Ransomware is currently the subject of the hour.  Attacks are happening more frequently and are costing users time and money to resolve.  Often the simplest solution is to pay the ransom to give you access to your documents again.

We at UA Technology Services believe that prevention is better than cure.  A robust backup strategy that is both offsite and incorporates versioning will allow you to recover your documents without needing to pay the perpetrators.

A new website Fight Ransomware has been launched to try and bring together news and information about the subject, to help users be aware about the current state of play and to inform them about what can be done to combat this malware.

A few Statistics about Ransomware to give you an idea about the size of the problem

$445 Billion

The amount cybercrime will cost the global economy in 2016. The primary driver of loss will be ransomware.


The increase in ransomware attacks from Q1 of 2016 compared to Q1 2015. That’s as many as 4,000 ransomware attacks per day.

60 Seconds

The time it takes a hacker to compromise a computer with ransomware.

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Free Microsoft EBooks

Last year I posted about a great Microsoft Free Ebook giveaway.

Well it’s happening again! I have updated the script that can download all the books for you. There seemed little point in changing the instructions as they are the same as before and so below this short intro you will find a link to last years posting that has full instructions.

Free Microsoft EBooks

Eric Ligman – Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager – puts his collection of Microsoft books online for anyone to download. These are PDF’s of the full books that would cost a small fortune to purchase.

This is from an official Microsoft Blog and is sanctioned by Microsoft.

No tricks, no catches.

Click here for instructions how to get the books

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Lastpass Security

I have been a very busy person over the last few months, so I have not really had time to post.  But I do feel that the following warrants some time.

I have repeatedly recommended Lastpass to my friends, family and customers as a great way of storing your passwords.  Unfortunately, as was bound to happen, they have suffered a security breach.

Fortunately their internal architecture was well designed (unlike some others (Sony!  I’m looking at you)) and so the impact is minimal.

The Lastpass Blog gives full report from Lastpass themselves.

In Essence…

  1. There is nothing to worry about
  2. Change your Lastpass password
  3. Change the password of any sites that you have used the same password (bad idea anyway)

Don’t have nightmares 🙂

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

5 passwords you should never use


Create strong passwords and protect them. Get tips
for managing your kids passwords too.

Security for Home Computer Users

5 passwords you should never use


updates for September 9, 2014

Learn how
to get security updates automatically

Get updates from
Microsoft Update

Watch a video about the updates




I run more than one antivirus program?

should never run more than one antivirus program at the same
time. The two programs could slow down your computer, and they
might even identify each other as a virus, which could lead to
file corruption or other conflicts and errors that make your antivirus
protection less effective—or not effective at all. 


Get our
recommendations for antivirus protection




Top Stories

HOW TO: Remove the MS Removal Tool

TO: Remove the MS Removal Tool

step-by-step guidance on how to identify and remove the “MS
Removal Tool,” a type of malicious software that restricts
you from accessing your desktop. 

What is a trusted device?

What is a trusted

trusted device is a computer, smartphone, or other device that
you’ve identified as belonging to you. On trusted devices, you
don’t have to enter security codes to access sensitive

Back-to-school checklist: Clean up my digital life

checklist: Clean up my digital life

you or your kids go back to school, learn how to #Do1Thing to
manage your online persona and help set yourself up for digital
success this year. 

Why do I have to update my email account information?

do I have to update my email account information?

help protect your personal data, we ask everyone who has a
Microsoft account to make sure that the security information
associated with their account is correct and up to date.




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New variation on an old scam

This seems to be becoming a bit of a recurring theme, there’s a new scam out there.

This one is actually not a new scam, it’s an old scam that simply uses a new script.

The proposed victim gets a phone call saying that they (the scammers) are from Microsoft and that…

  • There are 5 other people using the victims Windows licence key.
  • That it is unsafe for the victim to use internet services; for example Mobile Banking.
  • That the victims Windows licence key could be cancelled by Microsoft.

How’s that for a scare tactic?

The scammers then want the victim to go to www.ammyy.com and download the remote admin software they have there.

Ammyy have a warning on their site saying that their software is being used by people purporting to be from Microsoft to ‘fix’ the computer using Ammyy Amin, it’s definitely a scam.

At least they are aware of the problem.

We at UATS have seen occurrences of (or variations of) this scam and have experienced it ourselves.  Ultimately the scammers just want you to download and run a ‘fix’, which is where the real pain begins.

Word has spread about the earlier version of this scam and so they have changed the script (but are still using basically the same underlying technology) to try to ensnare the average user.

As always I will refer you to our Keeping Safe on the Internet page and leave you with the thought…  If you are not sure then just do not click on it!  Go and ask someone who is sure.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Avoid tech support phone scams

It appears that an old spectre has reared its ugly head again.

Fake tech support phone scams

We had thought that they had slowed down as we have not had one reported to us for quite some time, but it appears that the scammers are still going strong. We will not go into chapter and verse here with advice and information, so much has already been written.


These links are from Microsoft, but it apply equally well to other callers. In fact the call that was received today identified itself as being from BT

The same advice as always applies – Keeping Safe on the Internet

In essence, don’t click on it unless you are 100% sure it is legitimate, never click on it if it was unsolicited etc… (The callers try to get you to go to a website where they have you download and run some software that will “protect” you or will “scan” your machine. What they are really doing is using you to infect your own machine).

The links above are legitimate Microsoft sites, but please don’t take our word for it. Try Googling “Microsoft avoid phone scams” or “Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently“

Treat calls like this as you would if you bumped into a person on the street with a Microsoft or BT hat on. Would you give a total stranger your credit card information? No? Of course not. So don’t do it on the internet unless you went looking for the service and you are as confident as possible that the provider is who they say they are.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Yes, Virginia, TrueCrypt is still safe to use

TrueCrypt, a fantastic free whole disk encryption tool has recently vanished of the face of the planet.  No one quite knows why, but everyone is wondering if it is safe to use (the last comments from the authors tend to indicate that it is not!).

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I thought I would pass on the following blog entry by Steve Gibson, a respected Tech/Security Guru, that gives his take on it and an answer to the question “Is TrueCrypt safe to use?”

Steve Gibson posted: “So opens the short editorial I wrote this morning and placed at the top of GRC’s new TrueCrypt Final Version Repository page. The impetus for the editorial was the continual influx of questions from people asking whether TrueCrypt was still safe to”

Yes, Virginia, TrueCrypt is still safe to use.

by Steve Gibson

So opens the short editorial I wrote this morning and placed at the top of GRC’s new TrueCrypt Final Version Repository page.

The impetus for the editorial was the continual influx of questions from people asking whether TrueCrypt was still safe to use, and if not, what they should switch to, and so on. By this time, one of the TrueCrypt developers, identified as David, had been heard from, and his interchange confirmed the essential points of my conjectured theory of the events surrounding the self-takedown of TrueCrypt.org, etc.

Rather than repeating that entire editorial here, I’m posting this as a pointer to it since folks here have thanked me for maintaining a blog and not relying solely upon Twitter.  And also, this venue supports feedback and interaction which GRC’s current read-only format can not.


Steve Gibson | May 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Tags: GRC, TrueCrypt | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pV3mA-7n

Comment    See all comments    Like

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New Vulnerability Found in Internet Explorer

You may have already read about new vulnerability found in Internet Explorer (All versions). Microsoft does not yet have a fix for this issue. Here are two things you can do to stay safe in the meantime: – If you have an alternative browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome, use it. – This exploit works primarily by luring you to infected sites. So practice safe surfing when using IE: do not click on links in emails unless you are certain they are safe. Do not click on links in unexpected pop-ups

This may also be time to think about working as a Standard (Restricted) user as opposed to an Administrator.

Below are links to the Microsoft Security Advisory and some commentary by Gizmodo

Microsoft Security Advisory 2963983

New Vulnerability Found in Every Single Version of Internet Explorer

And last, but not least…

Steve Gibson, from GRC, has just posted the following mitigation. I cannot attest to how good it is, or what effect it will have, but Steve is usually very good about such things (why is why I am posting it here.

A quick mitigation for Internet Explorer’s new 0-Day vulnerability

As always…

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Welcome to the new UA Technology Services Website

Welcome to the new UA Technology Services Website

It is currently under development and so we apologise for any slight glitches that you may find.  Do let us know and we will rectify them asap.

We have moved to a new, more advanced, platform that will allow us to bring you more services and update our content in a more timely fashion.

Let us know what you think.

The UA Team.