Ransomware. 

Now more then ever is the time to be prepared



With the breaking news of infections in the NHS, Fedex, Telefonica and no doubt many more, now is a good time to review your security and backups.

This virus will encrypt all of your files, photos , music and then ask you for money to decrypt. In a lot of cases, the only way to retrieve the files is to pay so take some precautions that could save you a lot of money!

Avoid it!
nobody is 100% safe but there are some simple things you can do to try and avoid infection
  • avoid opening attachments in emails - even if you know the sender (they may not know they have sent it, if they are infected).
  • if you do receive an email with an attachment, perhaps check with the sender first to confirm its something they meant to send and is expected.
  • try to avoid forwarding on 'joke emails' (especially sharing everyone's email addresses in the to: or cc: fields - use the bcc: field if you have to send to mulptiple people) - these invariably contain attachments and puts users in a mindset to instantly open emails to see what the next hilarity is.
Think before opening is the best advice!

Backup
'Off-line'  or an 'air-gap' backup is the best form of defense. 

When this virus propagates, it travels around your pc searching for files to encrypt and this includes any attached devices such as USB sticks or external drives. 

Therefore whilst you may have a drive that runs 'Windows File History', for example, and so backs up files as you work, if this drive is attached at time of infection, it becomes encrypted and therefore useless.

So backup to an external device and keep it unattached at any other time.

If you are infected, you can wipe the PC, start again and restore the backup. ( this can be the only way to ensure the virus is gone )

So if you are in two minds about getting an external backup, setting a backup up, think about this;

Can you lose your files without worry?
Do you want those photos, important documents lost forever?

If so, as you were - if not, backup and detach!

Keep safe people, and keep an eye on the news to see where else this infection could go - (if you know someone in an infected company, they could unknowingly send an email with the dreaded attachment)




As usual, any advice sought can be directed to my email address; rob@robsmith-it.com or website; www.robsmith-it.com, and if you require assistance, Rob Smith is your man ;)





More Cheese Anyone??




I have supported Cest Cheese with their site and PCs for a number of years now and we have now developed their new site. It's a responsive site that gives greater access for all devices and brings it bang up to date with the latest web technologies.


With this new site, I have added a page for their blog (embedded from Google) and a new section for selling books.

 




They now have an admin panel which allows for editing all the page content and managing their book list giving them freedom to change at a moments notice.

They can now edit all the content on their site, from their calendar of where they will be selling their wares, to adding and removing cheeses currently in stock and more.

Take a look and think of cheese on toast...mmm!

CestCheese can be found at http://www.cestcheese.fr



Brought to you by RobSmith-IT
www.robsmith-it.com






The click-bait that is more than just a waste of time.


"I couldn't believe my eyes, I nearly cried and shouted in shock!"


I've seen many infected PCs last month a few more than normal which leads me to believe that indeed Social Media is tempting us and the mere mortal index finger to click that link!
So many hoaxes hit our screens; Retailers banning staff from wearing Poppies, Christmas hoaxes, "Facebook want to ban this picture" and so on. 
And don't get me started on the ease at which click-baiters get your click! 
All I can say is....
Check Social Media 'News' reports before clicking or sharing At any one time, a large number of fake-news stories will likely be circulating via social media and there are a growing number of websites that churn out such nonsensical material on a regular basis in the hope of getting you to land on their pages but in consequence, there are now a growing number of sites that can debunk these 'reports'.
Try and verify any strange or unusual 'news' reports that come your way before you share them. Searching a news portal such as Google News will usually reveal if a circulating report is true or go to Snopes.com or similar to see.
And no, Bob Marley has not been found......just another pointless and unnecessary diatribe to get you to their pointless website!

Stop your mindless clicking!


We've all done it;  we've seen something in our Facebook feed that promises to 'tear your heart out when you see what they do with the spoon' and regardless of the fact that most of the time, it is contrived pap, we get caught over and over again.

Why should we be worried? Well, for every harmless video showing the latest 'talent show shocker', there's more than lead you down a rabbit hole of possible malware infection and worse.

Before you know it, there's a warning on the screen that "your Flash player is out of date, click to update now!" and this turns out to be nothing to do with Flash but in fact has loaded  Malware and worse onto your system.

So be aware of what you are clicking and remember just because it seems to have come from someone you know, that's isn't always the case if they have been infected.

These clickbait stories are there to drive users from site to site, earning the site owners money and if you are entertained and your pc remains un-infected, that's fair enough. The less scrupulous sites however, are simply a cover to get onto your pc in any way possible.

So keep this in mind, the next time someone posts "I couldn't believe what he did with a wasp and a sink-plunger" just pause and think...

Do you need to see it? Did you want to be  "blown away!"?

We do seem to have turned into a society manipulated at every corner by the promise of the fantastic and shocking, and whilst this practice now happens everywhere (certain talent shows with wonderfully choreographed shock and awe faces come to mind), its on your PC that the damage can be done.

So be aware of what you are clicking, and if you really can't help it as "this will blow your mind!",  don't say I didn't warn yer!

Safe surfing folks!

Rob






Go Phish!


As more and more people try and get your details, there seems to be a rush to get emails out with a minimum of spell and grammar checking! See below for a class email 'from PayPal'


Subject:Your paypal account has been Limited!
 

To: xxxx@hotmail.com

From: xxxx@hotmail.com 

Sent: Mon 23/03/15 05:22
To: xxxx@hotmail.com

PayPal

During of our regulare ╬Żerlfication and update of the Internet
Banking Accounts. we couldn't verify your current information.
Either your information incomplet  or has been changed

< Confirm Now >

we want to increase your security and
comfort level with every transaction. From our
Buyer and Seller Protection Policies to our
Verification and Reputation systems, we'll help to
keep you safe.

 

Do we all feel safer now? Thank goodness that they had a regulare verlfication....although I'm sure there's cream for that.

Keep in mind that regardless of how official looking the email may be - emails purporting to have "problems with your account" or "security issues" are no doubt phishing, just trying to get your details and syphon away your hard-earned readies so dump the emails and if you have any possible reason to wonder, login to your account the normal way (not via any links) and check there, or speak to them directly.

Be safe folks!

Brought to you by RobSmith-IT - "we share because we care"



The importance of cleanliness!

Computers are like any other machine - they require some care and attention to keep them going and like many machines we own, we tend to ignore that fact.

I have been servicing computers for years now (gulp!) and I have seen many a pc that is clogged up due to the amount of dust and debris that is pulled in by constant running fans. Not to mention the fact that many towers live in dust clouds under desks along with the cable monster who tangles everything up and then throws dust into the back of the machine.

Laptops by their very nature, roam the house with their small fans chugging away sucking in various types of dust balls - it could be floating ash from a log burner, or various kitchen foodstuffs (flour, crumbs) that travel around during a cooking-fest that requires a laptops presence.

Here's a before and after of a recently serviced pc for you;


Before

After
So you can see that the heatsink is so badly clogged that eventually overheating could damage the board due to poor air circulation. The video cards onboard fan was just as bad!

This is something that a proper clean could so easily avoid so keep this in mind when you think your pc is getting a bit 'noisy'. 

Could you do without the pc whilst a motherboard was being replaced? 

Would it be better to have someone service it for an hour or so and then that possibility is avoided?

Could I do this for you?

Of course I could...I wouldn't write this otherwise would I?

Think about it and if you feel like giving your pc a treat, give me a call and if you are wondering whether I would name and shame your pc , don't worry....

That one was mine!


Rob Smith
rob@robsmith-it.com
www.robsmith-it.com

Scam after scam after scam...




Morning all, well the scams keep on coming this year so I thought I would give a little advice and also summarise a few that are about.


"Hello Sir, I am from Windows and we have noticed a virus coming from your IP address"



 Nope. No you haven't....no siree! 

Unfortunately, with their pressure tactics and reliance on people no doubt having some issues with their pc, these scammers are still getting some victims. Remember - there's no way they would have your IP address, which in most cases is dynamic (changes regularly) plus your personal details unless they have managed to raise a court order or similar to make your ISP hand over such details. 

If they call - tell them you know it's a scam, put the phone down or tell them you have a Macbook! Alternatively, you can do what my father did and talk about Windows and the joy of double-glazing...that normally puts them off!

Either way - NEVER give information over the phone and allow remote control access to someone you have never met or called. 

"Oh look, Bob has sent us a link...nothing else on the email...oh well, lets click anyway"

 WAIT! Did Bob really send that email? A link with no text? Most definitely not (and if he did, tell him to stop!).

A favourite by hackers is to gain the password of an unsuspecting user, and send emails to his contacts with just a link - this link can take you anywhere, even to a page that could be GMAIL, Yahoo or similar where you have to 'sign in' thereby handing your details over. 

Another tactic they deploy is to change the ReplyTo on the email so when you do reply, it goes off somewhere else and the user is none the wiser.

So, if you do receive such an email, contact the person, preferably by phone or alternative email (Facebook perhaps?) and warn them they should change their password and check their settings.

I'll add more scams and warnings as I go - just remember click on nothing in an email - check with the sender and see alternative emails. Don't give remote access and financial information over the phone and always keep your anti-virus and anti-malware up to date!


Safe surfing!
Rob Smith