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By rich, May 15 2017 12:23PM



Removal & recovery of ransomware can be laborious & often (depending on the encryption type) impossible to recover the data. Recent events with the NHS have highlighted how easy it is for a cyber-attack to bring down whole networks. However, you can take steps to protect yourself from the malicious software & recovering your data.


Firstly, and we can't say this enough times 'Make a backup of your data'. Regardless of whether it's family photos or your entire business portfolio, without a backup your data is practically useless. But a decent backup is not the only step you need to be sure you can restore from your backups so proper recovery tests are important.


OK, so we have a copy of all your critical data. Worst case, you suffer from an encrypted disk. You wipe & restore all your data from backup & don't pay a penny to the cyber-criminals. But you can go further & make sure you don't even get encrypted.


An easy step to start with is have two accounts on your machine, Macs already have this setup as you are prompted to run as 'root' if you want to install something. The same can be done with Windows. Create a local admin account from User Management & also a non admin account. Use the non-admin account day to day, if you need to install something when the application runs it will prompt for you to login as the admin account. In doing this, you are always aware of what is installing. Malicious Ransomware cannot run unless you log in as admin. Not fool proof but avoids accidental installation.


Turning off AutoRun can also help in avoiding accidental infection from malicious software. This stops installers auto installing when you click a link. I have added a link to a great page explaining how to turn off or on the autorun function


http://www.thewindowsclub.com/set-autoplay-defaults-windows-10


For business & home users would we recommend changing some default settings. Firstly, by default most malicious software will need to download to your machine then execute. Windows has a default setting to download to a folder in your profile called Downloads. We would recommend keeping this setting as you can then lock down this folder to ensure no software can auto execute from it. This can be done with the use of whitelists, if you click Start > Run type gpedit.msc when the window appears you need to browse to Computer Configuration. From here go to > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Software Restriction Policies. Set Security level to ‘disallow’. This will lock down all applications. You will need to add some exceptions. To do this, click Start & Run, type ‘regedit’ & make the following amendments to the registry (backup registry keys before making any changes to the registry):


%HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersions\SystemRoot%

%HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersions\ProgramFilesDir (x86)%

%HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersions\ProgramFilesDir%

*.lnk


This will allow installed applications to run & update. The *.lnk will allow desktop shortcuts to execute also.

Finally, make sure your machine is patched & AV up to date. Out of date patches & AV definitions have exposed vulnerabilities. These are exactly what the cyber criminals are aiming to exploit. Simple steps to make sure your AV & patching is up to date can save you time & money in trying to restore lost data or cash due to a cyber attack.


Burwell IT are an authorised Sophos Partner, with complete solutions for protecting your data from cyber attack. Talk to our consultants on 0333 121 4827 or emails support@burwellit.co.uk




By rich, Oct 22 2016 02:34PM


The online marketplace can be brutal, especially if you’re relatively fresh to the concept of search engine optimisation (SEO). Google analytics has evolved to the point where the consistency of your web copy, the structural makeup of your site, and the organisation of relevant links are all scrutinised for your place in the search engine ladder.


Although Burwell IT has plenty of experience in professional web design, there are some tricks that anyone can pull off to get a higher SEO ranking. If you’re at a loss for how to climb above your competitors, we’ve got some advice that’s well worth heeding:


Adapt to your market


First of all, it’s wise to get a firm idea of who you’re appealing to, and what they might be searching for. You can tailor your website to audiences with specific needs or a particular location by using keywords that are relevant to your customers.


For instance, “electrician in Liverpool” is something that people in Merseyside may look for, instead of a generic “electrician” search. You’ll be competing with industry giants if you always go for the latter option, so pepper your copy with references to being a local service provider or retailer.


Site maps that make sense


When Google’s deciding how useful your website is, it employs a process called ‘crawling’. This is how bots sift through the routes your site can take to present information. If they’re meandering and filled with random results that don’t cohere, your search engine ambitions will quickly topple to dust.


Site maps tell Google what it needs to know, giving it a trajectory of links and layouts to analyse. Basically, the design of your site has to make sense, otherwise search engines will deem it too complicated or haphazard to get a handle on. Be sure that you have category pages to help users find out what you’re offering, and what the differences are between important aspects of your venture.


Blog, and take your time with it


The humble blog really isn’t so self-indulgent anymore – it’s a business tool in its own right. Entrepreneurs have cottoned onto the organic potential a blog can generate, as long as it’s professional and in keeping with your brand. A regular blogging schedule is your unfettered take on the latest developments in your market, new products around the corner, or insights that justify your ‘expert’ tag.


This is just an appetiser for how you can optimise your SEO status with a few pointers in the right direction. Whilst any of these tips can serve to boost a poor search engine ranking, it’s far preferable to have your site gleaming from the get-go with smooth site navigation and awesome content. Burwell IT is a cost-effective provider of optimised websites, building all the necessary blocks for your success. Check out our packages, or speak to us for more details on getting your dream website up and running.



By rich, Sep 19 2016 09:21AM

Big, corporate hacking scandals tend to dominate the news coverage of cyber-crime, but they’re only a very small part of this ongoing story. Home networks are also on a knife’s edge from digital insurgency, as a malicious techie can do all sorts of damage to your personal computer, data and file collections, covering their tracks like a professional thief.


If you aren’t fully clued up and protected against these threats, you could be facing serious problems without knowing it. Keep an eye out for these various methods of attack, and resist being exposed:


Phishing


Technically, this isn’t a direct intrusion on your system, but it can catch people unawares. Phishing is the incredibly simple tactic of sending an email claiming to be this or that – a prize draw, a personal contact, even an ‘official’ body asking for your co-operation.


Whatever garden path you’re being lead down, chances are there’ll be a link in the email body, with signs encouraging you to click it. Doing so can invite all sorts of viruses and deadly software into your hard drive. Unless you can verify who the message is from, it’s probably wise to steer clear of anything professing to be for your own good.


Malware


You can pick malware up from any dodgy download. In essence, it takes control of your system, the consequences of which can range from slightly annoying to crippling beyond measure.


For instance, you might find your browsers redirecting to websites at random, or cluttered to the brim with adverts. In some cases, malware takes the guise of a computer maintenance service, trying to fool you into handing more control over to ‘fix’ the problem. Trojan horses, viruses and spyware all fall into this category.


Hacking


It’s everyone greatest fear when using technology: the sneaking suspicion that anyone could have access to your personal media, bank details, home address, valuable work documents…it’s enough to drive anyone a little mad with worry.


Hackers are so dangerous because, once they manage to get your password or identity details, chances are you use the same security checks for several accounts. Fortunately, modern anti-virus protection is tricky for cyber-crime to get around; other preventative solutions include clearing your search history every few weeks, and making password changes that aren’t easy to predict.


Worms


Unlike a standard virus, worms slip into your computer’s memory and stay there forever. They’re found, like most other threats, on innocent-seeming websites, and get to work on your system without attaching themselves to programmes or file locations.


Subsequently, a nefarious worm will consume your bandwidth, overloading your internal server and spreading to everyone in your contacts list. In extreme situations, it can install a ‘backdoor’ channel to your computer, letting a remote user control it from afar.


Hopefully you have some conception of the weapons that can be trained on your humble, domestic device. Burwell IT offers home support for any issues you’re faced with – we can detect what faults (if any) you’re currently suffering from, and safeguard your system so it’s almost impervious to cyber-attacks.


Sound like a worthwhile investment? Call or message us to ask about starting rates, and a support package that’ll do exactly what you need for a stress-free home life.

By rich, Aug 29 2016 08:34AM

IT and Communications otherwise known as ICT (information and communication technology) is a role identified to unify and integrate certain communications such as, the Telephone, computers and wireless networks. The full use of ICT broadens to cover any product that will store, manipulate, retrieve, receive and finally transmit information electronically in a digital form such as a mobile phone and personal computers i.e. laptops.


Money spent in the IT department is increasing by a staggering 5% each year and doubling in that percentage every 15 years! Breaking this down you can see that at an estimate 31% of these profits are purchased on personal gadgets such as mobile phones, 29% on software, 26% on hardware and finally 14% on external service providers. Looking back at the highest percentage, that being the 31% on personal items it is clear to see that from the last 15 years people around the world are purchasing more and more personal information and communications technology.


Think about ten people you know... got that? Now think of ten people you have walked past/came into contact with today... in total that's twenty people; On average every single one of those people will have or all have a personal mobile phone and access to a personal computer. Concluding that with the world of technology and IT that we live in today they have merged together with the advancements in technology to create such personal handy devices to always be in contact with the likes of, your bank via online banking, your family and friends whether they be in the next room or overseas via email, text messages and video calls and quick and easy access to the internet including Google to make speedy and easy discoveries whilst being on the go. All in all there is no limit to IT and Communications and how much further it will go, new technological devices and programmes are being made every single minute of every single day.


Finally, the most popular and current developing product of the century is the Apple make, with the first IPhone made in 2007. IPhone's are a smaller compact version of a computer, everything you can get in touch with via the internet you can get in touch with it on your IPhone. That doesn’t go to mean that just because there are new advancements thanks to the world of technology and IT merging that devices such as the VoIP phone should be ignored. These phones are in fact a handy device to have in every business not just small businesses; we have four of these phones where I work in a retail store. They are easy to use and are feasible for most if not all business, they can make calls to people such as other franchises and also have an easy set up to make calls between the different phones within the business.


VoIP phones may not be the most current technological phone to have but they are one of the handiest; outside of the business world these telephones have connections with broadband networks as well. In light of this it is ideal to have both a VoIP telephone and an up to date technological device within the business world and at home. One of the main business advantages of VoIP is the ability to have a number follow you wherever you go. This is really useful if you’re out and about using multiple devices. Rather than having to give out your mobile number, customers can call on your direct number and you can pick it up wherever you are.



About the author


This post was written by Matt Wilson on behalf of Simple Telecomms


By rich, Aug 21 2016 08:44AM


slow computer
slow computer

‘Why is my computer slow’ must be one of the top Google searches that persist from year to year. Ironically, using the internet to answer this problem will take a while if your PC is experiencing sluggish start-up or load times. It’s a quandary that baffles casual browsers and businesses alike, who can be at a loss for what to do about it.


Since the subject will be close to a lot of hearts out there, we’re throwing our hats in the ring too, and we can suggest a response that won’t rely on trawling through forums when sloth-like symptoms afflict you. Here are 5 common reasons for your pain:


1. Too many files


Your computer’s memory is not an infinite cauldron of old Word documents and video clips. Filling it to bursting point with files, downloaded or otherwise, will have a serious toll on its general performance. Multi-media in particular can chew up huge chunks of your memory en masse. You need at least 5GB of hard disk space to improve performance.


2. Infection!


Viruses and malware are the bane of many a user’s digital existence. It doesn’t matter whether you’re naïve or well-versed in internet wiles; you may be susceptible to attacks from spam links, hidden downloads or completely out-of-the blue hacks from cyber criminals. These assaults can inflict all sorts of damage to your computer, and can ultimately slow down your device.


3. Outdated or corrupt drivers


If a computer is essentially a factory directing talents to and fro, drivers are the managers of the workforce, telling hardware how to run on a particular operating system. Video cards, DVD drives and the software that communicates with a motherboard all contribute to the overall speed. Failure to update them, or identify corrupted drivers, will keep you in the slow lane.


4. Competing start-up programmes


There’s so much to think about for the utility belt of programmes you want to boot up with your device. Skype, Steam, iTunes… these and plenty more require diligent work from your PC or Mac to get going. It can be a struggle when they’re leaping to life at once, especially if the processing power isn’t that great.


5. No reboots


Like people, computers can’t function forever in a perpetual waking state. Although most of us think nothing of leaving them on for weeks at a time, this can make it impossible for updates and system clearances to take effect. You should aim for a restart at least once a week, ensuring components aren’t being overstressed and blocked from vital maintenance.


We’re guessing a large portion of people reading this have encountered some, if not all, of these afflictions without quite knowing it. When a spanner throws itself mysteriously in the works, you can find solace in IT support that can iron the creases from your computer’s makeup.


Burwell IT is here to help – we offer 24/7 system monitoring, and can consult on and resolve any problem bringing your speed to a crawl. There’s a lot we can do for you, so get in touch today and enquire about our services, call us on 0333 121 4827 or emai support@burwellit.co.uk




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