Phishing and Scam Emails on the increase

Generally speaking most people I talk to are VERY good at spotting the nonsense emails which appear in their Inboxes. However, the criminals are getting more sophisticated and we all need to be increasingly aware; yes, even me!

What the criminals are usually after are some sort of account details. As most websites rely on a simple email address and password combination, these emails will lead you to a fake website where this information can be gathered. So, how can you combat this?

Assuming the email is actually of interest to you i.e. you haven’t already deleted it, then the first thing to check is the email address of the sender: does it look like a proper business email address from that company? Really bad phishing emails will use an ordinary email address, which looks like a friend has sent the email, even though it purports to be from PayPal, Barclays, Sainsburys, Amazon, etc.

If the email passes that check, then there will undoubtedly be something they want you to click on, but where is it going? Now, this is where it gets more difficult to check. On a computer or laptop it is easy to drift your mouse pointer over the link (no clicking, just DRIFT!) and a link of where it is going to take you will appear, either where the mouse pointer is or in the bottom left corner of the window you are in. The start of the website address is the bit you want and will correspond to the company who allegedly sent you the email. If it doesn’t then that is the give away. Unfortunately, on a tablet or smart phone you have no such ability to check in this way. All you can do here is leave the email and check it when you are next on your laptop or computer.

Internet Security is useless in these situations, as it is designed to deal with physical attacks on your device and it cannot work out when you are being conned. Your best defence has always been, and still is, common sense! If you work on the basis that if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, then you should stay safe and sound.

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Don’t put off Windows Updates

We all know Windows Updates are important to keep laptops and computers up to date. What is not clear is that some will not install when you shut down.

“But of course they do, Martin!” I hear you cry.

OK, if you select ‘Update and Shut Down’ SOME pending updates will install, but others require a restart to complete the process. These updates bring up a little blue window telling you there is an update and asking if you want to ‘Restart now, Pick a time or Remind me later’. The mistake made here is that people schedule the update, but don’t leave their computer on to actually do the update.

So what should you do? Well, as a way to cover all your bases, I would recommend clicking on ‘Update  and Restart’. Yes, this does mean coming back to your computer or laptop in a while to shut it down properly, but it will get ALL the updates installed for you.

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Wireless Printer Gone Offline?

This is the first thing to do when your Wireless printer reports it is Offline:

(This works for 5 out of 6 times you cannot print to WiFi printer)

  1. Unplug the printer from the mains
    a. Either pull the 3 pin plug from the socket OR pull the power cable out of the back of the printer
  2. Now go to the Internet Router/ Hub and turn it off (unplug it from the mains) for 10 seconds before turning it on (plug it back in).
  3. The Internet Router/ Hub will take 2 to 4 minutes to come back to life.
  4. For best results restart your laptop/computer, but this is not usually necessary
  5. When the Internet Router/Hub has fully started, i.e. the lights are properly lit, then plug the printer power back in and turn on

Anything in the print queue should now print. If there is nothing in the print queue then try printing something out.

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