Risk Management

COMPUTER VIRUSES 101

Main Computer Viruses explainedLet me start by saying “I like my computer guy, but most of the time I have no idea what he is saying”. It’s like he is talking a foreign language when he asks me about Trojans, Worms and Logic Bombs. Unfortunately, my eyes glass over, my mind starts to wonder and when I think he has paused for a breath, I jump in and say “but you’ve got it all under control don’t you?”

Yes, I am guilty sometimes of not following my own advice. When talking to clients I say you must never give full responsibility of functions of your business to someone else. If your supplier is not reputable, you won’t know and then it may be too late when you find out. Every business owner needs a level of understanding in relation to all functions of their business to ensure they are protected from fraud, negligence and misappropriation.

I was most fortunate to be at the Albany Creek Business Contact’s networking meeting this week to listen to Nathan Dobbins (Core Computers) – yep, my computer guy – speak in very lay terms about computer viruses, what they do and why it is so important to have virus protection on your computer (even if you have to pay for it). Here’s what he had to say.

Nearly one (1) million new malware threats are released every day. After we all got over the shock of this statement, he went on to explain the seven (7) major types of viruses:

  • Crimeware
  • Macro Viruses
  • Trojans
  • Worms
  • Logic Bombs
  • Malware
  • PUPs

Crimeware

This software is designed to steal personal information and perform some other illegal operation. In other words, it is a malicious software that causes a crime to be committed. Crimeware facilitates programs and documentation (or “kits”) that enable even non-technical people to set up their own spam, virus or phishing attacks.

Macro Virus

This is a virus written in a macro language and placed within a document. The viruses have to be “run” in order to do things. When the host document is opened and the macro is executed, commands in the macro language do the destruction or the prank.

Trojan

A Trojan is similar to a virus except that it does not replicate itself. Often sneaking in attached to a free game or other supposedly worthwhile utility, the Trojan remains in the computer doing damage or allowing someone from a remote location to take control. Trojans can be programs that look legitimate however, when run may be used to locate password information or make the system vulnerable to future entry or simply destroy the user’s stored software and data.

Worms

Worms (Write Once Read Many) are destructive programs that replicate themselves throughout a computer or across a network (both wired and wireless). Worms can do damage by sheer reproduction taking up internal disk and memory resources. They can also deposit a Trojan.

Logic Bombs

Logic Bombs are programs that destroy data when certain conditions are met. For example, a logic bomb may reformat a hard disk or insert random bits into data files on a certain date or if a particular employee records is missing from an employee database. Many viruses are logic bombs because they deliver their payload after a specific trigger event occurs.

Malware

Malware (MALicious software) is software designed to destroy data, steal information and/or aggravate the user.

PUP

A PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) is an application that is installed along with the desired application to user actually asked for. Also known as a “barnacle”, in most cases, the PUP is spyware, adware or some other unwanted software. What makes the spyware or adware a PUP and not pure Malware is the fact that the end user license agreement does inform the user that the additional program is being installed. Given that most people don’t read the license agreements, the distinction is a subtle one.

Even I can understand this information and am checking computers to ensure sufficient protection.

 

Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.

Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.

Balanix Solutions – Accountant, Business Advisor, Bookkeeping.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)

Business Planning – What Do We Include and How Does It Look

Caring Cottage Vision Board

Caring Cottage Vision Board

In a previous blog, business owners who are members of the Albany Creek Business Contacts discussed whether businesses really need to undertake business planning (“We Know We Should, So Why Then Don’t We?” http://balanixsolutions.com.au/we-know-we-should-so-why-then-dont-we/ ). It was agreed that businesses did need plans and that business planning needed to be more than just “in our head”. However, it was also agreed that business planning and plans could take various forms with various detail to support and meet the needs of the individual business.

So, what do business owners believe are the critical information to be contained in plans and what can they look like?

In relation to content, the following was proposed:

  • Real and enduring purpose – this needs to be clearly stated so every decision you make must support this purpose.
  • Stakeholder analysis – stakeholders include clients, suppliers, owners and staff.
  • Marketing/Advertising/Sponsorship plan.
  • Cashflow/Budget/Revenue & Expense analysis.
  • Risk Management/Contingency Plan
  • Pricing/Price Structure (eg, current pricing and planning for future increase)
  • Staff – roles/nature of employment (eg, part-time, full-time, contract etc)
  • Responsibilities and timeframes – ie, who is going to do what by when.

So what does the Business Plan need to look like? Well, in a nutshell – whatever suits you and your business, that you are going to use – whatever makes it visible!

Whenever business planning is mentioned images of 50+ page documents, which sit in a draw, never get used and collect dust, emerge. But this doesn’t have to be – they can take whatever form that makes sense to a business owner and enables them to run and grow their business. Suggested mediums that business use include:

  • Vision Boards (like the one Kirsty has above)
  • Operational Boards – eg, Marketing Board, Operations Board, IT Board etc
  • Notebook
  • iPad/Tablet/Phone
  • Mind Map
  • Whiteboard

The thing is successful businesses need to have direction and plans. However, those plans need to support the business not hinder.

(Blog contributors – Leonard Whittaker (Action Cycle Learning) Rob Carmody (Australian Integrated Communications) Sally Balwin (Balanix Solutions) Kathy Patterson (Brendale Stationery Supplies) Matthew Fox (Brisbane hosting & Web Design) Kirsty Newbery (Caring Cottage) Brad Davies (Conquest Pest & Termite Control) Scott Deaves (David Deane Real Estate) De Wet van der Nest (Express Air Con Cleaning) Oriano Giammichele (GT Racing, Mobile Mechanic) Stuart Bywater (Bywater Design) Rhennen Ford (Streten Mason Lawyers) Tracey Carter (Scrub Mutts) Jason Matthey (Insurance Web) Damien Jenkins (Australian Unity, North Lakes) Anne-Louise Underwood (SMS Toolkits) Bruce Hall (Wombat Electrical)

Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.

Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advise.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)

Is Your Next Business Relationship Banned or Disqualified?

ASIC Banned & Disqualified RegisterSometimes, in business, to expand we need to enter into business relationships with others. I don’t mean just suppliers, but also “partners” where there is a formal contractual relationship. This can be high risk particularly if you don’t know the person very well.

Did you know you can search the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) registers for a person who has been disqualified from managing a corporation, or banned from practicing in the financial services or credit industry?

ASIC’s Banned & Disqualified search includes information from the following registers:

  • disqualified persons register
  • credit banned/disqualified register
  • Australian financial services (AFS) banned/disqualified persons register
  • banned securities representatives register (pre-AFS licences)
  • banned futures representatives register (pre-AFS licences), and
  • disqualified SMSF auditors.

Here’s the link to do a search – Search for a banned and disqualified person now.

Sally Balwin Recruitment HRM Business Development Organisational Development Brisbane Brendale Strathpine Albany Creek

Sally Balwin
Recruitment | HR | Business Development

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advice

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)

Is Your Proposed Business or Trading Name Available

ASIC Business and Trading Name availabilityOne of the most existing parts of starting a business is developing its name. For some this is a simple reasonably quick process – for others, a process filled with research, comparisons and procrastination. But did you know that you can’t have a business name that is identical or similar to an existing registered business name?

So how do you know if you can trade under your proposed business or trading name? The first step is to find out whether the name you want to register is available.

A check name availability search with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) determines whether your proposed company or business name is identical (or similar) to a name that is already registered or reserved with ASIC.

A proposed name will be rejected if it is considered identical to an already existing name, similar to an existing business name (for business names) or uses restricted words.

More information on our name availability rules can be found on ASIC’s website.

Check business name availability.

Check company name availability.

Oh, and also remember to make sure your proposed name doesn’t infringe on any trademarks. Check at IP Australia.

Sally Balwin Recruitment HRM Business Development Organisational Development Brisbane Brendale Strathpine Albany Creek

Sally Balwin
Recruitment | HR | Business Development

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advise.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)

Invoice Email Scam – Be on Guard

ACCC Scam AlertThe Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning Australian businesses to beware of an invoice email scam seeking payment re-direction.

How it works is that the scammers pretend to be legitimate suppliers who contact businesses owners to advise changes to payment arrangements. Unfortunately, being scammed may not be detected until your real suppliers complain that they have not received your payment.

The ACCC outline the following process on how the scam works:

  • Scammers hack into vendor and/or supplier email accounts and obtain information such as customer lists, bank details and previous invoices.
  • Your business receives an email, supposedly from a vendor, requesting a wire transfer to a new or different bank account.
  • The scammers either disguise their email address or create a new address that looks nearly identical. The emails may be spoofed by adding, removing, or subtly changing characters in the email address which makes it difficult to identify the scammer’s email from a legitimate address.
  • The email may look to be from a genuine supplier and often copy a business’s logo and message format. It may also contain links to websites that are convincing fakes of the real company’s homepage or links to the real homepage itself.
  • The scam email requests a change to usual billing arrangements and asks you to transfer money to a different account, usually by wire transfer.

It is so important that business owners operate with sound robust account keeping practices to minimise falling victim to scams. Make sure you have a clearly defined relationship with suppliers and double check with them if they advise change of banking arrangements. Here’s some more tips from the ACCC to assist to minimise being a victim to this scam:

  • Make yours a ‘fraud-free’ business – effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing scams. Have a clearly defined process for verifying and paying accounts and invoices.
  • Consider a multi-person approval process for transactions over a certain dollar threshold.
  • Ensure your staff are aware of this scam and understand how it works so they can identify it, avoid it and report it.
  • Double check email addresses – scammers can create a new account which is very close to the real one; if you look closely you can usually spot the fake.
  • DO NOT seek verification via email – you may be simply responding to the scammer’s email or scammers may have the capacity to intercept the email.
  • If you think a request is suspicious, telephone the business to seek verification of the email’s authenticity.
  • DO NOT call any telephone number listed in the email; instead, use contact details that you already have on file for the business, or that you have sourced independently – for example, from a telephone directory.
  • DO NOT pay, give out or clarify any information about your business until you have looked into the matter further.
  • Check your IT systems for viruses or malware – always keep your computer security up-to-date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a good firewall.

If you are not confident your practices are sound, call Balanix Solutions today – we can help (3264 4783)

Report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995. Also, spread the word to colleagues through social media, newsletters etc to minimise the impact of the scams.

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advise

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

Call us today … we can help (07 3264 4783)