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What is Bluetooth?

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Bluetooth technology is used by millions of devices every day, whether it’s your smart speaker, connecting your mobile phone to your in-car system or simply wearing wireless Bluetooth headphones, it’s everywhere and it’s used constantly.

There are three classes of Bluetooth with varying ranges from 100m (commercial) to 1m.

Bluetooth uses the ISM radio frequency and every Bluetooth device is a receiver and a transmitter so they can simultaneously send and receive wireless signals to other gadgets with Bluetooth.

Bluetooth works by using radio-wave technology with short-range transmitters; this is a huge advantage over similar technology such as Wi-Fi, which uses the same technology just with longer ranges which is therefore more prone and easy to attack.

Up to 8 Bluetooth devices can communicate at any one point using one of the 79 channels creating their own mini-computer network. A ‘master’ device sends out a signal to other compatible ‘slave’ devices and a connection is established. They keep the connection secure by shifting the frequency they’re using thousands of times a second.

But is it safe and secure to use Bluetooth?

Just like the internet and other technology, Bluetooth uses encrypted networks however it is vulnerable to bluebugging, bluejacking and bluesnarfing.

Every single Bluetooth device has a unique 48-bit address. This will usually be presented in the form of a 12-digit hexadecimal value such as ‘D4:38:9C:9C:36:51’.

Creating a Bluetooth connection between two devices requires 3 steps, the inquiry, connecting and the connection. It is the inquiry stage which can pose a threat to the security of your device.

How is Bluetooth vulnerable?

Bluetooth-enabled devices advertise themselves to other Bluetooth technology in publicly available channels, dubbed as “advertising channels”. This shows they are available for pairing and make connecting with other devices easy.

Previously a device’s permanent Bluetooth MAC address was broadcast in these clear advertising channels, leading to major privacy concerns and the subsequent potential for device-tracking.

In an attempt to remove this problem, device manufacturers were given permission to allow the Bluetooth devices they were manufacturing to use temporary random addresses rather than the device’s permanent address when trying to make a connection with other technology.

However many devices also use dynamic identifying tokens, which are again unique to a specific gadget and remain static long enough to be used as secondary identifiers to the random addresses.It was found by researchers at the Boston University that they were able to successfully track devices because of this flaw.

One identifying token could be linked with a current address as well as the next random address assigned to the device. This provides a bridge between randomised addresses that can be followed by an attacker.

How did the researchers do it?

The team used a ‘packet sniffer’ to analyse the traffic coming across the advertising channels using an address-carryover algorithm.The algorithm listened to incoming addresses and tokens as they were broadcast on the advertising channels when trying to make a Bluetooth connection.

Once the tokens had been identified for a specific device and the advertising address changes, a match is attempted using any of the available captured identifying tokens. In a successful match, the identity of the device can be updated with the incoming address, so that the device was successfully tracked across addresses.

Apple, Microsoft and iPhones were tested however not all devices were susceptible to this flaw and it was found that Android devices were not affected at all.It was found that the algorithm succeeded consistently on Windows 10 and less frequently on Apple operating systems according to the report.Apple devices have the ability to synchronise updates of identifying tokens with address randomisation, but they occasionally fail. Any device is vulnerable to the carry-over algorithm if it does not change all of its identifying tokens in sync with the advertising address.

What does this mean for the future of Bluetooth technology?

The use of Bluetooth technology is expected to grow from 4.2 to 5.2 billion devices in the next three years. With over half a billion of these new Bluetooth connections to be used by wearables and other data-focused connected devices.

The good news is mainstream Bluetooth technology used in everyday items like smartphones, Bluetooth headphones or your smart watch only have a range of 10-20 metres. However the bad news is that Bluetooth ranges can be extended using a botnet. Combine this with compromised Wi-Fi routers and the ability to track one device becomes global.

In addition to this other metadata such as online transactions, facial recognition and other digital traces could easily be combined with Bluetooth tracking to generate an exact location profile of one individual.

How can I avoid this problem?

For Windows 10 devices periodically disable the Bluetooth connection through the Windows Device Manager and re-enable it again. This will reset both the advertising address and the token.If you work with an Apple device, switching Bluetooth off and on in the System Settings (or in the Menu Bar on macOS) will randomise the address and change the payload.

Instagram Accounts Left Open To Hacking

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In June 2018, Instagram had amassed one billion monthly active users worldwide with the USA being the largest user group and the UK 8th on the demographics chart with a total of 23 million users.

Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012 and combined they are the two most popular social media networks used worldwide.

What happened?

In July of this year a critical vulnerability was discovered in Instagrams’s 2-step authentication password recovery feature allowing hackers to compromise any Instagram account in only ten minutes without the account holder being aware.

2-step or two factor authentication is an additional layer of security added to websites, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, to mention a few, to make it harder for hackers and fraudsters to access your online accounts. There are various types of two factor authentication however mobile text verification is still the most widely used and it is the type of authentication used by Instagram.

How was the vulnerability identified?

The flaw in Instagram’s recovery system was found by Laxman Muthiyah, a bug bounty hunter.

He investigated the password recovery feature that allows users to regain access to their account after forgetting their password. This involves a user receiving a six-digit passcode to their smartphone for authentication.

He knew that the use of 6 digits meant there could be a total of 1 million possible combinations that could be text to account holders.  To be able to access an account all 1 million codes would need to be tried within the 10 minute window between receiving the code and the code expiring.

Although this seems impossible, it can be done with mass brute-force campaigns using an automated script and a cloud service account.

“In a real attack scenario, the attacker needs 5,000 IP [addresses] to hack an account,” he said. “It sounds big but that’s actually easy if you use a cloud service provider like Amazon or Google. It would cost around 150 dollars to perform the complete attack of one million codes.”

Log-in attempts from one specific IP are restricted by Instagram, however Muthiyah discovered that they didn’t blacklist the IP addresses that had exceeded the number of allowed attempts for a certain time period which meant he could he switch between IP addresses in order to perform a continuous attack.

“I found two things that allowed me to bypass their rate-limiting mechanism: Race hazard and IP rotation,” he said. “Sending concurrent requests using multiple IPs allowed me to send a large number of requests without getting limited. The number of requests we can send is dependent on concurrency of requests and the number of IPs we use. Also, I realized that the code expires in 10 minutes, it makes the attack even harder, therefore we need thousands of IPs to perform the attack.”

He provided the evidence to Facebook, they verified the issue and congratulated him, awarding him with a $30,000 bounty, whilst swiftly resolving the glitch.

“The Facebook security team was convinced after providing the above video of sending 200K valid requests,” Muthiyah said. “They were also quick in addressing and fixing the issue.”

Are other websites vulnerable to this threat?

There are many different forms of two-factor authentication, such as app-generated codes, physical authentication keys, email-based systems and app-generated authentication but many 2FA schemes still use mobile text verification involving six-digit, one-time passcodes that expire within a few minutes. So how many services are vulnerable to the same kind of attack?

Almost all well-known websites use some form of two-factor authentication and it is clearly more effective than just a username and password but 2FA attacks are on the rise and many of the systems for account recovery are susceptible to phishing. With the amount of websites using 2FA increasing, it is important these flaws are found and eliminated quickly.

We have to bear in mind when online that although 2FA provides additional security it is not completely watertight.

Last year, an Android Trojan was exposed taking money from PayPal accounts even when 2FA is active. Posing as a battery optimisation tool, the app asked for excessive accessibility permissions, allowing it to observe activity on other apps and waiting for someone to open PayPal and log in.

What you can do

Google and Microsoft both have Authenticator Apps you can use for an added layer of security, downloadable from the Microsoft Store and Google Play, however where there is an app or a website, there is always a hacker trying to break the code and access your details. Get tips on how to stay safe online at https://www.getsafeonline.org/

Goodbye Windows 7

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From January 14 2020 Microsoft will no longer be supporting our old favourite Windows 7. Yes its the end of an era which will affect all devices running Windows 7 including Home and Pro licenses.

Where did Windows 7 start?

Released four years after Windows Vista , Windows 7 was released on the 22nd July 2009 to overcome the critical flaws of the Vista operating system.

In just 6 months from its release, a hundred million copies of Windows 7 had been sold around the world and as of April of this year (2019) 33.38% of computers were still using the Windows 7 operating system.

Why is Windows 7 support coming to an end?

Windows 7 is old technology and as with all technology businesses, they need to allocate their time and resources to the right applications and services to ensure they remain competitive.

When will Windows 7 suppoort stop ?

Windows updates (including security patches) will cease for Windows 7.

Computers, PCs, laptops and mobile devices with this operating system will continue to work on and offline however they will be vulnerable when online.

If a PC or laptop is using Windows 7 and you never connect to the internet, this change will not be as detrimental however it may be a good time to upgrade to a new device if you intend to change your PC or laptop in the future.

This may make backing up existing files, photos and music easier whilst your older machine is still safe to use.

With the known date for the end of support, hackers will seek to exploit weaknesses in the Windows 7 operating system to take advantage of those still using it and there will be no security patches released to prevent this.

Using antivirus will limit the risks, however it will not be a fool-proof solution.

What are my options ?

If you connect your laptop or PC to the internet it’s best to move away from Windows 7, this means one of two options:

Upgrade your existing device to Windows 10 at a cost

OR buy a new device with the latest version of Windows 10.

Once you have upgraded to Windows 10 the problem has been averted and you are safe to continue using your device as before, however if your pc or laptop wasn’t suitable for the upgrade perhaps it’s time to trade it in and purchase a new computer.

There are three mainstream operating systems to choose from when making a new purchase:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS (Apple)
  • Chromebooks

All new laptops or PCs come with the latest version of the operating system they use.

If upgrading from a Windows machine you may prefer the familiarity of this platform, visit high street stores to test out different operating systems and hardware, if you’re used to using a desktop PC you may prefer the flexibility of laptop and vice versa,.

At Myriad Digital we are currently in the process of upgrading our clients businesses and charities to Windows 10.

If you’re upgrading your businesses PCs, laptops  or servers we can help. At Myriad Digital we offer a range of attractive packages with future proof specification. We also offer finance packages to allow you to spread the cost of your new kit over 2 or 3 years.

So, don’t risk being left behind and vulnerable to cyber attacks, online criminals will be ready attack as soon as the end of support date arrives. Call us on 01626 360011 to dicuss your requirements.

Is that email a scam?

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Did you know 14.5 billion spam emails are sent everyday and hidden in these emails are scamming emails. emails targeting users to click on links or provide personal information that they can use to infiltrate the security of your PC to gain passwords, usernames and logins. These types of scamming emails are known as phishing emails.

What is a phishing email?

A phishing email is an email attempting to masquerade as an individual (this may be someone known to you) or an organisation. These emails may ask for help (i.e. a friend or loved one stuck in a foreign country with no way to get home) or may offer freebies and refunds; All phishing emails usually contain a click through link or require you to confirm personal information to access your account.

The Test

A test was conducted by KnowBe4, they sent test phishing emails to 6 million email users.

They found emails which created a knee-jerk reaction in the user were the most effective, this includes the offering or loss of money, free food and drink emails, missed delivery attempts from a courier and contact requests appealing to our basic curiosity.

Social media themed phishing attacks also proved to be popular, with LinkedIn notifications the most convincing with requests to add people, join networks, reset passwords, and new messages, convincing 53 percent of test subjects to click through on dubious links.

We are all potentially vulnerable to phishing attacks and as they become more refined and harder to tell from genuine emails it is important you never click on a link in an email without considering a few tips first.

Types of Phishing Emails

  1. Deceptive Phishing

A very common form of phishing, these emails imitate a legitimate company, using their logos, footers, email signatures and general email format in an attempt to access personal information such as login credentials or bank account details.

An example of this may be an email from Paypal. These emails are often titled with ‘Suspended Account’ or other similar titles designed to cause worry and an instant reaction. In the body of the email they will ask you to click a link whether it’s to restore your account or act now. All phishing emails will be very similar, always pay close attention to:

  • wording, grammar and spelling in emails
  • the email address that the email has been sent from, it may look genuine but with simple letters added, changed or removed
  • the details of the URL it is trying to send you to, hover over the link provided in an email, this will provide the actual URL it is sending you to.

Never risk it by clicking on the links, simply contact the business or organisation yourself by going direct to their website, using their email addresses provided on the website or by calling them.

  1. Spear Phishing

Spear phishing are emails tailored to the individual they are targeting. They use personal details to make the email user believe it is a genuine email, such as your name, location etc, any personal details available on platforms such as social media.

They have the same objective as general phishing but are often harder to detect.

Always look at the style and form of the email, is it different from emails previously received from this source? Is the email asking you to do something different?

If you have any doubts, never click on any links.

  1. CEO Fraud/Whaling

“Hi, I’m out of the office but need to arrange payment immediately to ABC company for £3,500. Please make a bank transfer this afternoon, I can sign the necessary documents when I get back in …..”

This is a targeted form of phishing, it relies on personal information and contact details of the owner or a manager of the business which they then use to contact colleagues/staff to ask them to do something i.e. make a bank transfer to another individual or company.

These emails can be written in such a way to create urgency, this prevents the colleague questioning the original email before making the transaction as asked, when a quick phone call could have clarified it was actually a hoax.

If your manager, boss or colleague has not previously sent emails asking for transactions to be made, always double check by phone or in person.

Also look closely at the email address used to send the original email, the slightest change i.e. exchanging an o for an 0 or adding one extra letter to an email address is hard to detect and can make the email look genuine.

It’s better to delay a transaction rather than send money to cyber fraudsters.

  1. Pharming

Pharming involves domain name system (DNS) cache poisoning.

Malicious code or a Trojan is installed on a computer or server, changing a computer’s host file to direct traffic away from the original URL, directing users to a fraudulent website, with the potential to install more viruses/Trojans or collect personal information. If it affects the DNS server, it can cause multiple users to visit the fake website without them been aware.

Anti-virus software can help prevent this however it is not 100% fail safe against such cybercrime as it is harder to detect and the websites users are directed to can look legitimate and genuine.

By using firewalls, you can protect and secure your IT network. For further information get in touch with us today.

  1. Dropbox/Google Docs Phishing

Online file-sharing is one of the easiest online scams.

You receive an email supposedly from Dropbox or Google Docs saying someone (this could be someone you know) has sent you a file. To see that file you need to click on a link, you click on the link and it takes you to the website. When you arrive on the page it all looks genuine and to see the document you need to login. You enter your username and password, click enter and end up on a very different website unaffiliated with Dropbox or any other file sharing platform.

The cybercriminals now have your login details to whichever email platform you used to try to login to the fake Dropbox (Google Docs etc) website, they can now login to your email account, hijack your account and use it to distribute the same scam to all of your contacts in your online email address book.

When using any file-sharing platforms/websites it is recommended wherever possible to use Two-Factor Authentication. This will provide a six-digit code whenever a user logins in to the platform or a new user is added.

If you are sharing files online you could login directly to your file sharing website rather than clicking on any links in emails. When logged in you should be able to see any files which are being shared with you and who they are from.

What can be done

Putting the right technology in place such as firewalls and antivirus software along with providing security awareness for all staff minimises the risk of phishing attacks.

Your business and your employees need to be aware of these risks and avoid them wherever possible.

Speak to Myriad Digital today to discuss how we can help keep your business safe from cybercrime.

Is Your Business At Risk of Being Hacked?

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The Wannacry cyber attack targeted the NHS in 2017, it shut down hundreds of thousands of computers, affected 1/3 of Hospital Trusts and 8% of GP Practices in the UK.

The cyber attack came from no-where, infiltrating NHS systems, with 200,000 locked out of their computer and ransom messages appearing on screen demanding Bitcoin payments to release their data.

It cost the NHS £92 million in total, £72 million of which was used to ‘cleanup’ and upgrade their IT infrastructure and systems after it had happened, but could this have been prevented?

How did it happen?

WannaCry, a hard-drive encrypting malware, exploited a vulnerability in the Microsoft XP operating system which is no longer supported but still has a whopping 4.59% market share. A patch had been released that year in March, however it is user dependant to ensure updates and patches are applied to each computer. Are your computers patched up to date ?

It was speculated that the WannaCry malware was spread via an email campaign (phishing) however, it was found, this wasn’t the case. Using a leaked NSA hacking tool, Wannacry looked for vulnerable public-facing SMB ports it could establish a connection to.

Once it had found a way in, it could then apply itself to that machine and any other vulnerable machines on the connected network. It took just one computer which led to a whole network being infected with the ransom ware.

The NHS had clarified, after the attack that no patient information had been stolen; the Wannacry malware instead encrypted all documents, photos, videos and databases on each infected PC/laptop. Staff had to return to a pen and paper operation, using their personal mobile phones to carry on working.

It is estimated that 1% of the entire NHS workforce was disrupted over the course of that week.

What were the consequences?

In this situation more than 19,000 appointments had to be cancelled, costing the NHS £20m.

In another case, the Hilton Hotel group were fined £525k for risking 363,000 accounts in two credit card data breaches when they were hacked in a similar style which could have been avoided if goog IT practice was in place.

Is a data breach really likely in my business?

Over 4 in 10 businesses (43%) in the UK have had a data breach within the last 12 months (UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Cyber Security Survey 2018)

It is estimated that only 3 in 10 businesses currently have a formal cyber security policy in place.

Why invest in cyber security?

Scammers work around the clock, sending emails and creating viruses to infiltrate IT infrastructure of companies like yours. Did you know if your customer data is harvested through a hack you can and held liable and fined?

Viruses, Trojans, malware and ransomware can cause downtime to your business. If your files on your PC were encrypted and you could not access them what would you do?

Prevention is always better than the cure and with hacking on the increase it’s time to get your IT up to scratch to ensure you’re not vulnerable.

Things you can do to prevent a data breach

  1. Backup your data regularly, with regular off-site automated backups
  2. Deploy strong passwords, using a password generator if necessary
  3. Train your employees in safe working practice when online
  4. Encrypt your data
  5. Invest in the latest technology now rather than take the risk

At Myriad Digital we offer entire solutions, from secure offsite backups, to Award-winning antivirus software, encryption programs and contingency planning so that you are covered should anything go wrong. Why not call us to arrange a meeting about keeping your business secure. Tel. 01626 360011

Remember Windows 7 will not be supported beyond February 2020 – so why not look at replacement options for your older computers and consider our leasing packages to make thing affordable.

Looking to replace your laptop computer ?

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Choosing the right laptop for you and your business

There are many brands, hundreds of models, so when it comes to selecting the right laptop for your business and employees it can be difficult to know what you need from the machine itself its operating system.

There are three main components to look at in any laptop

  • Power
  • Performance
  • Portability

Laptops available on the high street may appear tempting with special offers or bundled options, however nearly all models in retail stores will be suited and designed for simple home use, i.e. browsing on the web, doing homework etc; or created for gamers, with expensive graphics cards and added RAM for speed and effective visual output when gaming.

The cheaper the laptop the more basic it will be with a lack of ability to join it to a domain, run business software or multi-task with various windows/tabs open at the same time.  Cheaper laptop deals often also feature older generation CPUs (more about this later).

Laptop power & performance

When looking at any laptop consider the size and speed of the hard drive, the RAM, CPU and screen size.

These four components will make up the performance of the machine and generally the bigger the specification, the faster and smoother the computer will be to use.

Let’s break them down and explain the components.

The hard drive stores your information, documents, files etc. The larger the hard drive, the more you can store. The smaller the hard drive the less storage available and as it is used, the laptop may slow down and you may experience ‘freezing’ whilst accessing applications or files.

Anyone in a creative industry, working with larger files types such as videos or high-resolution graphics will require larger hard drives.

Measured in Gigabytes and Terabytes, the minimum specification for an office environment is 1TB however for maximum performance on any machine an SSD (Solid State Drive) may be worth investing in, although it can be costly, it can provide long-term effective performance.

The RAM manages the smooth running of tasks. A good average RAM for any office environment is 8GB – 16GB, however advanced graphics and web design will require a RAM of 32GB and above.

The Central Processing Unit or CPU has three elements to look at, the generation i.e. i5 (5th Gen), the number of cores (dual-core, quad-core), and the speed of each core.  Dual-core should be the bare minimum used for an office laptop.

The generation is very important, a 1.9GHz CPU from three years ago will not perform as well as a 1.9GHz CPU built today. Newer chips are more efficient and less power-hungry, meaning the laptops are a lighter weight with a much longer battery life.

When looking at which screen size to opt for, consider the battery life and quality of screen required. Size does not equal quality, you will need to look at individual screen resolutions from the laptop specifications.  The finish is also important for some users and comes in matt or gloss which tends to reflect more making the screen harsher on the eyes.

The more creative your business i.e. if you work with images or videos the better quality screen you will require therefore opt for a higher resolution screen.

An average laptop screen may be 1366 x 768p, through to a decent screen of1920 x 1080p, some offer Full HD.

The larger the two numbers on the spec, the clearer the laptop screen image will be.

Laptop portability

Portability will depend on the size, the weight and the battery life.

Laptops can range from 10.1” through to 17”, with ultra-thin laptops weighing from 1kg with larger bulkier models weighing sometimes four times as heavy at 4kg.

If you or your employees are going to travel with a laptop daily or frequently, a lighter laptop is the best option.

Laptops with the biggest screens are great when working however the larger the laptop the more battery power required for it to operate, therefore always check the average battery life before making a purchase and read reviews from other users of the machine to see if the manufacturers claims of battery life are true to their word. Charging points in public places i.e. on trains and at airports are more common these days, however the longer the battery life, the better.

Let us help you find the right laptop

At Myriad, we’ve assisted many businesses and charities finding the right laptop, from an initial chat, discussing what you require we can provide competitive quotes and offer commissioning, data trasnfer and joining to your domian so that it’s ready to go when you receive. If you are in the market for a newmodel then please dont hesitate to contact us and we’ll see what the best current deals are then select something that suits your criteria

 

Is it time to move your business to the cloud ?

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Embracing The Cloud

Amazon, Google Drive, Drop Box all offer cloud storage solutions and as the amount of UK businesses now using cloud computing continues to grow, have you considered how moving to the cloud could help your business?

Before the cloud, finding the right software and applications for any business was often difficult and potentially costly without any guaranteed results. Many business programs or software would offer a one-size fits all approach without considering the business type, size or industry that your company was in.

Once chosen, the software would require the right IT infrastructure to support the installation and configuration, regular testing and updating to ensure it could be used smoothly by all users.
This was a challenge to small and large companies alike; even those with their own in-house IT often struggled to find and implement the right software successfully.
With the introduction of cloud computing it has eliminated these risks, reducing the costs, making it easier to use on any platform and removing the need for on-going maintenance and updates in house. With online software such as Office 365 you only pay for what you need and use as opposed to offline programs that would require the purchase of the whole package, with many applications going unused.

Up-scaling and downscaling in the cloud is also a lot easier, with upgrade options available the very same day, which means your business continues to operate without any IT restrictions. Apps can be customised to suit your employees, whether they are working from home, the train or even on holiday, everything is available at their fingertips, quickly and securely.
The cloud can be accessed by PCs, laptops, tablet devices as well as smartphones and as more employees are now working with mobile devices, moving to the cloud could provide the flexibility your business requires.

We work with businesses that are permanently online, removing the need for a ‘traditional’ office and the costs that this can incur. The world is on the move and keeping your business just as adaptable can be a strong advantage over competitors.

Moving to the Cloud

Changing any business’s IT infrastructure and systems can seem daunting and without experiencing the cloud for yourself it can be difficult to see the true advantages and reasons to make the switch. This is where we are here to help, we offer advice tailored specifically to your business, from its size through to the industry, we can help find the right Cloud solution for your business.
Moving to the cloud can remove the requirement for daily backups and updates, reduce your operational expenses and make working life a lot easier and simpler, with one-click user logins you can access all of your files on the move wherever you are, making your business mobile and operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without the need to have an onsite team based in an office.
Installation is quick and can even be undertaken remotely by one of our technicians to minimise any office disruption.

Our Cloud Package
At Myriad Digital, we understand that internet and data security is paramount to any business, this is why we only use cloud solutions provided by the most respectable providers in the industry.

Please click below to see what we have to offer and call us if you are considering moving to the cloud
G Suite
Office 365
AWS or Amazon Web Services

We also offer a full range of IT services, support and maintenance. This means whether you need a helping hand onsite or some remote assistance to help with any queries, our team are here for you and your business whenever you need us.

More Hacking Victims Revealed After Another BA Website Hack

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Have you used the British Airways website recently?

Debit and credit card details may have been stolen from over 185,000 customers after the British Airways website was hacked yet again.

It is estimated 77,000 had their name, address, email address and detailed payment information taken and 108,000 people lost personal details.

This comes after a previous breach of its website earlier this year affecting 380,000 transactions, where passenger names and home addresses were compromised, as well as financial information, including debit and credit card numbers, expiry dates and CVV codes. In this instance, malicious code designed to ‘skim’ financial data was injected into the British Airways website without being detected.

All websites are based on code, it determines the functionality along with the overall design, but malicious code can be injected instead. It is common for websites to embed multiple pieces of code from other sources or third-party suppliers and hackers can exploit this vulnerability.

Both attacks were carried out by the same perpetrators.

British Airways will be contacting the customers affected by this to inform them if their details have been stolen.

Unfortunately British Airways are not the only company to experience this type of cyber attack and they are on the rise.

Once cyber criminals have personal data it can be used to access bank and credit card accounts to make fraudulent purchases. Stolen data may also be sold using the Dark Web.

Some security experts suggest that it’s likely the data stolen by the British Airways hackers is already available for sale on the dark web.

There will be an investigation by the UK’s National Crime Agency and the Information Commissioner’s Office.

You can check if your personal data has been compromised by data breaches by using https://haveibeenpwned.com/

First Ever Apple Computer Reaches $375,000 At Auction

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Designed and hand built by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple in 1976, the Apple 1 was a bare circuit board provided without power supply, monitor or keyboard. It could be used for playing games, running the BASIC operating system or developing programs.

As a Hewlett-Packard employee, Wozniak originally offered HP the rights to the Apple -1. It declined.

To fund the project Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500 (£318), while Jobs sold his VW Microbus. 200 units were created in total and 175 sold.

It went on sale in 1976 for $666.66 (around £545) and it was the world’s first low-cost, assembled computer.

With the release of the Apple 2, Jobs and Wozniak wanted to reclaim some of the original boards used in the Apple 1, so they offered trade-in discounts against the new model. The boards which were reclaimed were then destroyed explaining why this product is so rare.

There are approximately 60 Apple 1 computers remaining, with only eight working examples. The Apple Registry has a list of them all.

The auction took place in Boston, Massachusetts, on Tuesday and  the final bid was won by an anonymous businessman who placed his bid online.

The highest price ever paid for an Apple -1 was $905,000 (£575,900) by the Henry Ford museum complex in October 2014.

In May 2015 a box of electronic goods was dropped off at a tech recycling business in Silicon Valley. This box contained a 1976 Apple 1 which was subsequently sold at auction for $200,000. Before chucking out or recycling computers, laptops, mobile phones, software or hardware it’s worth doing a quick Google check to see if they are an older, rarer technology which may fetch you a pound or two.

Why is my PC running slowly?

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When you first bought your PC or laptop it was the best model on the market, with the most up-to-date specification; It was super speedy, navigated around the web quickly and had no issues opening multiple tabs at once, now everything seems to have grounded to a halt, searching the web has becoming painstakingly irritating and you’re left wondering – do I need a new PC or an upgrade to the RAM? Try these simple tips first.

Malware and viruses

Do you have a virus or malware on your machine?

When you purchased your PC/laptop did you remember to install anti-virus software? Many laptops or PCs from high street providers come with McAfee, Kaspersky, Norton or other antivirus software packages which offer virus and malware protection. There are also many free lite versions online which can offer basic protection.

Being infected by malware or a virus can happen easily for example by clicking on a link in an email, downloading ‘free’ software from the internet, from file sharing services and even USB sticks. These can go undetected for weeks and can render a PC or laptop unusable or very slow.

Check for malware or viruses using your existing anti-virus software, they have inbuilt scanning programs to detect any threats. If you have no antivirus software installed use Google, Bing or any search engine to find and download  MalwareBytes and/or SuperAntiSpyware from the genuine approved site. Beware of downloading them from other possibly bogus sites. Both of these apps are recommended and effective to highlight any issues or threats and potentially quarantine/remove any viruses or malware which may be lingering.

We offer our clients an award-winning antivirus software solution suitable for organisations of all sizes, applicable to all platforms, with end-to-end encryption solutions also available. Talk to us on 01626 360011 for more information.

Is your PC or laptop up to the job?

What you do on your laptop or PC will determine how fast it performs. Every computer has a specification that makes it suitable for specific activities and some apps are more demanding than others.

For example, installing elaborate games can use a lot of system resource. The more graphic driven the game, the more demand it will have on your computer’s resources.

Image manipulation software such as Adobe Photoshop can demand a lot from your computer, making it harder to open more apps at the same time and making switching between windows slow & clunky.

Media storage, such as music, videos and photos will all slow your laptop or PC experience depending on its memory capability. Uploading some of your media to a secure cloud based storage may make things faster and you’ll have access to the media on any device.

Did you know the web browser you use can also affect your overall PC/laptop experience? Some are considered faster to work with than others, with quicker loading times. Google offers ‘lite pages’ a feature that lets Chrome reduce data use by up to 90 percent and load pages two times faster. Little tweaks like this can make all the difference.

Regular Maintenance

Getting in to a routine of regular PC maintenance is a good way of preventing your PC or laptop from slowing down in the longer term.

Windows operating systems have tools to enhance your system experience. Search for ‘Defragment and Optimise Drives’ in your start bar search bar (Windows 10) and click on the program, here you can choose which drives you wish to optimise. In older versions of Windows this can also be accessed by clicking on all programs on your start menu and clicking through to accessories or window accessories and system tools.

When was your last Windows update? Have you checked your plugins and basic applications have been updated recently? Many PCs and laptops do this automatically however you can check for updates in PC settings in the Updates and Security tab.

Did you know web browsers such as Google and Bing use a browser cache to improve performance of frequently accessed web pages. When you visit a web page, the requested files are stored in your computing storage in the browser’s cache. These can build up and prevent your laptop or PC using it’s RAM effectively. You can clear your Cache by opening up the web browser you use i.e. Google, going in to settings in the top right hand corner (three dots) clicking on Settings, Advanced and scroll down to Clear browsing data, here you can clear your cookies, cache and browsing history.

In 2019 we are demanding more from our technology, gone are the days of slow dial-up internet and waiting for pages to load, we want our PC or laptop experience to be instantaneous and fluid, especially when we use it for business.

Talk to us to discuss how we can improve your business IT, with super-slick hardware and quick IT support.