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The Messenger

Excalibur IT Solutions provides onsite and remote IT Support Services to homes and businesses in: Berowra, Mount Kuring-Gai, across the Hornsby Shire and North Shore of Sydney. Our Blog, The Messenger, is a value-add service for current and prospective customers and the broader community. With The Messenger we aim to keep you up to date with industry news, security threats, and bring you hints, tips and tricks on how to get the best out of your Computer.

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Technical Support Scams


Technical Support Scams are a multi-million-dollar industry and show no signs of going away. Each day innocent people are tricked into spending hundreds / thousands of dollars on non-existent computer problems by these scammers.  ​The scams are often initiated by a Phone call, or via websites where popup or flashing adverts, or in some cases a...
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WannaCry? Get Serious About Security

WannaCry? Get Serious About Security
Wanna Cry? You might do if you get this nasty Ransomware which spread globally at an unprecedented rate over the weekend.Within a very short space of time the NHS in the UK was brought to its knees; along with a large number of Russian, Chinese and US private and public institutions causing them to be crippled most of the day. This partic...
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Case Study: Invoice or Ransom?

Case Study: Invoice or Ransom?
What Crypt0l0cker looks like

Invoice scams are on the rise and with them the deadly threat of Ransomware infection, read on to find out how to spot the fakers and avoid very painful consequences.  The Situation  Last week a local business gave us a call after one of their computers was locked down with Crypt0l0cker ransomware.  The business owner had received an...
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Go GOOGLE Yourself: Managing your Online Reputation

Go GOOGLE Yourself: Managing your Online Reputation
Many of you will be familiar with Pandora and her infamous box. But for those not in the know, in Greek Mythology, Pandora opens a jar releasing death and unspeakable evil into the world. She endeavors to re-seal the container, but the contents have already escaped leaving one thing behind at the bottom of the jar – hope.  In many ways, managi...
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Stand and Deliver: The Ransomware Dilemma

Stand and Deliver:  The Ransomware Dilemma
Locky Ransomware Example
Ransomware Example2

The last few weeks have marked a particularly aggressive push by cyber-criminals with several high-profile instances of large-scale ransomware attacks.

What is Ransomware?

As the name suggests, this type of computer virus exists to extort money from unsuspecting individuals and corporations. It is a pernicious form of malicious software (Malware) which, when activated, targets and encrypts your important data-files (documents, photos, spreadsheets, etc.) both on the local computer, and any attached drives (USB thumb-drives and hard disks, Network Drives etc.); effectively locking and encrypting them until you pay a hefty ransom to secure a decryption key.

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Stay Safe Online: 10 Tips to Minimise the Risk of Malware

Stay Safe Online: 10 Tips to Minimise the Risk of Malware

Yesterday I sat in on a Bitdefender seminar in Sydney where it was reported that according to AV-Test.org (The independent IT Security institute) in 2009 there were approximately 32,000 unique malware programs registered globally every day, which is huge, but nothing compared to the 400,000 unique malware programs being registered every day in 2015.

One thing is clear, Malware infections are growing at an unprecedented rate.

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Is your Data Safe?

Do you have a Reliable Backup?

March 31st is World Backup Day and according to www.worldbackupday.com some 83% of us own a computer, yet alarmingly 30% of people have never backed up; and only 1 in 4 of us make regular backups. 

Disclaimer:

Before we get cracking with this week’s blog, I want to state up front that Excalibur IT Solutions is in no way affiliated with www.worldbackupday.com and that www.worldbackupday.com do not support or endorse any products or services of Excalibur IT Solutions (and vice versa).

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Heartbleed Fallout - Do I Still Need to Change Passwords?

Heartbleed Bug

In the wake of the Heartbleed bug / SSL vulnerability that was widely publicized, one of my customers asked me the other day whether they still needed to change their passwords as they had heard the problem had been fixed.  In short, the answer is YES.  

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NEWSFLASH: Microsoft issues Security Advisory for Internet Explorer

b2ap3_thumbnail_Hacker.jpg

Microsoft issued a Security Advisory on April 26, 2014 relating to a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, and Internet Explorer 11 for the majority of current Windows Operating Systems including: Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2008 Server, Windows 2012 Server, Windows RT, Windows RT 8.1.  

"The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that allow an attacker to execute code" under the active user account.  Full details of the advisory can be found by reviewing Microsoft Security Advisory 2963983, along with suggested actions to reduce the risk whilst Microsoft continues their investigation and remediation efforts.

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Stay Safe On-Line

Hacker
Spyware
Bitdefender Internet Security
Bitdefender Total Security

A Malicious Software (Malware) infection is easy to contract and can be difficult to shake off.  Infections are typically contracted after downloading and installing an application from the internet, opening an infected Email attachment or clicking a bad link on a Website or in an Email.

 I have a regular stream of customers approaching me about a nasty Malware infections and asking for help to get rid of the infection.  In each case, the problem revealed itself when the customers started being bombarded with annoying popups when browsing the internet, asking them to: complete surveys, telling them they have won an iPad, or their PC has a raft of errors and to click on a link download and to fix it.  

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Cryptolocker is Back

Cryptolocker, that nasty piece of ransom-ware, is back.  In the last two days I have had two separate customers reach out to me for assistance after their PC was infected.

Cryptolocker is an insidious piece of malicious software that works by encrypting your personal files and making them inaccessible unless you pay a ransom to the crooks that deployed it.  The folks are indiscriminate and the reality is that, even if you pay the ransom (which is NOT recommended) there is absolutely no guarantee that your files will be unlocked.  This could mean that your critical business data, or treasured family memories (photographs, videos etc)  are gone for good.

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Case Study: PC Hijack - Scam

Are Scammers / Hackers inside your PC?
Registry Encryption Scam
Spyware may be installed
Hacker
 So it appears that in recent months an old, and rather nasty, scam has risen its ugly head again. Not sure that it ever really went away, however a new customer came to me this week after being hit by the scam.  As such, I want to raise the issue to ensure that my customers, business partners, family and friends are aware of these bottom- dwellers, and don't get stung.

The scam begins with a phone call or email from someone pretending to be from Microsoft Support (or similar) and saying that you have a major problem with your computer, and providing you with contact details for a 3rd party support company in the US or India who can assist. When you contact these people they will request remote access to your computer, and if you grant that request this is where the real pain begins.

 

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We are your local IT professionals providing computer support and IT Consulting services across the Hornsby Shire.

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