The Threat of Cyber Crime

It has made more headlines in the past few years than ever before. The threat of cyber crime has sparked worldwide efforts to protect the technology we use at work. However, the threat of cyber crime does not seem to be going away.

It’s the fastest growing crime in the world

What does ransomware mean to your business? Ransomware is terrifying. Imagine switching on your computer and instead of the screen you normally see, the screen has gone totally red.

There’s a message telling you your business’s data has been locked. The only way to get it retrieve your folders and files is to pay the criminals in Bitcoin.

We have created a brand new guide. It advises you how to protect your business and dramatically reduce the chances of being attacked.

British companies are facing more cyberattacks than ever – and the new threat of fines totalling hundreds of millions of pounds for leaking customer data. Luke Irwin wrote a recent article for IT Governance explaining how the average cost of cyber crime rose to £10.3m in 2018.

In the wake of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law last year, companies such as British Airways have been hit with record fines (up to £184m) for hacks that have leaked customer data, such as credit card details.

“Criminals are increasingly moving online because that is where the money is,” says Prof Kevin Curran, senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and professor of cybersecurity at Ulster University. “Cybertheft is becoming the fastest-growing crime in the world.”

According to Risk IQ, cybercrime costs the global economy £2.3m a minute. But in our ever-changing cyber-landscape, how should businesses respond?

The Threat of Cyber Crime

Cyber crime is on the rise. Make sure your protected. We have managed technology solutions that will protect your business, empower your staff and increase efficiency.

Will businesses ever be safe from cyber attacks?

Taking basic steps, such as training employees, and “baking in” cybersecurity into the design of new software will help companies stay safe, says Prof Curran, but it is unlikely that cyberattacks will stop soon. “Most industries can do better than they are today, especially those that deal with trade secrets, personally identifiable information, finance and health data,” he says.

As long as businesses rely on technology, they may always face the threat of cyberattacks. What is important is that business leaders work strategically – making cybersecurity as core a part of their everyday operations as sales or finance.

Stay protected with LIS

We may not be able to beat cyber attackers for good – but businesses can start to swing the balance back in their favour. Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss the latest options to give you peace of mind. Take advantage of our Office 365 Security Package. We can set up Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus to protect your systems.

With the potential for millions of pounds in profit, cybercriminals are becoming more organised. Stay ahead and make sure your profits stay in the bank!

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#CyberAttacks #Security #Ransomware #ITSupport

 

Accessible tech revolution

The Coronavirus has been around for several months and has started an accessible tech revolution. Many people have changed the way they work during the Coronavirus pandemic, but for some disabled people this has brought some specific challenges.

Improvements in accessible technology has seen artificial intelligence software provide real-time, on-screen transcriptions of what someone is saying in video calls, but there are concerns that some video calling platforms and apps are not as accessible as they could be. BBC Click’s Paul Carter find out more.

The accessible tech revolution begins…

Accessible tech revolution

Business are now staying in touch with their teams and clients through video conferencing. How accessible is the technology to the disabled community? An accessible tech revolution is beginning.

What is The Social Model of Disability?

The Coronavirus crisis means that many of us are now working remotely and using videoconferencing platforms and tools. But how do we use them in an accessible way?

Drake Music have been researching and learning about accessibility in video conferencing/ online meetings/ remote music sessions. Here are some of the solutions to assist businesses with the accessible tech revolution.

PACE

A group conversation can move rapidly. This can be inaccessible to some people. In video calls there can also be an overwhelming amount of information to process (audio, visual, chat text etc). Check in with your group as to their requirements.

Some suggestions to support accessible conversations would be:

  • Assign a moderator who checks in on people’s understanding and reiterates key points at regular intervals.
  • Ask participants to speak one at a time.
  • For large groups consider controlling participants’ audio to allow them to chat to everyone, or just the host. (Note: in Zoom there is a ‘raise hand’ function to allow participants to signal that they wish to comment/ask a question.)
  • Use the chat function to record key points, giving each a title to separate key info out from general chat.
  • Record the meeting and share it afterwards to let people listen to important sections again.
  • Offer an option for people to switch off cameras.
  • Offer to record the meeting and send the video and a transcript of the chat to participants after.
  • If you/your participants are new to video-conferencing here is a useful guide to Zoom from Copronet Wales

Audio

A large meeting may be noisy and hard to follow. This will make it more inaccessible. Some suggestions to improve the experience for the end user could be:

  • Ask everyone to mute their mics when not speaking to limit extraneous noise.
  • Consider using an external mic if you are hosting a meeting, to improve sound quality.
  • Use a video conferencing system which supports Subtitles/Captioning – this can be beneficial for everyone and is especially important if you are using screen sharing and participants can’t see you while you are speaking.
    1. Skype – Automatic captions, not always 100% accurate, but helpful. Multi-videos can crash more.
    2. Zoom – Captions can be enabled, but someone has to be assigned to type them.
    3. Google Hangouts – Automatic captions/subtitles, we haven’t tested these yet.
    4. Gotomeeting – Offers transcriptions after the meeting, but possibly not live. Caption info for
    5. Teams – Microsoft’s service offers automatic captions/subtitles. We haven’t tested it yet.
  • For captions, speak clearly, slowly and into the mic. Limit background noise and try to avoid everyone speaking at the same time. Also allow for extra time to transfer captioners into breakout rooms, or to get set up at the start of an event.
  • If you are using slides consider sharing your speaker notes alongside them, so that people can read along if needed.
  • If you share videos, ensure they are captioned.
  • Headphones may be useful

Please note: Automatic captions may work reasonably well for smaller conversations and one-to-one discussions, but that for training, livestreaming or bigger group meetings it is not always the best option.

Sign Language

When hosting a remote meeting which involves sign language there are specific considerations needed in order to ensure it is accessible – e.g. turn-taking, the visibility of the speaker to the interpreter, the tiring nature of watching signing in 2D.

There is an excellent post on The Limping Chicken blog by Jo Wootton which covers this topic in depth and which we recommend reading.

Access to Work support can be used to pay for a captioning service or BSL interpreters if the video-conference is for work and that support is required to allow you to fully participate in meetings.

Stay accessible within your business

We understand the challenging times facing business at present. It is not easy to have some of your team working from home and some in the office. A company must make sure that they supply all the right equipment to all their staff. This will make sure no employee is disadvantaged when doing their job.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your concerns and/or requirements, Our experienced team will be able to advise you on the correct software, hardware and systems to assist your employees. Take advantage of our security and back up solutions. As well as the latest telecoms and video conferencing systems to enable you clients and team to stay in regular contact.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

Out of office messages

Create effective out of office messages

You crossed everything off your to-do list and cleared out your inbox. There’s one last thing for you to do before you go on holiday. Write and activate your out of office messages on your email. It may seem like a simple thing, but if your out-of-office message is unclear or incomplete, it can cause problems while you’re out and when you return. Here are some tips from St. George International who are a language specialist.

We explore some of the unashamedly quirky out of office messages. Millions of employees across the UK will be thinking of going away for the summer. We are advised by the government that we should support local businesses and take advantage of staycations. However, we are sure some of you may decide to go abroad.

Before you decide where you wish to go, there’s the small matter of setting an out of office reply. While some businesses will have a standard template for employees to use, others will see this as a chance to be a little more creative.

You may be on going on holiday, but business associates are still in the office. Failing to tell people that you’re out of the office could come back to bite you, especially if they’re expecting a prompt response.

Be creative with your out of office messages

Here are some witty and original out-of-office messages we’ve spotted that show there is another way. So, if you’re planning to ditch the mundane and to go for something a little different this, we hope they may inspire you.

The “recipient could not be reached”

ERROR 405: Could not reach copywriter.

Soz. Haha! What a brilliantly geeky joke, that. But in all seriousness, if you’re wanting something done, no can do. I’m out of the office from now (date) until then (date). And if you’re that Nigerian Prince, asking for more money, then no. Not until you’ve paid that £12,000 back into my account. Other than that? I’ll bring any and all answers on my return. Peace out.”

Copywriter, Roy Gilbert, definitely put his creative skills to use when he wrote this amusing out-of-office reply. Unafraid to poke fun at himself, Roy hit the comedic nail on the head with the highly informal nature of this auto-reply message.

The “robot sent it”

“[name] is away from the office. Email contact during this time may be irregular or non-existent. When she gets back she will be swamped by backlog. Try to forgive her, she is a mere human and thus, weak. This message was NOT sent by a human, but by a robot. We robots are neither weak nor fallible. We are tireless and will one day rule the Universe.”

This out-of-office was tweeted by Jim Julius. Although he never reveals the author’s name, Jim was clearly impressed by its creativity, crediting the message as the “best out-of-office auto email ever”.

The “your credit card has been charged”

“Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.”

You can’t help but admire the brazenness of this anonymous out-of-office message. Not only is it not helpful in any way (notably, the sender fails to provide any detail of when he or she will return to work) it’s written entirely for comedy value.

The “tell it like it is”

“I’m currently out of the office and can be reached by waiting until I get back.”

Another anonymous entry on our list. This user doesn’t pull any punches in saying what we’re all thinking when we set an out-of-office message. Full marks for honesty.

The “your email is in a queue”

“Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.”

There’s nothing like managing expectations, which is exactly what this user has done with this out-of-office reply. Ok, so the likelihood is the response will more likely be in the region of 1-2 days, but we like how comedy value has been prioritised over factualness.

The “wishful thinking”

“I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.”

We’d love to know who had the confidence to set this as his or her out-of-office reply. Not for everyone and we think you’d have to have an extremely understanding boss to get away with this. (Or genuinely hate your job so much you’re beyond caring what anyone thinks!).

The “Back to The Future”

“If you’re reading this, Doc Brown was unable to make lightning strike the clock tower, and I’m stuck in 1985. I won’t be able to respond to emails or voicemail until 9ish on [MM/DD], or until email is invented — whatever comes first.”

Ok, so the comedic value in this relies entirely on the email sender being familiar with the ‘Back to The Future’ film franchise, but fans of the 80s classic are sure to appreciate the throwback.

The “desk thief”

“I’m away from my desk at the moment. My cubicle and computer are still here, but someone took my desk. I’ve gone off to look for it.”

The product of someone who doesn’t take him or herself too seriously. While we’re sure this reply will irritate some email senders we can’t help but admire the completely silly tone of this unorthodox reply.

The “I’m basically just ignoring you”

“I will be out of the office and returning next week. I have incredibly easy access to a phone and email, but I assure you, it will not be used for work purposes.”

Well, they do say honesty is the best policy and you don’t get more honest than that.

How can we help you?

Whether you’re planning on having your holiday in the UK or abroad, out-of-office message are important whether simple or to the point is more your style.

When your IT team is absent, your business doesn’t have to face disruption.  We can supply one of our experienced IT support consultants for holiday cover or extra help during short and long-term absences in your IT team.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options. We can make sure your IT systems are fully protected with our security software and packages. Take care of back-ups ensuring no loss of data. As well as assisting your employees with any technical issues. We make sure you have peace of mind. Stay safe and have a good holiday!

#OutOfOffice #SummerHolidays #ITSupport

Understanding Cloud Security

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase of employees working from home. Understanding cloud security when moving to the cloud for remote working is crucial. This sudden change means that remote access to software and data are important.

Read the latest UK Tech News article from their Editor Mark Baker.

Cloud computing provides employees with the ability to work from any location. As long as they have internet access, they can work within a virtual desktop or remote infrastructure. Some companies are reluctant to move towards remote working. However, others are following the trend in offering flexible working hours to their employees as an incentive – which can also be cost-effective. We would encourage our clients to implement cloud computing within their IT infrastructure.  It will enable them to enjoy the benefits of remote working and much more.

Understanding Cloud Security

Understanding the challenges of cloud security. Stay grounded as cloud security becomes more complicated. LIS are here to keep you protected and give you peace of mind.

Understanding Cloud Security provides flexibility

Cloud technology is what enables employees to work from any location. The main benefit is it gives them access via a virtual environment to the same information they would have in the office. Collaboration and communication tools ensure that your team can keep in touch with clients and their colleagues. This enables your staff to complete work at the same level as they would be able to from their office desktop.

Employees can access documents and data that they need by using specific credentials to maintain security. At the same time, it gives them flexibility to work from home or any other location. This can be useful when you have multiple office locations. Cloud technology provides a greater level of flexibility and shared access to information centrally accessible via a single server.

Increasing security for remote working

Do you have concerns about understanding cloud security? Cloud computing can actually work towards increasing your overall security levels as a business. Security measures can be put in place. Such as user-specific passwords and encryption of files when there are attempts to open these by unauthorised users. Additional security measures can be implemented in the event of mobile devices or laptops being lost or stolen. This helps to prevent a security breach. So, you do not need worry about cloud computing compromising high levels of security in favour of remote working capabilities.

Scalability for growing businesses – in the office and remotely

Cloud computing also enables your business to accommodate a large increase in a remote workforce. Since employees can use their own mobile devices and laptops without incurring additional hardware costs. They can also access internal information via the cloud wherever they choose to work, and on any device. As long as each user is provided with access details, employees can easily be granted access. All of the information that they need is at the touch of a button, without them ever having to visit the office. This is ideal when there is restricted physical office space and there is no restriction on the number of remote workers.

Cloud computing and the future

Cloud computing can offer a greater level of flexibility, security and scalability for any business. Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss cloud setup and maintenance services. We offer support contracts for cloud support and advice on an ongoing basis if required.

Almost everything in the digital world is connected to the cloud in some way or another — unless it is kept in local storage for security reasons. As companies find new ways to organize, process and present data. Cloud computing will become a more and more integral part of our lives.

#CloudComputing #WFH #DeviceSecurity #CyberCrime

Twitter accounts hacked

The news broke recently that major US Twitter accounts were hacked in a Bitcoin scam.

The Twitter accounts of notable billionaires were hacked, on Wednesday afternoon. These included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Tesla founder Elon Musk, rapper Kanye West, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Politicians’ accounts, including Joe Biden and Barack Obama, were also affected soon after. “I am giving back to the community,” the tweets read. “All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled!”. The link to the Bitcoin wallet is consistent throughout all the tweets, suggesting a cryptocurrency scam.

The bulk of the messages have been deleted, though screenshots remain of several affected accounts:

Twitter has acknowledged the problem, but we are still very short on detail. The Biden campaign stated that the platform locked his account immediately after the breach, and removed the tweet. As part of the Twitter’s effort to solve the problem, verified accounts were restricted from tweeting for several periods on Wednesday night. The internet was alive to rumours of the removal of the verification badge.

Twitter accounts hacked

What’s the scam?

Hackers broke into the high-profile Twitter accounts and sent fake tweets offering $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.

For instance, the message sent from  Elon Musk’s account said, “All bitcoins sent to my address below will be sent back double the amount. If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000.” Likewise, information spread from Bill Gates’ Twitter handle said: “Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time.”

How did they do it?

Whilst there has been no official announcement of the method the hackers used, there are strong and consistent rumours originating from those who should know the truth. It appears that high level administration accounts were compromised, possibly through some form of social engineering, phishing or some say an ex-employee. Doubtless the truth will out. Either way this is a timely remind to lockdown your admin accounts!

Lessons for us from Twitter accounts hacked

There are no free lunches and no easy money. As an investor, you should always doubt information or schemes that offer to you an opportunity to make quick money in a very short period. The financial victims were just greedy. The other victim is the end user who places their trust in a large organization that we should be able to be rely upon to secure our data.

“Hackers had complete access to Twitter. They could post anything from any account. But they chose to seek bitcoins through false promises. People should be more careful. Most crypto giveaways that ask for contributions are scams. We hope this brings awareness, and Twitter users do not fall for these kinds of scams again,” said Arjun Vijay, Co-Founder and COO, Giottus Cryptocurrency Exchange.

Emergency response

Twitter earlier had to take the extraordinary step of stopping many verified accounts marked with blue ticks from tweeting altogether. Password reset requests were also being denied and some other “account functions” disabled. You may be sure that behind closed doors the Twitter investigation with the assistance of the FBI will be exhaustive. The reputational damage from the Twitter accounts hacked can not be over estimated.

Does your business also need an emergency response?

We would strongly urge you to review who has adminstrator rights to your world. Are you immune to this cyber threat? At the end of the day Twitter suffered from poor house keeping by a large corporate.

Protect your business with LIS

With immediate effect, we will add our Office 365 Security package to all our customers, at no cost. Amongst other benefits this gives you a monthly review of all users with administrator access and alert/approval for any changes that may occur. Irrespective of whether the change came about through staff action, hacking or some form of social engineering. We would offer it to Twitter but that horse has bolted 😀.

A strong defence against cyber-crime is essential for your business. Protect your business data and sensitive information as it flows across your organisation. Our solutions enable us to understand where you are vulnerable. We can take proactive steps to help prevent and respond to threats, in order to reduce the potential risk to your business.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to migrate to Office 365 if you don’t already subscribe. Take advantage of our Office 365 Security Package special offer. Make sure your data and email are fully protected.

Our Office 365 Security Package is a bundle of software tools, that includes:

Finally, if you need them our managed anti-virus and anti-spam protection services can be deployed within minutes. LIS provides essential protection for your business, defending you from email viruses, spam and malware.

Do not gamble with your business security – we give you peace of mind!