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Monday, 20 June 2016

Ransomware


Ransomware is a viral system that installs itself on your computer and then searches out various document, Excel and databases and encrypts them with an impossible to crack password.  The perpetrator then send a demand for payment, usually in Bitcoins to release the files.  Once payment has been made the password is supplied which will unlock the files.

Sadly a number of victims have paid the ransom only to find that the password is not supplied or a further demand for payment is made.

The alternative to paying the ransom  is to clear all infected files and restore from a good backup.
I received such an email which purported to be an invoice with a zip attachment.  It arrived on a Sunday so I was sure it wasn’t genuine.  I downloaded it to a totally isolated machine so as not to infect our platform.  The attachment contained an exe file which installed cryptoxxx on the computer and searched for files to encrypt.

There were only a handful of test files which were encrypted.  The ransom email requested 50 bitcoins to release the password. At its current value this is about £1500.

Needless to say we wouldn’t pay.

Apparently the UK is prime hunting grounds for these crooks as curiosity results in people opening these attachments just to see what they are.  The results can be devastating, particularly if good backups are not available.

If you are a victim of one of these scams then report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud




Monday, 6 June 2016

ISO 45001 – replacement for OHSAS 18001

It seems that there is a certain amount of dissent for the latest draft of ISO 45001 which was due to be published later this year in October.

Part of the approval process relies on a positive vote from the 60 or so National Standards Bodies.  Voting took place  following assessment during February and May of this Year; there was a majority  in favour of approval (71%) but  28% voted against.  Astonishingly one Country abstained.

This will mean that it is back to the drawing board.  It was always ambitious to expect 60 countries to agree an Occupational Health & Safety Standard and this emphasises the different approach to H & S  in each country.

Consequently, there will have to be a major re-think and redraft based on the responses from the Country Bodies.  There is even some talk that the Standard may be abandoned if sufficient support cannot be generated.

Watch this space.

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