Business Focused IT Support
Viewing posts from: March 2016

Cybercrime and your business

by Nicki Dowsett in cybercrime, Industry News, IT Support, Password Security, Uncategorized

Cybercrime and you

The hot topic for the first half of 2016 has been all about cybercrime, hacking and ransomware.  It seems that no company no matter the size is safe from attack.  In this blog we will talk about some of the companies that have been attacked and how this can ultimately affect you.  We will also talk about the steps you need to take to ensure your systems and network are secure.

cyber crime

Can you name a well-known organisation that has been attacked?  Here are just a few that you will know and possibly use:

Talk Talk – 57,000 customer personal details accessed and 15,600 customer bank details taken.  This caused uncertainty for many customers as to what had happened to their bank details and at what cost to them.  This attack cost the company upwards of £35million in compensation and loss of customers.  4 people were subsequently arrested in connection to the attack.

Vtech – Over 5 million customers affected by this attack on children’s manufacturer.  Accounts set up online to allow children to play games were hacked, leaving them vulnerable.  Whilst it did not store any bank or credit card details, it did store personal contact information.  The company were not even aware of the attack until contacted by a journalist.  A 21 year old was arrested, he had carried out this attack from his home in Berkshire.

BBC News, The New York Times, MSN – One of the more recent occurrence. These news sites were unwitting victims to malicious adverts on their sites or malvertising.  Tens of thousands of people were exposed to these adverts, which could deliver malware to your device, encrypting your files.  This was a large attack on well-known news outlets and if they had been successful could have been devastating for millions of people, however all ads were removed quickly.

Ashley MadisonThe chances are you don’t know the company by name, but will have heard this story.  The company are an on-line site encouraging extra-marital affairs.  The site was hacked and user details stolen.  The information was then leaked on-line causing many spouses to be very unhappy. We can all guess how that ended up for many people.

FBISlightly concerning that the Federal Government of America are also at risk.  The same hackers also accessed the CIA director’s personal email.  Having accessed the FBI Portal the hackers were then able to view records on arrested suspects.  These details were then leaked on-line.

Donald TrumpNow no matter your view on the Presidential candidate for the US, it is surprising that even businesses owned by one of the most successful businessman at are risk.  Malware was put into the Trump Systems and stole credit card details from hotels across the US.  It is not known how many people were affected by this, but expected to be in the thousands.  The hacktivists Anonymous have also recently announced they are declaring war on Trump.

cryptolocker

Now for some of the lesser known companies, some of which are in our own region, just to show you that it is not just the large companies in the world that can be vulnerable.  Do not have a false sense of security that this cannot happen to you.  Sadly everyone is at risk.

Solar UK – Based in Battle, East Sussex, this small business of just 11 people were hacked by the current largest terrorist organisation, ISIS. The company website was vulnerable to attack and unbeknown to them, the website had been taken off line.  Anyone searching for them, would be horrified to see CCA or the Caliphate Cyber Army videos.  This hack was apparently in revenge for a drone strike in Syria.  It is believed that the company was targeted by a search Robot trawling through the internet to find unsecure websites.

Chatham Town FCIn January of 2015, this small part time football club had its page hacked and in place of the usual content an image was put up supporting the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.  Luckily all the content of the Football website was backed up and was back up and running after a couple of days with no data lost.

The list seems to go on and on of varying different business types that are vulnerable, we highly recommend that you review all your network and personal security.  The Government Cyber Essentials scheme backed by the FSB is key to help win any government contracts and is good practices for all businesses.  It is no longer something that businesses should think it would be nice to have in place, it is essential.  The risks are extremely high, not just for your customer’s details, but also your business as a whole.  If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked, it will be costly both in monetary value for custom, but also in getting it fixed and downtime for your staff.

These are the 5 key points on the Government Cyber Essentials scheme

Malware Protection – do you have a robust malware in place?  This will stop viruses and ransomware from getting through to your emails and employees.

Access Control – encourage your staff to choose passwords that would be hard to guess and not simply change the number on the end each time it needs to be updated.  Password or 123456 are not ever going to be good choices.  Also ensure that admin passwords are only given out to members of staff that should have access to these.

Firewalls – investing in a high end firewall can prevent hackers from gaining access to your systems and to make certain there are no leaks.

Secure configuration – Is your system configured to ensure security for your organisation.  Are all laptops, PC’s and phones password protected? Do files need to be password protected?

Patch Management – the likes of Microsoft and other operating systems regularly release new updates to their software.  Ensure you are fully up to date as these updates will often include patches to ensure your systems are more secure.  As hackers become more clever the software providers work hard to identify areas to increase security.

We also recommend you view the national cybercrime website or if you have any concerns about any of the issues raised in this blog – please contact MPR IT to discuss the current state of your network and if there is anything else we can help you with to improve security.

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Structured Cabling by MPR IT

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Server cabinet, Strcutured cabling

Structured Cabling by MPR IT.

Our engineers here at MPR IT, are experienced in all aspects of structured cabling installation through to switching/routing design and implementation. We can cater for anything from a handful of PCs to over 500 points across any number of floors or buildings.  Whether your employees are all in the same building but on different floors or even in separate buildings, MPR IT can look at the best ways to ensure your business is connected either through cabling or wireless connectivity.

Cabling covers a multitude of projects for us whether you are moving to a new office or to tidying up a server cabinet that looks like a spaghetti tin has exploded.  It is surprising how much simpler it is to solve an issue with servers when the cupboard is neat and tidy.

Cable-Rack-1

With cabling looking neat and tidy it can save hours of work and therefore extra £££’s on the invoice when your server is playing up.  The above photo shows how much work can be involved just before the issue can be resolved.  I know how annoyed I get just with the cables behind my TV unit, I would probably have a meltdown if something in my office looked like this before photo.  (Yes I admit to being a neat freak).

More complex projects that the team have worked on over the years include re-cabling offices, whether due to office move or refurbishment. (Including our own office right now).  Many new offices these days are open plan and so it is critical to ensure that floor points are put in strategically to make the best use of an office.  When a company is considering a new office or layout the engineers at MPR can offer consultation on how best to position cabling and power points before the flooring is chosen.   Even if it is a solid concrete floor we can get the project done for you.  No one likes to see cables across the floor especially your Health & Safety officer.  They can cause a trip hazard, as well as running the risk of being accidentally pulled out losing power to your PC.   Resulting in all your unsaved work being lost. See an example of work carried out by MPR IT.

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MPR IT’s March Newsletter

by Nicki Dowsett in Audit Reviews, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, Monthly Newsletter, Password Security

 Welcome to MPR

Our newsletter brings you the latest information on the Tech world, this is in addition to our regular posts on Social Media and Blogs that can be found on our website.  Please make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram to keep up to date fully.

Cyber Crime Seminar

David Keohane (Sales Manager) attended a seminar on Cyber Crime, organised by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with NatWest and Wilkins Kennedy.  This was extremely popular with over 50 attendees.  The general consensus of the day is that many businesses are becoming increasingly concerned at the threat from cybercrime.    Topics covered by speakers Sophie Urquhart and Louise Brittan included, Social Engineering, Malware, Ransomware, fraud and processes that should be in place to protect your business.

 

A Youtube video shared on the day highlighted just how scary this situation can be.   Please check out David the Mind Reader and though this can appear light hearted – it really isn’t.

We covered this issue last month in our blog and newsletter, however since then there have been many more stories in the news of companies and even countries at government levels being hacked.  Please take some time out to read our blog on how best to protect your business and home hardware and data.  We cannot reiterate enough how important it is to ensure you are aware of how easy it is to lose valuable data and even in some instances money.  These criminals are constantly looking at new ways to work around the system.  Please speak to our helpdesk team if you have any concerns on your network security.

IT Audit Reviews

IT Audit Reviews by MPR

IT Audit Reviews by MPR

The year is moving on fast and it’s getting to that time when many companies are planning the new financial year.  Do you have an IT budget in place yet for the forthcoming year?  Please read our blog on IT audit reviews to see how we can help you plan for the new financial year.  Or you may be lucky enough to have budget left over that needs to be allocated.  Many companies don’t plan for the unexpected need to replace new equipment of for support required during the year.  MPR IT can offer support packages to meet your business needs and that sit comfortably in your budget.  We can also assist in identifying areas that will require upgrade over the next year so you can be prepared in advance.

SQL Server 2005 support ending

Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Microsoft announced some time ago that support would be ending for the SQL Server 2005, we have a short blog on what this is and what it could mean for you. There are many different variables in choosing the best SQL server for your business and our team at MPR can help you through the decision process and migration required.  If you are unsure of the SQL Server you are operating please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Fundraising News

The team at MPR like to support many charities and the next fundraising event on the horizon is going to be a team event.  Following on from last year’s successful 5 Peak Challenge in The Lakes by Richard & Tom, this year they are at it again.  This year they have enlisted other members of the team to join them on a 26 mile hike from Brighton race course to Eastbourne Pier on Saturday 11th June.

They will be hiking across the South Downs and through Alfriston Forest.  Before heading out to the coast and Birling Gap and along the White Cliffs of Beachy Head and along the front in Eastbourne. Whilst Richard & Tom are seasoned walkers, the same cannot be said for the rest of the team.  They each need to raise £250 in aid of MacMillan Cancer, this is approximately £10 per mile each.  This is an amazing charity that works so hard to support those sadly affected by this awful disease.  Please support them and give generously – if nothing else just to see them suffer the pain of having to spend the day together out of the office.

Other Team News

Our office refurbishment continues and it’s been a little hectic to say the least, however the end is in sight and we now have more space for the growing team.  Our new apprentice Ben will soon no longer need to desk-hop and have his own space to call home. Ben joined the MPR family at the beginning of February and is quickly settling and learning the role.  Please join us in welcoming Ben to the team.

The help desk team have been really busy last month with over 800 closed tickets.  This is approximately double the amount of last February.  Well done to the team for working so hard to answer all the queries and issues from our customers.  As well handling incoming calls from existing customers, the engineers have also been busy bees with site visits and installations for a number of new customers.  Good job guys – the success is shown in our survey results.  We are achieving an average score of 4.9/5.0 on customer satisfaction. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and if you know of any colleagues that don’t receive our newsletter and would find this of interest please forward their details to us so we can add them to our database. If any of the news stories we have on our site may affect you please let us know or if you wish to discuss the services we currently provide to your business please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help

 

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