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Staying safe online

Filed under: Computer Security — rchurchill @ 11:00 am

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.

How to avoid scams

Filed under: Computer Security — rchurchill @ 5:35 pm

By Richard Churchill – First Published September 2012

I wrote a article a year ago covering the some of the scams you face on the internet. In the last year the situation has only got worse. This month I will look again at the scam I mentioned a year ago, next month I will look at the scams that can get on your computer without you even knowing it. I hope that having read this months and next months articles you will manage to avoid these scams or have the confidence to put the phone down (more on that later).

Email Scams
Probably the most common type of scam on the internet, I get a few of these every day. The main types are:
Password Notifications – These emails appear to be sent by anything from Facebook to your bank. They tell you there is a problem with your account and you need to click on a link to fix it. Of course the link goes to a fake website.
“We couldn’t deliver your parcel”/ “Why did you post this picture?” – Bogus emails from shipping company or a ‘friend’ or government agency with “documents” attached, these actually contain a virus.

Just press delete to get ride of all these.

Phone Scams
“We have detected your computer ..” This cold calling scam is still going strong, you receive a call from the “Microsoft Security Department”, “Windows Security Department” and inform you that they have found a virus on your computer but if you go to this website they can fix if for you (for a fee). Simply, no one will actively call you about a virus on your computer unless you have a support contract (not even your anti-virus company). If you receive a call like this just hang up, if you are worried call your usual computer engineer or call me (number bellow) and get some honest professional advice.

As with all things on the internet, the best advice is to think before you click, and if you are worried get expert advice. Next month I’m going to cover fake anti-virus software and how to spot a fake website.

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.

Keeping the Scammer at bay

Filed under: Computer Security — rchurchill @ 10:00 am