Hello all. Howard has asked me to join him in the blogosphere and start writing some technology related blogs.
I’ll kick off by addressing something you may or may not have seen in the news recently.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) announced that it was giving the UK public a two-week window of opportunity to rid and safeguard themselves from a new global online threat.
This warning came as the FBI and NCA, in partnership with authorities in several countries around the world, shut down a network of criminally operated computers that were stealing important information from victims’ machines.
We must stress, the warning is NOT “if you don’t follow their advice, your computer will automatically become infected in two weeks.”
Two weeks is just the amount of time the NCA estimates it will take for the network of criminally-controlled computers to be fully operational again. That’s why they are advising people to use this relatively quiet two-week period to make sure their anti-virus software is up to date.
Now, this warning has the potential to sound rather scary, but the reality is that you are very unlikely to be affected by this if you adhere to the usual computer safety advice. In a nut shell, you should make sure your antivirus software, firewall, and everything else designed to protect you is up to date, perform regular virus scans, and take care when opening emails from sources you aren’t 100% sure are safe.
What We Did
We took this announcement very seriously and immediately questioned how it could impact our business and the safety of our clients’ holdings. Short answer…It Can’t!!
The NCA revealed that this threat relates to computers running any version of the Windows operating system. This means that, as we took the decision in October 2012 to swap all our computers for Apple Macs, the threat can’t affect us. Hurrah!
That doesn’t mean that we are going to rest on our laurels. We want to ensure that our clients (and anybody else who reads this blog), protect themselves and their home computers.
What To Do Next
If you’re using an Apple machine like us, nothing. Welcome to our boat, smooth sailing from here, tea and scones served at midday, enjoy the evening entertainment. This threat can’t affect you. Congratulations on owning (in our opinion….the correct opinion) a superior machine. This doesn’t, however, mean that you shouldn’t also take care when opening unfamiliar emails, and keep any anti-virus software you have up to date, just that this particular threat can’t affect you.
If you have a computer which runs Windows, this threat could affect you and the following links could, and probably should, be be of interest to you:
- The BBC has an article explaining the threat quite simply here
- The NCA have set up a web page explaining the threat in more detail and gives ways to avoid it here
If you are on a Windows machine and you’ve had a conversation with Howard about computers at any point in the last 2 years, you probably know what our advice would be:
- If you need a machine with lots of processing power because you design and create things, get yourself a Mac.
- Otherwise, if you mainly use your computer to browse the internet and manage your emails, get yourself an iPad.
There is the danger of this becoming an advert for Apple, but from our personal experience, we couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
This blog was not intended to make you panic, merely to bring the NCA’s warning to your attention.
It is unlikely that your computer has been infected, but as this warning has come from the NCA, FBI and various other law enforcement bodies around the world, you should take it seriously.
If any of our clients still have questions about the threat or how they can protect themselves, myself or Howard would be more than happy to answer them.
Also, get yourself an Apple machine, seriously, we love them.