Have a safe festive cyber season – by Peter Gaskin

The 30th November every year since 1988 is “National Computer Security Day” (https://nationaltoday.com/national-computer-security-day/) – it is a reminder of a dangers in our digital world.

All our minds this year have been on Coronavirus and recently the flu virus. Most of us have probably had the coronavirus and flu vaccinations.

Have you given thought to what viruses or malware might be affecting your email, website, social media, computer or phone – Windows or Apple or Android are all vulnerable! What action have you taken to vaccinate yourself against scammers?

The festive season is a time when hackers ramp up their activities distributing their unwelcome gifts across many digital routes.

Example scams

– emails loaded with malware
– phishing emails designed to help you give aware critical information
– shopping scams – fake products/fake sites where you pay your money and never get the product
– fake profiles on social media – connected to 100s of people giving them credibility
– fake dating profiles as Xmas and New year are the peak time when people sign up to dating sites
– fake WhatsApp messages
– fake ‘Friend in need’ messages – “I need money urgently”
– fake charity appeals
– lottery fraud – Between April and October 2021, Action Fraud received 629 reports of lottery fraud
– forced login attempts on website admin access so they can compromise the website with malware

Remember – if it is too good to be true – it probably is!!

GoDaddy breach

GoDaddy is the largest website hosting company in the world. Between 6th Sept and 6th Nov 2021 email and customer details for 1.2 million customer details on their Managed WordPress service were compromised – giving the hackers 1.2 million email addresses to attack with phishing emails! GoDaddy didn’t discover the hack until 17th Nov 2021*.

If it can happen to the biggest it can happen to you!

Take Five – “Stop Challenge Protect”

“Take Five” is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Take Five urges you to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.

Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.

Friends Against Scams

Become a “Friend Against Scams” (https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/), a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams. Join a 45-minute Friends Against Scams awareness sessions are run by SCAMchampions – https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/become-a-friend

Action Fraud reporting

Report all scams and fraud via Action Fraud where it is recorded, and information collated to identify patterns and sources of scams. This has resulted in many prosecutions and criminal scams being stopped.

Please be vigilant and do look out for those around you, especially the elderly, lonely and emotionally vulnerable people so we can ALL have a cyber safe festive season!

Peter Gaskin

Team Discovery

*GoDaddy disclosure notice:  https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1609711/000160971121000122/gddyblogpostnov222021.htm

About Peter Gaskin

Peter Gaskin is the founder of Team Discovery, a web management agency made up of a team of professionals with many years cross sector experience in different business areas including IT, internet technologies, advertising, product marketing, sales, marketing and brand management.  They offer a full spectrum of web services from hosting and domain name services through to complete website concept and design services including eCommerce solutions, Google analytics, SEO and social media.