This blog complements my book, The Essential Guide to Home Computer Security, to help you keep your home computers and smartphones secure.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Exposing Russia's murky trade in exploit hack packs

I dont usually like to post about the varius threats and cyber criminals. I prefer to discuss methods and techniques to improve security. The security industry is very good at hyping up the threat anyway. But this BBC article gives some excellent insight into how viruses (or malware) can be written to order, and how cyber crime has become a business. It reinforces the need to keep your software up to date.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Police crackdown on fake shopping sites

Unfortunately I think we will see this headline every Xmas as there seems no effective way of keeping rogue traders off the web and Xmas, with the high online shopping rate, is their favourite time to set up stall.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Facebook 'to seek consent for privacy changes'

Good news! Facebook should be moving to an 'opt in' approach to privacy. In other words users privacy options can only be changed if they agree to it. To date it has been far too easy for privacy to be gradually eroded by subtle changes in privacy policies. Let's face it, most of us have no time to read privacy policies so we need more protection from websites who gather, hoard and abuse the data they need to attract advertisers.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bogus phone calls saying they have detected a virus on your PC

I mentioned this scam in my book but unfortunately it seems to be getting worse. So tell your friends and family not to fall for it or perhaps, like the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, string them along a bit and waste their time. Basically if you get a call saying your PC has a problem and needs fixing then don't pay any money - it's a scam.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Phishing Scams Dupe the Most Active Online Users

This report shows that even the most savvy and experienced web users are at great danger from phishing - it is not just novices who get caught out. It also makes the sensible proposal that we should use separate email addresses for different types of communication - banking, personal, etc. so that any email appearing in the 'wrong' address is automatically suspicious.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Smartphones - stolen for their data

Smartphones are increasingly being stolen for their data. A thief could get access to your passwords, your credit card numbers and your email. The ability to read your email could allow them to change passwords on other accounts you use. This identity theft could cause you a lot of problems, so if you do lose your phone, as well as reporting it to your phone company quickly change all your important online passwords. Where possible, try not to store security sensitive data on your phone. Even outdated BlackBerrys can apparently fetch £40 each on the black market in Africa, China and Europe, because of the data they contain. Of course you should also make sure it is protected by a PIN but this will not stop the determined data thief.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Spammers - getting cleverer all the time

I was beginning to think the war on spam was being won. With filtering by ISPs, tools on the desktop and in the email client, a lot less seems to be getting through. But the spammers are getting cleverer; making their emails resemble genuine business emails; spoofing the email 'from' address to add plausibility, and using subject lines that are believable such as 'Re: Your Amazon order 1234567' or similar. These emails contain what looks like a valid web link too. So whether the email is commercial spam or an attempt to infect you with malware, they are trouble. Beware!