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How to prevent phishing attacks

phishingAs you know, phishing is a technique that involves tricking the user, usually through a malicious link or attachment in an email, in order to steal confidential information , passwords, etc, .  And summer is a notorious time for phishing emails, hacks and other malware.  The other day we had an incident at the office when one of our workers took the appropriate measures when sent a phishing email.  It seemed suspicious that the attachment file when clicked asked for an email and password even though they knew the sender.  So, they called the sender to double-check the accuracy of the attachment and the email.  So, a lot of times we can trust our instincts to identify phishing emails.  Often phishing emails require you to do something that is not normally done or required.  That is a good indication to double-check before clicking that attachment, or that suspicious link in the email which could unleash malware, ransomeware of something worse onto your computer.

How to transfer big files easily - really easily

We Transfer

Let's imagine a scenario where you just need to send a very large file (say over 25Mb) as a one-off to somebody else.  As you may know, email has size limitations regarding the size of attachments.  For example, gmail's limit is 25mb (megabytes).  Any gmail with an attachment over 25mb will be rejected and will not send.  The person you are sending to also uses an email carrier (e.g. microsoft, yahoo, btinternet, etc) who has their own limit too.  Therefore, it can be difficult to know if your large graphic file will ever reach its recipient.  But now there is a better and simpler way - WeTransfer.  It is free, simple and can handle files up to 2GB.

So, for that class banner or poster which you created in Publisher that you want to send to the printers you can just send it through WeTransfer.  You don't even need to sign-up or create an account - just go to their website and give your email, recipient's email and attach the file - that's it!  Try it:

https://wetransfer.com/

How to secure your facebook settings after FB's GDPR update

Facebook recently enlisted some updates to its privacy policy due to the approaching GDPR requirement.  Here is why it is important (taken from the Money Saving Expert article):

 

Previously, these privacy controls were hidden within the settings, but there is now a new central hub which makes controlling your data privacy a simpler process. However, due to the pop-up which many people sped through, it’s easy to have allowed access to your data and accepted face recognition - we take you through how you can amend this below.

It’s really important because the data collected by Facebook allows its advertising partners to ‘target’ ads to specific groups of people, which affects the ads you see on Facebook. In addition, allowing third parties access to your data - including your photos, political views and phone number – means they could spam you with all sorts.

How to spot phishing emails before it is too late

Phishing emails are emails which usually pretend to be from a well-known company (e.g. Google, Apple, Microsoft) which ask the user to click and link in the email and supply personal information such as a password or account number of a bank.  It is really an email from a hacker seeking to capture one's password or personal information in order to break into your account or steal your identity.  In other words they are fishing for information.  If we are click happy and click the link in the body of the email without thinking and provide the information then we give away a password or personal information which can be useful to the hacker.  In order to protect yourself from these attacks then please see this article by imore which although is written for the mac apple computer has application to any computer/email account:

https://www.imore.com/how-identify-and-report-phishing

Phishy Phones

Dear all,

Phishing is still an effective method for hackers.  And this includes our phones.  The other day I received a text message purportedly from Barclays bank.  I have an account there so it was possible but I was suspicious since the text message had a link in it that I was supposed to use to confirm a scheduled payout which was also possible.  I called the bank and they said that it was not their text message and that they would never send a text message with a link asking to confirm a payout.  So, always be on the safe side if you think something is a little suspicious - on ANY device.  Also, phone apps lately have been the attack vector of some serious hacks.  Let's stay vigilent.

 

Prevent Spyware

Please beware of downloading free software. Although not all free-ware is spyware, a good portion of it is. Therefore, if you are downloading a free pdf to jpg converter please make sure you get it from a reputable download site like cnet.com (download.cnet.com) or if need be pay for it. Otherwise you will be downloading spyware, or an annoying toolbar that will insert itself into your browser or something worse. The tradeoff between saving a few quid and the time spent extracting the spyware or virus from your computer is not worth it.

To download free software you can try cnet.download.com who advertise virus-free, spyware-free downloads of free or free-to-try software.  I have not had any problems with their software.

Prevent Ransomeware Attacks

The UK was in the top 5 countries to be effected by ransomware. Over
90,000 devices are affected each week. And the average demand for
ransomware is £514. Here's how to protect yourself:

1. Make sure you have backups and your backup has not stopped running

2. don't click on links or attachments of emails when you don't know
the sender

3. install software updates as soon as they are available

4. Make sure that you have an anti-virus and that
your anti-virus has not stopped running

5. stay off disreputable websites - e.g. illegal movie streaming
websites, etc

6. don't pay extortion demands

Password Security

I recently heard a story which reminded me of how we can all play a part in keeping our computer systems secure. You may have heard that the Democratic National Convention emails were leaked during the presidential campaign in America. It has since been revealed that Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman used the password "password". This would be one of the first passwords checked by Script Kiddies and also true hackers who are trying to gain access. So, it's just a reminder to us all to keep using strong passwords and to continue to operate with a security mindset in our Birthlight and personal work. I can tell you from the logs on my own web servers that there are always a number of attempts each day to login to my servers by illicit individuals. That's just the world we live in. Best to use both capital and lowercase letter, special characters and numbers in your password and make sure that the password has a minimum of 12 characters in it (at least as of this date/writing).

How to send bulk emails and newsletters safely

Just a reminder that when sending an email to a large number of recipients it is best to use Mailchimp or Constant Contact or some similar marketing email software. The reason is that we have email limits set on our email server by our ISP's (Internet SErvice Providers).  If we don't respect these limits our emails will not be received and we could get put on a blacklist (and recognized as spammers).  Mailchimp and other email marketing software is setup to especially deal with these limits and also removes the errors which can be involved with sending such large and numerous emails with Outlook or any other email client running on your desktop.  So, in so many words, please use mailchimp or the like when sending to large numbers of recipients

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