fbpx

malware removal cannockApproximately 34% of businesses are unable to access their data and systems for over a week after suffering a malware attack. This can severely hamper productivity and lead to financial losses.

Malware is a broad term that encompasses many different types of malicious code. It can include:

  • Viruses
  • Ransomware
  • Spyware
  • Trojans
  • Adware
  • Key loggers

The more time that malware remains on your system without being detected, the more harm it can cause. Many forms of malware are programmed to spread to as many systems as possible, so if it is not removed immediately, one infected computer could easily infect ten more computers on the same network.

The early detection of an infected device is crucial in order to disconnect it from your network and have it cleaned by a professional.

Be on the lookout for these key signs of malware infection so you can take action and reduce your risk.

STRANGE POPUPS ON YOUR DESKTOP

Some forms of malware can mimic legitimate programs, such as antivirus apps or warranty notices, in order to trick users into clicking on them. Hackers may use this technique to gain access to a user’s device or personal information.

If you see a “renew your antivirus” subscription alert or a warranty renewal that looks suspicious, it could be a sign that your PC has been infected with adware or another type of malware.

NEW SLUGGISH BEHAVIOR

Your computer may be slowing down for a variety of reasons, including having too many browser tabs open at once or running a memory-intensive program. However, you will usually be aware of your computer and the types of things that can make it run slowly.

If you notice any out-of-the-ordinary sluggish behavior, it could be an infection. For example, if you experience freezing while only having a simple app like notepad open, this could be a sign of an infection.

When malware is running in the background, it can often consume system resources and cause your system to become sluggish.

YOUR BROWSER HOME PAGE IS REDIRECTED

If you find that your web browser’s homepage has been changed without your knowledge or permission, it is advisable to scan your computer for malware as soon as possible. This is because homepage redirects are a common tactic used by various types of malware.

The malware will infect your system and change the system settings for your default browser home page. This may lead you to a site containing popup ads or to another type of phishing site.

Just trying to change your homepage back in your settings won’t fix the situation. It’s important to have the malware removed.

YOU RUN ACROSS CORRUPTED FILES

If you open a file and find it corrupted, this is a serious issue that could indicate that ransomware or another form of malware has infected your system.

While files can occasionally become corrupt for other reasons, this is a serious issue that deserves a thorough malware scan if you see it.

“PROCESSING SOUNDS” WHEN THERE SHOULDN’T BE

The vast majority of us are intimately familiar with the tell-tale thinking sounds our computer emits when processing something memory intensive. Usually, we’ll hear a type of whirring noise that ceases once the activity is completed.

If you start hearing a processing sound when you’re not doing anything intense on your computer, it could be a sign that malware is running in the background.

GET EXPERT MALWARE SCANNING & REMOVAL

Free online malware and virus scans aren’t very reliable. Instead, contact us on 01543 889 444 so we can ensure your entire system is cleaned properly.

Cyber Security Staffordshire

The 3 Cyber Security Vulnerabilities You Need to Ensure Your Business Doesn’t Have

You need to take cyber security seriously, regardless of the size of your business. Criminals are targeting both small and large businesses, and you need to check for any weaknesses in your security regularly. Here are 3 Cyber Security Vulnerabilities you need to ensure your business doesn’t have.

Summary

  • Check your Antivirus software regularly and keep it up to date
  • Do you have Weak Login Credentials / have any of your accounts been compromised
  • Lack of Ransomware Protection

VULNERABILITY #1 – LACK OF ENDPOINT SECURITY

Many businesses don’t have or regularly check their endpoint security solutions such as antivirus programs. This leaves their business susceptible to cyber attacks such as ransomware and malware.

Some endpoint solutions rely on virus definitions or signatures to detect an attack. Some out of date software is often inadequate.

Many cyber criminals can bypass definitions quickly and undetected. Some solutions don’t monitor for unexpected and unusual behaviour that typically happens during a cyber attack.

The best way to combat these issues is to invest in an endpoint solution that involves next-generation antivirus, response and behavioral analysis.

What is Endpoint Security?

Endpoint security Is when you secure the endpoints and / or entry points of devices such as desktops, Laptops and mobile devices etc. It has evolved a lot since the more traditional anti virus solutions of the past. It provides a more sophisticated approach when it comes to malware and ransomware.

As virus threats get more sophisticated, it’s good practice to implement this level of protection. The new systems are designed to detect, analyse and block suspicious activity while they are in progress.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more or have any questions about Endpoint Security.

VULNERABILITY #2 – COMPROMISED OR WEAK CREDENTIALS

Cyber Security Staffordshire

Cyber criminals can easily compromise your Username and Password if you haven’t got the right protection in place. For instance, an unsuspecting team member may fall victim to a phishing email and enter their login information into a fake website.

With these compromised credentials, an attacker can gain access to your business data.

There are a number of ways to combat this, such as by enabling MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) on your systems. MFA provides an extra layer of security.

It ensures that users are who they say they are by requiring two pieces of information in order to sign in. This is usually their password and an additional verification, such as a one time access code, in order to login.

Even if the password is compromised, the chances of the additional verification factor also being compromised is very low.

What is Multi Factor Authentication?

When you sign into any account online, you usually go through a process called authentication. Effectively proving your identity to the website you’re logging into. For many years this has been achieved by using a username and a password.

This is however a very insecure method of authentication. That’s why now almost every bank, some social media websites and online stores use additional authentication.

You may hear Multi Factor Authentication called Two-Step verification or Multifactor authentication. They all work the same way. You still login using your username and password but there is an additional layer of security. This can be a pin number text to your mobile phone or a unique code generated by a separate application.

VULNERABILITY #3 – LACK OF RANSOMWARE PROTECTION

Ransomware is the name given to a cyber attack, where the cyber criminals attack your system and network and encrypt your files making them inaccessible.

This can cause chaos for small and large businesses. In 2017 a notorious ransomware attack called “WannaCry Outbreak” cost the UK £92 million and global costs in the region of 6 billion. This also affected the NHS and all of their computer systems were brought to a standstill.

Even though victims paid the ransom all of the data was virtually unrecoverable. So it’s not just ransomware protection you need. It’s a redundancy plan to make sure all of the data is backed up elsewhere and is accessible in the event of a cyber attack.

The majority of victims in these types of attacks are told to pay the ransom using a crypto currency such as bitcoin. They will then send a passcode, allowing you to get back into your system and files.

Make sure you have software and processes in place to prevent these kinds of attacks. Ensure your systems are up to date with the latest updates installed, ensure you are using a modern endpoint security solution and a working backup solution to ensure you’ve got something to fall back to if the worst should happen.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of Malware that adds encryption to a victims files and information. Any data on your computer or network can be compromised. This then stops the IT admin or users from being able to access any critical data.

You wouldn’t be able to access any files, databases or programmes on your devices. It does this by using asymmetric encryption. This is a type of cryptography that generates a pair of keys allowing you to encrypt and decrypt files. The hacker generates a unique key which is given to the victim when the ransom has been paid.

Most ransware is distributed via emails or more targeted attacks. In most cases, once your computer has been compromised. It will give you between 24/48hrs to pay the ransom allowing you to gain access to your data.

HERE TO HELP

Anyone running a successful company should have the steps above in place. To ensure your business isn’t a sitting duck for cyber criminals, by implementing reliable defense strategies and keep. So if you’re looking for assistance with your Cyber Security and based in Staffordshire. Reach out to us for a quick, no obligation chat to see how we can protect your business from cyber attacks. Call us on 01543 889 444


Mac Computers – The truth about Viruses

We hear it daily, “Macs don’t get viruses” or “I’ve never had protection on my Mac”. While this may have been true in the past, the Mac operating system is vulnerable to infections, especially as more and more people switch from Windows to Mac.

 

Mac Viruses

 

MacOS is more difficult to exploit

The Mac operating system is a UNIX based operating system and uses a type of ‘sandbox’ system, where malicious code cannot get as far or embed itself as well as other operating systems, such as Windows. Apple has also built in certain features such as Gatekeeper where it blocks apps that have been downloaded from the Internet and do not have a Developer ID supplied.

However, that does not mean Macs are completely safe. As more and more people switch from Windows based computers to Macs, cybercriminals are finding ways and exploits to infect Macs.

 

It’s not impossible

For example, back in 2017, cybercriminals hacked into the servers of a popular DVD-ripping and Video Conversion app call Handbrake, and inserted malicious code into the software. When the software was installed on a Mac, it also inserted something called a backdoor into the system. The cybercriminals then could use the backdoor to exploit the infected Mac.

 

We often see some sort of infection

We usually do a quick scan on all Macs just to make sure they are clean and virus free, yet almost every Mac we see has got some sort of infection. In fact, we shared a photo on Facebook last year after a customer told us “Mac’s don’t get viruses”. This machine had over 100 different infections, which we cleaned up and returned with an antivirus solution in place.

If you are concerned that your Mac or even Windows computer has got a virus infection, or need a robust antivirus solution, give us a call on 01543 889 444 to get it booked in.


Why Periodic Security Assessments Should Be Your New Normal

By now you know that building up your cyber security is just as important as building up your cash flow. Both are essential to your success, but while most businesses keep an eye on the financials, they tend to think cyber security is something they can set and forget. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are constantly coming up with new methods of attack and the security you had in place yesterday may not be sufficient today.

Instead of reacting to breaches and taking on the costs of downtime, lost files and destroyed trust, a periodic security assessment can identify blind spots that place you at risk. Once you know about these problems, you’re able to proactively setup adequate protection before cyber criminals strike. It’s best to use independent IT experts who can audit your security from an outside perspective, often seeing risks that would otherwise be missed.

Regulations change – Are you affected?

Many businesses are kept to strict government regulations around the way they store, process and protect data. Their operating license depends on staying as secure as possible. All regulations require regular security assessments but they vary in scope and timeframe. As regulations change, so do the security assessment requirements. You can imagine how much stricter they are now compared to just 5 years ago. Our team can ensure your business is meeting the relevant regulations, diving deep to be certain you’re safe.

Security patches and updates are vital

It’s so easy to fall behind on your security patches, after all, it seems like there’s a new update every week and each one takes precious time to apply. What we’re seeing though, is that cyber criminals are targeting any business running late, and it’s basically easy pickings for them. If you’re unpatched where it counts, it’s like inviting them in. When we conduct your security assessment, we take a look at your history and see if your business has a robust patch plan in place and make sure you’re up to date. If there’s an issue that’s placing you at risk now, impacted you in the past, or will in the future, we’ll find it.

Viruses are always evolving

Just like the human variety, computer viruses are nothing to welcome into your workplace. They’re constantly evolving to skip past anti-virus scans and do damage in new and interesting ways. Cyber criminals know people are more aware of the traditional infection methods like downloading an attachment or inserting an infected USB, so they’re getting more and more creative. Your security assessment doesn’t just include ticking that you have the latest anti-virus, it includes identifying where you’ve had the most breach attempts and where your biggest vulnerabilities are. This type of precise awareness has a lasting impact on reducing your risks.

Your business may have changed

As your business has grown over the years (or shorter if you’ve experienced a recent surge), your entire setup has changed. More employees, expanded remote access, additional vendors, supplementary locations…the list really is endless. With each change has come a new risk, particularly if your security has been growing around you. It might be that your password policies haven’t been updated since you began, or that you still have the old voicemail system even though phones are within easy reach of customers. This is perhaps one of the most useful areas a security assessment can help with, as you and your employees are accustomed to the business working in a certain way, whether that way leads to risk or not. Our experts will be able to see things from a different perspective, particularly as we make sure to think the same way a cyber criminal would.

What to do with your assessment results

While many experts might present you with a long list of problems and leave you feeling overwhelmed, our team ensures you have a benchmark for progress. You’ll know exactly what you need to do, how we can help, and perhaps most importantly, which actions take priority. Moving ahead, future security investments will be smarter as you focus on the high-payoff areas. You’ll also know exactly what you’ve done well and where your security strengths lie. Employees will see how much you value security, which helps to create a stable culture, and you’ll be able to report your commitment to customers, confirming they’re making the right choice by staying with you.

Book your security assessment today. Call us at 01543 889 444