Peace Of Mind Support

SOHOCS

This month we have been working on a new idea, and we’re proud to release our ‘Peace Of Mind Support” offering.

We have done a crazy thing and tailored an irresistible solution for SME’s that will keep your computer safe and fully backed up. Included in this we will monitor for virus’ with our antivirus software, monitor the backup as well as monitor your computer for just $20/month/computer with no lock in contracts.

We provide you peace of mind knowing your computer is well looked after, but when you need extra support, we can remotely assist you when needed.

So check out this link and please contact us for more information.

 

It’s us that need to stop Virus’ and Malicious Software, not antivirus programs

SOHOCS
Seen an email like this lately? Now to most techie types we would know that this certainly smells like some form of malware, but what about to a “normal” user? The following scenario really happened, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

User - “My machine says that it is infected with spyware”
Techie - “Where does it say that?”
User - “Down the bottom right hand side of the screen. It says Windows has detected you machine is infected with spyware”
Techie - “Do you have anti-virus and is it up to date?”
User - “Yes, I have PC-cillian and it is up to date”
Techie - “Ok, I’ll remote in and have look”

Sure enough the machine appears to be infected with spyware, however after running a full system scan with PC-Cillian nothing is detected.

Techie - “Did you open email attachments today?”
User - “Yes, I opened one from UPS"
Techie - “Why? Did you send a parcel via UPS?”
User - “No”
Techie - “Are you expecting a parcel from UPS?”
User - “No”
Techie - “So, why did you open it?”
User - “I thought I was getting a surprise package”

SOHOCSWell, ladies and gentlemen the user sure did get a surprise package. For when they opened and ran the attachment it installed a hidden service in multiple locations on the disk, in the registry and so on. Thus, the machine was now infected.

Techie - “What did you do after you ran the attachment?”
User - “I went and did my Internet banking”

This story just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it? Firstly, the user gets their system infected with spyware by actually RUNNING an unknown attachment, which infects their system. Then, even though the system warns them there is an issue they simply ignore that fact and go and do Internet banking. We pick up the story again….

Techie - “I think you had better go and check your bank balances because there is chance someone has stolen your passwords”
User - “They can do that?”

Sure enough, checking the bank balances on a “known” clean machine, it turns out the maximum daily withdrawal amount has been transferred to an unknown account today, strangely not that long ago.

Techie - “You had better go and change all your Internet banking passwords"
User - "I don't want to do that it is such a pain"
Techie - "Well if you don't they are going to keep taking money out of your account"
User - "They can do that?"
Techie - "They have your password remember?"
User - "Better go and change my password eh?"
Techie - "Very good idea and in the meantime I'll try and clean up this machine"

Very interesting that this UPS_service.exe spyware had completely slipped through PC-Cillian. After searching the web there didn't appear to be much about how to clean up the infection. So it had to be manually removed from the registry, the disk system and then the system restored to a previous time. After running multiple scans on the machine it WOULD APPEAR to be clean, but you can never now be 100% sure.

User - "Whatta you mean you can't be 100% sure"
Techie - "Look, I have done everything I can think of to remove it but if PC-Cillian isn't even detecting it how can you be 100% sure?"
User - "But I want to be 100% sure?"
Techie - "Wipe the disk and start again"
User - "WHAT???"
Techie - "Sorry. Once a bad guy has control of your system, it ain't yours anymore. You can try and throw them out but who knows what other tricks and back doors they have created for themselves"
User - "All that because I opened an attachment?"
Techie - "Yup"

This is why the bad guys are ALWAYS going to get around any technological protection you put in place. If they can fool the human being to over ride all these safe guards then why even attempt to try and circumvent the technology? Go straight for the human weakness because you know it will work EVERY time.

Education is the key. NEVER EVER trust something unsolicited from the Internet and THINK before opening ANY attachment.

You have been warned!

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Download Windows 10 Files

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If you have multiple computers, downloading the full install on each computer is going to take a very long time unless you're on the NBN. So what can we do about it?

Well you can create your own USB stick and install W10 from it. It really is easy to do, and all you need is a 16GB USB thumb drive and a little bit of effort.

So here are a couple of links to download the Windows 10 Install files. You will need a valid windows license, but if it's too difficult you can give us a call and we'll organsie to upgrade your computers for you;

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/techbench

https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/3ee1gx/windows_10_10240_esd_download_here/

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OUTLOOK 2013 – Not sending emails

Today I had an interesting problem that took a couple of days to realise, but thanks to Google I found the solution very quickly.

 

Outlook 2013

 

After my computer crashed and I reinstalled everything and put all my files back in place from my backup, my Outlook 2013 refused to send emails unless it was through my Exchange server. Added to this my CRM provider which I also use for email is under a Denial Of Service attack. So I assumed the problem with these emails was related to the DOS. It turns out it wasn't, as my emails after the weekend were still not being sent. It turns out there is a known problem with Outlook 2013 and Windows 10 where Outlook 2013 will not send out emails. However, when you set up the account under setting and click on the test button, the test email gets sent. This gives you the false impression that your settings are working, when in fact they aren't. Now don't go change any settings as there is nothing wrong with them, but the fault is with some system files that get installed or upgraded from Windows 10. 

 

So how do I fix this?Outlook 2013 Fix Part a

Good question, and luckily the answer is an easy one. You will need to run a command that will check and repair system files on the computer. First we need to start a command box in Administrator mode. To do this click on the sindows icon and type in cmd. Once you have done this you will see the command prompts icon, RIGHT click on this and select "Run as Administrator" (see photo on the right)

A black screen will appear (command window), and you type in sfc /scannow, and then hit Enter. This will run the program that will fix the files. Once it's finished (about 10 mins), restart your computer and your email will be back to normal again.

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Computer Backups – The 3-2-1 Backup Solution

I have to admit that research has shown that over 50% of people either know someone, or have themselves recently lost data. Most of these people are individuals, but if you consider how many businesses have hardware that fails, gets lost or stolen each year as well, the total number of people that needed their backups each year is staggering. Which is where this article has started from

My Hard Drive Failed with NO WARNING!

Computer errorI have to say waking up on a Monday morning to find that my computer has a black screen with the message “No boot device found” was not a pleasant one. But in my case I practiced what I preach and I have a good backup in place. I lost no data, emails or files. However, seeing I was long overdue for an upgrade I decided to start from scratch. So after two days of installing software, remembering passwords, setting up shares, etc I am back in shape. But then it made me think of all those people that don’t have a backup. It is devastating to lose everything.

So I decided to research again on the net and determine the backup strategy that is ideal for the small business. And the strategy we recommend and deploy at SOHOCS is still the best. So what is it?

3-2-1 Backup Strategy

A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least 3 total copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different mediums (read: devices), and at least 1 copy offsite (or in fire safe at least). We’ll use “Wedding Kiss.jpg” as an example for this scenario. Wedding Kiss.jpg is in your Pictures folder on your computer and it is a picture taken at your wedding when the Bride and Groom kiss. That’s one copy of the data. You also have an external hard drive that you use for backing up your computer, if you’re on a Mac, you might be using it as a Time Machine drive (and SOHOCS loves Time Machine). As part of its backup process, that external hard drive will back up Wedding Kiss.jpg. That’s a second copy, on a different device or medium. In addition that external hard drive, you also have an online backup solution. The online backup continuously scans your computer and uploads your data offsite to a datacentre or offsite storage. Wedding Kiss.jpg is included in this upload, and that becomes the third copy of your data.

Why 2 onsite and 1 offsite?

troubleshootingAn onsite backup is a simple way of having quick access to your saved files should anything happen to your computer. If your laptop or desktop’s hard drive crashes as was the case for me, and you have an up to date external hard drive available, you can quickly get your data back, or use the external on another computer while yours gets fixed or replaced. If you remember to keep that external hard drive up to date, the exposure for data loss is fairly minimal.
Having an onsite backup is a great start, but having an offsite backup is a key component in having a complete backup strategy. Onsite backups are great if you need to get to them quickly, but unfortunately, having a backup near the device that it’s backing up (for example, having a desktop PC and an external hard drive on the same desk), means that both of those copies are susceptible to data loss. I try not to be too “doom and gloom” on the website but floods, fires, and theft can and do occur. Most often, if the two devices you have as your local copies are close together, they’ll both be affected if the unfortunate should happen. A continuously updated copy of your data that’s not in the same physical location as the other two is paramount in protecting your files.

Is 3-2-1 Perfect?

There is no such thing as a perfect backup system, but the 3-2-1 approach is a great start for the majority of people and businesses. And if the process is automated then the peace of mind knowing that your information and files are safe is worth the investment.

Backing Up Is Like Investing!

The 3-2-1 plan is a great start in getting your files backed up. You have invested a lot of capital, time and effort in your business/home files and you want to diversify them as much as possible to limit your exposure should the unthinkable happen. Liquidity also matters, having a local backup and an offsite backup gives you more options for backup recovery. That’s why SOHOCS recommends starting with a 3-2-1 approach.

Don’t get caught with no backup, as your business may rely on it in the near future, just like mine did.

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