Anyone who has been to see us over the past few weeks will know that we were a temporary maternity unit for Speedy and her latest (and final) litter.  The wee ones were both a delight and a huge worry for the time that they were here, thankfully Speedy is a brilliant mum and all six thrived and have now all been rehomed.  All are thriving.  Speedy herself was finally captured (she isn’t called Speedy for nothing) and thanks to Cedramount Vets won’t be having any more kittens.

Thanks to all who left in food, milk and treats, and also to the brave souls who took on young kittens 🙂

Current Ransomware threat

You will no doubt have heard about the current Ransomware which has crippled Windows computers in the NHS in England and Scotland.

What we know so far:

Only Windows based computers are at risk.

It does not seem to come from a spam or spoofed email, although continue to treat these with utmost suspicion. The means of original infection remains unknown.

Only large organisations have been targeted so far.

Not many ransoms have been paid ($54,000 as of this morning, so in global terms not a lot).

There have not been large scale infections of home computers or networks.

What to do:

Have an up to date, working, tested backup, and disconnect the backup media when it isn’t in use. If it is connected to your PC and you are infected, it is encrypted too.

Make sure you have all Windows updates installed and up to date.

If you are running an older, unsupported version of Windows (Windows 7 is supported until January 2020, Windows 8.1 until January 2018, Windows 10 until October 2025, anything else has no current support) please seriously consider moving to a newer platform to avoid risk or catastrophic data loss.

If you are infected, turn the PC off, and bring it to us. Do not pay the ransom.

If you are feeling especially paranoid, turn your router off and stay offline until there is more information on this threat (this is what the Health Service Executive in Ireland have basically done).

Contact us or help or advice on anything mentioned above.

New scam – not here yet, but on the way

This one, reported in the Independent, is really nasty, and worth looking out for, as it will be very easy to fall for:

How it would stand up in court appears unclear, but it’s yet another way to steal your money…

Happy New Year

A very belated Happy 2017 to all our clients.

We hit the ground running in 2017, and haven’t had much time to add anything here before now.

The usual HMRS email and Microsoft / BT / Talk Talk (not) scams continue, and are more sophisticated than ever, so please be very careful. If you receive an unexpected communication by phone or email regard it as a scam until you can absolutely verify that it is not.

Apple owners are also now targets for scammers – this is fairly new and will will report in depth on it next week. It scam involves an on-screen message from “Apple Care”. Apple will not send unsolicited messages directly to your computer, so please be aware of this.

Christmas 2016 holidays

We will be closing on Friday 23rd December at 1.00 pm, and re-opening on 3rd January at 9.00 am.

Many thanks to everyone who has made 2016 one of our best years ever – we wouldn’t be here without you.

Happy Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful 2017 to everyone.

Ongoing threats

While there hasn’t been a “new” virus or spyware threat for a while, all of the old favorites are still out there and still active.

Some to look out for (and not fall for) are:

1: The HMRC tax refund email

This is an email from HMRC to tell you that you are due a refund, usually of Income Tax. The email contains a link to supposedly claim your refund. The link takes you to an official looking website where you are required to enter personal and bank details in order to claim the money. The whole thing is a scam – HMRC will write to you if they need to speak to you, and do not generally use email to communicate with the public

2: The “Police” virus

We’ve written extensively about this one in the past, basically your computer is locked and and a ransom demanded to unlock it. This is theft, pure and simple, do not pay, and take your PC, laptop or tablet to someone (us 🙂 ) who knows how to get rid of it.

3: The technical support phone scam

Again, we’ve written and warned a lot about this one. Microsoft, “Windows”, BT, “your broadband provider” or anyone else will never, ever ring to tell you that there is a problem with your computer’s hardware which they have detected. All this is is an opportunity for the thieves to take control of your computer, steal your personal details and a fair chunk of your money. Hang up at once if you receive such a call.

4: The bogus charity wall chart / diary

One for businesses more, but still a scam. A pleasant sounding (usually northern) caller will ask if you want to support an anti-bullying (or similar) campaign in return for advertising in a local school, college, library etc, then get you to sign up for a Standing Order and a contract. There is no such campaign, and the callers can become abusive when challenged. We have fallen for this, then became aware of it, and now give as good as we get on the phone.

5: The “Locky” trojan

This one is really nasty, and encrypts your files beyond recovery. It arrives as an email attachement, usually in MS Word format, which when opened is garbled and unreadable. Once it has been opened, the damage is done and the trojan software is at work. Any files changed by the trojan are unreadable, and it cannot be reversed. At the end of the encryption process, a ransom for the decrytpion key is demanded. This is usually several hundred pounds, and is not guaranteed to work once purchased.


A good rule of thumb is that anything that appears to be too good to be true usually is, and that anyone ringing out of the blue will likely not have your best interests at heart. If in doubt, delete the email or hang up the phone.

EE Broadband customer support

It isn’t very often that we have anything good to say about ISP customer support (yes, we do mean you, Talk Talk), but we had reason to contact EE earlier today on behalf of a new client who had no broadband connection.

After the inevitable “press one for…” routine, the phone was answered after one ring, and a very helpful representative cheched the line and carried out the usual tests – “have you switched it off?”, “is it in the master socket?” etc.

As we were talking he was running a line test, and quickly worked out that there was an external fault. He escalated the problem to Level 2 support, and promised a call back within 24 hours. All of this took no more than ten minutes.

It was actually a pleasure to contact EE. We will see if they keep up the good work and phone back as promised. 



We came across this article earlier:

It appears that Samsung computers don’t yet work with Windows 10, almost a year after its release to the public. Given that Microsoft are making it more and more difficult to stop the upgrade, this is very interesting indeed.

“Locky” Trojan

This is a new twist on an old and very nasty Trojan, and one which can potentially cause you to lose the contents of your PC or laptop without hope of recovery.

It starts with an email which has a Microsoft Word document attached. The email title usually mentions an invoice or a document, and you may or may not know the sender. When you open the document, the Trojan downloads and starts to encrypt the files on your computer. It changes the file name to an incomprehensible string of letters and numbers, and then changes the file extension to .locky. All of the files in your computer will eventually be encrypted in this manner.

The Trojan also adds a file called “help” to every folder it encrypts. This contains instructions to visit a website via a given link, and pay a ransom (usually 1/2 a Bitcoin, at present around £350.00) to obtain an unencryption key for your data. In our experience this is not forthcoming on payment of the ransom, and you are then out of pocket as well as having no data.

There is no solution to this Trojan once it is in your system except a total, very careful wipe of the hard disk and a reload of the Windows system. Any data which has been encrypted is lost.

A defence against it is to keep at least one copy of anything important to you on a seperate physical medium, such as an external hard disk drive or USb flash drive, and to disconnect this from your PC or laptop when you aren’t using it. Any drives attached or network shares are vunerable to attack.

If you do see your files becoming encrypted, turn the computer off at once. Do not switch it back on until you have brought it to us for remedial action. The faster we get it, the more of your files we can save.

Easter 2016 holidays

We will be closed on Monday & Tuesday of next week (28th & 29th March) and re-open on Wednesday 30th.

We already have a substantial amount of work booked in for next week, so please don’t call with us unless you have a prior arrangement to do so, as there will probably be no-one here to help you.