IMPORTANT Update February 2018
The recent introduction of Open Banking in January 2018 has provided new ways for companies and services to look at your financial data and thereby provide you with better suggestions for products or services that you may or may not need. The Open Banking system itself is explained well by the Money saving Experts team on the web page linked on the right 'Open Banking Explained'. However, be aware that con men may try to exploit this in some way as part of a scam phone call. You are not required to make any changes to your current arrangements and there is no legal obligation for you to provide bank login details to anyone EVER.
January 2018 - There have been a number of reports on the BBC and in the press about problems with the chips in large numbers of computers. These problems are real and have been dubbed Spectre and Meltdown. They affects PC's, Laptops, Mobile Phones and Tablets, in short pretty much everything. Manufacturers and software suppliers are pushing out updates to deal with this. However, it will take time and some difficulties are being experienced where updates on Windows computers are not working because of antivirus software. Some older smartphones and tablets may not be updated at all. This is a complex situation so, if in doubt, please seek professional assistance with your device.
Choose, use and protect your passwords carefully, and use a different one for every online account in case one or more get hacked.
Look after your mobile devices. Don’t leave them unattended in public places, and protect them with a PIN or passcode.
If you get a call from someone claiming to have discovered a virus on your computer, it is a scam. They may say they are from Microsoft or BT or your bank or something else plausible. Just put the phone down - it is not rude, it is not bad mannners - they are crooks!
Ensure you always have internet security software loaded on computers and a similar app on your mobile devices, and that this is kept updated and switched on. Remember that smartphones and tablets can get compromised as much as computers.
You must not assume that Wi-Fi hotspots in places like cafes, bars and hotel rooms are secure, so never use them when you’re doing anything confidential online. Instead, use 3G or 4G (your phone's data connection rather than wi-fi)
Never reveal too much personal or financial information in emails, on social networking and dating sites and in person. You never know who might see it, or use it.
Always consider that online or on the phone, people aren’t always who they claim to be. Fake emails and phone calls are a favourite way for fraudsters to approach their victims.
Don’t click on links in emails, posts, tweets or texts if the source isn’t 100% known and trustworthy, or it seems strange that you’d be receiving them.
ABOVE ALL --- DO NOT OPEN UNEXPECTED ATTACHMENTS!!! even if they sound like invoices or notices about mail deliveries.
Never pay for anything by direct bank transfer – including goods, services, tickets, travel and holidays – unless it’s to someone you know personally and is reputable.
Take your time and think twice because everything may not be as it seems.
Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Get Safe Online
Open Banking Explained
List of Computer Guides
Allen Paul, the Ravenshead U3A Webmaster has very kindly emailed me a list of PDF files (Portable Document Format) which are designed to be read on any computer system) Most computers have a PDF file reader, if not, the programme is easily downloaded.
To view the computer guides, click on the link on the right of this screen, and select the required guide.
I hope they are of use. Drop me an email Peter Harris if you are having difficulty.
SEVEN ESSENTIAL TIPS TO AVOID PHISHING
Don't get caught on the net
Phishing scams are among the most prevalent forms of cybercrime, especially in the UK. Although phishing is widespread, it is beatable. Apart from ensuring you install security software, the best way to combat scams is to learn what phishing looks like.
What is Phishing?
Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a kind of identity theft which is growing in popularity amongst hackers. By using fraudulent websites and false emails, perpetrators attempt to steal your personal data - most commonly passwords and credit card information.
Criminals gain this information by sending you links to sites that look like sites you trust, such as your online banking provider or social networks, and are able to steal your data as you enter it. Some of the sites spoofed most regularly include PayPal, eBay, Yahoo! and MSN, as well as financial institutions - so don't think that an email is guaranteed to be safe when it's not from a bank.
How to protect yourself against phishing
Be wary of emails asking for confidential information - especially information of a financial nature. Legitimate organisations will never request sensitive information via email, and most banks in the UK will tell you that they won't ask for your information unless you're the one contacting them.
Don't get pressured into providing sensitive information. Phishers like to use scare tactics, and may threaten to disable an account or delay services until you update certain information. Be sure to contact the merchant directly to confirm the authenticity of their request.
Most of the spam you receive on a daily basis - as well as potentially dangerous phishing emails - is coming to you because a site you have signed up to has sold your email address to another company. If you're not ok with this happening, it might be worth reconsidering whether you want to sign up to the site.
Watch out for generic-looking requests for information. Fraudulent emails are often not personalised, while authentic emails from your bank often reference an account you have with them. Many phishing emails begin with "Dear Sir/Madam", and some come from a bank with which you don't even have an account.
Never submit confidential information via forms embedded within email messages. Senders are often able to track all information entered.
Never use links in an email to connect to a website unless you are absolutely sure they are authentic. Instead, open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar. Often a phishing website will look identical to the original - look at the address bar to make sure that this is the case.
Make sure you maintain effective software to combat phishing. Norton™ Internet Security automatically detects and blocks fake websites. It also authenticates major banking and shopping sites.
TOP TEN TIPS TO AVOID CYBER CRIME
If you use the internet, here are our top tips to help you to protect yourself, your money, your identity and your devices:
1. Choose, use and protect your passwords carefully, and use a different one for every online account in case one or more get hacked. Use at least 8 digits, a mix of letters and numbers. Ensure your email password is strong and unique, as it could be used to reset other passwords.
2. Look after your mobile devices. Don’t leave them unattended in public places, and protect them with a PIN or passcode. It’s also a good idea back-up your important data.
3. Ensure internet security software on computers and similar apps on your mobile devices are updated and switched on. Remember smartphones and tablets get compromised too. Use up to date antivirus and firewalls. If an application provides an update to patch a known threat, then a hacker may be able to gain entry to your device if not updated - So update regularly.
4. Don’t assume Wi-Fi hotspots in places like cafes or hotels are secure - never use them to do anything confidential. Instead, use 3G, 4G or a VPN (virtual private network). Turn off your Wi-Fi for an hour each week so that a new IP address is allocated. Ensure your home Wi-Fi has a strong password security code.
5. Never reveal too much personal or financial information in emails, social networking, dating sites, or in person. You never know who might see it or use it. Do you need to advertise your birth date, phone number, or email? Shred to dispose of any documents containing such information.
6. Always beware that online or on the phone, people aren’t always who they claim to be. Fake emails and phone calls are a favourite way for fraudsters to approach their victims.
7. Don’t click on links in emails, posts, tweets of texts – and don’t open attachments if the source isn’t 100% known and trustworthy, or if it seems strange you’d be receiving them. Do not open if unsure of a link. Clicking on a bad link could upload malicious software, which could result in data loss, financial loss or even lock you out of your device. To log in to a website, always go to your bank or other company’s homepage by typing their web address into your browser – never via an email link.
8. Never pay for anything by direct bank transfer – including goods, services, tickets, travel and holidays – unless it’s to someone you know personally who is reputable. Credit cards offer greater protection than most other payment methods.
9. Take your time and think twice, because everything may not be as it seems. Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
10. For free expert advice about all aspects of staying safe online, visit www.getsafeonline.org
eBuddy Project at Herts Regional College, Turnford
Working in conjunction with students from Herts Regional College, we organise one to one sessions for members looking to gain a better understanding of their laptop, ipad, smartphone etc.
If you are interested in attending please contact Steve Gollop 01992 629209
Hertfordshire Libraries have set up an on line system of training videos for people using computers, ipads, iphones, etc. These may prove useful to answer specific issues you may have. You can either go on line to Hertfordshire Libraries website and search for ATOMIC TRAINING, or go into your local library and ask them about the Atomic Training computer resource.
If you are going by bus, the 310 from the Old Pond, Cheshunt stops about 50 yds. short of the college entrance, just after the Bulls Head pub.
By car, there is car parking available on a first come basis. Drive into the college up to the barrier, press the intercom and tell reception you are attending the computer training with Julie Whytock. After the barrier there is a car park on the right hand side. If this is full go left around the back of the main building where there is a larger car park.
Please be in reception at 11.15am to allow time to register. I will be there and we can wait for Julie to take us to the computer dept. for 11.30am start.
The start and finish times are:
It is important for the students that you are there on both dates.
Bring with you the one item that you want help to understand.
I will collect the donation on the day.
Enjoy your time learning with the students.
COLD CALL SECURITY SCAMS
One scam that continues to be a persistent thorn in our side is the cold call from bogus security companies that start by saying your computer is seriously infected and that you need a good security protection system which of course they can supply for a fee.
They will ask if they can look into your system to show you the problem. Never allow this.
The simple rule is – Do not get involved in any conversation, they will only confuse you.
All computers need a security system and this can be easily supplied by companies such as NORTON or McAFEE on CD from any reputable supplier for around £40. (Can also be downloaded from their websites)
HOT TIP - when surfing Cheshunt U3A website you will notice in the text of most documents a small section in a slightly different colour, if you move your mouse over this area and CLICK it you will be taken to another website or internal page giving you further information regarding the current subject.
CHESHUNT LIBRARY IT CHAMPIONS
Cheshunt Library are offering FREE help with your computer problems/questions.
They have volunteer IT champions waiting to help on the following days:
Tuesdays 2pm – 5pm
Fridays 2pm – 5pm
Saturdays 10am – 12noon
Just ask at Library reception for HELP!
If the problem is small I think this will be a good place to start and as its FREE what do you have to loose.
Hertfordshire Constabulary God Bless ‘em do send out warnings of current viruses that are in emails or on the Internet. What they also advertise is the following site –
This I highly recommend because they try to cover as much as possible, they are not there to sell anything and have only your protection in mind.
If you know of any site that you think may be of assistance please e-mail me Peter Harris through the Contacts page.