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Heatwaves can kill servers

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Whilst many are enjoying the weather, some overlook servers hidden in server rooms, under stair cupboards, and boxes. Servers emit heat and whilst a modern system has more tolerant operating temperature ranges, sticking them in a small room with the door closed can cause them to generate heat and not be able to keep themselves cool enough. We hear of higher failure rates during the warmer months. Be mindful to keep the equipment cooler and you should not notice any break in service. If you leave your systems cooking during the heatwave then you may find that a hard drive could fail, a CPU could overheat and you lose service.

Wannacry Decryption Tool released

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A week on, there is some good news in the world of computer security. A decryption tool named ‘WannaKey” has been released by Guinet, however you do need certain criteria for this to run successfully.

You need a Windows XP machine, for the infection to have just happened and to not reboot it. This utility searches the computer memory of the prime numbers used to generate the decryption key. RAM memory is easily overwritten by running other programs, or if you shut your PC down. Given that this threat is a week old now, some people may not be so lucky. Here is a link to the tool named WannaKey https://github.com/aguinet/wannakey

If there are any new findings, we will post them here. If you need support, give us a call!

Wannacry ransomware outbreak

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It has been a busy weekend for many. An outbreak that started on Friday had spread so quickly across many large and well known organisations luckily came to a halt when a security blogger accidentally halted the spread of this worm by registering a domain name.

On Friday evening our team were manually checking as many servers and clients as possible to ensure that the latest security updates were in place so that Wannacry didn’t stand a chance  and we’re pleased to say that we have (to date) had no security surprises. Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important subject for all businesses that use computers and IT equipment for any task. Ensure that you have good computer support and security in place.

How can you stop and detect outbreaks like this? We are very fond of Bitdefender endpoint protection. It has some very sophisticated scanning technology that stops this worm in its tracks with or without the windows security patches installed. Take a peek here at a demonstation https://www.bitdefender.com/media/html/business/wannacry/?icid=footer_ransomware_attack

Given the seriousness of the outbreak and the destruction to data that it can cause, we would always advise having a current and off-site (and offline) backup of your data combined with a good security product, such as Bitdefender. We can provide and rollout this product very swiftly. Whats more, this product is fully comprehensive supporting all Macs, Windows PCs and even Linux products.

Get in touch!

 

Add a new lease of life to your workstations

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I’ve heard it many times. Your staff are complaining because their computers are running slow. It was top of the range but given a few years it now performance at a snails pace. It may not require replacing. Simply swapping out the conventional hard drive (mechanical) for a new SSD Solid State Hard Drive can improve performance many times over. In fact it can run faster than from when it was new. It’s a simple task to carry out and doesn’t take very long. If you feel this could benefit you then please call us and speak to one of our computer support engineers.

Is your server past it?

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Have you recently heard staff muttering “this is slow” or “it’s crashed again?”

We are still regularly coming across old servers such as Windows Server 2003 and Windows Small Business Server 2003.

Why should you update to something newer? Microsoft stopped releasing Windows security updates for these systems a long time ago. Your response may be “why does it matter? We stopped using our server externally, we’re not at risk”

WRONG!

You are at risk! This does not counter for internal computers. What if an internal computer is affected, or you provide wifi access (we don’t recommend this anyway unless you have a completely seperate network for this) to your customers and they have a malware infected computer, or just a rogue website has downloaded and executed a payload on your machine. These can search the network for vulnerable machines (such as your old and very unpatched server) and then gain access to the server and data that it contains.

Don’t fall victim to this – upgrade your server, or if you can, move your data to a cloud solution such as Office365 Sharepoint online.

Even better, ask us for advice on the best upgrade path. Speed things up, modernise, get a better backup system inplace and get in those security updates!

Our new webhosting snapshots feature can save your bacon

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If you use us for your webhosting then you’re in for a treat. We are undergoing a huge migration process on all hosting accounts to move you to our high performance, optimised hosting servers. As part of this upgrade you also receive timeline backups. This feature is accessible from our control panel. Simply choose a date and time to ‘rewind’ your site back to. May be you made a tweak and broke your site. Fear no more, just go back to the previous version! All included as part of our hosting package.

Firbanks IT can host linux and windows based websites. All on our high performance, SSD servers. We provide pop3 and imap mailboxes are part of the hosting package – meaning no additional costs.

Emails emails, emails!

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It has been a busy day at Firbanks HQ today. Our engineer, Mark has been moving emails between servers for most of the day. Migrating emails from Google’s gsuite to Office365 and emails from an old and flaky (not ours) mail server to a new reliable ones. Customer feedback – “why it’s just magic my emails just appeared I was worried that this would be a nightmare but you make it look so easy!”

They don’t call Mark the migration man for nothing! If you are stuck in a rut or have your emails sitting in a place that you wish they were not then give us a bell. We have the right staff, the right toolset and enough patience to piece a mismatched jigsaw. Tell us what you need, make a cup of tea and see the results. Contact us!

Windows 7 and 8.1 updates will not support new hardware

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If you’re thinking of getting a new computer but downgrading to Windows 7 or 8.1 then you’re in for a surprise. Although Microsoft do release updates for these operating systems, they only successfully work on older hardware. If a newer processor is detected for example, then the update will fail to install.

Microsoft is still continueing to support Windows 7 up until 2020, however the updates only work on older hardware.

https://www.cnet.com/news/new-windows-hardware-not-receiving-windows-7-windows-8-updates/

Critical Windows updates available this patch Tuesday

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If you run a Windows system, ensure that you allow today’s updates to install – don’t put them off. Many vulnerabilities discovered between January and now have been discovered and patched. Don’t leave these security holes open. In addition to this, ensure that Adobe reader also installs any pending updates.