Technology News from the LIS Helpdesk

QR codes go mainstream

Who would of thought, one year ago, that an app reliant on QR code usage would get 12.4 million UK consumer downloads in just four days. The app has helped QR codes go mainstream. The app in question is, of course, the NHS Covid-19 track and trace app.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes to the way we live, work and play. Among all those remarkable changes, the acceptance of the previously much-maligned QR code is being used to great effect.

Although the NHS app has had its criticisms, it has suffered from the usual launch bug fixes. There have been several challenges caused by handset OS upgrades. As well as, millions of people who have never used a QR code before. Many users have never installed a QR code reader. They arrive at venues, pointing their camera phones at the QR code and are amazed at the immediate recognition of where they have just ‘checked-in’.

QR codes go mainstream

Create an NHS QR code for visitors to scan using the NHS Test and Trace app.
For businesses, places of worship, community organisations and events.

Opening up opportunities as QR codes go mainstream

The same users are also surprised that without even needing to use a specially downloaded app, pointing their camera at a QR code can immediately bring up the menu for the pub or restaurant they have visited. Of course, some of those hospitality venues take the process beyond the instant menu delivery – allowing you to order and pay for your food and drink order without leaving the table. An entire process triggered by a simple QR code working in combination with a smartphone camera.

The upsurge in QR code awareness and availability caused by the pandemic has seen many more people become comfortable with their usage. Businesses recognise the flexibility and scope of QR technology to make online interactions and transactions quicker, simpler and more secure.

James Cook and Matthew Field from The Telegraph, explore QR codes: What are they and how do you use them?

The pros

Space comes with a price when you invest in printed marketing materials like brochures, catalogues, adverts and signage. QR codes are a simple means to direct an audience to more information about a product, service or promotion while ensuring you don’t waste valuable print space on unnecessary details.

Track audience response with ease

You can assign and track any number of QR codes based on your specific objectives (and there are plenty of online tools that allow you to do so for free).

These are some benefits of QR codes to take into consideration:

  • Easily generated
  • Can be custom sized to fit promotional items
  • A cost-effective way to segment your audience
  • Provide insight into audience interest over multiple campaigns

The cons as QR codes go mainstream

QR codes were originally designed as a shortcut: The customer snaps a photo of the QR code with a mobile device, which theoretically takes him/her directly to relevant and more detailed information. However, QR codes require a hurdle that businesses must ensure they have accounted for before they will provide a benefit.

For example, the user must already download the necessary app to support the reading of the code. With so many different types of mobile devices supported on different platforms, it can be tough for business owners to predict which apps the customer has likely downloaded, to ensure the QR code works easily.

How can we help your business?

Implementing QR Codes for your business can be beneficial. Especially when it comes to promoting the services you offer to get new clients. Make sure your systems are secure and up to date. Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our support technicians. We offer a FREE IT audit and can discuss your requirements to help your business. You can improve the efficiency of your team and client experience.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGTIAL WORLD

#QRcodes #Covid-19 #Technology #ITsupport

 

Daily email attacks

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) receives over a quarter of a million malicious daily email attacks, according to official figures.

This data revealed under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by the Parliament Street think tank’s cyber security team. It showed 283,597 malicious emails were blocked by the organization every day over the first eight months of 2020.

The scale of daily email attacks

The data shows that the BBC receives an average of 6,704,188 monthly hostile emails classed as scam or spam. Additionally, an average of 18,662 malware attacks such as viruses, ransomware and spyware are blocked. From January to August 2020, a total of 51,898,393 infected emails were blocked by the BBCs systems.

The highest month of daily email attacks was July with a huge total of 6,801,227 incidents recorded. Of these 6,787,635 were spam and 13,592 were malware. The second highest month was March, when the COVID-19 outbreak was at its worst in the UK. The BBC received 6,768,632 spam attempts and 14,089 malware attempts, totalling 6,782,721.

Daily email attacks

The vast majority of email sent every day is unsolicited junk mail. Examples include:
Advertising, for example online pharmacies, pornography, dating, gambling.

Multiple cyber-attack incidents

In the past the BBC has experienced multiple incidents when it comes to cyber attempts and potential breaches. In 2013 the BBC twitter feed was subject to a phishing hack. It appeared to be sympathizers of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The BBC said the “phishing” emails contained what appeared to be links to The Guardian newspaper or Human Rights Watch online and brought users to a fake web mail portal.

In 2016 there was another hack. An anti-Isis hacking group claimed responsibility for downing BBC websites and services on New Year’s Eve.

Additionally, there were daily email attacks in December 2015, when the BBC’s websites were unavailable because of a large web attack. However, it is believed that a web attack technique known as a “distributed denial of service” was causing the patchy response. This aims to knock a site offline by swamping it with more traffic than it can handle.

A ripe opportunity for hackers

The data suggests that it is an ongoing struggle for the BBC to obstruct these malware, phishing and spam attempts.

Tim Sadler, CEO at Tessian

Tim Sadler,
CEO at Tessian

According to Tim Sadler, CEO at Tessian, The global pandemic has become a ripe opportunity for hackers’ phishing scams. We can clearly see that in reflected in the spike of malicious attacks on the BBC. In the wake of the outbreak, journalists and employees would have been busier and more distracted than usual.

“Using clever social engineering techniques, cyber-criminals’ prey on people’s desire for information during uncertain times. They bank on the fact that busy, distracted and stressed employees may miss the signs of a phishing email. As a result, they fall for their scams. Organizations, therefore, must have security measures in place to automatically predict such email threats and warn people before they click or download an attachment.

What do these daily email attacks means for business?

The various malware, phishing and cyber-attacks on the BBC acts as a warning for all businesses. Criminals will never let a good crisis go to waste. Employees are now connecting to their organizations from home in large numbers. This allows cyber criminals to target businesses in many more ways. These tactics have always existed. Therefore, as Tim Sadler advises, organizations must have the security measures to detect such email threats.

At LIS our clients benefit from the latest anti-spam and anti-virus solutions. They also take advantage of our Office 365 Security Package. This allows them to stop advanced threats and stay compliant. As well as being productive and keeping their data safe. Contact the LIS Help Desk to make sure your business is safe and secure.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Security #Emails #CyberCrime #ITsupport

Attacks from ransomware

Ransomware PDF Guide

Ever wondered what attacks from ransomware are? You’ve heard about it at the office or read about it in the news. Maybe you’ve got a pop-up on your computer screen right now warning of a ransomware infection. Well, if you’re curious to learn all there is to know about ransomware, you’ve come to the right place.

Download our new guide and know how to keep your business safe.

Attacks from ransomware

What is ransomware?

Ransom malware, or ransomware, is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files. The cyber-criminal will demand a payment in order to regain access. Developed in the late 1980s, ransom payments were sent via snail mail. Today, ransomware authors want to recieve payment in cryptocurrency or by credit card.

How does a ransomware attack happen?

After your home gets broken into, it may be obvious the intruder came in through a window or smashed down a door. Shattered glass and forced entry are signs that lead you to conclude that there has been a burglary. In the cyber world, these signals might not be as evident. Your first clue might be a pop up saying please pay money to regain access to your computer.

What went wrong? 

Attacks from ransomware happen to a business when they fail to follow common cyber security 101, such as:

  • Choosing strong passwords
  • Enforcing access management controls
  • Security awareness training for employees
  • Using EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) or antivirus software
  • Updating operating systems and hardware

Cyber criminals use several methods to access your network by exploiting vulnerabilities. However, to prevent attacks from ransomware, businesses need to understand them and be proactive with stronger cyber security.

How can I prevent them?

Follow the advice in our guide. Address the security threats for your business and educate your colleagues. Protect your business from ransomware with effective cyber security solutions and avoid disruption to your business!

However, if you would like to save some time, we can analyse the risks for you, develop a security strategy to enable your business to dig a moat and pull up the drawbridge.

Would you like to learn more about how we can help protect you from ransomware and emerging cyber threats? Contact the LIS Help Desk and one of our friendly and experienced technicians will be able to help you.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

 #FreeGuide #GotMalware? #HiddenIntruder

SpaceX teams with Microsoft

SpaceX teams with Microsoft for Space Development Agency

A digital environment will allow the user to visualize an entire satellite architecture, test satellite designs and artificial intelligence algorithms. It was announced earlier this month that SpaceX won a $149 million contract from the Defense Department’s Space Development Agency to build four satellites to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles. SpaceX teams with Microsoft Azure’s as they were interested in the orbital emulator.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief of operating officer, revealed in a pre-recorded interview released Oct. 20 that Microsoft is a subcontractor working on the SDA program with SpaceX.

Shotwell in the video spoke with Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure Global, about a new agreement to use SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband to connect Azure cloud computing data centres deployed around the world. Keane also asked Shotwell to discuss the companies’ other partnership for the SDA contract.

SpaceX teams with Microsoft

Microsoft teams up with SpaceX to launch Azure Space to bring cloud computing into the final frontier.

The new space race

“We were pleased that Microsoft was on our team,” said Shotwell. “We will be delivering to the government a number of satellites that host a capability to protect against ballistic weapons. Microsoft will be doing quite a bit of work as a subcontractor which I think was kind of a funny twist to the relationship here.” Shotwell did not discuss what specific role Microsoft will play in the SDA program. SpaceX is vertically integrated and does not work with many subcontractors.

The SDA satellites will be delivered by September 2022. They will have a “wide field of view” overhead persistent infrared sensor capable of detecting and tracking advanced missile threats from low Earth orbit. The spacecraft will have optical crosslinks to pass data to relay satellites.

SpaceX teams with Microsoft forming the dream team

The orbital emulator “conducts massive satellite constellation simulations with software and hardware in the loop,” according to a Microsoft blog post. “This allows satellite developers to evaluate and train AI algorithms and satellite networking before ever launching a single satellite.”

The SDA satellites are being designed to process data on board and re-task themselves autonomously. The Azure emulator tool allows the user to see what the satellite sees, which helps model scenarios and simulate the architecture.

To infinity… and beyond!

Like Buzz Lightyear, we are huge fans of space adventures and new technology. We love helping our existing and new clients achieve their goals and stay ahead of the competition. Managed IT services do not have to cost as much as a space mission. Contact the LIS Help Desk for an IT Audit. We will make sure you avoid viruses and steroids. Stay on the correct flight path and make sure you have a safe landing.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#AzureSpace #Microsoft #SpaceX #Technology

New building frontage

New building frontage complete at LIS office

Lodge Information Services are pleased to announce we have just finished our new building frontage. We commissioned Plan B Garden Design to design and build our new building frontage.

A well-designed and well-maintained landscape strengthens the image of our business and helps our business attract new clients and retain existing clients. The final result guarantees a better and beautiful working environment for our employees and clients. Experienced and skilled landscape professionals understood the importance of landscaping for our business and knew how to improve the building’s aesthetic appeal.

Benefits of a new building frontage

If you have the benefit of an external area that you can control. Then we would highly recommend our clients and suppliers to investigate their outdoor areas and investgate a new building frontage.

Improved productivity

Many studies have shown that office workers are more productive around natural elements. A tranquil outdoor space will help your employees stay healthy and happy. Similarly, if employees are healthy and productive, they will focus on their work and finish it on time.

Eco-friendly landscaping

When you give attention to commercial landscaping and maintenance, it is a sign to your clients and competitors that your company cares for the environment. Commercial landscaping companies will help you improve the natural environment around your company by using native plants and other eco-friendly elements to beautify your office. The completed new building frontage will benefit your employees, clients and make your work a more appealing place.

Increase property values with improved landscaping

Investing in commercial landscaping services can help to improve the market value of your property. Therefore, it will help your business to stand out from competitors that do not see the value in making their outdoor space more attractive. You can experience an increase in revenue if your clients are attracted to your beautiful yard.

Safety and security

A well-maintained new building frontage by a landscape professional is considered to be safe, as well-placed plants and proper lighting help to keep the area safe. If your office’s surrounding has a secure environment, your employees can feel safe and stay comfortable. This will increase productivity and revenue.

Improved business prospects

Good and attractive landscaping design will help bring in new customers. People will be more interested in purchasing your products or services. People will walk by your business and see well-kept pathways, green grass and other aesthetic features. This will make your building more attractive and approachable to them.

With so many benefits achievable through commercial landscapes, it’s essential to work with the best landscape professional who will help your property gain all of these advantages.

Our happy and friendly team

Our team love our new building frontage. The next time you go past our office give us wave and a smile. Watch out for our spot the Santa competition. It’s the Thursday throwback (a blast from the past) take a look at build in 2014 of our office.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#BuildingFrontage #WellBeing #Environment