Posts tagged "security"

Scam and Hoax calls.

March 10th, 2020 Posted by General, Security 0 thoughts on “Scam and Hoax calls.”

Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash

I thought I would broach the subject of scam calls again this month.

 

They are still around and seem to be on the increase again.

There are two mains attacks to be aware of at the moment, as follows.

 

Amazon

Firstly, and the most common is a scam where the caller pretends to be from Amazon and is calling about your Amazon Prime account. They claim that your payments have lapsed, and your account will be suspended.

Quite often it is a recorded message or computerised voice that you hear. This should be obvious that it is a scam.

Then they try to take payment from you to ‘reactivate’ the account. It is, of course, bogus and under no circumstances should you give them any payment information.

If you do, the scammers will try and take as much as they can from you. One customer of mine was recently a victim and the scammers tried to take nearly £20,000. Luckily, the customer’s bank stopped the transaction as they suspected it was fraudulent.

ISP

The other scam calls still doing the rounds are callers pretending to be from your Internet Service Provider, or I.S.P. for short.

They claim to be from B.T., Virgin or whoever your ISP may be. The premise is that they have detected a problem with your service and need access to your computer to ‘fix’ it for you. This is untrue in every case and under no circumstances should you let them have access to your computer.

Once they gain access you have no control of what they do and see. They can then install anything, including malware, key logging software or set up the remote access so they can continue to get access in the future without your knowledge.

Computer message

Another variation on this scam is one that starts on your computer. A message may pop up on your screen saying you have a problem and to call a particular number in order to ‘fix’ it.

This again is a scam, and you should not ever call the number displayed. They will, again, try to persuade you to grant them access to your computer. Usually these messages pop up as a result of a compromised advert on a webpage.

 

As ever if you have been affected by any of the above scams then please get in touch for assistance and advice as to what to do next.

Contact me

Thank you for reading,

 

Damian

Windows 7 broken?

February 6th, 2020 Posted by Security, Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Windows 7 broken?”

Photo by Julia Joppien on UnsplashWindows 7 is broken…….

……or is it?

The question most people are asking about Windows 7 is “Will my computer stop working now it is out of support?”

The simple answer is NO.

But should you still continue to use Windows 7?

The correct answer is also NO.

Even though it will still work and do everything it always did, it no longer receives security updates. As time goes on it will become more vulnerable. Therefore, your online activities become less secure.

Banking, shopping and any other financial activity will become riskier over time. These sites may also stop you logging in to them at some point. This happened to Windows XP and Vista users when their support ended.

When security loopholes and vulnerabilities in Windows are found, they will NOT be fixed in Windows 7 any longer. Windows 8 & 10 will get fixed. Therefore the sensible option is to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Do this before you encounter any problems or get infected with malware or ransomware.

My advice is to upgrade or replace your Windows 7 computer as soon as possible.

Contact me for further information or advice about doing this.

Further information from Microsoft is available here.

Windows 7 end of life page

Windows 7

July 30th, 2019 Posted by Security, Upgrades 0 thoughts on “Windows 7”

Windows 7 rolling overWindows 7 will roll over and die in January 2020!

I talked about this last time and earlier in the year.

We are getting closer to the time that Windows 7 will no longer be supported.  So, I thought it worthwhile to go over what’s going to happen, what the likely issues will be and how to make sure you are prepared and know what to do.

What is happening to Windows 7 in January 2020?

As I said previously, January 2020 is the month when Windows 7 will reach its end of support from Microsoft.

This means that Microsoft will no longer release security updates for it. When a bug or vulnerability is found it will no longer be patched or fixed. This will mean those machines will become less secure than they were.

Newer versions of Windows will get patched, Windows 7 will not. Therefore, cyber criminals and hackers will likely try to take advantage of this fact and target the more vulnerable Windows 7 machines.

How will this affect me?

It is likely, as it happened when Windows XP and Vista reached their end of support, the most noticeable effect is that websites you regularly use will no longer allow access from computers running Windows 7.

Sites such as banking, shopping, travel and all those using secure logins and connections will prevent users from logging in from unsecure browsers.

Internet Explorer is one such browser and is integral to Windows 7.  Support for it is also ending in January 2020. Even users of Internet Explorer on Windows 8 & 10 will find they are affected.

There is an easy solution for those users. They can easily switch to using another newer, more secure browser such as Edge, Firefox or Chrome.

Windows 7 users will not have such a quick and easy option as the newer version of those browsers will not be available on to them.

 

What do I do?

The answer for Windows 7 users is simple. Upgrade your computer to Windows 10 or replace the computer with one running Windows 10.

I’m sure most will opt for a new machine as many computers running Windows 7 are now at least seven or more years old and are nearing the end of their life anyway.

As ever, I can help with the transition, whether you choose to upgrade or replace. If you are unsure, I can provide the necessary information and advice to help make your decision.

My main advice would be to do it sooner rather than later. Prices of new machines are likely to increase as the time draws nearer.

More information can be found here.

Windows 7 end of support.

If you have any questions on any of these topics please get in touch.

Contact

Anti-virus, backups and more

May 21st, 2019 Posted by General 0 thoughts on “Anti-virus, backups and more”

Backups

 

I’m going to touch briefly on a few things this time. Just topics that have cropped up during day to day work that prompted me to get writing. So here are some thoughts on anti-virus, backing up and Windows 7.

 

 

 

Anti-Virus software

You should only have one anti-virus package installed at any time on your computer.  I recently went to a customer who was getting odd messages on his screen.

It turned out to be a second AV program conflicting with his main one, which caused the PC to run slow and the error messages to appear. Removal of the offending software solved the problems immediately.

Neither program was able to do its job properly due to the conflicts.

Backups

This topic is a common theme for me. I often meet customers who have no backup or only one inadequate manual backup on a memory stick or such like.

I cannot emphasise enough how important backups are, especially if you are in business. Most people do not recognise the importance until it is too late. By then they have had an incident and lost precious data.

As a minimum you should make a local backup and also an online backup using one of the commercially available solutions. I will write further on this in the future.

Windows 7

I talked about Windows 7 earlier in the year, this is just a reminder.

In January 2020 Windows 7 will reach its end of support from Microsoft.

This means that Microsoft will no longer push out security updates for Windows 7. So, when a bug or vulnerability is found it will no longer be patched or fixed. This will mean Windows 7 machines will become less secure. Users with such machines should upgrade to Windows 10 by either buying a new machine or upgrading their old one.

More information can be found here.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4057281

As ever, if you have any questions on any of these topics please get in touch.

https://srcomputers.co.uk/contact

New Year Safety

January 17th, 2019 Posted by General 0 thoughts on “New Year Safety”

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a good break.

The holiday period is over and we are back at work or in our usual routines. It’s at this time of year people tend to relax their vigilance as they are still in ‘party’ mode.

So please whatever you do, don’t relax on your online and data security.

Watch out for seasonal themed emails that might have come in over the holiday period. It is so easy to drop your guard when dealing with a backlog when you first get back in to work. You then inadvertently click on something you ordinarily wouldn’t because you are in catch up mode.

That’s what the unscrupulous folk who send these emails out are relying on. So be careful and don’t give them the satisfaction.

 

It’s not just emails though, criminals are forever trying new ways to get your data or personal info. Compromised web pages are also a problem, many of them masquerading as actual industry companies such as Microsoft or Apple.

You may get a pop-up page advising that you have a problem and need to contact them immediately on a displayed number. Don’t be fooled, they are always a scam and are attempting to get you to call them or click on a so called ‘support’ link. Just ignore the page, close your browser using Task Manager (or force quit on an Apple), restart your machine and start again.  Most of these are delivered via compromised ads on the web page you were viewing.

 

That’s all for this month, and again if you have any queries or need assistance on any topic not just those above then please get in touch.

Updates and Upgrades

November 13th, 2018 Posted by Security 0 thoughts on “Updates and Upgrades”

Laptop updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATES

Most of us are dismayed when we see a message informing us about updates and  upgrades on our computers. However, we shouldn’t be as updates to software and systems are done to either add new features or fix problems and vulnerabilities.

Don’t just ignore them and hope they will go away. Security updates are very important and should not be ignored. If you don’t do them then you could potentially be leaving your system at risk from attack by malware, hackers or remote intrusion.

Some operating systems allow updates to be done automatically so you won’t forget. The system will then prompt you that updates are ready and that your system may need restarting. Do this once you have finished working and it will be ready for the next time.

The best time is to do updates at the end of the working day or over-night, so your time is impacted as little as possible.

 

OS UPGRADES

 

The one exception in all this is operating system upgrades. It is always prudent to adopt a wait and see approach rather than diving straight in when a new version of the system is released. Let someone else test it out first!

Having said all this, Windows 10 users will know that they don’t get much choice when updates or upgrades are done.  The system automatically pushes them through.

A good point is Microsoft’s recent upgrade to Windows 10 (version 1809) which has caused many users to experience missing files. Microsoft pulled the release from public download in early October. As yet, nothing has been indicated about when the upgrade will be re-released.

The latest Mojave upgrade to Apple’s Mac OS X has also caused a few issues with regard to Bluetooth, apps not running or systems not restarting for some users amongst others. A security update has since been issued for Mojave which fixed many of these bugs. I would now be happy to upgrade myself, which I have done with no problems I might add.

All of these problems can be avoided if you wait a month or so before upgrading. Keep an eye on the tech news to find out when any major issues found have been corrected. If you really cannot wait and must install the latest versions straight away, then at least make sure you have all your data backed up beforehand.

Information on Windows 10 updates can be found here.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hub/4338813/windows-help?os=windows-10

You can find more about Apple updates below.

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201222

As always, if you have any questions or need help with this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

https://srcomputers.co.uk/contact

 

Stay protected when connected.

August 16th, 2018 Posted by Security 0 thoughts on “Stay protected when connected.”
Online Security

Protect your online presence.

 

Most of us use a device that is permanently connected to the Internet, either at home, or when out and about. We don’t all have a personal online security guard to protect us from external threats. Your online security is of paramount importance.

How can you ensure you are safe in both situations?

Use Internet Security/Anti virus software.

Always use anti-virus software on all computers and devices to increase your online security. This includes Android phones and tablets. The only ones which really don’t need it are Apple’s iOS devices (iPads and iPhones).

 

Password protection and strength.

Follow these guidelines for ensuring you have a strong password.

Don’t use simple, easy to guess passwords such as names of friends, family and pets.

Don’t use words from the dictionary or commonly used passwords such as 12345 or QWERTY.

Always use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

If thinking of, and remembering passwords seems too much then try using a password manager. Many will cover both computers and mobiles and are inexpensive or even free. Then you only need remember one master password as the manager generates the other passwords for you as you visit each website.

 

Choose a secure connection.

When away from home be extremely careful when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Never use an unknown ‘Free Wi-Fi’ hotspot. If you are out and about and need Wi-Fi then choose a secure, protected one that you would need a password for such as in a hotel where you would have to ask at reception for the password. Those who are a bit more tech savvy could use a VPN to connect when away from home. Ask yourself, is your online security more important than checking a latest social media update? The usual answer is no.

 

Finally always use common sense.

NEVER click directly on links in emails. Navigate to the required page yourself. Any email from a trusted source such as your bank or HMRC should never provide links in emails but will give instructions on how to access their sites. If you are still unsure contact them by telephone to confirm if the email is genuine. This applies to friend’s emails too. How do you know they have not been compromised?

Be aware of phone calls from scam callers. Microsoft (who make Windows), or their trusted partners, will NEVERcold call you to tell you your computer has a problem.

Block pop-ups on web pages. This can easily be done in the options/settings for your web browser.

Only download trustworthy apps on your devices. There are many un-reputable apps out there, especially on the Android system. Check what they want to access before you download and install them.

As always, if you have any questions or queries about online security then please get in touch here.

Contact

07572 011 184
info@srcomputers.co.uk 

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