22 Jun

New Ransomware Attacks With JavaScript

A newly discovered ransomware does away with downloading a malicious file, carrying out the encryption itself

A new form of ransomware has emerged that tries to evade detection by carrying out all its encryption using the JavaScript scripting language.

This the latest in the rapidly expanding ransomware category, which has grown into a significant threat in recent months as criminals are attracted by lucrative payouts.

“The JavaScript doesn’t download the ransomware, it is the ransomware,” wrote Sophos researcher Paul Ducklin in an advisory. “No additional software is downloaded, so once the JS/Ransom-DDL malware file is inside your network, it’s ready to scramble your data and pop up a ransom message all on its own.”

The script arrives as an attachment called Invoice.txt.js, which appears as “invoice.txt” on most Windows systems, which are configured by default not to display file extensions.

If opened, JavaScript attachments of this kind execute by default in the Windows Script Host (WSH), which doesn’t impose any restrictions.

The new technique is simpler than the most common method of infection, which involves the use of a Word document which then downloads executable code from a remote server.

If you think you may have been infected by this ransomware or  any other malware, give us a call on 01539 720104.


08 Apr

New ransomware that knows where you live!

ransomwareA new email phishing campaign has started sending thousands of ominous-looking emails that contain the recipient’s home address.

The well-worded email appears to come from legitimate email addresses, and raises very few irregularities. The email comes with a demand for money for an arbitrary service, along with a web link that purports to be an “overdue invoice.”

Click the link and open the file (which looks like a Word document), and you’ll become the latest victim of ransomware — that is, malware that encrypts your files and locks you out of your computer until you pay a ransom and the longer you wait, the larger the ransom you have to pay.

It appears that the scammers are leveraging some sort of database that has home addresses publicly available and using this for the scam.

Restoring from a backup is the only option available if you get infected by this type of virus, so make sure you have current and valid backups. If you need any help with backups or virus removal, please get in touch.

08 Feb

Avast SafeZone Flaws

avast-safezoneDangerous flaws have been discovered in the Avast SafeZone browser.  The vulnerabilities allow attackers to retrieve information from the browser like it’s web history and passwords, but could also allow full read access to the entire file system.

Avast has released a patch for the flaws and is recommending that all subscription based users update their program.

We have already made sure all our customers using Avast have the latest update but if you’re unsure please get in touch.

18 May

Superfast Broadband for Cumbria

Superfast, fibre broadband (FTTC) has been available for a while and most businesses who can get fibre have already taken advantage of the faster download and upload speeds it provides.  But some businesses have felt a little left out because Fibre broadband isn’t available to all!  Those close to the telephone exchange (EO lines) and some in more remote areas who don’t have a cabinet to connect to cannot get fibre broadband and have to make do with slow ADSL speeds.

But things are slowing changing with the help of Connecting Cumbria.  They are working with BT to enable as many cabinets as they can and install new cabinets for the exchange only lines.  Kendal has seen a number of cabinets pop up in the last few weeks helping businesses in the centre of town get superfast broadband.  This project is going on all over Cumbria and they hope to bring fibre broadband to as many people as possible.

If you want to check if fibre broadband is available to your business, you can use BT’s DSL checker.  If you want some ideas on how your business can utilise a faster broadband connection, just give us a call on 01539 720104

23 Apr

Should You Try An Online Backup Solution?

backupYou have lots of options when it comes to backing up your data.  Tape drives, NAS devices, USB drives and of course cloud-based backup.  One of the most common questions we get asked about backing up is should we be using an online backup service?

What are online/cloud backups?

Generally speaking, an online backup features a storage system where a copy of all your files and even systems is kept on a remote server online and are only accessible through an internet connection. Backing data to the cloud gives you some level of security and if something were to happen to your data, you can easily access them and restore your system so long as you have an internet connection (the faster the better!).

Advantages of online backups

Online storage and backup data can be accessed from any computer, so you can reach your files even if your computer is lost or stolen. You can also access your files from other computers while you are traveling, even if you forgot to bring those files with you. Automated services that back up all files on your computer at preset times are also useful because you data is protected without requiring that you remember to run a manual backup or connect the computer to a hard drive. Good backup and storage services have redundant systems so that even if one of their storage facilities is damaged, your data will be safe, unlike a single physical backup device.

Disadvantages of online backups

Data on the Internet can be accessed by hackers if the security is not high. This is also true of any data on your computer when it is connected to the Internet, but physical backup discs can’t be accessed remotely. Online backup services may also charge monthly or annual fees, which over time can add up to much more than the cost of a physical backup device. To successfully use online backup or storage, you must remember your password and user identity to access your materials. Otherwise, your backups will be inaccessible unless the program you use has the ability to verify your identity and reset your access codes.
Your internet connection speed is the biggest limiting factor, if you broadband is slow forget online backups.

If you’re still unsure about online backups or want to discuss the services we offer, get in touch with us on 01539 720104.


04 Mar

Mobile Malware Attack!

androidmalwareFake Amazon vouchers are being used to spread malware via Android mobiles.  The attack sends an SMS message to all the contacts in a mobile phone offering a free Amazon voucher.  If the recipient opens the message on an Android phone the malware tries to install itself and cycle is repeated.

Our advice is to delete any messages you’re unsure about and if your running an Android mobile make sure it’s got Anti-Virus software installed.  Avast have a free product here if you’re unsure: https://www.avast.com/en-gb/free-mobile-security

19 Jan

Should you be thinking of upgrading your Server?

windows_server_2012In less than 6 months time Microsoft will officially end support for Microsoft Server 2003. This includes Server 2003, 2003R2 and SBS2003, thats more than 22 million installations according to Microsoft’s figures for last year!

Businesses still running Server 2003 need to consider upgrading to Server 2012 as this deadline will not be extended. After July 2015 Microsoft will stop releasing patches to keep it secure and reliable, and any unpatched Server can put an entire network at risk.

If you’re in need of upgrading from Server 2003 a lot has changed, including over 300 new features and 4 new editions. Upgrading a Server is the most important upgrade to get right, minimising downtime and ensuring no data loss is critical.  So if you’re in any doubt about your Server or just need some advice, get in touch today.


08 Jan

Ransomware – Cryptowall 2.0 Help!

ransomwareWe’ve seen a few more cases of the Cryptowall 2.0 ransomware this week and thought it best to advise people on how to prevent and deal with ransomware if infected.  Ransomware is a type of malware which restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom be paid to the creator(s) of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed.  The most common form of ransomware at the moment, encrypts all personal documents including images, videos, word, excel documents etc on the computer, plugged in USB devices and network shares.  It then demands a ransom to decrypt these files.

How to avoid ransomware:

  • Ensure your operating system and security software are regularly updated.
  • Don’t open attachments from unknown sources or from emails that appear to be from a legitimate source but are suspicious.
  • Regularly back up important data and keep it on removable storage.
  • Ensure staff are educated in good computing practices and how to spot threats.
  • Block unnecessary email attachments.

What to do if you have become infected:

  • Shut your computer down straight away and disconnect all USB devices and network cables.
  • Call your IT support and tell them what has happened.
  • Don’t use the USB devices in any other computers.

If you’ve been infected we can help, the first thing to do is look for your most recent backup as this is the best way to recover your files.  Failing that we can try to use shadow volume copies or even specialist file recovery software.  We don’t recommend paying the ransom as you have no guarantee’s and you will only be funding the criminals behaviour, but if all else fails and you need the documents back we can advise you on how to do it.

If you’re worried your computers maybe at risk get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.

05 Jan

Nvidia Tegra X1 – Superchip-in-a-car!

tegra-x1Nvidia has developed a new Tegra X1 chip which they say will help achieve truly self-driving cars!  The new chip which is designed to be used in cars (but will probably feature in mobile devices as well) has 256 graphics cores and 8 64-bit CPU cores.

Nvidia say the Tegra X1 has the processing power to process images based on what vehicles can see and analyse on-road situations.  Based on video and image input, the chip has been trained to recognise pedestrians, traffic lights and speed limit signs to which the car can respond.  Images and videos go to the Tegra X1 chip and based on contextual awareness, help the car make a decision on what to do next.

Let’s hope these chips don’t suffer the same defects that the Nvidia laptop GPU’s did a few years back.  The manufactures wouldn’t replace the doomed laptops then, but will they replace a crashed car in the future?

17 Dec

Malformed/infected word/excel docs sent via email

email-iconWe are seeing lots of emails with malformed or infected word and excel attachments.  These attachments appear to be genuine documents, but actually contain a macro or vba script virus.  Modern versions of Microsoft office (2010 and 2013) have macros disabled by default.  If macros are enabled then you will be infected by simply opening the attachments.  If you open an attachment by mistake DO NOT follow the advice and enable macros, as you will be infected.

If you have any concerns give us a call on 01539 720104