30 Nov 2013 - Microsoft issues warning of zero day XP bug
Microsoft has issued a warning about a bug in Windows XP and Server 2003 which is being actively exploited by cyber-thieves.
Microsoft have issued an advisory Microsoft Security Advisory (2914486) containing an immediate workaround whist it works on addressing the issue. However the workaround involves turning off some services and will break TAPI, RAS & VPNs.
Once again Windows has been targeted via an insecure third party application. In this case various versions of Adobe Reader.
Full details @ FireEye
26 Nov 2013 - Free Winter IT Audit
Winter is upon us and until the end of February 2014 we are offering a free IT audit for your office or business.
We will audit your IT infrastructure, identify your current and future needs and produce a machine by machine report for you with our recommendations and advice. All with absolutely no obligation whatsoever!
09 Nov 2013 - Microsoft warns of security flaw in key software products
Microsoft has warned that hackers could exploit a zero-day vulnerability in the graphics component of several key products to gain control of users' computers.
The vulnerable component is found in Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2003-2010 and Microsoft Lync.
The flaw lies in the handling of the Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) image files by the graphics processing component in the affected software.
27 Oct 2013 - Contact form issue resolved
An error with our website contact form which prevented users from validating and submitting the form has now been resolved.
We apologise to anyone who has experienced difficulties with this.
20 Oct 2013 - Apple slashes iPhone 5C production amid poor sales
Reports from China claim Apple have slashed production of the iPhone 5C due to dismal sales.
This was entirely predictable.
It's difficult to understand Apple's thought processes around the 5C. It needed to produce a cheaper phone to allow it to penetrate the Asian markets, the 5C was announced, it looked cheaper, felt cheaper but they didn't drop the price.
Full article @ pocket-lint.com
20 Oct 2013 - Windows 8.1 update publically available
Microsoft's update to Windows 8 is now available to download from the Store.
Windows 8.1 offers some significant enhancements particularly for desktop users to address their usability concerns.
We recommend all windows 8 users install this update.
For install details and whats new with 8.1 checkout this Techrepublic article.
17 Oct 2013 - D-link begin fixing router backdoor
Networking equipment company D-Link has begun releasing security patches to close the backdoor discovered on some of its routers.
Security researcher Craig Heffner reversed engineered publicly available d-link router firmware for the DIR-100 revA model, his investigations discovered a backdoor where any browser that connected to the router with a specially crafted User-Agent String would get immediate access to the administration page bypassing the usual username/password controls.
The User-Agent string was : xmlset_roodkcableoj28840ybtide which when written backward contains : edit by 04882 joel backdoor !
A quick check discovered at least a further 11 routers possibly affected and although most of these are consumer (home) grade many will be used by small and medium businesses representing a significant risk to their networks.
D-Link recommends all users check for firmware updates on the D-link site and upgrade if available.
Full article @ Computer Weekly
Craig Heffner blog post (highly technical)
11 Oct 2013 - More woes for Apple's flagship iPhone 5S
Hot on the heels of the embarrassing lock screen security bug found within 24 hours of release of iOS7, reports are now emerging of iPhone 5S's crashing with their very own Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD).
It would seem that Apple are learning the meaning of schadenfreude...
Full details @ The Telegraph
07 Oct 2013 - Get ready for your upgrade to Windows 8.1
Microsoft Windows 8.1 is set to be released in October 2013.
If you already have a Windows 8 computer, you will be able to upgrade to 8.1 for free. We have used the 8.1 preview and think if you are already using Windows 8, the free upgrade to 8.1 is a no-brainer - you want it!
If you are using Windows 7 on a computer without a touchscreen, there is really no compelling reason to upgrade now. However, when buying or building a new PC, there is also no compelling reason not to install Windows 8.1 instead of Windows 7. Despite what you may have heard, once you reach the Windows 8 Desktop, there is really not much difference from a user perspective between 7 and 8.
23 Sep 2013 - Blackberry sold for $4.7bn
As we predicted only yesterday, Blackberry has been sold to a Canadian consortium for $4.7bn ($9 a share).
Full details @ ZDNet
22 Sep 2013 - More woes for Blackberry
Faced with anticipated losses of $1bn Blackberry are cutting 4,500 jobs (40% of its entire worlwide workforce).
In our opinion the outlook for Blackberry looks grim. We anticipate it will go into liquidation within 6 months unless it's bought out by a 3rd party (as Microsoft has done with Nokia)
More details @ BBC News website
20 Sep 2013 - Embarrassing security flaw surfaces in iOS7 within just 24 hours
Apple's 'more secure' iOS7 upgrade has an embarrassing security flaw discovered within just 24 hours of it's release.
The bug allows anyone to unlock an iPhone bypassing the lock screen security and allowing full access to the phones content.
Videos showing the bug in action have already appeared in YouTube.
18 Sep 2013 - Latest iPhones underwhelm
Apple's latest iPhone releases have been met a rather muted response by IT industry insiders. Traditionally the driver of design and innovation, Apple's last few releases have been less about innovation and more about playing catch up.
The iPhone5 was a belated and half-arsed attempt to address Samsung's Galaxy 3, HTC One X & Galaxy Note but just simply didn't go far enough. The new iPhone5S is chasing the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone5C is cloning the Nokia Lumias, but with a price tag that is still far too high.
There are a few items to note. The iPhone5S now carries the 64-bit A7 processor but analysts already doubt this will have much effect on the immediate phone market. Applications are still only 32bit and one of the main benefits of 64 bit technology (being able to address more than 4gb of RAM) are a long way off being met/needed in phones. To counter, Samsung have already announced their next iteration of the Galaxy will also be 64-bit.
The iPhone 5S on-board fingerprint scanner has also raised some privacy and security concerns, particularly with Apple's track record (see Siri Spies on you)
Android still has the lion's share of the phone market outselling iOS by over 4:1. Meanwhile Windows Phone also continues to grow, particularly in the business sector, and could find fresh impetus now that Microsoft is acquiring Nokia's handset business.
More details @ Techrepublic
17 Sep 2013 - New eCommerce customer breaks 1 Million hits in first month!
So big congratulations go to our new customer Pretty Pink Productions for the success of their new eCommerce site Pretty Pink Princess.
Amazingly in the first full month of operation they surpassed over 1 million hits thanks to some celebrity endorsements and a feature on the Daily Mail Online fashion pages.
Thankfully we have plenty of spare hosting capacity to cope with these intense spikes in traffic and our active management made sure this site remained available during these peaks!
18 Aug 2013 - Microsoft and Google in spat over Windows Phone 8 YouTube app
Google has blocked users of Microsoft's Windows 8 YouTube app claiming the app violated its T&Cs.
Drilling down into this and it looks like Google is becoming the new Apple and playing hardball with Microsoft, making demands from the Microsoft developers that have not been made from either the Apple or Android devs.
This is a disappointing move from Google, whose informal company motto was "don't be evil" because in the end it's the user that suffers from this childish behaviour.
Full article @ BBC News
17 Aug 2013 - Windows 8.1 rolls out Oct 18th
The long awaited update to windows 8, roll out on October 18th.
The update called unsuprisingly v8.1 include a number of new features and tweaks aimed at some of the complaints from the desktop market.
The preview has been publicly available for a few weeks now and we think for desktop users it certainly makes more sense.
More details @ Microsoft Technet Blog
17 Aug 2013 - Microsoft warns Windows XP users risk security post April 2014
Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. After that time there will be no more secutity updated available potentially leaving users exposed to any new security flaws discovered after that date.
As Microsoft execs have been cautioning for more than a year, after April 8, 2014, users running Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 -- the last service pack delivered for the 11-year-old operating system -- won't get any more updates. That includes both security and "non-security" hot fixes, free or paid support options and online technical content updates.
Full article over at ZDNet
02 Aug 2013 - Microsoft's SkyDrive name infringes BSkyB trademark
Microsoft have agreed to change the name of it's cloud storage service "SkyDrive" after losing a legal challenge by BSkyB, who claimed the name infringed it's trademarks.
Microsoft have agreed to change the name worldwide after a "transition period".
Full article @ BBC News Website
30 Jul 2013 - 4IT Systems announce free upgrades to all hosting packages
We are pleased to announce that from August 1st we are upgrading all of our hosting packages free of charge.
The upgrades are:-
Disk Quota upgrade from 70Mb to 80Mb
Bandwidth upgrade from 1000Mb to 1500Mb (50% increase)
Disk Quota upgrade from 300Mb to 500Mb (68% increase)
Bandwidth upgrade from 2000Mb to 5000Mb (150% increase)
In addition we have reduced the price of bandwith and disk quota upgrades as follows:-
Disk Quota Increase from £5/10Mb to £4/10Mb
Bandwidth Increase from £5/100Mb to £2/100Mb
Upgrades will happen automatically, no action is required by the customer.
The full hosting Price/Feature list can be found here
14 Jul 2013 - 4IT launch new eCommerce site for client.
We are please to anounce the launch of a new eCommerce site Pretty Pink Princess for our client Pretty Pink Princess Productions Ltd.
This site has been completed using the PrestaShop eCommerce software and customized by us to meet our clients requirements.
We're thrilled that in the first 14 days after launch we have registered over 1/2 Million hits.
Completing this project now adds PrestaShop & oSCommerce to our list of eCommerce offerings.
21 Jun 2013 - Samsung & ASUS reveal hybrid tablets running BOTH Android AND Windows 8!
Want a tablet but not sure which ecosystem to adopt? Well you can now have the best of both worlds, a combined tablet running both Google's Android AND Windows 8 thanks to ASUS and Samsung.
What a brilliant idea!
More details @ BBC News
18 Jun 2013 - Flash webcam flaw on Google's Chrome
A security flaw thought to have been fixed by Adobe in October 2011 has reappeared thanks to a new vulnerability involving Flash Player browser plug-ins.
The as yet unpatched vulnerability creates a means to seize control of webcams without permission before siphoning off video and audio from victims' PCs. The clickjack-style flaw was uncovered by security consultant Egor Homakov, who developed a harmless proof-of-concept exploit to underline his concerns and push for an early fix.
"This works precisely like regular clickjacking - you click on a transparent flash object, it allows access to Camera/Audio channel. Voila, attacker sees and hears you," Homakov explains in a blog post.
Adobe security team spokeswoman Heather Edell confirmed there was an issue but said it was limited to Flash Player for Google Chrome.
"This vulnerability affects users on Flash Player installed with Google Chrome," Edell told El Reg in an email. "Google is working to resolve the issue and plans to provide a fix this week," she added.
The vulnerability would be potentially handy for both perverts and NSA-style spies. Tinfoil hatters who tape over webcams when they aren't in use have been vindicated by the discovery of the problem.
Robert Hansen, director of product management for WhiteHat Security, said the security model adopted by Adobe Flash has contributed to the problem.
"The basic problem with Flash is that it doesn't have modal dialogues that pop up outside of the browser, which can alert the user to what's about to happen," Hansen explained. "Because the dialogues are on the same page as the adversary's code, they can overlay things, make it opaque, and so on, to effectively hide the dialogue warning."
Google recently imposed a seven day deadline for vendors to respond to security bug reports. Homakov's discovery represents the first chance to see whether Google itself can stick to such tight deadlines.
03 Jun 2013 - Windows 8 update nearly here
Microsoft will shortly release a free update to Windows 8 (dubbed Windows 8.1) which as well as adding many new functions and feature will also attempt to address some of the complaints from desktop users.
They've added back a start button (of sorts), and given desktop uses the ability of booting directly to the desktop bypassing the Metro tablet interface.
Having seen the changes it looks like they have done the bare minimum to address these complaints. Possibly not enough to satisfy some.
I must admit. I do miss the start menu. Even though Windows 8 is a good OS, the start menu is enough for me to select Windows 7 every morning when I turn on my pc.
28 Mar 2013 - Google Phishing Notices
FAO All Hosting Clients.
All hosting clients have received e-mails from Google warning of compromised content on their site (phishing).
The format of the phishing page is :-
The phishing URL is attempting to use the mod_userdir facility to access malicious content present on another site on the server.
Please be assured your site has not been compromised and you are not hosting compromised content.
The compromised site content was intercepted and disabled by the hosting support team before Google sent their warnings.
11 Mar 2013 - IP Address Blocklist Updated
We have updated the IP address blocklist and rolled out the new version to all subscribers.
If you wish to take advantage of this facility we can add it to your website for just £50 + vat which includes 3 months worth of updates.
We monitor a number of websites including ecommerce sites to gather information on unwanted visitors. We have analysed February's server logs (over 100,000 lines!) to further identify hacking attempts, vulnarability scanners, unwanted content scrapers, back link spammers etc. As a result of this analysis we have further blocked access from a number of ISPs including:
- Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic
- Saudi Arabia
- China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea (Peoples Republic Of), India
- Brazil, Peru, Mexico
- USA & Canada
- Germany, Italy, France
We also detected hack attempts from a handful of UK addresses which are now included.
07 Mar 2013 - Microsoft make IE10 available to Windows 7 users
Microsoft has made IE10 generally available (it was previously only available to Windows 8 users).
IE10 further improves it's HTML5 and CSS3 support, and also adds HTML Touch support which is currently unavailable in other browsers. It also finally introduces a long awaited automatic spell checker (a feature already available in other browsers).
Microsoft have continued to improve performance with independent tests showing IE10 outstripping other browsers with page-load speed.
IE10 is a fast, standards compliant and very capable browser able to hold it's own against competition from Chrome, Firefox and Opera proving that competition is a very good thing.
Download IE10 directly from Microsoft
06 Feb 2013 - Microsoft Surface Pro Out Friday (in the US!)
The next version of Microsoft's Surface tablet, the Surface Pro is out on Friday. It's an Intel based version running Windows 8 Pro and therefore capable of running all PC desktop apps (unlike the earlier Surface RT).
Initial reviews are somewhat favourable but confused. Microsoft has effectively invented a new type of device (a hybrid), which bridges the gap between a tablet & laptop/ultrabook. Because of this, reviewers are having a hard time trying to compare it to something.
If it's compared to a tablet then it's capable of doing more than any tablet on market but also more expensive ($899 at launch), thicker, heavier & with shorter battery life.
If you compare it to an ultrabook or laptop then it's more portable, has a touch screen & highly accurate digital pen, great build quality but again has a shorter battery life.
So the big question is, will Microsoft find a market for their new invention in the way Apple found with the iPad? Only time will tell, but Microsoft have already hinted that they are working on designs for the next version of the Surface and are in the tablet/hybrid market for the long run.
Check out Techrepublic for an initial review.
01 Feb 2013 - Windows 8 app store falls short of prediction
Just before the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft VP of U.S. Sales & Marketing, Keith Lorizo made the rather foolish prediction that within 90 days of launch, the Windows 8 App Store would reach 100,000 apps. Well 90 days have passed and the grand total reached was 26,645, which is 73,355 short of the 100,000 goal. That's quite a shortfall!
For more in depth analysis, check out this Techrepublic article.
31 Jan 2013 - IP Blocklist Update
We 've updated the IP block list following of analysis of our monitored site logs.
In response to some suspicion activity and hack attempts we've add some blacklisted ISPs in Chicago USA, Turkey & Canada as well as blocking traffic from unwanted/badly behaved search engines including Twenga, Yandex (Russia), Baidu (China), SEOSpider (China).
All customers subscribing to this service now have this update.
22 Jan 2013 - Windows 8 £24.99 upgrade offer ends soon
Microsoft's £24.99 Windows 8 upgrade offer ends 31st Jan 2013.
Even if you don't plan on upgrading to Windows 8 immediately it may still be worth buying this update for future use.
More details @ Microsoft