Helpful Advice

Buyer Beware!!!

Great advice from our Computer 'Techno' Buddy, Nigel Minnis

Thinking of buying a new laptop or computer?   With Windows 11 due this year and possible Windows 10 support being ended in 2025, check that your new machine will support Windows 11. 

His advice - "Get a signed statement that your new machine will support Windows 11. Later, if your machine fails to support Windows 11, you should apply for a refund as the machine you were sold was 'unfit for purpose'!"

(24th August 2021)


High Speed Internet - 'Be Aware'

New 'fibre optic' broadband cables are now being installed in our area, which will deliver 'high-speed' Internet directly to your home.

Leaflets are being delivered from companies offering to connect you for about the same cost as your current provider.  

But be careful - these cables are 'Data Only' and will not support your landline telephone. 

You need to discuss this with the new company before taking up their offer. 

If you still use a landline then, before you switch, make sure a landline can still be provided

Nigel Minnis, NCC 'Techno' Buddy  (24th September 2021)


"Backups" 
Chris Truss, Systems Manager
4th September 2021

Please note that this is written as a very generic guide and that 'Neston Cyber Centre' takes no responsibility for your data or the services or options you might choose to use.

How many of you have only one copy of your precious photos, videos, and important documents more than likely stored on the very phone, tablet,  Laptop or Desktop PC you are reading this webpage on?

The question is, 

"What if your phone/ tablet/ laptop/ PC gets dropped or stops working or even gets stolen?"  

What are your options?

1.   USB Stick:-   perhaps one of the cheapest methods, simply 'drag and drop' (copy + paste) files from one location to another. These can be picked up for £20, and sometimes much less.

2.   External Hard Drive:-   same as a USB stick, but generally allows more storage for the price.  The downside is you must remember to perform the backup regularly to keep your files up to date.

3.   'The Cloud':-   where your files and photos are copied (synced) onto another 'remote' computer. Some are free up to certain limits, often less than those options listed above

Some of the well-known providers are:

  • Apple iCloud
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Microsoft OneDrive

'The Cloud' offers you a 'set and forget' option, but as the Cloud is connected all the time anything that happens to your files gets copied (synced) over almost immediately, so if a virus attacks your files, you will most likely lose that same file in the cloud.

4.   Backup Services:-   true backup services which operate like option '3' above without the drawback of 'automatic sync'.  They do this by keeping multiple copies (or versions) of your files.

The downside is that they incur a monthly cost, and this can vary based on how much data you have to back up

Common Backup Services are:

  • Acronis True Image
  • Backblaze
  • Carbonite
  • IDrive

I hope you found this article helpful and informative - remember you can always chat with one of our computer buddies and get more information and guidance, we're only too pleased to be of service to you

Chris Truss, NCC 'System Manager'



Email, phone call and text message scams

August 2021

You might find this article helpful - it's from the Government's 'National Cyber Security Centre'  

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions 

Criminals want to convince you to do something which they can use to their advantage.

In a scam email or text message, their goal is often to convince you to click a link. Once clicked, you may be sent to a dodgy website which could download viruses onto your computer or steal your passwords and personal information.

Over the phone, the approach may be more direct, asking you for sensitive information, such as banking details.

The criminals do this by pretending to be someone you trust, or from some organisation you trust. This could be your Internet Service Provider (ISP), local council, even a friend in need. And they may contact you by phone call, email or text message. The term 'phishing' is often used when talking about emails.

Scams during the COVID-19 pandemic

While everyone is worried about the coronavirus, cyber criminals have seen this as an opportunity. In emails and on the phone, they may claim to have a 'cure' for the virus, offer financial rewards, or encourage you to donate to worthy causes. Like many scams, these criminals are preying on real-world concerns to try and trick you into interacting. They may also mimic real NHS messages.

These scam messages can be very hard to spot. They are designed to get you to react without thinking.

If you think you've already responded to a scam, don't panic. Whether you were contacted by phone, email, or text message, there's lots you can do to limit any harm.

Reporting suspicious messages

The message might be from a company you don't normally receive communications from, or someone you do not know.  You may just have a hunch. If you are suspicious, you should report it.  By doing so, you'll be helping to protect many more people from being affected.

Email

If you have received an email which you're not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at report@phishing.gov.uk 

Text message

Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to 7726. This free-of-charge short code enables your provider to investigate the origin of the text and take action, if found to be malicious.

Spotting suspicious messages

Spotting scam messages and phone calls is becoming increasingly difficult. Many scams will even fool the experts. However, there are some tricks that criminals will use to try and get you to respond without thinking. Things to look out for are:

  • Authority - Is the message claiming to be from someone official? For example, your bank, doctor, a solicitor, or a government department. Criminals often pretend to be important people or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.
  • Urgency - Are you told you have a limited time to respond (such as 'within 24 hours' or 'immediately')? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.
  • Emotion - Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.
  • Scarcity - Is the message offering something in short supply, like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.
  • Current events - Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.

If it could be genuine

If you think a message or call might really be from an organisation you have an existing relationship with, like your bank, and you want to be sure:

  • Go back to something you can trust. Visit the official website, log in to your account, or phone their advertised phone number. Don't use the links or contact details in the message you have been sent or given over the phone.
  • Check to see if the official source has already told you what they will never ask you. For example, your bank may have told you that they will never ask for your password.

For further information, visit

 https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions

Allen Roochove, NCC 'Techno' Buddy