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Staying safe online

By Richard Churchill – First Published October 2012

Last month I discussed some of the computer scams you could face in your email and on the phone, this month I’m going to cover scam programs and the scams that you will see on web pages. I will also cover how you can be sure you are looking at a real website.

Online Scams
If you are online there are two main types of scams, fake websites and scam software.

Fake & scam software
We often get called to visit customers who keep getting security warnings that they can’t get rid of. When we get there, we find that the security warning itself is fake. There is a whole industry producing fake security alerts and anti-virus software. The objective of this software is to get you to pay for removal software (that is also fake).

These fake alerts are easy to spot, they tell you you have hundreds of infections, then ask you for money to activate your security software. Occasionally real renewal notices from you security software can be confused with fake software, as always if you’re not sure ask for advice from a professional.

Some scams don’t even put software on your computer, there is a way to use a web page to fill your screen with warnings, if you just ignore them, and ask your computer to reboot, the warnings will be gone.

Fake websites
These can be for banks, email providers or sites like Facebook and twitter. The goal is always the same, steal your password so they can do something bad with it. How do you know if a site is real, first check that the login page is using a secure server (look for https eg https://twitter.com). Next, all real secure sites have to register for a certificate. Real certificates are displayed in a green box giving the name of the certificate holder next to the https (Microsoft puts it to the right, everyone else to the left) so we get “|Twitter, Inc. [US] | https://twitter.com”

As with all things on the internet, the best advice is to think before you click, and if you are worried get expert advice.

Going further

If you are fortunate enough to live in Bristol or South Gloucestershire and wold like help with your computer why not give us a call? You can call us on 01454 616365 or use our contact form and we will call you back.

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