Monday 31 January 2011

Scam Update

Well I have been contacted by a few people today who were glad that I published my warning because they received the scam call over the weekend.  Forewarned was forearmed.

Remember, never let anyone you don't know take remote control of your computer.  If you do let them by mistake and then realise your error, either unplug your modem or router or just pull the computer power plug out of the wall.  That will do far less damage than the scammer.

Be careful folks!!

Friday 28 January 2011

Beware the scammers

This could apply to any area but it seems that just now, scammers are targetting unsuspecting computer users in the Tenbury, Bromyard and Ludlow areas.

Although the scam takes many guises, they all start with an unexpected phone call.  The caller will then ask you about your computer and offer to improve its performance.  They will then try and persuade you to allow them to take remote control of your PC and fix it, for a fee of course - under no account must you let them do this because they could then put all sorts of things you don't want on your PC.

In the current scam the caller will try and tell you that BT have made some changes to the broadband network and that your PC needs to be 're-optimised' (or some similar word) to take advantage of the changes BT have made.

Needless to say BT have not made any changes and your PC does not need optimising (or at least not for the reason they say).

The caller will try and convince you that they can already see your screen and the problems you are having but rest assured they are lying.  Unless you take positive action to let them in, they cannot see a thing.

Remote takeover sessions can be a useful tool - we use them with our own customers - but never allow someone you don't know to take over you PC - you could end up in a world of PC and financial pain.

Previously this scam has taken a different form in that the caller claims to be from Microsoft and that they can speed up your PC, but the end result is the same.

If you have any doubts then consult a reputable IT specialist such as Reebex . If you have let one of these scammers in to your PC, we would urge you to get help as soon as possible because your PC may have been compromised and could be sending private information such as banking details out to the scammers without you knowing.

Thursday 6 January 2011

And So It Continues for Microsoft......

Oh dear!  2011 is really getting off to a bad start for Microsoft.  Hot on the heels of the emails of 17,000 odd customers being deleted, it is now being reported that some Hotmail customers are being locked out of their accounts.

And it's not just those using the freebie accounts.  Even those who subscribe to the paid for accounts are having problems.  Microsoft are denying that there is any sort of widespread issue and are advising users to contact the Windows Live Support Site.

Whilst I have used Hotmail (and Yahoo! Mail) for many years for personal stuff,  I am being won over by Google's GMail service.  Especially the way it integrates with my Android Galaxy S phone. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, but Google seem to have linked up with several  other services that I use so that my Google account login now gets me into all sorts of sites without having to re-register.

Whilst it makes life easier, I can't help but feel it is a security risk.  Unlike most people, I do use different usernames and passwords for the various sites I use so that if one gets compromised then I don't have to go round changing them all.

Maybe having 'one login does everything' is just too easy for our own online safety.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Tough Week for Microsoft

Well Microsoft have not had too good a start to the New Year.

First bit of bad news was that whilst doing some server maintenance last week, they managed to lose the emails of some 17,000 odd customers who subscribe to their Hotmail service.  Luckily though, Microsoft were able to restore them from backup but quite a few people were sweating for a few hours i'll bet.  Still it does serve to point out the need for good backups.  I remember losing a hard drive a few years ago with all my company data on it.  I recovered most of it but it was very hard work.  So now i have at least 2 backups of everything updated daily.  When was the last time you backed up dear reader?

Secondly, users of the brand new Windows Phone 7 have been reporting higher than expected data usage on their phones to the extent that some are using up all their monthly allowance of data well before the month is over. What appears to be happening is that although a wifi network maybe in range, the phone is continuing to use the phone company connection rather than the wifi connection to download data thus incurring unexpected charges.  It is unclear at the moment if this is a bug in the software or an intentional thing from Microsoft.  The cynical would of course say it is deliberate and a ploy by Microsoft to earn money for the companies selling their phones, but personally i think it is a bug that will be sorted fairly quickly.  After all people will just ignore Windows Phone 7 in favour of Android/iPhone/Blackberry/Symbian if they don't fix it.