The perpetrators rely on natural curiosity for this particular infection-vector to work because once connected to a computer, the hapless user can unwittingly become infected and spread malware to others. It’s relatively easy for the infected computer to show no outwards signs of being infected, making the hack even more pernicious.

Targetting households this way with USB sticks is rare, due to the cost of the devices and relative expense in distribution compared with (say) phishing emails. Where this vector of attack is employed, businesses are the usual target due to the greater potential rewards for expenditure.

The number of people willing and/or ignorant of the risks associated with inserting unknown devices onto their computers is surprisingly high as a study conducted by the University of Illinois discovered earlier this year. In their experiment, they strategically placesd 297 USB sticks around the university campus and were shocked to discover that between 45% and 98% of the sticks would have successfully infected computers (had they actually contained malware).

This lack of care with regards to USB drives extends beyond college students as evidenced in the well-publicised case involving the attack on an Iranian nuclear plant, subsequently affecting their uranium centrifuges. It is understood that (incredibly) a powerful virus known as Stuxnet was recently left on a USB stick which was then deployed within the Iranian nuclear facility.

What Does This Mean For your Business?

The message here is simple. Be very careful when considering introducing unknown devices onto your machine or network, for oviopus reasons.

What is less obvious is that even new devices, in full packaging, from high street shops may also be a security risk. Given the “number of hands” they change through from manufacturer through various distributors until they eventually reach the high street, malware can potentially be introduced at any stage.

Whilst no specific retailer is being mentioned in this context, the advice remains the same; be very careful when introducing new or unknown devices to your network and if in doubt, ask your security expert to verify it for you.

Which? Condemns Windows 10.

It appears that Microsoft has had a more than a small slew of complaints about its latest Windows incarnation, Windows 10.

Windows 10 was released in July 2015 as a free upgrade for one year and was designed to run across laptops, desktop computers, smartphones and Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens.

Which? (the consumer rights people) have been public about complaints they’ve received, plus their findings of a survey, in which over 5,500 members were polled back in June of this year.

Of those surveyed, about 300 (of the 2,500 that had upgraded to Windows 10) had gone on to install a previous version of Windows.

Which? has said that (in hundreds of complaints received) the upgrade caused various issues including files being lost, emails no longer working properly and issues with printing and wi-fi.

What could be seen as even more galling than launching faulty software, is the fact that many users had their operating systems upgraded to Windows 10 without their intent or consent i.e. Windows 10 was simply installed without their permission or request.

In many cases, users had to fork out to have their computer repaired. Famously, one Californian woman, Teri Goldstein, was awarded $10,000 when she sued for problems arising from the forced upgrade.

Microsoft Defends Itself.

Keen to deflect further criticism, Microsoft reminded people that it provides help both online and via phone.

A Microsoft spokesperson said “Customers have distinct options. Should a customer need help with the upgrade experience, we have numerous options including free customer support.”

“The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure and most productive Windows,” continued the spokesman.

However, Alex Neill from Which? said “There have also been complaints about poor customer service from Microsoft when users contacted the company about the problems they are having.

We rely heavily on our computers to carry out daily activities, so, when they stop working, it is frustrating and stressful. Many people are having issues with Windows 10, and we believe Microsoft should be doing more to fix the problem”.

Further Issues.

It doesn’t stop there; in August, a Windows update disabled millions of webcams which prompted a Microsoft engineer to admit they done a “poor job” of alerting people.

The French Data Authority caused more consternation when it proclaimed in July that Windows 10 was “gathered an excessive amount of personal data” about users.

The general consensus from some media commentators is that Windows 10, whilst far from perfect is nevertheless still better than Windows 8, which would hardly seem to be an accolade.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The majority of us use a Windows-based operating systems when conducting our daily work.

Microsoft appears to be increasingly belligerent when it comes to upgrading its software and as a consequence, we can perhaps justifiably feel aggrieved and threatened when the annoying nag-ware repeatedly asks us to upgrade.

It would make sense to discuss upgrade issues with your trusted IT personnel (some people prefer to downgrade) and ascertain which settings can be changed to reduce or eliminate the data collected by Microsoft. Ensure – in advance – that key operating software and devices will continue to work properly when upgrades occur and ensure you can “roll-back” to a previous version if necessary.

Yahoo Hacked – 500+ Million Users Exposed.

Yahoo is now facing a lawsuit from a New York man, Ronald Schwartz, over the 2014 data breach whereby 500 million users (at least) have been compromised. The company has been accused of gross negligence and the lawsuit is on behalf of those people affected in the United States.

Compensation (for ‘unspecified damages’) is being sought for “reckless disregard for the security of its users’ personal information that it promised to protect”.

This is a bitter blow to the company which has already had a hard time maintaining confidence in recent years despite various CEO’s being brought in to try and save the demise of the one-time paragon company.

Last week, Yahoo’s blockbuster announcement that 500 million account details were stolen in what it described as a “state sponsored attack” was met with alarm by both the public and by the US senate as well.

Marissa Mayer (The current CEO) had failed to turn the company around (despite various initiatives and acquisitions) and so the decision was made to sell the core business to web giant Verizon for $4.83 billion in July. This deal, which had not been finalised, could now be less certain given the latest bombshell, not least of which is the public outcry at Yahoo’s apparent lack of regard towards security.

There are reports that Yahoo knew about the issue well before the deal was brokered to Verizon, prompting calls for a formal investigation.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Whilst there are a number of issues of concern here, the salient points that can be drawn are that even blue-chip household names like Yahoo can be hacked and have your details exposed.

Moreover, it seems that (incredibly) these leviathan corporations can – and do – report their breaches well after the event, wittingly or otherwise.

This means that you may have been compromised and not know it until months (or even years) after the event which just goes to show that regularly updating passwords and maintaining a disaster recovery plan are essential, at the very least.

Maintaining an evolving security schedule/policy is essential and all staff or persons with access to your online data need to be regularly trained and updated.

Tech Tip – Who’s Copying You?

If you are ever concerned about people copying your web based content, then you can use proprietary services like Copyscape to protect your work.

However, there is, of course, a cost associated with that so if you’re only running perfunctory checks now and again to see where (or if) your material has been repeated, you can simply use trusty old Google.

Simply highlight a sample of several words within your text that should be unique to your own content and hit CTRL ‘C’ i.e. control C. This then copies that text to your clipboard.

Go to google and enter two separate double quotes as in “”. Then, paste your clipboard between the pair of double quotes with the CTRL ‘V’ (control V) and hit “search”.

Because entering text within a pair of double quotes asks Google to look for that text exactly , the results returned (if any) must include the text you searched for. With any luck, the return will show “0 Results” and you’ll have no cause for concern.

If (apart from occasional citations of your work) you have someone that is repeatedly and grossly plagiarising your work, you may wish to consider issuing a semi-formal ‘cease and desist’ request before taking more drastic action.

Which? Condemns Windows 10.

It appears that Microsoft has had a more than a small slew of complaints about its latest Windows incarnation, Windows 10.
Windows 10 was released in July 2015 as a free upgrade for one year and was designed to run across laptops, desktop computers, smartphones and Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens.
Which? (the consumer rights people) have been public about complaints they’ve received, plus their findings of a survey, in which over 5,500 members were polled back in June of this year.
Of those surveyed, about 300 (of the 2,500 that had upgraded to Windows 10) had gone on to install a previous version of Windows.
Which? has said that (in hundreds of complaints received) the upgrade caused various issues including files being lost, emails no longer working properly and issues with printing and wi-fi.
What could be seen as even more galling than launching faulty software, is the fact that many users had their operating systems upgraded to Windows 10 without their intent or consent.
i.e. Windows 10 was simply installed without their permission or request.
In many cases, users had to fork out to have their computer repaired. Famously, one Californian woman, Teri Goldstein, was awarded $10,000 when she sued for problems arising from the forced upgrade.
Microsoft Defends Itself.
Keen to deflect further criticism, Microsoft reminded people that it provides help both online and via phone.
A Microsoft spokesperson said “Customers have distinct options. Should a customer need help with the upgrade experience, we have numerous options including free customer support.”
“The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure and most productive Windows,” continued the spokesman.
However, Alex Neill from Which? said “There have also been complaints about poor customer service from Microsoft when users contacted the company about the problems they are having.
We rely heavily on our computers to carry out daily activities, so, when they stop working, it is frustrating and stressful. Many people are having issues with Windows 10, and we believe Microsoft should be doing more to fix the problem”.
Further Issues.
It doesn’t stop there; in August, a Windows update disabled millions of webcams which prompted a Microsoft engineer to admit they done a “poor job” of alerting people.
The French Data Authority caused more consternation when it proclaimed in July that Windows 10 was “gathered an excessive amount of personal data” about users.
The general consensus from some media commentators is that Windows 10, whilst far from perfect is nevertheless still better than Windows 8, which would hardly seem to be an accolade.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
The majority of us use a Windows-based operating systems when conducting our daily work.

Microsoft appears to be increasingly belligerent when it comes to upgrading its software and as a consequence, we can perhaps justifiably feel aggrieved and threatened when the annoying nag-ware repeatedly asks us to upgrade.

It would make sense to discuss upgrade issues with your trusted IT personnel (some people prefer to downgrade) and ascertain which settings can be changed to reduce or eliminate the data collected by Microsoft. Ensure – in advance – that key operating software and devices will continue to work properly when upgrades occur and ensure you can “roll-back” to a previous version if necessary.

Yahoo Hacked – 500+ Million Users Exposed.

Yahoo is now facing a lawsuit from a New York man, Ronald Schwartz, over the 2014 data breach whereby 500 million users (at least) have been compromised. The company has been accused of gross negligence and the lawsuit is on behalf of those people affected in the United States.
Compensation (for ‘unspecified damages’) is being sought for “reckless disregard for the security of its users’ personal information that it promised to protect”.
This is a bitter blow to the company which has already had a hard time maintaining confidence in recent years despite various CEO’s being brought in to try and save the demise of the one-time paragon company.
Last week, Yahoo’s blockbuster announcement that 500 million account details were stolen in what it described as a “state sponsored attack” was met with alarm by both the public and by the US senate as well.
Marissa Mayer (The current CEO) had failed to turn the company around (despite various initiatives and acquisitions) and so the decision was made to sell the core business to web giant Verizon for $4.83 billion in July. This deal, which had not been finalised, could now be less certain given the latest bombshell, not least of which is the public outcry at Yahoo’s apparent lack of regard towards security.
There are reports that Yahoo knew about the issue well before the deal was brokered to Verizon, prompting calls for a formal investigation.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Whilst there are a number of issues of concern here, the salient points that can be drawn are that even blue-chip household names like Yahoo can be hacked and have your details exposed.
Moreover, it seems that (incredibly) these leviathan corporations can – and do – report their breaches well after the event, wittingly or otherwise.
This means that you may have been compromised and not know it until months (or even years) after the event which just goes to show that regularly updating passwords and maintaining a disaster recovery plan are essential, at the very least.
Maintaining an evolving security schedule/policy is essential and all staff or persons with access to your online data need to be regularly trained and updated.

Curiosity Killed the (Victorian) Cat.

A number of infected USB sticks have been sent to  Melbourne (Victoria) households recently, prompting a warning from local police. The (unmarked) devices contained a range of malware, including rogue media-streaming services.
Whilst this occurrence took place in Australia, leaving deliberately infected USB sticks in places for unsuspecting members of the public to access is not uncommon.

The perpetrators rely on natural curiosity for this particular infection-vector to work because once connected to a computer, the hapless user can unwittingly become infected and spread malware to others.  It’s relatively easy for the infected computer to show no outwards signs of being infected, making the hack even more pernicious.
Targetting households this way with USB sticks is rare, due to the cost of the devices and relative expense in distribution compared with (say) phishing emails. Where this vector of attack is employed, businesses are the usual target due to the greater potential rewards for expenditure.
The number of people willing and/or ignorant of the risks associated with inserting unknown devices onto their computers is surprisingly high as a study conducted by the University of Illinois discovered earlier this year. In their experiment, they strategically placesd 297 USB sticks around the university campus and were shocked to discover that between 45% and 98% of the sticks would have successfully infected computers (had they actually contained malware).
This lack of care with regards to USB drives extends beyond college students as evidenced in the well-publicised case involving the attack on an Iranian nuclear plant, subsequently affecting their uranium centrifuges. It is understood that (incredibly) a powerful virus known as Stuxnet was recently left on a USB stick which was then deployed within the Iranian nuclear facility.
What Does This Mean For your Business?
The message here is simple. Be very careful when considering introducing unknown devices onto your machine or network, for oviopus reasons.
What is less obvious is that even new devices, in full packaging, from high street shops may also be a security risk. Given the “number of hands” they change through from manufacturer through various distributors until they eventually reach the high street, malware can potentially be introduced at any stage.
Whilst no specific retailer is being mentioned in this context, the advice remains the same; be very careful when introducing new or unknown devices to your network and if in doubt, ask your security expert to verify it for you.

Your Latest IT Newsletter

Blockchain Will Overcome Technological Challenges and Outgrow Bitcoin

Technology commentators agree that the popularity of Blockchain, the technology underlying Bitcoin looks likely to grow well beyond its original intended use with the cryptocurrency, but to do so it will need to overcome several challenges on the way.

<More>

CEOs Not Concerned By Multiple Hack Threat

Research by Insurance giants Lloyds of London has shown that even though a staggering 9 out of 10 businesses have been hacked once in the last 5 years, less than half of CEOs are concerned that they may be hacked again in the near future.

<More>

HP Printer Owners Angry as Printers Suddenly Reject Budget Cartridges

Printer cartridges are a necessary but often expensive purchase and budget cartridges are therefore popular. Many HP printer owners however are angrily discovering that their printers stopped recognising unofficial cartridges back on September 13th!

<More>

Think You Spend A Long Time At The Computer? Think Again.

Archaeologists working on a shipwreck in Greece have discovered what they believe to be 2,000 year old body of a man next to an early form of computer.

<More>

Tech Tip – Customise the Start Menu in Windows 10

One of the features of Windows 10 is that it allows you to customise your start menu so that it has your most used software to hand and a look that you are happy with.

<More>