Australia ranked second in the world for ransomware detections

Australia is second in the world in ransomware detections

Australia recorded the second highest number of ransomware detections worldwide in Q1 this year, with 6 per cent of total detections, and ranked third in the world for the highest number of users who clicked malicious URLs throughout the quarter (5 per cent), according to Trend Micro’s Q1 threat roundup report.

The report also found that the number of ransomware infections that occurred in Australia and New Zealand in Q1 jumped from 16 per cent to 28 per cent for enterprises since the previous quarter, and small businesses from 6 per cent to 14 per cent.

Types of threats

The threats were made up of combination of new and old threat variations. Users from Australia and New Zealand fell victim to Crypto-ransomware attacks, with infection counts quadrupling from 1,540 in Q1 2014 to 7,844 in Q1 2015. Crypto-ransomware infections make up almost half (49%) of the total ransomware volume found as of last quarter

Old threats have been invigorated with new targeted attack tools, tactics and procedures. There has been a resurgence of macro-malware, with 5 per cent of the world’s macro-malware detected in Australia in Q1 2015. The FREAK flaw also posed further security challenges as it presented more vulnerabilities in open source operating systems and applications.

No industry exempt

“Ransomware is very much top of mind for IT managers in Australia and New Zealand as we see fresh campaigns from cyber-criminals regularly,” said Dhanya Thakkar, managing director at Trend Micro Asia Pacific.

“Even though we are early in the year, it is clear 2015 is shaping up to be noteworthy in terms of volume, ingenuity and sophistication of attacks.”

“While we need to constantly update our systems to protect against new attacks, the first quarter of 2015 clearly showed we need to also watch out for older threats, and how no industry or system should feel exempt.”

Do you have concerns about the IT and online security of your business? Speak to Interlinked today on 1300 302 207 or send us a message online here.

Office 365 now available on Android Tablet

Office 365 now available for Android tablets

Keep your business running wherever you go with Office 365 for Android tablets

Office 365 is now available for Android tablets – download the apps now and start doing more on the go!

Click on the icons below for the Google play download page:


Microsoft Office is pre-installed on Windows Phone, but you can also get it for iPhone®, iPad® and Android™ phone.

Download on the App store Get it on Google play

Need help getting started? Speak to us today on 1300 302 207 or send us a message online here.


Apple New iMac & Macbook Pro

Apple releases new 27-Inch retina 5K iMac and updated 15-Inch MacBook Pro

Apple has announced on Tuesday (19th May) announced the new 27-inch iMac with Retina 5k display configuration and the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro updates include: a Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, longer battery life, and better graphics. The new MacBook Pro comes in 2.2GHz and 2.5GHz configurations, and both come with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB memory, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics cards, with the higher-end 2.5GHz model gaining expected boosts in flash storage and memory.

“The response to the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been amazing, and today we are thrilled to bring the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage and longer battery life to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, “Customers love the groundbreaking iMac with Retina 5K display, and now with a new lower starting price, even more people can experience the best desktop we’ve ever made.”

The new model of the 27-inch iMac is a 3.3GHz configuration with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 1TB hard drive and Retina 5K display.

Are you looking to upgrade or buy new Apple products? Interlinked is an Apple Authorised Reseller and can assist with your next purchase. Speak to us today on 1300 302 207 or send us a message here.

The End is Near for Windows Server 2003

The end is near for Windows Server 2003

For companies that don’t make the move to migrate off Windows Server 2003 before Microsoft ends support in less than two months, there will be a rise in security and compliance risk for your business.

Windows Server 2003 has been a reliable operating system used by millions of servers globally, but as of 14th July 2015 Microsoft will no longer issue patches and security updates for its Server 2003 operating system, meaning the potential for vulnerabilities will increase significantly.

“Unprotected systems make organisations more susceptible to data breaches, loss of critical, confidential data, and business disruption such as an inability to run mission critical transactions or deliver customer services – all of which damage the brand and the customer’s trust. On top of that, organisations incur the costs associated with system remediation, investigation, customer care and potential lawsuits following the attack,” said Piero DePaoli, senior director of global enterprise security product marketing at Symantec.

A system remaining on the Server 2003 operating system is essentially an open door for attackers looking for the path of least resistance into an organisation’s infrastructure, potentially compromising the entire organisation.

“We expect attacks will peak around mid-July when support officially ends, as [Server 2003] will then be one of the least secure systems in existence,” DePaoli added.

If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your datacentre, you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. By migrating to a new, more secure operating system or service that can do the job of your old Windows Server, you can achieve concrete benefits, including improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements, and increased agility and speed of response to the business.

Are you uncertain about whether this applies to your business or what your next steps should be? See our quick migration checklist below:


Migration Checklist – End of Life of Windows Server 2003:

  1. Check if Windows Server 2003 is running on your network
    Contact your IT service provider for an assessment or download the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit to analyse your current IT infrastructure
  2. Understand your options
    There are a few main options for server migration:
    –  Upgrade the Operating System on your existing hardware
    –  Migrate the roles and services of the old server to a new one
     –  Offload services to the Cloud (such as Office 365)
    If you are unsure which is the best for your business situation, speak to an IT service provider as they can help you understand your options further and suggest the most suitable plan of action for your business requirements
  3. Assess your situation
    Identify the applications and workloads that are running on Windows Server 2003 and categorise them by type, importance, risk factor and degree of complexity
  4. Build migration action plan
    Based on your assessments, determine the migration destination for each application and workload, and plan your migration around these processes to ensure a seamless transition

Not sure where to start? Interlinked can help! Speak to us today on 1300 302 207 or send us a message here.


Cryptolocker with Breaking Bad twist

New wave of Cryptolocker with a Breaking Bad twist

A new iteration of the crypto ransomware has emerged in Australia, which themes itself around the hugely popular U.S. crime drama show Breaking Bad.

Identified by security firm Symantec, the new threat a.k.a. Trojan.Cryptolocker.S ransomware features the ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’ logo from the show, which is the fried chicken chain brand used by drug-lord Gustavo Fring to launder his nationwide crystal meth manufacturing operation.

The malware encrypts videos, documents, images and other files, on the target computer using a random Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) key, and the private key can only be obtained by paying the attackers. Victims are then ordered to pay up to $1,000 AUD in order to get their files unlocked.

Additionally part of the anonymous email address supplied in the instructions on how to pay the ransomware authors features the signature quote “I am the one who knocks”, a sinister statement by lead character Walter White.

CrptoLocker - Breaking Bad Twist

Symantec reports their understanding that Trojan.Cryptolocker.S ends up on users’ machines via social engineering, and say that the first point of infection is a zip archive containing the malicious VBC.Downloader.Trojan, entitled – in this case – PENALTY.VBS. The file decompresses to a non-malicious PDF in order to convince the victim that the unzipping operation was harmless, whereas it has actually unleashed the crypto ransomware upon the unwilling victim.

The crypto ransomware targets files with the following extensions for encryption:

  • .ai
  • .crt, .csv
  • .db, .doc, .docm, .docx, .dotx
  • .gif
  • .jpeg, .jpg
  • .lnk
  • .mp3, .msi
  • .ods, .one, .ost
  • .p12, .pdf, .pem, .pps, .ppsx, .ppt, .pptx, .psd, .pst, .pub
  • .rar, .raw, .rtf
  • .tif, .txt
  • .vsdx
  • .wma
  • .xls, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xml
  • .zip

A good backup schedule can help protect against this type of malware as you would not need to decrypt a file if you already have a copy of it – however there is still the possibility that a new and hard to recreate file may be encrypted before it is backed up.

A few tips to stay protected:

  • Ensure your backups are working and you have a rotating set of drives or tapes
  • Ensure your Antivirus is up-to-date
  • Alert users to new malware campaigns immediately
  • Educate users about phishing emails and other social engineering tactics
  • Prevent downloading executable or zipped attachments via HTTP/HTTPS connections.
  • Microsoft Essentials, AVG, and other free antivirus products should not be used
  • Isolate infected endpoints from the network as soon as possible

If you have any urgent concerns regarding this issue, please contact Interlinked on 1300 302 207.

“I am the one who knocks”

Welcome ATC

Welcome Australian Technology Corporation

Interlinked is pleased to announce our recent acquisition of Australian Technology Corporation, IT & telecommunications solutions provider servicing Sydney. Our company benefits from the acquisition as we continue to grow as a leading provider of IT&T solutions.

The acquisition will also bring about many benefits to clients who now have easier access to our wide array of services, including business phone systems, managed IT, cloud computing and software development, as well as a larger support team to service all your technological needs.

It is our goal to continue providing the highest level of service to our valued clients and we look forward to speaking to you about your next telecoms or IT project! If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sales: or 1300 302 207
Support: or 1300 302 207
Accounts: or 1300 302 207

Skype for Business

Skype for Business to replace Lync

Microsoft has recently announced the rollout of Skype for Business, signalling the beginning of the end for Lync, its Office collaboration tool.

Office 365 customers using Lync Online are first in line to receive Skype for Business Online in a rollout that will continue through into May. Skype for Business is also now available as a standalone plan.

Customers using Lync Online now with Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Business Premium or Office 2013 will see the Skype for Business client as the default in place of Lync.

The company is providing Office 365 administrators control of when the updated experience is rolled out to their users, and the ability to toggle between Skype for Business and the traditional Lync user interface for customers that need more time to adjust to this transition.

Benefits of the transition to Skype for Business for your organisation:

  • Skype-inspired design With the same look and feel of the Skype client, your users will benefit from the same familiar user interface and ease of use with the new Skype for Business clients.
  • Global reach Voice and video connectivity to the entire Skype network.
  • Full Lync feature set Because Skype for Business builds on existing Lync features, no features or functionality will be lost.

Changes to expect

  • Lync 2013 clients are changing to Skype for Business clients.
  • Lync Web app is changing to Skype for Business web app.
  • Lync admin center is changing to Skype for Business admin center.
  • Lync Online is changing to Skype for Business Online.

All new User Interface

Contact window and features inspired by Skype:

Skype for Business

Meetings experience and buttons with the look and feel of Skype:

Skype for Business

Skype for Business icon in taskbar:

Skype for Business

Skype for Business title bar (Lync mode):

Skype for Business

Skype for Business title bar (Skype for Business client):

Skype for Business

Windows Search using either names returns Skype for Business:

Skype for Business

Already on Skype for Business?

Here is a step-by-step guide for new users:

NEC Xen Topza - End of Support

NEC Xen Topaz has reached End of Support

As of Monday 6th April, 2015, the NEC Xen Topaz phone system has reached End of Support from NEC.

The product was launched in Australia in 2004 and has been a very successful key telephone system for our customers throughout the years.

As it is now in its End of Life, NEC will no longer be providing support or spare parts for this product.

If you are currently using the NEC Xen Topaz, to ensure continued quality of your phone system we highly recommend an upgrade to the NEC SL1100, with many added benefits including:

  • Voice conferencing with up to 4 simultaneous conferences and 32 parties
  • Up to 16 ports of Voicemail support with email notification
  • Mobile Extension
  • SIP Trunk support
  • Remote networking support when out of the office

For further details, please feel free to contact us or give us a ring on 1300 302 207

Infectious Spam Alert

Infectious Spam Alert

Over the past week we have had a significant amount of infectious spam emails going out to our clients.

Below are some examples of emails that have been quarantined by our email security system, with senders imitating the Australian Tax Office, Australia Post and other trusted organisations.

spam-1 spam-2 spam-3

A few tips to help you stay protected:

  • Ensure that your backups are working and you have a rotating set of drives or tapes
  • Ensure your Antivirus is up-to-date
  • Be aware of any emails that ask you to reply quickly or act fast
  • Alert users to new malware campaigns immediately.
  • If the email is from someone you do not know, do not open it
  • Implement effective email security tools and policies, such as blocking executable or zipped attachments from unknown senders, or setting email filtering rules.
  • Prevent downloading executable or zipped attachments via HTTP/HTTPS connections.
  • Microsoft Essentials, AVG, and other free AV products should not be used
  • Isolate infected endpoints from the network as soon as possible
  • Subscribe to alert services such as Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online, which updates on the latest trends in our region.

If you have received this email and have any urgent concerns regarding this issue, please contact Interlinked on 1300 302 207.

Related posts:

Office 365 now hosted in Australia

Office 365 now live in Australian data centres

Microsoft has now gone live with Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online hosted in data centres located in Australia.

Despite the rising popularity of cloud computing, security has remained a major business concern. With Microsoft’s cloud services previously being hosted overseas, varying privacy laws could mean unwanted access to business data stored in the cloud. Microsoft addresses such data sovereignty concerns by its move to local data centres, a key step in the rollout of Microsoft cloud services in the country.

These services will use the same infrastructure as its Azure public cloud, and Office 365 partners can deliver geo-redundant backup as well as faster performance, said Microsoft’s director of partner business and development, Philip Goldie.

Existing Office 365 customers with services hosted in its Asia Pacific region will be automatically moved to Australia unless they opt-out. Customers will be given six weeks advance notice of their move date, which will occur out of business hours.

Microsoft partners expect the arrival of Office 365 on Aussie shores to drive uptake, with some customers waiting for locally hosted services.

Are you looking to move to Office 365? We can help! Interlinked is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner – contact us today for your Office 365 needs.