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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 26th Jul 2011
The answer is to identify both current threats and those which are most likely to become the next big blot on the enterprise IT security landscape.
 
Knowledge is power, as they say, so IT Pro asked those on the frontline in the fight against the bad guys to help us compile a top 10 enterprise security threats from Targattacks to IPv6 and advise you on how best to mitigate the accompanying risks.
 
Here are entries one to five, with the second half of the list coming later this week:
 
1. Targattacks
Targattacks, also known as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), aren’t really new, but offer a new umbrella term for a group of operators that have a full spectrum of intelligence-gathering.
“These people have proper reconnaissance to determine the best attack vectors,” said Jeff Schmidt, BT global head of business continuity, security and governance. “Meanwhile persistence defines the specific nature of the attack. These are specific and continue until the goal is accomplished rather than being opportunistic”.
To mitigate the risk of falling victim to a Targattack, security evangelist with G Data, Eddy Willems, warns that enterprises need to be careful when choosing a security solution.
It is invaluable to educate users about the risks and how to spot these attacks.
“Due to the human element evident in these targeted attacks, businesses should select a solution that includes behaviour blocking, application control and heuristics," Willems says. "It is also invaluable to educate users about the risks and how to spot these attacks”.
Jay Huff from ArcSight recommended enterprises take a holistic view of what is going on across the network. “In military circles it's called situational awareness” Huff said.
“It’s only by seeing the overall pattern of behaviour that suspicious patterns emerge”.
 
2. Highly Sophisticated Malware
Malware isn’t new, but it remains one of the biggest threats to the enterprise as the bad guys continue to up the stakes and produce some really quite sophisticated exploits in order to gain access to your business data.
Ed Rowley from the M86 Security Labs told us it has seen a “marked increase in sophisticated malware,” which can be spread through Combined Embedded Files. These often go undetected by phishing protection, and one of the methods used is to attach HTML versions of cloned websites to emails rather than linking to those sites directly.
Combined attacks are on the increase, and in the first half of 2011 M86 Security Labs saw numerous targeted attacks using Microsoft Excel files with embedded Flash (.swf) files to exploit vulnerabilities.
This method, used in the targeted attack against RSA, is hard to detect by anti-virus and other security solutions because both components must be separated for analysis. Rowley advised that “enterprises without a proper patch management policy and outdated gateway protection will start to find they are fighting a losing battle” when it comes to blocking such attacks using sophisticated malware methodology.
 
3. SQL Injection
You might have thought that by now SQL code injection techniques as an attack methodology would be dead in the water. After all everyone knows about them and they are old hat, right?
Try telling that to the likes of Heartland Payment Services or the Sony PlayStation Network, both of which fell victim to SQL Injection led attacks.
A code injection technique simply exploits a security vulnerability occurring in the database layer of an application, with malicious code injected (or typed if you prefer) into any open slot such as where a user would enter their login details. That malicious code can then provide access to the administrative part of the enterprise’s website with all that entails.
Don Jackson from the Dell SecureWorks’ Counter Threat Unit Research Team said all enterprises should make use of “input validation for any form to ensure that only the type of input that is expected is accepted.”
Recent high-profile hacking attacks where customer information has been compromised have highlighted the vulnerabilities of today’s online infrastructure.
“It is important to protect the web server on which the web application is running, the database from which the web application is retrieving information, and the operating systems upon which the web servers, applications and database reside,” Jackson warned.
Meanwhile, Jacques Erasmus, director of technical engineering at Webroot said stricter analysis and standards is the way forward.
"The recent high-profile hacking attacks where customer information has been compromised have highlighted the vulnerabilities of today’s online and internet infrastructure," Erasmus told IT Pro.
"Assessing how such attacks have occurred and taking the necessary steps, such as stricter coding standards, would be the best start to mitigate these risks. From here, organisations must analyse which areas are most exposed and take a bespoke approach to rectify this.”
 
4. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
Another old school attack vector is back in the media spotlight courtesy of high-profile politically motivated attacks against large online organisations.
DDoS attacks have never really gone away, but they have undergone something of a resurgence following the whole WikiLeaks affair that seems to have kicked hacktivism back into action.
"The rise in social networking communications and the widespread availability of easy to use hacking tools has attracted a new generation of young hactivists who see themselves as online warriors at liberty to attack those businesses or organisations they see as political enemies,” said Richard Archdeacon, chief technology officer (CTO) for information security in EMEA at HP.
The trouble is that a DDoS attack uses a brute force of network traffic to cause chaos, effectively leveraging legitimate application services, in what has become known as a non-vulnerability or ‘zero-minute’ attack methodology.
“Standard security solutions depend on static signature protection against known exploits and rate-based protection against high-volume attacks and unknown attacks,” warned Ron Meyram from Radware.
“Traditional perimeter security relies on periodic signature updates, leaving the business vulnerable to zero-minute attacks with no solution against non-vulnerability–based attacks. The solution then is to adopt a behavioural based real-time signatures technology including DoS protection, network behaviour analysis, information protection service and a reputation engine."
 
5. IPv6
It may seem odd to include Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6) in a list of enterprise security threats, but bear with us.
IPv6 Day, as 8 June became known, has come and gone with the likes of Google and Facebook now delivering much of their public services over IPv6 networks. The IP address space increases from 32 to 128 bits with IPv6, and random attacks should decrease courtesy of that wider address range making it difficult to assume devices will be associated with any given block of IP addresses.
But with every enterprise eventually having to implement IPv6, security problems will soon enter the equation, according to Sourcefire’s Leon Ward.
“IPv6 creates a whole host of new opportunities for hackers to take advantage of,” Ward warned.
"Much of the current network security infrastructure for IPv4 is not compatible with IPv6 and can sometimes leave a system completely open. As you purchase new devices and update operating systems you will likely find that IPv6 will be enabled by default.”
And the best way to mitigate these risks? “Identifying controls, security solutions and policies that support IPv6 alongside IPv4 is essential to maintaining your organisation’s security requirements” Ward explains.
 
Davey Winder
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 26th Jul 2011
Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry handhelds, has announced a management reorganisation, and the loss of 2,000 jobs.
 
The move, described as a "cost optimisation programme," will bring RIM's worldwide headcount down to around 17,000. The company says that today's announcement follows on from the strategy the company outlined in its full-year results last month.
 
The management changes will see current chief operating officer, Don Morrison, retire. Thorsten Heins, currently COO for products, will expand his role to cover sales. Jim Rowan will become COO, for operations.
 
BlackBerry's chief information officer, Robin Bienfait, will see her remit expand to include the company's Enterprise Business Unit, which looks after the BlackBerry Enterprise Server product line.
 
According to a statement, the moves at RIM are "intended to create greater alignment of the organisation and to streamline RIM’s operations in order to better position the company for future growth and profitability."
 
Falling margins, and a loss of market share to companies including Apple and Samsung have put pressure on RIM.
 
Earlier this month the company was forced by shareholders to set up a committee to review senior management, including a possible split of the co-chair and co-CEO roles held by Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. The committee will report in January.
 
The company also saw both its turnover and profits squeezed in its last quarter's results and, although shipments of BlackBerry devices increased to 13.2 million units, this fell short of the company's own estimates.
 
In addition, financial analysts have calculated that the average selling price (ASP) for BlackBerry phones, a number RIM no longer releases, also fell.
 
RIM has said it will consult with employees in North America and overseas over job losses. However, the company did not respond to requests from IT Pro for details of any job cuts in Europe.
 
 
Stephen Pritchard
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 19th Jul 2011
Only two out of five of England’s largest councils can track and report on user activity in real time, a log management firm has found.
 
LogLogic said the fact that only a further two kept related log data for over six months could also potentially compromise their ability to identify and tackle security breaches.
 
The information was solicited from Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bradford councils as part of Freedom of Information (FoI) Act requests submitted by LogLogic in May 2011.
 
The requests were designed to establish what data management capabilities a number of UK councils had in place to track and record user activity, as a key access requirement of the Government Connect Secure Extranet (GCSx) – a public sector secure private Wide Area Network (WAN) enabling local authorities to share data with central government.
 
“Managing IT data – from collection to storage and being able to report on it in real time – is key to addressing the cornerstones of GCSx,” stated Bill Roth, LogLogic vice president.
 
In England, three of the five largest councils were fully GCSx compliant and the other two said they were still at the implementation stage. Three had implemented log management solutions to help achieve compliance.
Two kept their log data for up to three months, while another kept it for up to six months, despite the fact the recommendation for GCSx compliance is six months plus.
 
On a more positive note, all five carried out annual compliance audits and three of the five councils reported they had received extra funding for GCSx.
 
By comparison, all five of Wales’s largest councils were GSCx compliant, and four out of five had implemented log management to assist with tracking and audit in real time, as well as carrying out annual audits. But four out of five received no funding to achieve compliance.
 
“They were let down (the English authorities particularly) on being able to track and record in real time, which is essential for monitoring and preventing sensitive data from leaking out of the Government Connect Secure Extranet,” Roth said.
 
“Storing logs for the recommended six months-plus time period is also critical for compliance and a surprising number fell short of that measure.”
 
Bob Tarzey, director of IT analyst Quocirca, agreed user activity logs were an important part of the insight needed to report on activity around IT usage.
 
“Much of that information is of little use if it cannot be linked to users,” he told IT Pro.
 
“It is encouraging that standards are in place and that some councils are adopting them. They are as likely a target for hacking as any other organisation, either for politically motivated reasons (but less so then central government) or commercial ones, as councils store potentially useful personal data on citizens.”
 
Several Scottish and Northern Irish councils refused to answer LogLogic’s FoI requests on the grounds of national security.
 
Miya Knights
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 19th Jul 2011
Cisco Systems has announced it will cut about 14 per cent of its global workforce, or about 11,500 employees, as part of a widely expected reorganisation.
 
The network gear maker expects to save $1bn a year by eliminating 6,500 jobs, including 2,100 employees who opted to participate in an early retirement programme. The cuts, which were greater than the rumoured figure circulating last week, include a 15 per cent reduction in employees at the vice president level or higher, the company said.
 
The San Jose, California-based company also plans to eliminate about 5,000 jobs by selling its set-top box manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico to Foxconn. Cisco said employees at the Mexico plant would become Foxconn employees in the first quarter of 2012 and that no job cuts were expected at the facility as a result of the sale.
 
Steven Musil
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 13th Jul 2011

 

Discus Systems plc

 

 

The Discus Diviner

July 2011 

 

Welcome to the July edition of The Discus Diviner.

 

This month, we're giving you the chance to win a Kindle 3G. 

 

"Kindle is Amazon.com's No.1 bestselling item for two years running. It's the most-wished-for, most-gifted and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.com."

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to click here and complete a short survey.

 

The IT Support Guy finds himself at Villa Park (he's a Blues fan)  and David will answer a question we are often asked, 'Where are the Sage company files on Windows XP/2000/Vista/7?'   

 

 

 

The IT Support Guy

  

This is one call Victor doesn't fancy making, but he has no choice in the matter. Derek is off ill, his arm in plaster after armwrestling his twelve-year old daughter.

 

He looks up at the imposing brown brick facade of Villa Park and his sphincter twitches. This is it. The home of the enemy. He drags his feet up two flights of steps from Witton Road, turns right and climbs three more flights to where a security man waits, head like a block of granite on a body the size of Star City.  

'You the computer bloke?' growls The Hulk.

Victor nods.

'Follow me.' The Hulk turns and squeezes through the building's double doors.

This isn't the first time Victor has been here. The last time was four seasons ago, when Villa gave the Blues a right drubbing  (5-1). He won't ever forget that match. A minor disagreement with a Villa fan in a curry house ended with a rolled chapatti up Victor's nostril and a Lamb Tikka Shashlik Massalla inside his shirt.

'In 'ere.' The Hulk stops beside a door marked IT Department and scowls at him.

As Victor edges past him he feels the weight of a small boulder on his shoulder. 'You a Villa fan?'

Victor gulps, sweat bubbles on his forehead. 'Course.'

An overpowering smell of halitosis makes Victor's eyes water as the giant brings his face to within inches of his.

'Baggies man, meself.' He grins, teeth like  tombstones in a ghost town and then winks. 'Might meet you again sometime.'

 

It's the fastest migration to a Blackberry Enterprise server that Victor has ever done.

Head down, he scuttles down the steps and across Witton Road. Glancing up at Villa Park, he sees the security man watching him from the top of the steps.

The Hulk smiles, waggles his fingers in goodbye, and then blows him a kiss.

 

NEXT MONTH: Victor goes VOIP

 

 

 

 

Bigwood Merger 

  

Discus customer Bigwood, which has a 160-year Birmingham heritage, has merged with Curry & Partners, another Birmingham firm of chartered surveyors and property management consultants, to create what is believed to be the largest independent agency in the Midlands.

 

The new business will be known as CP Bigwood and the merger has created an £8 million fee income business with 125 staff.

 

 

 

 

Sage company files on Windows XP/2000/Vista/7

 

The default data paths have changed in Sage 2008 and 2009. They are now set depending on the OS.

In pre Sage 2008 versions, the Company file was in the Sage Program Folder. The actual data would be in a subfolder of the Program Folder i.e.

C:\Program Files\Sage 2007\Accounts

Post Sage 2008 locations;

Sage 2008 company file 

  • Windows XP Sage 2008 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2008\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows Vista Sage 2008 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2008 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2008 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2008 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"  

Sage 2009 company file

  • Windows XP Sage 2009 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2009\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows Vista Sage 2009 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2009 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2009 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2009 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders" 

Sage 2010 company file

  • Windows XP Sage 2010 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2010\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows Vista Sage 2010 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2010 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2010 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2010 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders" 

Sage 2011 company file

  • Windows XP Sage 2011 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2011\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders" 
  • Windows Vista Sage 2011 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2011 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2011 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2011 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"

Sage uses a COMPANY file with no file extensions to reference data paths for your sage folders e.g. G:\COMPANY.001

 

 

 

6th October 2011: An Historic Date for the Legal Profession? 

On that date, the first alternative business structures (ABS) will be able to open for business in the legal services marketplace in England and Wales. For the first time, non-lawyers will be able to fully own and invest in law firms.

Consumers should benefit through increased competition, new services and the integration of the delivery of legal services with other related services.

But will solicitors?

In a profession where time has a direct relationship to income, consumers will look to scrutinize the costs they are being charged. Cost pressures will drive firms and, for the first time, many will need to market and promote themselves.

All very well. But what has this to do with Discus?

 

Discus has long had  relationships with solicitors in the Birmingham area and we thought about how we might assist our existing and potential legal customers to face their new challenges.

 Two things struck us:

1. How could solicitors easily prove time spent on the phone, if asked?

2. How could they dramatically reduce their annual telephony costs?

By utilising Discus System's hosted IP telephony that's how!

For further information email u2us@discus.co.uk  or for an informal discussion contact Terry or Martyn on 0800 880 3360

 

 

 

Discus Systems: 'Flying Start'  

  

Moving office? Newly incorporated? Expanding premises? Keen to minimise capital expenditure?

 

Why not take advantage of Flying  Start, another of Discus Systems' innovative service offerings?  Flying  Start can be delivered in a number of ways depending on customer requirements, ranging from an entirely hosted service to an entirely on-site installation.

 

Flying Start elements are:

 Communications:

Cabling

Cabinet

Ethernet switch

ADSL

Router

Firewall

 

Telephony:

VOIP phones

Mobiles

 

Hardware

Server

PCs

Printer

 

Software

MS Small Business Server

MS Office

Spam filter

Anti virus/malware

 

The customer only needs to select those elemets he requires and specify how he wants the service to be delivered. 

 

One stop shopping, one supplier to deal with.

 

For further information email u2us@discus.co.uk  or for an informal discussion contact Terry or Martyn on 0800 880 3360

  

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading July's issue of The Discus Diviner.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any comments or criticisms.

 

Sincerely,

 

   

 

 

Terry Biddulph

Managing Director

Discus Systems plc 

In This Issue

The IT Support Guy

Bigwood merges with Curry & Partners

Sage company files on Windows XP/2000/Vista/7

6th October 2011: An Historic Date for the Legal Profession

Moving office? Newly incorporated? Expanding premises?

Damien's Tips 'n Tricks

The Hampton Joker

 

 

 

Quick Links

  

Back Issues:

  

  

  

 

Join Our Mailing List

 

Damien's Tips 'n Tricks 

Damian

Keyboard Tricks in MS Word:  

1. Remove all those hyperlinks

Instead of removing hyperlinks one by one, you can try this method, which only consist of two steps, but will remove all hyper links in one go.

Press Ctrl+A, which will highlight the entire text

Then Press Ctrl+Shift+F9 (or Ctrl+6), and you will see all links disappearing within seconds!

*******************

2. Get back to where you were

 For the times when you don't remember exactly where you left off, the Shift+F5 combination will save you quite a bit of time. Hit both keys at the same time (as with all the combinations mentioned in these tips) and Word will automatically place your cursor where you last left off.

*******************

3. Switch between text case: Highlight a portion of text and use the Shift+F3 combination to switch between text case. Word will toggle through sentence case, upper case, and lower case.

*******************

4. Switch to small caps: Use Control+Shift+K to switch highlighted text to small caps.

*******************

 

The Hampton Joker 

The Joker: "I'm looking at the back of the system, and I don't know where to plug in the mouse. There are two holes that are the same size as the mouse."
Tech Support: "Ok, what color is the tip of the mouse plug?"
The Joker: "Orange."
Tech Support: "Do you see the orange 'hole' on the back of the computer?"

The Joker: "Yes."
Tech Support: "That is where the mouse plugs into."

The Joker: "Oh. How about the keyboard?"

Tech Support: "What color is the plug on the keyboard?" 

The Joker: "Purple."
Tech Support: "And do you see the purple 'hole' on the back of the computer?"

The Joker: "Yes."
Tech Support: "That is where the keyboard plugs in. The tips are color coded."
The Joker: "I see. How about the speakers?"

 

 ***************** 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discus Systems -  solving computer problems throughout the West Midlands,

covering Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth,

Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch.

 

 

This email was sent to pchiswick@discus.co.uk by terry@discus.co.uk |  

Discus Systems plc | Patrick Farm Barns | Solihull | B92 0LT | United Kingdom



Discus Systems plc

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Tel +44 (0)845 4 300 366 Fax +44 (0)845 4 300 368

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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 13th Jul 2011
This is one call Victor doesn't fancy making, but he has no choice in the matter. Derek is off ill, his arm in plaster after armwrestling his twelve-year old daughter.
 
He looks up at the imposing brown brick facade of Villa Park and his sphincter twitches. This is it. The home of the enemy. He drags his feet up two flights of steps from Witton Road, turns right and climbs three more flights to where a security man waits, head like a block of granite on a body the size of Star City.
'You the computer bloke?' growls The Hulk.
Victor nods.
'Follow me.' The Hulk turns and squeezes through the building's double doors.
This isn't the first time Victor has been here. The last time was four seasons ago, when Villa gave the Blues a right drubbing (5-1). He won't ever forget that match. A minor disagreement with a Villa fan in a curry house ended with a rolled chapatti up Victor's nostril and a Lamb Tikka Shashlik Massalla inside his shirt.
'In 'ere.' The Hulk stops beside a door marked IT Department and scowls at him.
As Victor edges past him he feels the weight of a small boulder on his shoulder. 'You a Villa fan?'
Victor gulps, sweat bubbles on his forehead. 'Course.'
An overpowering smell of halitosis makes Victor's eyes water as the giant brings his face to within inches of his.
'Baggies man, meself.' He grins, teeth like tombstones in a ghost town and then winks. 'Might meet you again sometime.'
 
It's the fastest migration to a Blackberry Enterprise server that Victor has ever done.
Head down, he scuttles down the steps and across Witton Road. Glancing up at Villa Park, he sees the security man watching him from the top of the steps.
The Hulk smiles, waggles his fingers in goodbye, and then blows him a kiss.
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 12th Jul 2011
Three men have been jailed for luring British and Irish bank customers into a phishing scam that police believe netted more than £3m for a criminal gang.
 
Vincent Alonge, Babatunde Fafore and Ayodeji John Kareem received sentences at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday for masterminding and carrying out the phishing operation, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and other charges.
 
"It's the first prosecution in the UK of a very detailed, organised phishing operation," Charlie McMurdie, the head of the Metropolitan Police's Central eCrime Unit (PCeU), told ZDNet UK. "It was an end-to-end job."
 
Normally in the black internet economy, criminals specialise in a certain part of an operation. For example, they may focus on the harvesting of sensitive details, which they then sell on to other criminals, rather than using the data to directly commit fraud. However, Kareem, Fafore and Alonge were involved in an operation that included all stages of a fraud.
 
They were part of a criminal network that systematically harvested online bank account details, credit and debit card numbers, and other data. The gang sent out email spam to lure bank customers to fake bank websites, where the victims were tricked into handing over their personal information.
 
The gang then used this information to carry out financial fraud, such as unauthorised bank transfers and credit card transactions. Around 10,000 credit cards and 900 bank accounts were compromised, according to McMurdie.
 
"This was a sophisticated, concerted attack on UK and international banking systems," she said.
The three men successfully used over 1,400 compromised credit cards to steal money, and the police have traced over £570,000 in provable losses, the PCeU said in a statement on Monday. However, the PCeU estimates that total losses from the stolen credit cards add up to more than £3.1m.
 
The trial followed the arrest in August of six people in the UK and Ireland, as part of raids arising from Operation Dynamophone. The PCeU worked with the Irish Garda Síochána Fraud Investigation Bureau on the investigation. The other three people detained were released.
 
Police traced the three scammers through their bogus emails and websites, according to Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer David Levy.
 
"These men profited enormously by taking advantage of the trust that many of us would place in an internet service that appeared genuine, but their enjoyment of their ill-gotten gains was short-lived," Levy said in the PCeU statement. "The bogus emails and websites that led victims into the scam also led the authorities to the scammers."
 
Kareem pleaded guilty on 12 May at Southwark Crown Court to one count of conspiracy to defraud, and one count of conspiracy to acquire and use criminal property. He was given one prison sentence of five years, five months, and another of three-and-a-half years, to run concurrently.
 
Farfore received concurrent prison terms of five years, seven months and four years, after pleading guilty to the same crimes as Kareem on 20 April at Southwark Crown Court.
 
Alonge pleaded guilty to having "articles for use in fraud", and was sentenced to two years in prison. Alonge received a concurrent sentence of six months for having false identity papers.
 
Tom Espiner
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 12th Jul 2011
Cisco Systems is expected to cut as many as 5,000 jobs in August, at least according to market research firm Gleacher & Co.
 
In a research note 11 July, Gleacher analyst Brian Marshall said the job cuts could rival the 8,000 layoffs that Cisco initiated in 2001, soon after the Internet market crash. In this case, the 5,000 job cuts to the company’s 73,000-strong workforce would be painful but necessary, Marshall said, saving Cisco about $1 billion (£626m) annually.
 
They also would mark only one of several steps the analyst said Cisco has to make to ease Wall Street concerns.
 
Necessary Action
“While this is a difficult decision to make, in our view, it is required in order to maintain the ‘competitiveness’ of [Cisco] going forward,” Marshall wrote in his research note.
 
His message comes after Cisco, which has been hampered by several quarters of disappointing financial numbers, looks for ways to improve the company’s operations. The company restructured its consumer business in April, including closing its profitable Flip personal video camera business.
 
In May, Cisco streamlined its management, sales and services units, a move to help it more easily focus on five IT areas – routing and switching, collaboration, data centre virtualisation and cloud, video, and what officials are calling architectures for business transformation. Cisco also reduced the number of management councils from nine to three.
A week later, during a conference call to announce quarterly financial earnings, Chairman and CEO John Chambers warned of layoffs as the company looked to cut $1 billion in operating expenses this year.
Days after Chambers’ talk, analysts were predicting significant cuts of 4,000 or more.
 
Marshall’s research note also was released as Cisco Live, the company’s major customer and partner event, gets underway in Las Vegas. The Gleacher analyst said he expects “significant news flow this week,” adding that he was focusing on Chambers’ keynote 12 July and other keynotes.
 
Plus Points
Despite Cisco’s recent disappointing financial numbers, the vendor has some significant factors working in its favour, according to Marshall. The company has a strong valuation, and it still holds about 70 percent of the core routing and switching market, a maturing sector that doesn’t offer Cisco much room for growth. However, some other business areas that Cisco is looking to grow – from video communications to data centre infrastructure – represent strong growth areas.
 
He also noted Cisco’s Vblock data-center-in-a-box offering, which includes not only Cisco’s infrastructure products, but also EMC’s storage and security technologies and VMware’s vSphere virtualisation management and services offerings. Marshall called it Cisco’s “ace in the hole,” adding that it seems to be gaining traction in the market.
 
“Although early in its lifecycle (e.g., Vblocks started shipping at the start of 2010), the ramp has been impressive thus far with partner management (e.g., EMC) recently commenting that Vblock has a $1.0+ billion pipeline with over 120 partners,” Marshall wrote.
 
However, there are ongoing concerns, he said. Marshall said that Cisco is seeing increasing competition in its core routing and switching business, not only from large competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, but also from the likes of Juniper Networks, Riverbed Technology, Brocade and Force Five, a scenario that he described as “chimpanzees … attacking the gorilla.”
 
Jeffrey Burt
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 12th Jul 2011
All retail banking customers ringing Santander will have their queries dealt with by UK workers after the bank decided to stop using two Indian call centres.
  
Santander is to stop using Indian call centres in a bid to improve customer services
According to Santander, the decision was taken to use UK rather than Indian call centres after customers experienced "frustration leading to dissatisfaction".
 
Retail banking calls will now be handled by 500 staff based in Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool, bringing the number of UK-based call centre staff used by the financial services group to 2,500.
 
Ana Botín, CEO of Santander UK, said the decision was taken to improve customer services.
 
"Our customers tell us they prefer our call centres to be in the UK and not offshore. We have listened to the feedback and have acted by re-establishing our call centres back here," she said in a statement.
 
The offshore call centres were used by the bank Abbey from 2003, and transferred over to Santander following the Spanish financial services group's acquisition of Abbey in 2004.
 
According to John O'Brien, research director at analyst house TechMarketView, there are three reasons why the move would have appealed to Santander.
 
"Firstly, the average wage for a call centre worker in a lower cost region in the UK is now 'almost parity' with those seen in India. Secondly, offshoring call centres has often resulted in reduced customer service quality, and latterly increased customer attrition as other providers now offer UK-only call centres. This has become a real differentiator in the UK retail banking and mobile telecoms sector.
 
"Thirdly, and as important in the current economic climate, it is very good PR to be investing in the UK economy at a time of real economic hardship and high unemployment. To be seen to be putting something back in, rather than to be taking something out is likely to be a strong selling point for a brand," he said in a research note.
 
Business process outsourcing grew 14 per cent year on year in the last financial year according to Indian IT trade body Nasscom, with banking, financial services and insurance among the largest users of Indian BPO services.
 
Jo Best
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 5th Jul 2011
The Korean government plans to digitise all school textbooks by 2015, and have students of all ages access "education content" via smartphones, tablet PCs and smart televisions.
 
The Korean Education Ministry has set the bold timetable to accelerate "smart learning", it announced last week.
 
The ministry plans to digitise all subjects for elementary school students by 2014, and all subjects for middle and high school students by 2015.
 
In addition to the content of paper textbooks, supplementary materials and two-way study methods will be included in the digital textbooks.
 
The government will increase online classes in 2013 for three years to allow for distance learning for students in remote areas and those who are ill, unwell, or otherwise unable to travel.
 
Using IPTV, the ministry is also encouraging students to also take a "University-Level Program", where high school students can take college-level courses that include foreign language study.
 
Around 25 per cent of teachers are set to receive dedicated "digital" training in how handle devices for the "smart education" programme.
 
The ministry also said it plans to hold nationwide academic tests online
 
Natalie Apostolou
 
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