Email and passwords leaked - how to check yours.

Posted by Michael Trimblett on 31 August 2017
Email and passwords leaked - how to check yours.

It's happened again.  Yahoo reports there has been a huge data leak of the email addresses and passwords of 771 million people.  I did not escape the breach, nor did many of the email addresses we use at Loyal I.T.

Currently, it is unknown where the breach occurred, but it is important for everyone who has been breached, to update your password to something new and most importantly, something strong.  Strong passwords are generally over 8 characters long, contain a capital letter, a number and a symbol.

To check to see if your email address and password have been compromised, visit https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and enter your email address.  If you have been pwned (the internet's cute way of saying "owned") then it is suggested to change the password for that email account and for any accounts you use that email address to log in to.

With any luck you won't see:

mtpwned

If you need assistance with updating your passwords, please contact us on 02 4337 0700.

Posted in: Security  

The "A Team" take on CeBIT

Posted by Naomi McCahon on 5 June 2017
The "A Team" take on CeBIT

Michael T & Naomi piled into Brendan's car on a Tuesday morning recently, ready to take on the "big smoke" Darling Harbour, Sydney to attend the annual I.T. trade show CeBIT.

For Michael & Brendan, this was not their first time however, for Naomi it was. Naomi was busy questioning the guys on the drive down about all things I.T. in the hope to get her "geek on".

We arrive & it is on! There were multiple speakers, stands galore & geeks (I mean, I.T. like people) everywhere!

Our first stop was the speaker who discussed "IoT" meaning "Internet of Things". This was actually really interesting speech, in short, the Internet of Things refers to the growing network of connected objects that are able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors. Cars, lights, refrigerators, watches and other appliances can all be connected to the IoT.

Some applications are:
- Smart homes ie Lights that can be dimmed, T.V systems that can be programmed, air conditioners that can be switched on etc all from your mobile phone. 
- Wearables ie Smart Watches like the Fitbit and Apple Watch
- Connected Car ie streaming music from the internet in your car

The speaker also touched on how the cost of I.T. infrastructure has reduced dramatically over the years, one key point he made was back in the day, it would cost approx. $10k for 1 TB of data storage in the Cloud, now it costs around $100.00 for 1 TB of data storage in the Cloud.

After this talk, and being wowed with an I.T. overload, we needed to top up our energy reserves with an impromptu yummy lunch on the Harbour edge, where we spared a thought for our colleagues who were holding the fort in our absence..

Recharged and ready to go, we were straight back into the trade show, where we were dazzled by the robotic dog.

CeBitRobots

 

Got to play with Lego.

CeBitLego

 

We tried to win a cute, fluffy evil Watchguard Ransombear but, we completely bombed out.

RansomBear

Got to sit in a driverless Pod car that is going to become the way we travel in cities in the near future.

CeBitPodCar

and we had an amazing (lifelike) drawing of the "A Team" done on the Smart Kapp board by newspaper cartoonist, Peter Byrne.

AteamDrawingCeBitATeamPeterByrne

This whiteboard could live stream the image to a nearby TV screen and when done, the image emailed in PDF format to selected email addresses.  Amazing technology.

All in all, we had a great day learning all about the IoT, or as Microsoft like to say "IoYT - Internet of Your Things".

Posted in: Team News Misc IT  

WannaCry ransomware attack

Posted by Michael Trimblett on 18 May 2017

As you may be aware, the tech news headlines over the past week have been dominated by the new strain of ransomware called "WannaCry".  This ransomware leverages a bug in Microsoft Windows computers which encrypts all of your data then requests payment in Bitcoin.  Those of you who have been following this blog over the years would recognise the modus operandi of this ransomware being very similar to that of the original Cryptolocker ransomware.  There is nothing technically different about this ransomware however, the method of infection and the amount of Bitcoin requested differ from the original Cryptolocker ransomware.

Ransomware usually infects a computer when a user opens a phishing email which then infects that computer with WannaCry.  Once installed, WannaCry uses the EternalBlue exploit developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to spread through local networks and remote hosts, that have not been updated with the most recent security updates, to directly infect any exposed systems.  The infected computer then displays a message which demands a ransom for the decryption of your data.  What's different about WannaCry is that it demands only $300US worth of Bitcoin (which doubles after 3 days if not actioned).  This is considerably less than previous ransomware products which can easily demand 4-5 times that amount of Bitcoin.

A "critical" patch had been issued by Microsoft on 14 March 2017 to remove the underlying vulnerability for supported systems, nearly two months before the attack in May, but the affected organisations had not yet applied it.

For those of you on Loyal I.T.'s Managed Services, the installation of these patches has been performed automatically and as a result, those PC's and servers that are managed, are not vulnerable to this attack.  Loyal I.T.'s recommended antivirus product, Vipre Antivirus, detects and quarantines WannaCry before it can encrypt any data.

As we follow Microsoft's Best Practices, all PC's and servers we setup have Windows Updates configured and activated.  However, if you would like Loyal I.T. to confirm the patches have been applied to your systems, please contact us on 02 4337 0700 or email help@loyalit.com.au to log a ticket.
Posted in: News Windows Networking Security  

World backup day 2017 celebration

Posted by Michael Trimblett on 31 March 2017
World backup day 2017 celebration

Happy world backup day!

(Yes, World Backup Day is a thing)

Did you know that over 60 million computers will fail worldwide in the next 12 months?  1 in 10 computers will be infected with a virus every month?  29% of disasters are caused by accident?  What would you do if you lost everything?  It's a scary prospect considering that 30% of people have never backed up their data!  Don't let this happen to you.

When was the last time you backed up your data?
Is your data recoverable if there was a disaster?
Who checks your backup to make sure it is working?

If you answered "I don't know" to any of these questions, Loyal I.T. Solutions can help.  Our offsite backup solution ensures your data is backed up, recoverable and that a human checks your backup status daily.  Also, any backup maintenance required is included in the low monthly cost.

For the month of April, we are offering free installation and 1 month free of our offsite backup service ($400+ saving).  Call us to discuss your backup needs.  Place an order with us in what we are calling "World Backup Day Month" to secure your special pricing.

To learn more about World Backup Day visit the website: http://www.worldbackupday.com

 

Posted in: Services IT  

Mick's milkshake story

Posted by Naomi McCahon on 15 March 2017

It was a dark and stormy Tuesday afternoon in mid-March, 4 dedicated Loyal team members made a sudden (but planned) attack on the West Gosford Blood bank to donate their exquisite blood. We entered the building with pride & courage due to the support we have for our dear friend and teammate Adam King.

Mick was the first in line, "Mr. Boss Man" was on the frontline, he rolled up his sleeves and ended up having to get stabbed twice for his blood to flow. He was ever so fearless, but in the back of his mind was the thought of the most amazing milkshake he would make himself as a reward for his bravery.

Next it was Naomi, she was confident when she entered the screening test, however she was knocked back into place as she was told that she had low hemoglobin levels (first time ever) and had to have further testing before she was allowed to donate she passed, as it was a false reading and has battle scars on both arms to prove she was there in the battlefield.

MT, was third in line. He was all prepared to be denied the privilege, however they surprisingly found nothing wrong with him, he had ticked all the right boxes and was marched to the donating chair. With a little apprehension in his eyes, he manned up and took one for the team.

Then it was lucky last, Raewyn a newbie to the Loyal donating team, however she was imagining she may not pass the test phase and would just enjoy the treats while watching us suffer. Raewyn was given the green light and was rearing to go, we heard a little nervous laugh as she was making her way to the chair, while hooked up to the blood sucking machine, Raewyn was told she had amazing veins and had completed her mission in less than 6 minutes.

All of us then met up at the break area, Mick made that milkshake he was visualising, MT complained that Naomi took the last chocolate muffin, but then decided that blue berry was going to be pretty satisfying, Raewyn was given "Queen" like treatment from one of the staff members offering to make her a milkshake, Mick was disappointed he couldn't show off his talents with how he can transform milk into so much more.. A milkshake!!!

We all enjoyed our outing, our task, our mission, and hopefully we helped save 12 unknown lives today!!!

Posted in: Team News Community  
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Email and passwords leaked - how to check yours.

Aug 31 2017
It's happened again.  Yahoo reports there has been a huge data leak of the email addr...

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