Welcome To Change

A permutation is a mathematical variation… one of many possible outcomes.

The Permutation Company was formed to help our clients manage variations to their businesses such that their outcomes are positive.

We offer services that match and rival the resources all the ‘big guys’ have.

Contact us if we can help.

About Permutation

The Permutation Company was formed to support the technology needs of local businesses and schools, making them competitive with their biggest rivals.

It’s From HMRC… Wait, It’s Not To Me!

Another tell for email scams is the”To” field. If it doesn’t contain your actual email address,there’s a good chance that it is a scam. In essence, the email was sent out to a large number of recipients with emails in the BCC(Blind Carbon Copy) field. It hits the maximum number of potential victims, yet still appears quite personal.

This specific example, even more than the last example, relies on the “most common characteristic” con. If some aspect of your email identifies you as in the UK (e.g.@btinternet.com, gmail.com with UK selected on your country profile,anything containing .co.uk, etc.), then odds are you have some dealings with HMRC. Like all of these scams, it’s a numbers game.

What Else?
There are a lot of ways bad people try harm people… particularly small businesses. We will try continue how these things work, and how to spot them, throughout2014. The bottom line is always to stay attentive, stay sceptical and stay alert.

How Did UPS / RoyalMail / FedEX Get Your Email Address?

This happens all year round, thoughit’s most common around Christmas, Valentine’s Day and (American)Mother’s Day. That’s when the highest percentage of the Western world will miss postal deliveries. Now this is one of many “baits”(more to come), but “hook” most often is an email attachment. While it is possible for images (specifically, files ending in JPG or JPEG) or Microsoft Word documents to contain viruses, this scam usually used a compressed file (ending in ZIP) containing an executable program (ending in EXE).

Victims open the attachment, then double-click on the EXE file contained within. Again, because you’ve chosen to RUN the file, you have effectively told your anti-virus,“hey, don’t worry about these guys, I trust them.” Once done,this type of infection can be very difficult to remove.

No Website Knows That Your PC Is Infected

Years ago, before “pop-up blockers” were standard parts of web browser software, there existed a fantastic* scam. To foster more advertising revenue,browsers allowed certain websites to toss little boxes up on your screen, over the top of everything else you were watching. So,someone figured out that virus protection software like McAfee and Norton did the same thing when they detected a virus.

Scammers modified the web “pop-ups”to look like anti-virus ones. The catch, if you clicked on the“pop-up” you authorised your browser to infect your PC… and because you authorised it, your actual anti-virus software could do nothing about it.

“Pop-up blockers” now prevent that from happening (for the most part), but it hasn’t stopped advertisements on webpages from doing (basically) the same thing. Messages include, “Your PC is Infected,” “x Infections Detected: Click Here To Clean,” and my personal favourite, “Your PC Is Running Slow: Click Here To Fix.”

The headline above says it all…neither your browser nor any website can detect the state of your PC.If you see it, it’s a scam… so avoid it.

More Fun Scams…

I ran across a pretty good one this morning. It purports to be from FedEx shipping, but the link is actually to the following address…

Some Favorite Scams…

This one looks much better than most, even highlighting itself with the phrase SECURE. Again, it gives itself away in two obvious ways: first, the FROM address ends in NO-REPLY.COM instead of something with AMAZON in it, and second, the link under CLICK HERE is nothing to do with AMAZON, either (GOO.GL?).

Cyber Attacks and You…

So, if you read the newspaper or listen to the radio, it’s already too late. Cyber attackers have invaded your home and taken your children hostage. Time to give up.

First of all, most people writing for mainstream news outlets are neither security nor technology experts. One might suggest that if they were, they would be doing something different with their lives.

Here are some tips:

  • Do NOT open email attachments without first vetting them for legitimacy and scanning them with a professional-grade scanning tool
  • Do NOT run downloads from websites as above (vetting and scanning)
  • Be wary of free tools (graphics, video, audio, etc.) found on the Internet
  • Keep ALL operating systems updated with their most current security updates
  • Replace any operating systems and application versions that have been discontinued by a manufacturer
  • Keep a current OFFLINE backup on a regular basis
  • Install and maintain a professional-grade malware protection application on every machine (particularly, those powered by Microsoft)

There are, of course, other preventative measures, but following these tried and tested methods would have prevented most (if not all) of the recent attacks.

The question is, have you done all of the above. If not, do it now. Specifically, get a USB flash disk or a USB hard drive and back up any files you cannot afford to lose.

Do it right now.

As always… having a good plan and the right equipment means the difference between irritation and catastrophe.