Sunday, 14 May 2017

NHS across UK hit by Ransomware attacks

After a weekend when NHS devices across the UK were put out of action by ransomware you will be concerned whether you have adequate protection for your own PCs and data.

Simple steps involve

  1. Making sure that operating system and programs are up to date
  2. Installing suitable anti virus software
  3. Making secure backups of data
If you have procedures in place you may have more steps than this but if you do not have at least all three you should consider whether you have adequate protection. We are not suggesting that you only need the three steps shown, there are other measures that we can also help you with.

The cost of compromised PCs or lost data could be enormous in terms of time, customer loyalty and financial.

For more information on how to make those first steps, or if you have already made them and require more detailed support such as managed firewalls, encrypted backup, cloud storage and disaster recovery contact Plum Communications.

Always here to help.

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

The worm that spreads WanaCrypt0r

Something that many security researchers have feared has indeed come true. Threat actors have integrated a critical exploit taking advantage of a popular communication protocol used by Windows systems, crippling thousands of computers worldwide with ransomware.
Within hours of being leveraged, a flaw that had been recently patched by Microsoft has been used to distribute the WanaCrypt0r ransomware and wreak havoc worldwide.
In this blog post, we will describe the worm responsible for spreading this ransomware by looking at its capabilities and what has made this threat so successful...

Read this blog in its original posting in the malwarebytes blog https://blog.malwarebytes.com/threat-analysis/2017/05/the-worm-that-spreads-wanacrypt0r/.

Malwarebytes is available from Plum Communications for minimal sum per device.

For a free evaluation or a review of your existing security contact Plum Communications 0161 622 3500.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Getting the right technology for your business just got easier with Cisco easylease

With genuine 0% financing for Cisco technology, there is no need for a large upfront payment. Instead you can spread the cost of your solution over 36 months with no hidden costs. So why not free up your cashflow by not paying up front, whilst you speed up your technology adoption and realise the benefits sooner.


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Friday, 23 December 2016

Wishing you all the best for Christmas and the New Year




















We thank you for your custom in 2016 and look forward to working with you in 2017.

Our support centre is open throughout the holiday period and
you can contact us by telephoning 0161 622 3500
email to service@plumcom.co.uk or
visit our website http://www.plumcom.co.uk

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Friday, 9 December 2016

Beat the Microsoft Price Increase Buy Your 365 Subscriptions Now

Office 365 is a great way for businesses to handle their emails, calendar and file sharing allowing access and collaboration from multiple devices so your PC and laptop are synched with the same information as your mobile. No need to continually download the same emails on multiple devices, Microsoft 365 does this automatically for you.

Most businesses start with Business Essentials which provides email, calendar, contacts and file sharing and then may take Business Premium if they require licences for Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Each mailbox comes with 50MB storage and there is 1TB file storage available with included One Drive.

Prices are due to increase from 1st January 2017 but if you purchase from Plum Communications on the monthly subscription plan you will beat the increase as prices are guaranteed for 12 months from date of purchase.


If you are unsure of the services you need or require prices please call us and we will be happy to help. Services offered subject to contract and Plum Communications terms of trading.


Call Plum Communications 0161 622 3500 for help and advice on Office 365 Services.

Price guarantee applies to first 12 months of subscription when ordered prior to 24 December 2016.

Existing Microsoft Direct customers may transfer to Plum Communications to take advantage of the price guarantee.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Britain’s cyber security bolstered by world-class strategy

The UK will be one of the safest places in the world to do business, with a world-class cyber security industry and workforce thanks to a new plan underpinned by £1.9 billion of investment.

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond has today (1 November 2016) formally launched the government’s new National Cyber Security Strategy, which will set out decisive action to protect the UK economy and the privacy of British citizens, while encouraging industry to up its game to prevent damaging cyber-attacks.

Almost doubling the funding commitments of the first strategy which ran from 2011, the new plan outlines:
  • how the UK will use automated defences to safeguard citizens and businesses against growing cyber threats
  • support the UK’s growing cyber security industry
  • develop a world-class cyber workforce
  • deter cyber-attacks from criminals and hostile actors
Cyber security is recognised as one of the greatest threats to business around the world, with the global cost of crimes in cyberspace estimated at $445 billion, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Risks Report.
Measures within the new National Cyber Security Strategy to keep the UK’s cyberspace safe are therefore crucial to the future of the UK’s economy.
Outlining how cyber security underpins our daily lives such as through domestic devices in our homes and cars, air traffic control and power grids, the Chancellor reinforced how the threat of attacks invade our privacy and threaten our national security and set out how the government plans to deal with it.
The approach on cyber is a core part of the upcoming Industrial Strategy.
He explained how increasingly vulnerable society is to cyber-attacks thanks to the expanding range of connected devices which are creating more opportunities for exploitation; more demand for training and skills; old legacy IT systems used by many organisations in the UK and the readily available suite of user-friendly hacking tools which means everyone from the living room to the boardroom is exposed to malicious hackers.
The Chancellor also emphasised the responsibility that CEO’s have to make sure their organisations are secure against cyber-attacks and the additional support government will give industry and wider society through the new National Cyber Security Centre.
The National Cyber Security Strategy:
Underpinned by £1.9 billion of investment for dedicated actions through three key areas:

Defend:

The strategy sets out how government will strengthen its own defences as well as making sure industry takes the right steps to protect Critical National Infrastructure in sectors like energy and transport. We will do this through working in partnership with industry - including companies such as the innovative SME Netcraft - to use automated defence techniques to reduce the impact of cyber-attacks by hackers, stopping viruses and spam emails ever reaching their intended victims for example.
The Chancellor pointed to the recent successes of government. Previously a website serving web-inject malware would stay active for over a month- now it is less than two days. UK-based phishing sites would remain active for a day- now it is less than an hour. And phishing sites impersonating government’s own departments would have stayed active for two days - now it is less than 5 hours. The Chancellor also pointed to the recent success of government in reducing the ability of attackers to spoof @gov.uk emails – extracting valuable information from duped receipts. Our recent work saw the spoofing of taxrefund@gov.uk go from 50,000 per day to effectively zero in the past 6 weeks.

Deter:

Significant investment will go towards taking the fight to those who threaten Britain in cyber-space and relentlessly pursuing anyone who persists in attacking us. This will be done in part through strengthening our law enforcement capabilities to raise the cost of cyber-crime, building international partnerships and being clear that the UK will defend itself in cyberspace and strike back against those that try to harm our country.
This year alone we are recruiting over 50 specialist cyber-crime investigators and technical specialists working within the National Cyber Crime Unit, enhancing their ability to provide a powerful and highly visible investigative response to the most serious incidents of cyber-crime: pursuing cyber criminals at a national and international level. This is part of tens of millions of pounds of investment in our cybercrime law enforcement capability, locally and nationally.

Develop:

The new plan places strong emphasis on developing the nation’s capabilities to keep pace with cyber threats. We will also increase investment in the next generation of students and experts.
The Chancellor also announced a new cyber security research institute - a virtual collection of UK universities which will look to improve the security of smart phones, tablets and laptops through research that could one day make passwords obsolete.
This builds on a range of cutting edge skills and education initiatives, including cyber apprentices, retraining schemes and an advanced cyber security teaching in schools, which are already being developed.
We are creating the UK’s first cyber security Innovation Centre in Cheltenham, will launch a Cyber Innovation Fund next year to develop innovate technologies and products and are funding training and support for cyber start-ups and academics to help them commercialise cutting edge research and attract investment from the private sector.
These actions will ensure that the UK continues to be the world leading digital nation, building on the successes of the previous strategy.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said:
Britain is already an acknowledged global leader in cyber security thanks to our investment of over £860 million in the last Parliament, but we must now keep up with the scale and pace of the threats we face. Our new strategy, underpinned by £1.9 billion of support over 5 years and excellent partnerships with industry and academia, will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyberspace and to strike back when we are attacked.
Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office & Paymaster General, said:
No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber-attacks are a reality and they are happening now. Our adversaries are varied - organised criminal groups, ‘hactivists’, untrained teenagers and foreign states.
The first duty of the government is to keep the nation safe. Any modern state cannot remain secure and prosperous without securing itself in cyberspace. That is why we are taking the decisive action needed to protect our country, our economy and our citizens.
We can be proud that the UK leads the world in cyber security.
Cindy Rose, UK CEO, Microsoft, said:
The mobile-first, cloud-first world holds enormous potential for organisations and individuals to generate new and exciting growth opportunities.
However, there is a corresponding risk that as people increase their technology usage they also increase their exposure to cyber security threats. It is critical for all organisations to strengthen their core security hygiene as well as creating a pervasive security culture through education and awareness.
All participants in the security ecosystem also need to work together to ensure everyone can trust the technology they use. The Chancellor’s announcement is the kind of initiative that the UK needs to protect British citizens from the growing threats we face. We welcome the government’s focus on tackling this significant issue which affects business and individuals alike.
To read this article in its original posting follow this link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/britains-cyber-security-bolstered-by-world-class-strategy

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Friday, 1 July 2016

New Non Geographic Service Charges Introduced

Additional Chargebands for Non Geographic Number Services are being introduced 1 July 2016. These are in addition to the charges introduced 1 July 2015.

Non Geographic numbers are regulated by Pay Phone Plus and include calls to numbers beginning 118, 08 and 09. The numbers are generally allocated to service companies providing services such as Directory Enquiries, Information Services, Entertainment Services and other Value Add Services.

Calls to these numbers are more expensive than calls to landlines (starting 01, and 02) and National Numbers (starting 03).

The Service Provider (who provides the service) must advise the cost of the service in any advertisements and in any publicity for the number.

In addition to the service charge advised by the service provider there is an access charge payable advised by your telephone company (the company who supplied you with telephone service). Consumers must be advised of the access charge by their telephone company but the invoice may consolidate the two elements. Business customers may be advised of a single consolidated charge for the two elements.

The new codes advised are:

Calls charged in pence per minute
SC081 18ppm
SC082 22ppm
SC083 350ppm

Calls charged by set up fee and then pence per minute from start of call
SC084 250ppc + 75ppm
SC085 260ppc + 99ppm
SC086 275ppc + 78ppm

Calls charged by set up fee which includes first 60 seconds then pence per minute
SC087 898ppc + 449ppm
SC088 998ppc + 499ppm
SC089 1198ppc + 599ppm
SC090 1398ppc + 699ppm
SC091 1598ppc + 799ppm
SC092 7ppc + 7ppm
SC093 13ppc + 13ppm
SC094 80ppc + 80ppm
SC095 100ppc + 100ppm
SC096 300ppc + 300ppm
SC097 360ppc + 50ppm
SC098 360ppc + 150ppm
SC099 360ppc + 200ppm
SC100 360ppc + 360ppm 

All prices include VAT
Plus Access Charge as advised by the provider of  your outbound call service
Prices correct at time of publication but may change afterwards
Please check cost of call with the service provider before dialling any number

For more information please see our previous blog
http://plumcom.blogspot.com/2015/07/guide-for-businesses-to-uk-calling.html


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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Cold callers to be forced to display phone numbers under new Government plans


Cold callers will no longer be able to hide or disguise their phone numbers as Government continues to crack down on nuisance calls.

Baroness Neville Rolfe, minister responsible for data protection, is expected to confirm tomorrow that from Monday 16 May 2016, direct marketing companies registered in the UK will need to display their phone numbers when making unsolicited phone calls - even if their call centres are based abroad.
The move follows positive backing in a public consultation and extensive work with regulators, industry, and consumer groups.
Baroness Neville Rolfe said:
Nuisance calls are incredibly intrusive and can cause significant harm to elderly and vulnerable members of society.
Government is committed to tackling this problem, which is why we are making it easier for consumers to report companies by forcing them to display their phone numbers.
We’re sending a clear message to rogue direct marketing companies. Nuisance calls are unacceptable and we will not hesitate to take action against the companies behind them.
This amendment in legislation will not only improve consumer protection, making it easier for people to refuse and report unwanted marketing calls, but it will also ensure the ICO can investigate and take enforcement action against callers who persistently and deliberately break the rules.

This latest move by Government follows news that a substantial number of fines totalling £895,000 have been issued by the ICO. In 2015, this Government made it easier to fine nuisance callers by removing the need for consumers to prove that unwanted marketing calls were causing substantial distress and damage.

Companies can risk fines of up to £2 million from Ofcom and a further £500,000 from the ICO if they continue to bombard consumers with unwanted calls.
ICO Head of Enforcement, Steve Eckersley said:
Any change that make it easier for us to track down and take action against companies making nuisance calls is a change that will reduce the annoyance these calls cause.
We do investigate unscrupulous companies who hide their identities, and we can track them down, but it certainly makes our job more difficult. And when people are able to identify the number behind the call they’ve received, they’re more likely to complain to us and that means we’re more able to take action.
We welcome this move, which we’ve been consulted on throughout.
Which? Executive director Richard Lloyd, said:
This is another important victory in the fight against nuisance calls. With marketing firms now being forced to display their numbers when making calls, it will make it much easier for people to report them and enforcement action to be taken when companies break the law.

Plum Communications supply a range of CLI flexibility services which allow call centres to supply a a suitable number and stay legal when making calls, please speak to us if you require advice on remaining compliant after the new changes.

We also supply a range of services to allow you to restrict inbound calls based upon the caller number presented and where the number is withheld.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cold-callers-to-be-forced-to-display-phone-numbers-under-new-government-plans

Plum Communications : 01616223500

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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Alert: Fake debt collection and council tax emails

Action Fraud has received a surge in calls and reports from concerned members of the public who have received debt collection and council tax scam emails. 

Outstanding debt

In the past couple of days the Action Fraud contact centre has received thousands of calls and reports from the public who have received this clever spear phishing email below. These have worried recipients because they use detailed personal information such as full name, address and postcode.

The emails claim to act on behalf of a legitimate company and contain a link which could infect your computer with Cryptolocker or Maktub ransomware. 
This spear phishing campaign could constantly evolve, so look out for company variations and remember that is easy for fraudsters to adapt information. To prevent your personal information ending up in the hands of fraudsters read the full article here:

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/alert-fake-debt-collection-and-council-tax-emails-apr16

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Friday, 1 April 2016

If you can‘t activate your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch after installing iOS 9.3

Updating some iOS devices (iPhone 5s and earlier and iPad Air and earlier) to iOS 9.3 can require entering the Apple ID and password used to set up the device in order to complete the software update. If you can't recall your password or can't sign in, try these steps.

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT206203

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