The Conficker Threat – Be Prepared

The past couple of weeks, a new malicious and particularly virulent worm known as Downadup, also more popularly known as Conficker has started to infect millions of PCs. In fact by some estimates, it has infected over 10 million PCs worldwide. As with many threats proper prevention can greatly reduce or eliminate your problem. This worm is particularly dangerous as it can infect your PC in many ways. You can be infected by simply visiting your favorite Web site, downloading a file or email from the Internet, loading a USB drive, or just by leaving your networked computer on, overnight while you’re asleep. The worm takes advantage of known vulnerabilities in Windows to spread. Its removal can be difficult, as it blocks many known antivirus software and associated websites. In some cases it even disables antivirus software already installed or the Windows Update service. After infection, it may choose to run rogue software on the machine, or use it as a host to infect other machines. Particularly troubling, security experts believe, is that on April 1st, a new variant of the worm will begin to randomly check various websites on the Internet to download new instructions. What those instructions are unknown at this point and could be anything as harmless as telling a joke, displaying an ad or as harmful as destroying files or even stealing usernames and passwords. The worm itself is not new, it made its first appearance late November 2008, known under the names Conficker or Kido. It shouldn’t have spread if people had made sure to the latest Windows and other updates were applied to their PCs and have kept up to date with their security vendors’ latest antivirus releases. Also since it spreads via network shares, making sure to use strong passwords on shared network drives would have helped to contain it early as well. If you aren’t sure if your PC and network are protected, make sure to contact your IT service provider for advice. Here are some other articles you might want to check out for more information: Related articles: The Conficker worm’s evil genius. (slate.com) Conficker Worm Draws a Counter-Attack – PC World (domainmacher.com) FAQ: Conficker worm (cbc.ca) Your Quick Guide to the Conficker Worm (shankrila.com) Windows PC Worm Set to Activate on April 1st (littlegreenfootballs.com)

Using Social Media for your Business

Social Media such as Blogs, Micro-blogs, Wikis, and Social Networks are not only helping many people communicate and connect, but are also powerful tools for business as well. They can be used to promote your products and services, engage customers in meaningful conversations, network and develop new relationships, or simply to distribute information about your business online. Recently, the media has been awash with reports about Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter , but many of you may be unclear about the concept, or unsure of its relevance to your business activities. Learn more about this new media online . Get to know how these tools can benefit your business or contact your IT Consultant for advice. Related articles by Zemanta: More notes from “Social Media Marketing” Social Media Marketing Industry Report The 4 Customer Types of Social Media The Five Myths of Social Media Using social media to network

What’s Next for Conflicker?

April fool’s day came and went, but so far the much feared attack from Conflicker never materialized, leaving security researchers to ponder what’s next for the notorious Internet worm . Although it didn’t release any detectable malicious payload, the arrival of April 1 did trigger a change in its behavior, with experts finding a finding a changed domain generation algorithm that opens up unfettered communication to 500 of the 50,000 potential newly generated domains. The latest variant, Conficker C , now has the ability to contact its command and control centers for further instructions while circumventing interference from the security community, which up until now had been able to block communication with its parent domains. At this point users are still advised to patch their operating systems or to seek the assistance of their IT service providers to make sure all variants of the worm has been removed. Read more at Channel Web .

Use Technology to Market your Business

Never before have startup entrepreneurs and small business owners had access to so much marketing advice and tools as we have today on the Web.  There are hundreds of free or near free tools out there that you can use: from sites that help you create your own logos , print your own business cards , set up your own website , even make your own marketing swag . There are literally hundreds of even more sites that in turn give advice on how to use these tools to market your business more effectively such as Inc Magazine , Entrepreneur Magazine , and Fast Company . Its easy to use your PC and Internet to help you grow your business—so get started today!

Protecting Against the Rampant Conficker Worm

PC World posts a nice overview of the highly infectious Conflicker Worm. The Worm is dangerous as it uses several methods of attack. Once one computer in a network is infected, it often has ready access to other vulnerable computers in that network and can spread rapidly. The worm can download and install additional malware from attacker-controlled Web sites as well. Since that could mean anything from a password stealer to remote control software, a Conflicker-infected PC is essentially under the complete control of the attackers. Conficker and other worms are typically of most concern to small businesses that don’t regularly update the desktops and servers in their networks. If you’re not sure your network security is up to day get some help to find out. Read more at PC World…

18 Tips For Small Businesses That Outsource

Janet Attard of The Business Know-How Blog posts 18 tips for small businesses considering outsourcing. She offers insight on how to get the best possible results from outsourced work. Among them: Know the results you want to achieve. Understand how long it should take to complete the work. (Ask others in your industry if you’re not sure.) Set a realistic time table for achieving results. Insist on all service providers and vendors document their work Offer feedback and praise When it comes to your outsourced computer support and network management these are great tips to keep in mind. Read more at Small Biz Resources…

Microsoft quietly extends Windows XP lifecycle, again

Microsoft announced that is has granted system builders a “flexible” delivery date of Windows XP licenses to customers beyond the official phase-out deadline of January 31, 2009. PC vendors still have to purchase licenses before that date, but can now choose to take delivery of those licenses through May 30, 2009. For all small businesses it’s important to have a plan to manage computer support for end-of-life products. If you’re not sure where you stand now might be a good time to get a thorough review of your licensing. Read more at TG Daily

How Much is Conficker Really Affecting the Enterprise?

Lately, we have been hearing about how quickly the Conficker Worm is spreading. News sources have pegged the number of infections in the neighborhood of 3.5 million computers. Given that Microsoft issued a patch for the flaw targeted by the Conficker worm and the use of strong passwords can prevent much of the spread, it seems odd that enterprises (large corporations) with network management would be hurt by the worm. But sometimes enterprise security isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Regardless of your size – small or large you need to make sure you’re taking all available steps to protect your network security. If you’re not sure, get help. Read More at eWeek