Computer Security, Phishing and Scams

Written By PhilG

Bradford Marketing Hub contains articles and information that help small and medium service businesses.

I’m not a security expert. I cannot give you security advice. This article is about me. It explains how I think about computer security and what I do to stay safe online.

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Phishing, scams, and computer security.

Some of the computer security measures I take.

I keep my Operating System, programmes, and security software up to date and I scan my entire computer for viruses regularly.

  • I expect to be phished, so I’m vigilant with emails.
  • I never download anything from untrusted sources. 
  • I use a password manager and two factor authentication.
  • If I’m suspicious about a message’s authenticity, I’ll try to contact the sender on a phone number, email, or website, I know to be legitimate.

“Does a message make you feel excited? Nervous? Pressured? STOP! Pause and think before you click a link or download a file.”

The Wizer-Training website is a great place to learn about basic online security. You must log in to watch some videos, but the free account is enough to get you started and improve your personal or business security. I suggest you start there, Wizer-Training can tell you much more than I can.

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Watch these videos and then sign op for a free Wizer-Training account.

Start by reading this quick overview of computer security.

Online Security

More secure computers.

Ordinary people like you and me are aware of scams and therefore keeping our computers, operating systems, applications, and security software up to date. 

People still make mistakes.

Being vigilant about what I in stall is important, because if I install a malicious programme it can override all of my security measures, and my computer will treat the programme I installed as a legitimate programme that I’ve given permission to do whatever it likes to my computer and possibly attack the network I’m on. It coould also edit or delete all of my marketing articles that have taken months to write.

Fear & urgency, greed, laziness, blackmail, and stupidity.

How do scammers manipulate smart people into making foolish decisions? They fool us. They offer what seems like a reasonable excuse for us to do what they ask.

For instance, scammers might say, “Your Amazon account information is out of date. Please log in immediately to update your billing details.” Or, “We’re updating our direct debit payment system. Until you update your details, we will not process your payments.”

Red flags.

Often I’ll find two big red flags. 

  • Something I didn’t expect
  • That needs to be done urgently. 

Scammers don’t want me to stop and think. They want me to act without thinking, that’s why they make the request urgent.

 What am I asked asked to do?

Scammers are constantly finding new ways to fool us, but there are specific things scammers are likely to ask us to do.

  • Log in to a cloned website.
  • Download and open a malicious file.
  • Run a macro to view a file, etc.

What do scammers want?

All these tactics are attempts to steal my money or to take control of my computer. If scammers take control of my computer they can access any account I log into using that computer. Such as my bank, work email, family Facebook page, etc.

How do I respond?

When I receive an email requiring me to log in to an account, I always assume the email is bogus and check it out thoroughly before proceeding. I check the actual email address, not just the “from” name. Is the email actually from the business it claims to be from? 

I remind myself that email addresses can be spoofed or hijacked by scammers!

Does the email contain any links? Are the links leading to the legitimate website or a different domain? You can sometimes tell by hovering over the link WITHOUT CLICKING!

If I’m requested to log in, and I’m sure the email is legitimate, I don’t use the link in the email. I log in on the homepage of the known legitimate website. 

Never download anything from an untrusted source.

It’s tempting to find free stuff on the internet. Young people, in particular, feel tempted to get movies or music without paying. You can also find free books, training courses, and more. 

Even if I download a legitimate programme, there’s always a chance it could contain malware. So I’m always vigilant. Even if I’m convinced what I’ve downloaded is legitimate, I scan it with a well-respected virus scanner. And remind myself that every time I download, open, or install anything, I’m taking a risk.

I ask, “is this risk worth taking?” If I have a choice, I don’t download it.

Visit Wizer-Training to learn everything you need to know. While most people can make do with a free account, signing up is necessary to gain access.

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