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New Facebook Messenger App Has Extensive App Permissions

Posted By on August 20, 2014

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facebook messengerThe newly released Facebook Messenger application has been recorded to have been downloaded over 500 million times on android phones alone despite the constant onslaught about it
from the public.

Upon releasing the Facebook Messenger app, a policy was added to it to force the users to install the separate messenger app to continue to use the Facebook chat on smartphones or tablets. Some of the application permissions are the following;

  • Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention (which may result in unexpected charged or calls)
  • Allows the app to record audio with your built in microphone, which allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
  •  Allows the app to take pictures as well as videos with the camera, this allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
  • Allows the app to send SMS (text) messages. This could result in unexpected charges.

All of these permissions seem a little sinister and malicious as with all of these, Facebook can literally record every conversation, text message and camera footage that your phone or tablet takes! This is what the public have been very concerned with as they do not trust Facebook with all of this ‘power’ that they have to use the app for malicious reasons, which has caused the app to be rated 1 star on the app store by the public. Although this is a free application with no in app purchases, it is clear that Facebook is making money on this by exploiting user data to companies and the government.




Fear Of Ebola Being Used To Steal Passwords Via Email!

Posted By on August 19, 2014

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As news of the Ebola virus is spreading faster than the disease in West Africa, cyber criminals have been using the disease as a way to steal peoples passwords through emails.

A blog post made by Symantec mentions the different ways these criminals use to try and make people install different viruses onto their computers, such as; Phishing viruses (can be used to steal passwords and sensitive information) trojan viruses and mole viruses. Symantec’s blog -which was mentioned above- shows details on the criminals methods in which they use to get people to install these viruses, two of the campaigns use fake Ebola reports in the form of a power point as attachments. The people that download the attachments get infected with the trojan.Zbot virus and in the second campaign the cyber criminals send out an email that is impersonating a telecom provider which has a presentation attaches about the Ebola virus, the title for this is usually; “EBOLA – Presentation.pdf.zip” which actually runs and executed the trojan.blueso virus on the email readers computer.

The cyber criminals are also using fake websites to gain passwords, by stating that there has been a cure made for Ebola which is untold to the public, they then leave a link for the victim to click on which will then take them onto a fake website which they will be required to log in. Once the victim has entered their details the hackers will have access to their username and password which they entered and will be able to use that for any reason they like.

Here at MadComputerSolutions, we advise you to be safe with your emails and always be on the look out for suspicious and spontaneous emails, and if anything seems odd about an email, be cautious and don’t download any attachments or log in to any strange websites that have been linked.




CryptoLocker virus storms the internet

Posted By on June 20, 2014

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What is CryptoLocker?

CryptoLocker is the most destructive windows virus ever created in a series of ransomware Trojans. The combination of its high demand for money and the short space of time given to pay make it far more threatening than other similar viruses.

Hackers have managed to create a programme called ‘CryptoLocker’, a virus that encrypts your files and demands a ransom of $300. So let’s say you’re happily working on your computer and all of a sudden without realising, all of your personal files are quickly being encrypted without your knowledge. Suddenly you will no longer be able to access your files, and an alert will appears on your screen telling you that you have approximately 4 days to either pay $300 to get an encryption key, or have all of your personal files encrypted permanently. You are against the clock as you see it ticking before your eyes, counting down to the inevitability of your end decision. With CryptoLocker, there is no way of getting out of it other than paying the ransom which is so horribly charged. Removing the software from your computer only makes the potential of the encryption key being deleted, therefore getting your files back an impossibility.

How to prevent an infection

The CryptoLocker virus is being spread mainly as attachments on emails, usually hidden as an invoice, with the message that “your invoice is attached”. Be wary of emails from unknown sources, especially with an attachment. If in doubt delete it.

Most preventions of the infection would need to be done before you are actually infected in order for them to work. You can back-up your personal files onto USB sticks, CD’s, Hard drives and even online onto the cloud, which means that if you are unlucky to be struck by the CryptoLocker virus, then even though you may have your files encrypted on your computer, then a backup of them will be safe and sound on a device or online, un-touched and ready to be used.
It is always worth having anti-virus software such as AVG, McAfee or Sophos, in order to ensure the safety of your computer against most viruses, and to scan your computer regularly to make sure that there are no existing viruses that may be of threat to your computer.

If you manage to get CryptoLocker on your computer, it is advised to turn your computer off right away as this will prevent the spread of infection across your files. If you have backed up your files and have anti-virus then you are safe to remove it as your files will already be backed up and the virus will not be able to do anything once it is removed.

What if I have not backed up my files?

Unfortunately if your files aren’t backed up after you get the virus then there isn’t much more you can do other than pay the ransom, it has been reported by some victims that paying the ransom does work and is your best hope for getting the encrypted files back.
We need to make the internet aware of this virus as it is spreading like wildfire, make sure your employees, your friends and your family know that this virus is out there to ensure their computers are safe.

Free AVG anti-virus




Ebay Hacked!

Posted By on June 2, 2014

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On the 21st of May 2014, eBay’s corporate network database was hacked, with all users’ passwords being compromised they had to act quick. eBay states that there has been no evidence submitted that users’ financial information had been accessed by the hackers, however the company is telling all users to change their passwords as soon as possible.ebay hacked

eBay contacted CNET saying that it recently discovered that it was a victim of “a cyber attack on our corporate information network, which compromised a database containing ebay user passwords.” The companies spokesperson Evan Davis told CNET that there is “no evidence that any financial information was accessed or compromised.”

Since the hacking, eBay has posted on their official website www.eBay.co.uk urging people to change their passwords.

The database which eBay said was compromised held eBay customer’s names, encrypted passwords, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth records. Despite this, the company states that users financial information was not accessed.

 

 




Win a Tablet Computer

Posted By on June 3, 2013

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Win an @Tab 7″ Tablet Computer

Did you know that one in 10 people in the UK owns a tablet? If you’re not already one of them then you’re missing out.

Tablets offer an easy and convenient way to surf the web, play games, watch films and TV shows; and keep in touch with friends.

Running on Android’s Jellybean operating system, the @Tab has everything you want from a tablet.

Browse thousands of games, books, films and magazines on Google Play, take advantage of the Dual-core processor for fast, beautiful graphics, watch YouTube videos, connect to Facebook and a whole lot more.

You can enter into the competition numerous times, by liking or sharing on facebook or Twitter. Every time you enter your odds of winning increase


At-Tablet

The @Tab 7″ Tablet features Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Flash 11 Support. Packed with technology including a Dual Core 1.6GHz processor, 16GB storage and a 5 point multi-touch display, it’s perfect for web browsing, playing the latest games or keeping up to date with work on the go. With its HDMI out port you can connect the tablet to your HDTV for watching films or playing the latest games on the big screen.

@Tab comes preloaded with lots of must-have apps with loads more to download on the Play Store. Bluetooth 2.1 enables you to connect multiple devices wirelessly, or you can connect and charge devices with the USB 2.0 and Mini USB port. Online access is easy thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi connection, and when you’ve located your nearest Wi-Fi hotspot you can stay up to date with your emails and social

Technical Specifications:

Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Flash 11 support
CPU: Dual Core 1.6GHz CPU
Memory: 1GB DDR3
Storage: 16GB
Display Resolution: 7″ 800 x 480 LCD display
Touch Panel: Capacative multi-touch 5 points
Camera: 0.3MP front and back cameras
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Gyro Sensor: Supported
Audio Output: Stereo
Video Output: Mini HDMI
Mic/Earphone: Mic and 3.5mm headphone jack
Battery: 3000mAh – upto 4 hours battery life
Micro SD Slot: Micro SD card supporting upto 32GB
USB Port: USB 2.0 and mini USB port
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1
Power Adaptor: AC adaptor



How to make Windows 8 more User Friendly

Posted By on May 13, 2013

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If you’ve upgraded your PC recently to Windows 8 you may find that you’re completely baffled with even some of the smallest tasks. Even to the point that shutting down the computer is a complex task compared to what users have been used to in previous versions of Windows.

The main reason why Windows 8 can be so confusing for new users is due to its lack of a start bar, which has been present in every version of Windows since Windows 95.

There is one simple step that you can take in order to make Windows 8 more user friendly and look more like the Windows of old, and that step is to install a start menu for Windows 8. There are several different sources and versions of start bars for Windows 8, however after testing a few different variations the best one we’ve found is provided by IObit. You can download and install the IObit start menu for Windows 8 for free from the link below.

IObit Windows 8 Start Menu

Once installed, you can also set Windows 8 to start in the Desktop view mode rather than in the metro theme, so every time you turn on the PC you will be in the familiar desktop mode.




Yahoo E-mail Accounts Hacked Multiple Times This Year

Posted By on April 16, 2013

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Despite Yahoo’s best efforts, users of yahoo mail continue to be reporting incidents of email account hacking. Hackers continue to defy Yahoo’s efforts to boost security and fix vulnerabilities in its Yahoo Mail service. Yahoo Mail users first reported seeing their accounts compromised as far back as early January. We’re now in March, and it appears that Yahoo still has a big problem on its hands.

Behind Microsoft and Google, Yahoo is the third largest email provider in the world. Even if a small percentage of accounts are affected, this can account for millions of users having their personal information shared, stolen and exposed. The attacks typically involve users getting an email from a friend or colleague or even a completely unknown party containing a link. The link may lead to the account being hijacked and sending emails to the victim’s contacts.

Regardless of whether the flaws haven’t been patched properly or if these are new flaws, it’s simply unacceptable for Yahoo Mail users to have their accounts hijacked so easily and for Yahoo to stay passive for so long. Given the clear lack of a fix for the issue, despite Yahoo’s assurances that all is well, the company may see a large decline in users in the coming weeks.

On a side note, if you are a business and you’re using free email accounts such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail, then for the future you should be thinking about and planning to switch your e-mail to a more professional account. As an example, if you own your own domain and have a website that is being hosted then you should think about an email address such as john@yourdomain.com. The main reasons why it is more advantageous to use this kind of account can be seen below.

Yahoo and other free e-mail accounts are fine for personal use, but for businesses there are potential issues. There are two main issues with free email addresses, the first being when you send e-mails out to people you are more likely to end up in their junk mail because free e-mail addresses have a lot higher ratio of spammers than any other. This issue is an especially critical one if you are using a free e-mail address for sales and marketing as this will limit your potential reach for any e-mail marketing campaigns.

The second problem is that, generally other businesses or customers, depending on your market, will not trust a free email account if they have never met you before, because perception plays a crucial role in the consumer purchase decision process. How will they perceive you and your products and services if they see that your email address is a free internet one? Probably cheap and untrustworthy.

If you have been affected by your yahoo or other free email account being hacked, or if you feel that you need a better and more professional e-mail provider, then please feel free to give us a call and we may be able to provide you with a better option going forward.




Official Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 to Cease in 2014

Posted By on March 22, 2013

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In 2002 Microsoft introduced its Support Life-cycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. As per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive a minimum of 10 years of support. Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will cease on April 8, 2014.

This means if your business is currently using Windows XP or Office 2003 then you should be planning on upgrading your systems before April 2014. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new windows updates for both XP and Office 2003, which means that there will be no new security patches or any kind of support for these products whatsoever. Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after April 2014 will mean that your system will be highly exposed to any new security threats that hackers can find and exploit in XP and Office 2003, below are just some of the issues you will likely experience:

  • Software: Just as is the case for Windows 98 and Windows 2000 now, driver releases for new hardware that comes out will start to become non-existent for XP around or slightly after the April 2014 timeline.
  • Hardware: Customers who purchase new hardware even for otherwise fully capable systems may start to run into compatibility issues.
  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks.

As a Microsoft Certified Partner Mad Computer Solutions can help you understand the best options to meet your personal and business needs. There are many options for small and medium businesses considering moving to a modern Operating System or PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools.

If you are currently running Windows XP or Office 2003 in your business and you haven’t given any thought of upgrading your systems yet, I would suggest you start piecing together a plan as soon as possible, as whatever size business you are, you will need to ensure that you have budgeted for such an upgrade to your business infrastructure.

As always, if you require any advice, help or support in planning or implementing such an upgrade, please feel free to give us a call on 0845 272 2373 and see how we can help you and your business.




Safeguarding Your Business Data

Posted By on March 22, 2013

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Data is at the heart of businesses, it’s crucial for you to protect it. To protect your organization’s data, you need to implement a data backup and recovery plan. Backing up files can protect against accidental loss of user data, database corruption and hardware failures.

Imagine that you are using your computer at work when suddenly all of the lights go out and the computer shuts down. After a few minutes the power is restored. You reboot your computer only to find that an error message appears. It tells you that a fatal error occurred, and that some important data, let’s say your accounts for example has been either lost or corrupted. Situations such as this happen all too often, the good news is that there are key safeguards, one of which is data backup which will protect from such circumstances.

The reasons of data loss can fall into these main categories;

  • Human error – deleting information from a PC by mistake, the misplacement of DVDs, CDs or media, and errors in administrating databases.
  • Intentional Crimes – acking, H  Hacking, viruses, data theft and espionage.
  • Natural Causes – Power failures, hardware failures, software failures, software bugs and also any kind of disaster such as a fire or flood.

With a little preparation, individuals and businesses can rest easy that if catastrophe strikes, they can be well prepared to recover and be back up and running in as little time as possible.

Mad Computer Solutions can provide you and your business with professional cloud online backup services in order to ensure that your company’s data is secure and can be recovered in the event of hardware failures, natural disasters or any other kind of problem.

Backup is just one part of ensuring the safety of your business when something goes wrong. If you want to ensure that your business is completely protected and capable of recovering from any kind of ‘disaster’ then why not have a look at our disaster recovery planning service.




Supplier of BT PC Backup Services In Administration

Posted By on February 21, 2013

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We have recently heard that the supplier of the BT PC Backup service have gone into administration, affecting 3 of BT’s online backup services, which include BT PC Backup, BT Business Protect and PC Business Protect Multi. BT have emailed all their PC Backup customers explaining what actions are needed to protect their data.

The PC Backup services are currently running normally, and customers are being informed to retrieve their data as soon as possible. Full information may be found on their website http://business.bt.com/it-support-and-security/pc-backup/

What you need to do if you use the following backup services:

All customers are advised to backup their data to an external hard disk, USB drive or move to another online data backup service. Feel free to check our Data Backup Services web page, or telephone 0843 2893818 to speak to one of the team.

With prices starting at £5+VAT per month for 10GB of secure online data storage, our data backup service provides:

  • UK Data Centres
  • All files encrypted
  • Backups only the data that has changed
  • Stored in bunker conditions



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