Computer Flu - Good Practice Online
Stay safe on the internet
Just like you wouldn't want to walk in the wrong neighbourhood, the same applies to browsing the internet.
I bet you didn't know that your computer can get infected with spyware or a virus just by visiting a website? Well, it's true.
So don't go visiting any bad websites.
The Cold Calling Microsoft / Interner Provider SCAM
If you receive a phone call out of the blue, saying you have a problem with your computer, DON'T be taken in by it - It's a SCAM. These type of scams have been going on for as long as I've have been running computer flu. These calls are not from Microsoft or your internet provider (eg. Sky, TalkTalk, BT etc)
This article from the Guardian details the scam.
Basically they call you saying you have a problem with your PC, they get you to look at your 'event logs'. Even on a new computer these logs will contain a few errors - this is normal.
They then will want to remote control your computer, they will then want payment, ie your credit card details.
My customers have said they've wanted charges from £200 right down to £1 - obviously a scam to get your card details.
Avoid file sharing software (P2P)
Using file sharing sofware is like opening your front door wide open to the internet world at large.
You might think it's great getting free mp3s etc, but the saving is shortlived, as your computer will probably catch the flu.
Also who's to say the files you are downloading do not contain any nasties?
Read more about why file sharing is very risky at the US Cert Website
You may be sharing more than you think leaving your computer open to the outside world
Use file sharing software at your own risk. Is it really worth it?
Stay safe with email
Attachments, even from someone you know, can contain viruses and other nasties. A safe practice is to 'save the attachment' to a folder, then get your virus checker (you do have a virus checker dont you?), to scan just that folder. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Avoiding Scams (also known as Phishing)
The amount of phishing scams grow by the day. By following these simple rules, you can help to avoid being scammed. Let's take a general example.
- You receive an email from MidHSWest bank
- It may describe that some suspicious activity has occured on your account
- Please can you login to your account, to check that everything is in order, within 24 hours
- Click this link to log into your account
What the scammers want you to do is click the link, to send you to a website that may well look identical to the bank/company in question. It may even display the correct www address in the address bar (this is by using an exploit in internet explorer).
By logging in, you've given the scammers both your username and password. Which is all they need to access your account.
I could repeat this example with various methods that the scammers use but, instead, if you just follow these 3 golden rules, then you'll be safe.
- All reputable companies will never ask you to log in directly from an email
- Always visit the site in question, by typing in your own www address (e.g. www.barclays.co.uk)
- When you login to a site, always be on the looking out for the site address beginning https: (notice the s), as this is Secure
Other signs that these emails are not legitimate
- Bad spelling mistakes or poor grammar
- A sense of urgency - reply now
- You have no dealings with the company in question
Show me some real phishing email examples
See all the latest phishing scam emails from millersmiles
See Take 5 Gives good advice - Criminals use a wide range of methods to commit fraud and scams.
Learn more about phishing The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG)
If you are anything like me, you will be receiving varying amounts of spam daily. While the major Internet Service Providers are finally starting to filter out the bulk of spam emails, you can help yourself by following these few tips
- Be careful where you give out your email address (this includes surveys and competitions)
- Never, ever reply to spam
- Never try to unsubscribe (as this confirms your email as valid) - unless you know and trust the company
- Avoid swapping joke / funny emails with friends and family (before you know it, your email address is in hundreds of address books)
- If you must give out your email address, sign up for a disposable one with the likes of gmail.com, yahoo.com and hotmail.com
And finally.... never ever, ever, buy anything from a spammer. As that is the reason they send out spam. If they send out 1 million emails, and just 1% percent respond, that's 10,000 orders.
A typical email trying to solicit money from you...
Based on your good profile i want to solicit for your help in fulfilling my wish, I am Mrs Christine Roland 58 yrs old widow from France, my late husband was the deputy director of Coco farm agriculture in Cote D'Ivoire and he was killed by the top officers collaborate with rebels during the presidential election here on October 2010 i am writing you this message via a computer lap top on my sick bed at the hospital were i am undergoing medical treatment i want you to stand as beneficiary to the sum of my $1.7 Million (One million seven hundred thousand Dollars) reply me as soon as possible for more details. Expecting to your message soonest Sincerely, Mrs Christine Roland
My advice, just block the senders email address (if possible), then delete the email.
Stay safe on Social Media
Common sense really. You do not know who you are chatting with on social media.
So, just like in real life, don't go giving out personal information, like your phone number, address, email.
And certainly never arrange to meet anyone you met on social media.
Don't put everything and anything on your social networking site either...as your house might get trashed.
I hope these guides help you stay safe with your computer.
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