Windows XP – not long to go until…

From April 8th 2014 the support for Microsoft Windows XP will be ending. So it is nearly time to say goodbye to the popular decade-old operating system.

The end of support means, users will no longer receive anymore security updates. This will lead to security and privacy implications that can significantly impact businesses – without the updates systems may be vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software.

If using an unsupported operating system, other software and hardware products on the system may also not be support by the vendors either. It will also make it difficult to purchase new software and hardware for the retired Window XP operating system.

Due to the lack of updates, supporting software and hardware, it could lead to users experiencing an increase of downtime and business disruption. To discuss the implications of the end of support for Windows XP in more detail or help with upgrading please contact us today.

Symantec is killing their Backup Exec.cloud

Symantec is planning to shut down its Backup Exec.cloud service in order to focus on other products that have mobile and content-sharing features. The cloud-based solution Backup Exec.cloud was first introduced in the market February 2012, along with Symantec Backup Exec 2012 Product Suite.

With the increasing number of organisations adopting flexible, remote working, virtual offices and mobile devices, cloud-based options for databackup and collaboration have multiplied in recent years – So, it is important for a backup solution to allow users to work collaboratively with ease; “Customers want features such as synch & share and mobile access. Backup Exec.cloud was not designed with these features in mind,” Symantec’s FAQ said. “As a result, Symantec has decided to discontinue Backup Exec.cloud in order to focus on more productive and feature-rich cloud-based applications which include this type of functionality.”

Symantec will stop selling the subscriptions and renewals for Backup Exec.cloud on the 6th January 2014 and will crease the service and support on 6th January 2015.

Users of the product will need to keep in mind, that after their subscription expires the data saved on the platform will be deleted and they will have to migrate their own data to an alternative service; “We are here to help you navigate this process, but we are not able to provide any data migration services as part of this announcement,” Symantec said in the FAQ.

CryptoLocker – The New Kid on the Block for Trojan Ransomware

Cryptolocker Trojan Ransomware

Watchout for Cryptolocker! It claimed over 10,000 victims within a week.

CryptoLockerA new variant of Trojan Ransomware has recently appeared in the world of cybercrime; but, it is not just a typical piece of RansomWare

When it infects a system it would encrypt your data using a strong cryptography and the cybercriminals will hold the users’ data hostage until a ransom is paid. The users are usually infected by an email with an attach .exe file and when opened, it will execute scripts to encrypt all the users’ data. It has been reported the ransom demands are for either $300 US dollars or Bitcoins. However,  there is no guarantee the decryption of the data will occur after the ransom is paid.

CryptoLocker is spreading fast in phishing campaigns and it has been reported it can be sent as a fake delivery notification or an email from a financial institution.

According to Kaspersky’s Costin Raiu the primary target for this Trojan Ransomware is ‘US and UK, with India, Canada, Australia and France being second-tier targets’ and the National Crime Agency (NCA) in a recent BBC article said ‘Small to medium businesses seem to be the target’ and there are ‘significant risks’.

Protect yourself

It is important to have anti-virus protection in general but with over 10,000 people falling victim to CryptoLocker within a week, it further highlights the need to have a good level of IT security in place. But this is usually not the case, as anti-virus is often considered after one becomes a victim.

From a B2B perspective it is always suggested to have a layered approach to IT security i.e. having a firewall, anti-virus, endpoint security, email security products to limit inbound email threats. From personal use perspective having anti-virus in place is essential.

Email Security products such as NetMail will help protect users’ from this type of trojan by blocking .exe files as a rule. However, CryptoLocker can also infect systems via physical media, websites etc so, anti-virus and malware detectors are essential, to help create a strong defence to keep those criminals off your devices and networks.

So be extra careful and do not open those .exe files unless you know exactly who it is from.

Contact us today to find out more about IT Security and how we can help protect your business.  

Nearly Time to Say Farewell to Microsoft SBS…

It shocked the community when Microsoft announced the discontinuation of the widely used ‘Small Business Server’ (SBS) range. Windows SBS 2011 Standard will be the final offering within the range and is available through OEM channel until 31st December 2013.

It is a sad time for many, as SBS is a popular solution that enabled many businesses to build a comprehensive platform that is robust and cost-efficient. Microsoft has made this decision based on the computing trend of small businesses, moving in the direction of cloud computing for applications and services such as emails, online backup and business tools. 

Although the trend is moving towards the cloud, not everyone supports it in the business community and many still want their data sitting on a server in a place that they can pinpoint.

Microsoft has released the ‘Windows Server 2012’ range to try and fill the gap SBS will leave in the market. It has 3 versions – Essentials, Standard and Enterprise but, unlike the SBS range it does not include Exchange, SQL and Sharepoint and would have to be purchase separately. Although the product is not necessary as simple to set up as SBS if set up correctly, businesses can still manage an IT infrastructure from one box or you could consider moving to the cloud.

For advice or for more information on the discontinuation of SBS or the cloud please contact us today.