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Today's Biggest Threats...and there are many!

Today's Biggest Threats...and there are many!

Today's Biggest Threats …
… and there are many! So here are a few, and in no particular order.

BT / Yahoo Mail
A bit of a history lesson first … In the beginning there was BT as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and most of us had no choice or insufficient knowledge but to sign up with them, so gazillions of people ended up with a BT email address and they have stuck with them ever since. However BT didn't provide the email service themselves, the bought into an existing system run by Yahoo. It wasn't a happy marriage and Yahoo never updated their systems or security until 2013.

In 2013 Yahoo got hacked and millions of passwords were stolen. They said nothing, and even if BT knew about it, they said nothing either! We (the industry) became aware that all was not right as so many BT/Yahoo customers would come to us complaining about having been hacked … And still BT buried their heads in the sand! Not until 2015 did BT give notice to Yahoo and then start to transfer all their clients to a new BT mail system … But still said nothing about the password theft. Finally in 2016 Yahoo admitted the breach and BT told all their customers to change their passwords.

Millions haven't, and if you have an old BT account and haven't changed your password in the last 12 months you should do so now. As for BT; too little, too late … As for Yahoo; words fail me!

Cold Calling & Telephone Scams
A type of telephone fraud where scammers will call you claiming to be from the help desk of a well known IT firm, such as Microsoft, Windows, a well known bank or even BT. They’ll tell you that your computer has a virus and will try to charge you to upload ‘anti-virus software’. This turns out to be spyware, which is used to get hold of your personal details. Never respond to an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming that your computer has a virus. If you receive a call like this, hang up straight away. Never give them remote access to your computer, don't give them any passwords and never pay them any money!

Website pop-up of doom!
So there you are browsing away, looking for some winter sun or a cheap electricity deal, and up comes a window (in red!) saying words to the effect that your computer is badly infected and will blow-up if you don’t call the number on the screen. Don't call the number! Don't click anything else, just shut your computer down and restart it. With any luck it'll be fine afterwards. The malicious messages are embedded into on-screen adverts and are completely random … You were just unlucky to catch one.

Email Fraud (Phishing)
Yes, they are still about from any number of ‘genuine’ sources from banks, building societies, couriers and large on-line retailers such as Amazon & John Lewis. You get an email with an attachment that you were not expecting but that is perfectly plausible … always be suspicious! Secondly a similar email with a link to ‘view’ a document or invoice, don’t. This is just spam email and you should just delete it. It doesn't mean that you email has been hacked, simply that your email address has been harvested by some virus on somebody else's computer and you can expect to get more in the future. Exercise caution!

As always, if in doubt, DON’T, but you know where to come if you need help.

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Added: 20th March 2017

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