Tag Archives: Protect your Data

DNA data storage

The future of data storage? Scientists store a FILM in DNA!

Incredibly exciting news has landed in the data storage industry this week! Scientists at Harvard University have discovered a way to encode a film into bacterial data, it has been revealed this week.

As more and more people around the world go online and search for places to store their data, scientists have trying to create new and innovative methods by which individuals can store their data for the future. This method is very unconventional, to say the least – the scientists have been called “crazy” by one newspaper. While DNA data storage had been mentioned before as a possibility, this is an astounding breakthrough. As some people have cleverly pointed out, this is the first truly viral film ever made!

The Harvard scientists managed to encode Eadweard Muybridge’s classic short film Horse in Motion, which was one of the first animations ever made, dating back to 1878. Muybridge’s animation was chosen because it shows a simple movement of a horse galloping, so the scientists would be able to easily compare their version to the original.

DNA film data storage Harvard

The original “Horse in motion” film (top), and the version reproduced in bacteria (bottom)

Their study was published earlier this week to great excitement. The film was produced by achieved by writing information and encoding black-and-white pixels into the genomes of living bacteria. As this gif shows, their reconstruction in bacteria was almost identical to the original. The DNA version can now be used to produce millions of copies, Clever stuff.

While you may not be able to watch Avatar in a pool of bacteria just yet (we know you’ve always wanted to), and we wouldn’t recommend storing all your files in a strand of DNA for the time being, this is a highly exciting development in data storage. While small amounts of text have previously been stored in DNA, this suggests much more is possible.

In the meantime, if you’d like a slightly more conventional way to store your data, check out our backup services. We promise not to require your DNA to provide our service. If you have any queries about  personal or professional data storage, get in touch with a member of our team.

 

 

 

GOZeuS, Are You Ready?

zeus

We have all received dodgy, suspicious emails, and they keep getting harder and harder to spot – I mean it’s not like they come from fraud@iwantyourmoney.co.uk or openme@virus.com.

Nowadays these emails come from addresses pretending to be your bank, huge organisations or Government Bodies.  These can be spotted usually by looking at the subject line (for order numbers that are incorrect or notification of a tax rebate) or the address it was sent from being incorrect or unfamiliar to the normal ones used.

Zeus was not the
nice God Disney would have you believe

However, sometimes malignant emails come from contacts we have in our address books. This week the NCA (National Crime Agency) issued a warning that we have a little under two weeks to protect our computers, and ourselves, against two powerful pieces of software; CryptoLocker and – the aptly named – GOZeuS (Zeus was not the nice God Disney would have you believe, just ask Prometheus). So far these two viruses have fraudulently transferred millions of pounds into the accounts of cyber criminals. Once these viruses infect your computer (via a Trojan link or attachment in an email you open) it can send emails containing the Trojan links to all of your contacts (infecting more computers) and monitor everything you do – some reports have even suggest they can gain control of your webcam…

ransoming your data for
anywhere between £200 to £300

Once infected, your PC will be joined onto a network of other infected PCs known as a BotNet where your activity is monitored. What makes these viruses so profitable to the criminals is that they work together. If GOZeuS is unable to find information on your PC that will make a good enough profit, the CryptoLocker will take over. CryptoLocker works by encrypting and locking your files without your knowing, until you get a popup that is essentially ransoming your data for anywhere between £200 to £300 – what do you think the chances are that your files will actually be unlocked if you pay up? Exactly.

To keep yourself and your data safe please take the following precautions – make sure your security software is installed on all of your PCs and fully updated, run scans on your PC and check your operating systems and applications are all up to date and that you have an effective backup system in place with a good retention period.

warning signs to look out for

Some warning signs to look out for include; your operating system running very slowly, unauthorised logins to accounts or unauthorised money transfers and your curser moving around erratically with no input from yourself. It has been suggested that over 15,500 computers in the UK are currently infected so the sooner you address your security systems, the better.

However, if your PC has already been infected with CryptoLocker and GOZeuS it is too late, this is when a good retention period on the backup system you have in place will come in handy. If you have to buy new PCs etc, you will be able to restore all of the information you have backed up to before your PC was infected.

If you believe you have lost money due to malware you can report your loss to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

Potentially Malicious Emails 5/6/2014