CDIS News Archive

Please see our archive below.  Click on a category in the list below, or 'View All'.

News - General

Thoughts for SME's

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General )

So, you are a small business, with perhaps 1-15 P.C users. How does cyber-hygiene in the workplace apply to you?  Is it something you have ever considered, or perhaps you feel it does not apply to you.

Think again. 2015 was referred to as the year of the data breach. And sadly statistics are on the increase. Figures from the N.C.A (National Crime Agency) state that Cybercrime is responsible for 53% of all U.K reported crime....53% with figures likely to increase! Now that is scary stuff.

A lot of S.M.E'S see themselves as too small to be affected.  Allow me to ask you this question. Your house is Insured right? Would you conversationally say my house is too small to need Insurance?

Naturally, without question most of us are sensible and have Insurance 'just in case'. So why is your business any different. Your business needs protecting.

Theives, and they are thieves will target anyone that is vulnerable. If your business does not have the appropriate measures in place you are a target.

Now lets move on from this and say you have been targeted. You have now suffered a data breach. What do you do? How do you go about recovering your data? What are the costs to your business, for the recovery and mopping up that needs to be done following on from the data breach? You now have to contact all of your clients, and all of your staff to inform them of this breach and advise them how to proceed.  Your reputation is now damaged, can your business sustain the financial losses .

Another statistic for you.... 80% of S.M.E'S go out of business within six months of suffering a data breach. So let me ask you again DO YOU HAVE CYBERCRIME prevention within your workplace? For all I.T concerns we are available to advise you and guide you through your journey. We offer a bespoke service and are happy to provide a free no obligation site survey in exchange for a decent cup of coffee.  

Follow us on twitter @harlequincdis or @joannefrais and our official website

We can provide you insurance...

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General )

So... You have car insurance? You, as standard have home insurance? And I'm guessing you possibly have life insurance. With all of these Insurances do you ever expect to make as claim? No, quite the opposite you hope never to have to make a claim but have these "safeguards" in place. Peace of mind if you like. 

So as a business owner ask yourself this; Is your business suitably protected against a data breach do you have an "Insurance" policy in place? Possibly not.

WHY???? Cost highly likely or possibly you've not even considered the fact that your business needs it. Data breaches are sadly now common place. Every business that holds personnal data is at risk of being hacked.

I hear you think not my business, why would they want to hack my business, or even my business is too small..... If a hacker can gain entry into your business within 15 minutes and obtain data that they can sell on, that could be national insurance numbers, home addresses, bank details and the list goes on- My question is simple why would they spend six months hacking a bank? Well they do both quite simply. While working on the big time they are targeting the quick bucks too.  The bread and butter if you like.

If you were to suffer a DATA breach not only do you face a fine of up to £500,000 but the damage to your reputation is priceless. 80% of small businesses sadly shut the doors within six months of suffering a data breach, they just do not have the money to support the blow...

All businesses need protecting and not only do you get Insurance you actually get a SERVICE imagine that, an Insurance that actually gives you something. Because quite honestly we pay for Insurance and whilst it provides peace of mind what do you actually get in return....NOTHING!!!!!

Harlequin CDIS offer our clients managed services which provides day to day back up and peace of mind- all of our services ( "INSURANCE")  are bespoke so you only pay for the services you wish to take advantage of.

Contact Jo-Anne Frais at either or via

Banking Malware accounts for 41% of malware infections

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General Virus )

41% of Malware infections, are Banking Malware. But what is Banking Malware? Banking Malware is a type of software that is used by fraudsters and cyber criminals to target online bank accounts. This allows them to obtain personal and finacial data. Sufficient Anti-Virus protection is a must to try and minimise the risks of becoming infected. However, if a computer or mobile device becomes infected, cyber criminals can take control of the internal functions of the device remotely, This is how they are able to obtain personal data, access online bank accounts, encrypting files and re-distributing malware to others.

There is normally a finacial cost involved in all of this, either having to buy anti-virus software to protect the device or paying a randsom.

How can you unintentionally download malware?

  • Clicking on an infected attahcement in emails.
  • Clicking on an infected website links.
  • Clicking on an infected link whilst on a social media site. Ie Watching Videos etc.
  • Inserting an infected removal drive into the device.
  • Downloading an infected file attachment, text or via a mobile application.

Most Banking Malwareat Information by following four different methods: Cookie Grabbers, Virtual Network Computing (VNC), Spy Modules and Drive Scanner. Ramnit is a type of Banking Malware that is most popularly used by cyber criminals. According to Symantec more than 3.2 million computers were infected globally over a five year period (2010-2015) by this type of malware. In February 2015 law enforcement and industry conducted an operation which led to a number of seizures of servers controlled by the Ramnit criminal group. However it is thought that it is starting to remerge and poses as a serious threat to all computer users.

Please follow the Link for More...



FAKE Debt Collection and Council Tax Emails- Action Fraud

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General )

Action Fraud has recieved numerous calls and reports from the public who have recieved debt collection and council tax scam emails

Debt Collection Emails- Please see spear phishing email below.

As you can imagine these have worried recipients because they use detailed personal infromation such as full name, address and postcode. The emails clain to act on behalf of a legitimate comapny called Optex (Europe) Ltd and contain a link which could infect your computer with Cryptolock or Maktub randsomware. This spear phishing email could evolve at any given time, so look out for variations and that it is easy for fraudsters to adapt information. To prevent your personal infomation ending up in the hands of  fraudsters. Follow Action Fraud and their advice on how to protect it.

Council Tax Emails- Please see spear phishing email below

This email has been continuously spammed out over the past few weeks and aims to catch residents off guard. It uses a realistic domain name and claims there is a new service up and running to make it so much easier to pay your council tax bill online. If you are in doubt about any service your coiuncil provides, contact them directly.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.


RBS Focused Women's Network

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General )

RBS Focused Women's Network

'Determind to make difference'

@RBS_FW #FWW2016

Harlequin CDIS attended the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Focused Women's Networking event. The RBS Focused Women's Network (FWN) was launched in 2007 to support the Group iin actively attractive, developing and retaining a gender balance and talented women at RBS. In the last three years, the FWN has grown from 2,000 to 6,000 memebers across 31 countries. This includes 300 male members who recognise the value that a dicerse team can bring to the buisness.

Harlequin CDIS was able to meet inspiring women in the buisness industry, their personal goals and history behind their brand. Delegates and Speakers included:

  • Karen Gill MBE - Every Woman LTD
  • Melanie Lawson - Bare Biology
  • Nicky Chisholm- The Mumspreneurs Networking Club
  • Caroline Haworth- Womankind Worldwide
  • Nzinga Graham-Smith - Queen of the Crop
  • Hana McEwan- Flotsam & Jetsam
  • Ritu Sethi - The Sethi Partnership and Solicitors
  • Maggie Semple OBE - Semple



Phishing scams are at all-time high

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General Virus Intrusion Prevention )

Phishing scams are at all-time high.

Did you know, 1 in 5 employees open a phishing email without realising?

Phishing scams is a method used by fraudsters to access personal and company data. Phishing attacks rose 21% during 2015 totalling an estimate of 95,556; costing British consumers a total of 174.4m over the course of the year. 29% of all reported phishing emails were also found to contain potentially malicious links which when clicked, could deliver malware to a victim’s computer within seconds.

Spear phishing is also one you can’t ignore. Spear phishing is an email that appears to be from an individual or a business that you know. But it isn’t, it’s from the criminals that want your credit card and bank account details. Your name and email address can be found easily online IE Linked In and other social media. Phishing attempts are directed at specific individuals.

This could cost your business thousands!

Employee behaviours that can put you and your company at risk:

  • Opening attachments, or clicking on links within emails that are unsolicited or unexpected.

  • Accounts/Purchase Ledger opening what they believe is legit emails from senior employees, suppliers or contractors.

  • Responding to emails that ask for your personal or financial details.

  • Logging in to a webpage that you have arrived at via a link in an email.


Harlequin CDIS can help

By deploying our own phishing solution we are able to test and identify those using areas of your business that fall foul of those types of scams.

We are able to provide a comprehensive report detailing who, when and how users interact with these sorts of messages. Should it be required, we are then able to provide training and support to all employees.


Contact us to find out how Harlequin CDIS can help prevent phishing and other scam attacks in your business!

Mac users at risk!

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General Virus )

“I don’t need a security solution for my Mac”. I’m protected. Please stop telling yourself that, because you may not be. Mac users are led to believe that they are super-secure and are completely immune to viruses. If you have been following the news, you probably heard that ransomware has now made it onto macs. The ransomware KeRanger, is said to be short lived however it is still alarming. Ransomware is a plague on the internet that has impacted business and individuals alike.

Kaspersky Lab's have reported on vulnerabilities and exploits to Macs. In-depth study and protection tips are avaliable on their website.


Common Internet Scams

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General Virus Intrusion Prevention )

The internet is an exciting place, full of information, products and services which the vast majority of us use without issue. But, as we know, there are criminals who take advantage of the anonymity of the online world to deceive, hack and steal if the opportunity arises.The good news is by following the easy precautions highlighted on Cyber Streetwise, it will significantly improve your chances of avoiding internet scams and enjoy being online.


Phishing scams are when fraudsters send fake emails, social networking posts etc. That are designed to gain your sesative infomation and/or money.


Cyber Criminals will try to hack your computer/tablet/smartphone to gain access to your senative infomation in order to commit fraud and other crimes.



Embassy Networking for Diplomats Seminar

by Emily-Rose Hill (Posted under: General )

Embassy Networking for Diplomats Seminar

Harlequin CDIS attended the Embassy Networking for Diplomats Seminar which took place at No 11 Cavendish Square, London.  This is a yearly commitment we attend.

The orientation of the day also included, Diplomatic Spouse Programme, Living in London Sessions, Exhibitions and Networking. 

Harlequin CDIS use this opportunity to meet various panellists and delegates to ensure their IT Security is robust against the threat of cybercrime.