Avoid tech support phone scams

It appears that an old spectre has reared its ugly head again.

Fake tech support phone scams

We had thought that they had slowed down as we have not had one reported to us for quite some time, but it appears that the scammers are still going strong. We will not go into chapter and verse here with advice and information, so much has already been written.


These links are from Microsoft, but it apply equally well to other callers. In fact the call that was received today identified itself as being from BT

The same advice as always applies – Keeping Safe on the Internet

In essence, don’t click on it unless you are 100% sure it is legitimate, never click on it if it was unsolicited etc… (The callers try to get you to go to a website where they have you download and run some software that will “protect” you or will “scan” your machine. What they are really doing is using you to infect your own machine).

The links above are legitimate Microsoft sites, but please don’t take our word for it. Try Googling “Microsoft avoid phone scams” or “Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently“

Treat calls like this as you would if you bumped into a person on the street with a Microsoft or BT hat on. Would you give a total stranger your credit card information? No? Of course not. So don’t do it on the internet unless you went looking for the service and you are as confident as possible that the provider is who they say they are.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Social Engineering?

Why Phishing Scams Keep Working

Think before you click

The internet is riddled with scams and virus’ that continue to persists well past their “Sell By” date.  There are many reasons for this; unpatched software, unpatched Operating Systems (OS’s) (would you belive that there are still Windows 95 machines out there, that have not been updated in years, that are compromised, but carry on working, doing what ever task they were set up for in the first place and being a nuisance for the rest of us).

We often hear about people being “hacked”; as with the “phone hacking” that caused the end of the News of the World, but the reality is that many (most) of these so called hacks are actually Social Engineering attacks; someone is duped to hand over information that helps the “hacker” (either verbally or in this case via a web page) or people’s normal behaviour is leveraged (in the case of the phone hacking they took advantage of the fact that most people do not change their voicemail’s default password).

Windows XP has now gone out of support, but this need not be a problem if you use a secure browser (Firefox. Chrome, et al (but not IE))  you keep an upto date virus scanner and …

Think before you click


Why Phishing Scams Keep Working

Why Phishing Scams Keep Working


Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Think before you click

The following is from a Microsoft informational email – We thought you would find it interesting and useful

Security for Home Computer Users

Think before you click


Security updates for May 13, 2014

Learn how to get security updates automatically

Get updates from Microsoft Update


How do I recycle my computer?

Earth Day was last month, but it’s not too late to recycle your old computer. If you use a Microsoft Certified Refurbisher, they’ll help you remove your personal information and donate your equipment to people in need around the world. 


Learn how to recycle old computers and devices.

Top Stories

Privacy in Windows Phone 8.1

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Learn more about the privacy and security settings for mobile web browsing, apps that can determine your location, and features like Cortana, the new personal assistant for Windows Phone.


Security improvements in Windows 8

Security improvements in Windows 8

Did you know that antivirus protection is built into the newest version of Microsoft’s operating system? Read about other features that can help keep you and your family safer online.


malware that keeps coming back

How to get rid of malware that keeps coming back

Some viruses, spyware, and other malicious software can be hard to get rid of, especially if they’re designed to make your security software stop working.

Available now: Security update for Internet Explorer

Available now: Security update for Internet Explorer

Review a recent update for the Microsoft web browser-available for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.


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© 2014 Microsoft Corporation Terms of Use | Trademarks


Physician heal thyself -OffSite/Online Backup

Today I have given myself a major shock and have, fortunately, been able to recover.

A very important container of information (Microsoft OneNote – if you are interested) disappeared from my laptop! I do not know how that happened, but such is life. After a short period of running around screaming (metaphorically). I started to work out what to do about it.

The Backup files were not where they should be, or rather they were, but did not contain what I needed (it appears that Syncing had failed for a few days). Fortunately I suffer the paranoia of someone that has lost data before, and try to adhere to a 3-2-1 backup strategy, so I managed to find a recent backup in a different location (Thank you Carbonite).

An hours fiddling and I am back to where I should be. There is the outside chance that some of the data is a day older than it should be. And Steve, my business partner, may well have edited some of it in the last day. But we are in a far better position than we could have been.

I have reorganised my backups to take into account what when wrong this time.

The moral of this story?

YOU CANNOT HAVE TOO MANY BACKUPS!!! And make sure that your backups take all your data, it is not always where you think it is.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Failed Website? Or is it just me?

Have you ever tried viewing to a website and failed to connect?

Here are a couple of sites that will help you answer the question…

Is it down or is it just me?




As always, click at your own risk.


Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Tips for creating a strong password

Passwords provide the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer. The stronger your password, the more protected your computer will be from hackers and malicious software. You should make sure you have strong passwords for all accounts on your computer. If you’re using a corporate network, your network administrator might require you to use a strong password.

What makes a password strong (or weak)?

A strong password:

  • Is at least eight characters long.
  • Does not contain your user name, real name, or company name.
  • Does not contain a complete word.
  • Is significantly different from previous passwords.
  • Contains characters from each of the following four categories:
Character category

Uppercase letters

A, B, C

Lowercase letters

a, b, c


0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Symbols found on the keyboard (all keyboard characters not defined as letters or numerals) and spaces

` ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ – + = { } [ ] \ | : ; ” ‘ < > , . ? /

A password might meet all the criteria above and still be a weak password. For example, Hello2U! meets all the criteria for a strong password listed above, but is still weak because it contains a complete word. H3ll0 2 U! is a stronger alternative because it replaces some of the letters in the complete word with numbers and also includes spaces.

Help yourself remember your strong password by following these tips:

  • Create an acronym from an easy-to-remember piece of information. For example, pick a phrase that is meaningful to you, such as My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004. Using that phrase as your guide, you might use Msbi12/Dec,4 for your password.
  • Substitute numbers, symbols, and misspellings for letters or words in an easy-to-remember phrase. For example, My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un’s Brthd8iz 12124 (it’s OK to use spaces in your password).
  • Relate your password to a favorite hobby or sport. For example, I love to play badminton could become [email protected]()n.

If you feel you must write down your password in order to remember it, make sure you don’t label it as your password, and keep it in a safe place.

(Comment from UA: A better solution is to use a password manager tool such as Lastpass to keep your passwords for you.  You only need to remember one strong password (make sure it is a good one as it is the “keys to the kingdom”) and then use Lastpass to generate super strong ones for all your other needs and remember them for you.  2 Factor authentication is always a good idea when it is available.)

Creating stronger passwords using ASCII characters

You can also create passwords that use extended ASCII characters. Using extended ASCII characters helps make your password more secure by increasing the number of characters you can choose from to create a strong password. Before using extended ASCII characters in your password, make sure that passwords containing them are compatible with the programs that are used by you or your organization. Be especially cautious about using extended ASCII characters in passwords if your organization uses several different operating systems or versions of Windows.

You can find extended ASCII characters in Character Map. Some extended ASCII characters should not be used in passwords. Do not use a character if a keystroke is not defined for it in the lower-right corner of the Character Map dialog box. For more information, see Using special characters (Character Map): frequently asked questions.

Windows passwords can be much longer than the eight characters recommended above. In fact, you can make a password up to 127 characters long. However, if you are on a network that also has computers running Windows 95 or Windows 98, consider using a password that is no longer than 14 characters. If your password is longer than 14 characters, you might not be able to log on to your network from computers running those operating systems.

Links to the original Microsoft Posting

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