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Passwords please

I think that without doubt the biggest issue that I see when visiting customers relates to passwords. This week for example I’ve had to recover at least 5 users passwords and it’s still only Wednesday!

The problem is that we need passwords for most activities online, and all too often the password is set up using “something that I’m sure I’ll remember” but all too often it is not remembered. Set up a few in that way and I challenge anyone to recall which one is which. If you don’t know your password then they are usually (but not always) ways to recover or reset it, see later in this article.

Processor bug

Many customers have contacted me asking about the widely reported security issues found in Intel processors.

Although Intel processors have been mentioned, the problem is also present in some from AMD and ARM, so could be present in most devices from laptops through to tablets and phones.  Since Apple also use these processors in their products the problems apply equally to Apple Macs as well as Windows PCs and laptops.

Microsoft and Apple are releasing updates which will address the issues from the operating system perspective, ie Windows or Mac OS X.  However, there may also be updates to

A number of customers have called saying that they have had emails from Paypal which look suspicious. There are some fairly convincing scams around at the moment so it is well advised to take care when responding to them or following any links in an email that supposedly comes from PayPal. There are however some steps that you can take to reduce the chances of getting caught by these fraudsters.

We’ve had several questions from customers about the recent “ransomware” attack which hit many individuals, organisations and businesses including the NHS.  Hopefully, you were not affected by it. However, it highlights the need to keep up to date with standard security updates to your system.  In fact, Microsoft did issue an update to

Computer Support Phone Scammers

Although not a new threat it is worth revisiting the issue of bogus support calls since many of our customers have received them and the callers can be very persuasive.

Typically the caller will claim to be either from Microsoft Support or maybe from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) e.g. TalkTalk, BT, Plusnet etc.

“Phishing” & “Vishing”

‘Phishing’: This is where people receive emails directing them to a website where they are asked to provide confidential, personal or financial information. Whilst these emails may appear to come from a legitimate site, these emails are designed to steal your personal information which can then be used to access your accounts. This is known as ‘phishing’

General precautions to minimise the risk of being scammed or getting a virus infection online

I would like highlight some security issues that have been seen by a number of people in recent days and weeks. The most damaging is a virus which encrypts your documents and pictures and makes them unreadable. This attack is almost impossible to recover from so you should be extra vigilant and take the necessary steps to firstly back up all of your important documents and pictures to an external USB drive or hard disk, and secondly be cautious when opening emails and especially attachments.

Below are the steps that you can take to minimise the impact and risk of your PC or laptop becoming infected and losing your documents and pictures: