Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
0800 880 3360
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Sun 23rd Jan 2011
Cyber thieves are cashing in after stealing credit cards in a hack attack on the website of cosmetics firm Lush.
 
The online shop was shut down on 21 January and its home page replaced with a message revealing the attack.
 
Lush said anyone who placed an online order between 4 October and 20 January should contact their bank in case their card details had been compromised.
 
Many Lush customers have reported that their cards have been used fraudulently.
 
Comments posted on the Facebook page of Lush revealed that many customers were angry about the security lapse that may have spanned four months.
 
Many said they had lost money or had to cancel cards in case they were about to be abused. Some said Lush should have noticed the problem earlier and called for compensation for the money they have lost.
 
Security expert Rik Ferguson from Trend Micro said the sums of money the hackers were taking could be significant.
 
"I was initially alerted to the attack by one of my own friends whose card, along with her husband's, have subsequently been used to make fraudulent purchases totalling almost £6000 from well-known online retailers," wrote Mr Ferguson on the Trend Micro blog.
 
"The risk of these stolen card numbers being used by criminals has already moved from the theoretical to reality," he said.
 
Hilary Jones, ethical director at Lush, said the firm became aware of problems on Christmas day when hackers were discovered to have penetrated the site.
 
The site was taken down and did little trade between Christmas and New Year while Lush investigated to see if the hackers were merely mischievous or out to make money.
 
It became obvious that the hackers were after cash as European customers began reporting small purchases made with credit cards that had been used on Lush and other web shops.
 
Ms Jones said the small transactions were "test" purchases that thieves do to see if a stolen credit card is still live.
 
She said that when it became obvious that a lot of test purchases were being made and the Lush site was the key, the company shut down its store and told customers what had happened.
 
"As an ethical company we could not keep that information to ourselves," said Ms Jones. "We had to tell a huge raft of customers."
 
The four-month window that people needed to check was a safeguard to ensure all at-risk customers were covered, she said. The site was not vulnerable throughout that time.
 
"We really want to make sure we cover all possibilities," said Ms Jones. "We wanted to tell more customers than less."
 
The Lush website has been "retired" and a new online shop is set to appear in a few days but will initially only accept payment through Paypal.
 
Ms Jones said a forensic investigation was underway to find out how the thieves broke into the site.
 
Hack attack
At the same time, Trapster in the US has reported that it too has been hit by hackers.
 
The site, which helps people avoid speed cameras and road hazards, issued a warning to its 10 million users saying their e-mail addresses and passwords may be in the hands of attackers.
 
It said the attackers breached the site once and managed to get away with the data. Trapster's warning triggered a similar one by Twitter advising people to change their password and avoid using the same one on different sites.
 
The attack could mean that accounts on other sites get taken over by spammers and used to send junk mail.
 
In mid-December Gawker Media's revelation that its servers had been hacked and 1.3 million accounts had been compromised gave rise to warnings from Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and World of Warcraft maker Blizzard asking people to change login details.
 
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 25th Aug 2010

We are currently moving offices and may be unable to attend to your requests immediately. We expect to return to normal on Tuesday 31st August 2010, in the meantime if your enquiry is urgent or needs attention before that date please telephone us on 0845 4 300 366

Kind regards

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Sat 14th Aug 2010

The growing use of graphics cards as surrogate supercomputers could spell trouble for users of short passwords.

Researchers say the growing number of processors on graphics cards will soon make it trivial for them to crack short passwords.

A password of seven characters or less will soon be "hopelessly inadequate" they claim.

The researchers suggest passwords should be at least 12 characters long to be safe.

Brute force

A team led by Richard Boyd from the Georgia Tech Research Institute has been investigating what effect the number-crunching power of modern graphics cards could have on the crackability of passwords.

Many graphics cards employ hundreds of so-called stream processors working in parallel to render images. Many scientists now use the basic arithmetical properties of these processors to help crunch through data generated during experiments.
The number crunching abilities of graphics cards are now comparable to the multi-million dollar supercomputers built about a decade ago, said Mr Boyd.
The parallel processing systems inside graphics cards are very good at carrying out so-called "brute force" attacks that effectively try every possible combination of letters and numbers until the right one is found.
Longer passwords take longer to crack and offer better protection, say the researchers.
"Right now we can confidently say that a seven-character password is hopelessly inadequate," said Mr Boyd, "and as GPU power continues to go up every year, the threat will increase."
A better alternative, he suggested, would be a 12-character combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols and digits.
Ultimately, suggest the researchers, users may be forced to rely on whole sentences that are a mix of different sorts of characters to ensure no-one else can guess their password and get at online services.

Many graphics cards employ hundreds of so-called stream processors working in parallel to render images. Many scientists now use the basic arithmetical properties of these processors to help crunch through data generated during experiments.
The number crunching abilities of graphics cards are now comparable to the multi-million dollar supercomputers built about a decade ago, said Mr Boyd.
The parallel processing systems inside graphics cards are very good at carrying out so-called "brute force" attacks that effectively try every possible combination of letters and numbers until the right one is found.
Longer passwords take longer to crack and offer better protection, say the researchers.
"Right now we can confidently say that a seven-character password is hopelessly inadequate," said Mr Boyd, "and as GPU power continues to go up every year, the threat will increase."
A better alternative, he suggested, would be a 12-character combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols and digits.
Ultimately, suggest the researchers, users may be forced to rely on whole sentences that are a mix of different sorts of characters to ensure no-one else can guess their password and get at online services.

- BBC technology

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 27th Jul 2010
 

The PRIMERGY RX100 S6 is a low-cost, easily-implementable platform sporting the latest Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® 3400 processor series, integrated SAS/SSD or SATA RAID 0/1/5/6 and up to 32 GB of memory; all packed into a 1U space-saving chassis. Integrated network and management functions together with the latest power saving technologies make it the ideal server for data center infrastructure solutions.

“The RX100 S6 offers a good specification for the price and is a better bet than Dell's PowerEdge R210 on a number of counts”

 “The design works well in practice as even with five cooling fans inside it, we found the review server to be incredibly quiet. In fact, it made less noise that an HP ProCurve 48-port Gigabit switch sitting in the rack above it.”

“The RX100 uses a single, cold-swap 350W power supply and it's frugal with power consumption. Our in-line meter measured a draw of 71W with Windows Server 2008 R2 in idle and with SiSoft Sandra brutalising the eight logical processor cores, this peaked at only 112W.”


“..making the RX100 S6 a better choice if you want more storage options, greater expansion potential plus peace and quiet.”

To read the full review please click here


New Enhanced Feature Set

 


For full specifications please click here


Performance

The RX100 S6 integrates the latest generation Intel® mono processor platform: the Intel 3420 chip set with up to Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processor 3400 series.

Benchmark information can be found here

   
 
 
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 27th Jul 2010

 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/05/malware_cold_calling/

Beware of cold call scammers pushing rogue antivirus Alert PrintRetweetFacebookAgain 

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco • Get more from this author 

Posted in Malware, 5th July 2010 06:02 GMT 

Malware-pushing scammers appear to be stepping up their use of telephone-based pitches, resulting in an increase in reports from the UK of high-pressure cold calls designed to trick people into installing rogue antivirus products and other nasties. 

Over the past few weeks, at least two people close to The Reg — including reporter Bill Ray, who has seen his share of scams — have received the dire warnings that their PCs are riddled with malware that can be purged with just a few clicks directed by the person on the other end. On Friday, antivirus provider Eset UK, citing an increase in the calls, warned computer users to remain vigilant. 

The pitches vary, but they generally involve a professional-sounding person who may be calling from a phone center who warns that malware has been detected and is now attacking other computers. Skeptical receivers may be asked to open the Windows event viewer for proof of infection before ultimately being asked to give the caller remote access through logmein123.com or other services. Eventually, the scammers will install rogue antivirus software or other malware that is extremely difficult to remove. 

The scammers are undaunted when would-be victims say they don't need help from a perfect stranger calling over the phone from heaven knows where. 

“Turn your computer on and in a few clicks we can sort it out for you,” one caller told a family member of Paul Young, an IT employee at Sophos, another UK-based antivirus provider. The scammer knew her name and number even though her phone wasn't listed. Shortly after hanging up, she received another call from someone claiming to be working for a different company, who used slightly different tactics. 

Of course, when Young inspected the PC later, he found no signs of any infection. 

The scam has been going on for more than a year, but other than the domain names, supportonclick.com, go4sapling.com and metsupport.com, researchers say they know little about the people behind the calls. 

Once upon a time, malware pushers thrived off of vulnerabilities built into Microsoft Windows and the applications that ran on top of it. As software companies have gotten better at locking down their products, crooks resorted to popups designed to trick marks into installing the malicious wares. Now, with the cost of calls at an all-time low, it's only natural the scams would move to cold calls. 

Eset says the scammers charge up to £79 to install the malware, which often masquerades as titles from legitimate antivirus providers. ®

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 21st Jul 2010

We are moving... our new office will have a swimming pool!!

 OK - we wont be having a swimming pool but we are really pleased to tell you we are  moving on 26th and 27th August.

Our new address will be       

Discus Systems plc
Patrick Farm Barns
Patrick Farm
Meriden Road
Hampton - in - Arden
Solihull
West Midlands
B92 0LT

Tel:   0845 4300366
Fax:  0845 4300368

Our office will be open as usual during the move with normal service available, although we would ask you to be aware that staff will be involved with the move and there may be some delay answering specific enquiries.

We are very excited about our new premises and would invite you to drop in and see us if you are in the area.

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 19th Jul 2010

The LIFEBOOK A530 is an affordable business notebook that balances performance, best-in-class mobility and value for money. This entry to business computing introduces various new features to the value range of notebooks, including the new Intel® Core i3/i5 technology, 15.6” LED widescreen, ergonomic keyboard with separate number-pad, HDMI port, Bluetooth, WLAN b/g/n and optional 3G/UMTS. The result is a great value all round notebook for the small office, providing connectivity wherever you are.


The LIFEBOOK A530 is now in stock with distribution (see below for available configurations and order codes) and we are pleased to offer a discounted 3 year Courier Collect and Return Warranty on the LIFEBOOK A530 notebook. You can save £20 on the warranty upgrade, giving complete peace of mind when purchasing the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK.

Order Code Configuration £
VFY:A5300mf031gb 15.6" HD LED, Intel Core i3 330m, 2gb, 250gb, dvdrw, wind 7 prof/XP downgrade, Wlan, cam 497.2
vfy:a5300mf041gb 15.6" HD led, intel core i3 330m, 3gb, 320gb, dvdrw, win 7 pro/xp downgrade, wlan, cam 531.3
VFY:a5300mf051gb 15.6" hd led, intel core i5 430m, 4gb, 320gb, dvdrw, wind 7 prof/xp downgrade, wlan, cam 596.2

Warranty Order Code: FSP:GA3C00Z00GBNEE

Order Code Standard Warranty Standard Warranty Promo Bundle Total Saving
VFY:A5300MF031gb 497.2 53.9 31.9 529.1 22
vfy:a5300mf041gb 497.2 53.9 31.9 529.1 22
vfy:A5300mf051gb 497.2 53.9 31.9 529.1 22

Please call us for more information & up to date pricing on 0800 880 3360 & speak to a member of sales team.

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Jul 2010

This  case is built around a known company and a major motor car dealer. Both will remain anonymous to protect the innocent and the guilty. Why not see how many issues you can find?

The directors of the company we know decided to replace their cars and chose contract hire as the way to finance them. They then trawled the market and identified a few models to look at and following this they decided on their choice. It was a particularly good deal and they set off to the dealership to sort the details and enjoy the uplifting experience of buying a new car. Their salesperson was very attentive and once in control of the detail started the process of identifying the whereabouts of the cars. Then came the first problem; the advertised model was no longer available but there was a new model with a few more "go faster" features, which obviously cost more. The buyers didn't want the extras and there started a two hour negotiation, involving the sales person, their manager and an area manager. At the end of the day a deal was agreed at the advertised price and the deposit paid but the hoped for uplifting experience had longed passed.

Nothing happened for three weeks and suddenly they received an email from the dealer's financing arm saying that their order was progressing, and great news the gismos they didn't want were included on a complimentary basis. The buyers were a bit confused by this as they had been allocated cars without them, and when they read the email in detail, the dealer's definition of complimentary meant £30 a month more! They were incandescent, and immediately called the salesperson at the dealership. They calmly explained their position, and were told that the cars they ordered were no longer available and to make matters worse the new price stood. At this point their calmness disappeared and demanded to speak to the dealership's director. Once again they explained what had happened and the director said he would sort it all out. After a further two days where the dealer spent a lot of time trying to meet the buyer's requirements a new deal at the original price was done. Three weeks later the buyers were told they had failed the financing company's credit checks. The saga continued but for the point of this news letter we will close it at this point. We identified some serious issues in the sales process.

The salesperson overwhelmed by the possibility of selling two brand new cars forgot the basics of selling. He did not qualify the opportunity. Had he asked the financing company to run a credit check, before getting deeply involved in vehicle availability, he would have found that the buyers did not have budget for the purchase. Not only did he waste sales time he wasted significant amounts of management and other people's time.

Secondly, don't advertise what you can't deliver as this was the cause of the problems.

Next, it is always easier to sell what the customer wants not what you can make. This is how Toyota competed with the motor industry to become the biggest car manufacturer in the world

Finally, don't make a promise then break it, and don't break it twice as happened here.

How did the buyers feel? The following statement aptly summarises their view. "It takes years to earn loyalty but not long to lose it".

 Information taken from Newsletter issue 61 - June 2010

Steve Rowe, Director

Koru Consulting Limited

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 1st Jul 2010

Take advantage of Fujitsu’s latest PRIMERGY four socket rack server, the RX600 S5. Topping the latest price/performance comparison charts as well as setting a new world record, the RX600 S5 is the industry leading Nehalem-EX server. Additionally, being directly compared with the competition, the RX600 S5 has achieved a fanastic review.

PRIMERGY RX600 S5 Review

“Fujitsu scores well for value and the system offers a very high expansion potential”

“For systems management software Fujitsu concentrates on server management only. Consequently, we found it much easier to deploy and use than Dell’s Management Console or HP’s Insight Control Edition which both want to manage everything on your network.”

“Power redundancy looks good as the server supports up to four 850W hot-swap supplies …These are all easily accessible at the rear of the chassis.”

“Standing at 4U, the RX600 S5 is the same height as the Dell and IBM servers but offers an unusually high internal expansion potential. The R910 and x3850 both offer seven PCI-e 2.0 slots but Fujitsu pushes the count up to 10.”

“A fine choice of RAID options are on Fujitsu’s menu as an 8-port SAS controller is provided as standard.”

“Fujitsu employs a tool-free internal design so you can leave your screwdrivers at home for maintenance and upgrades.”

For the full review please click here.

Benchmarks

The PRIMERGY RX600 S5 sets new World Record in the SAP Business Intelligence Benchmark

·         845,649 query navigation steps/h in the SAP BI Data Mart (BI-D) Standard Application Benchmark

·         Linux SLES10 , Oracle 11 g database, Netweaver 7.0

·         Certification date: March 30, 2010

·         For more information please click here.

RX600 S5 leads TPC-E price/performance results table setting a new performance record in the 4-way server class

·         The RX600 S5 was the first system to break the 200 $ /tpsE   Price/Performance Barrier

·         18th June 2010

·          For more information please click here.
 

RX600 S5 Features

The quad socket PRIMERGY RX600 S5 is an ideal platform for database management systems in medium or large-sized databases. Utilising integrated redundancy functions with server management components the RX600 S5 offers high availability and IT efficiency. Market leading performance levels and best-in-class efficiency are achieved with the latest Xeon 7500 series processors as well as highly expandable memory and PCI slots.


For more information on the RX600 S5 please call on 0800 880 3360

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 29th Jun 2010

"Nearly two thirds of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises will invest in their businesses again this year after most froze spending last year.  However, SMEs are now more likely than ever to outsource IT services to avoid large up front costs, says research. "

Article taken from computerweekly.com/241632.htm

To avoid large upfront costs contact Damien 0800 880 3360  for details .

 
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