Advice from Nottinghamshire Police’s Crime Prevention Unit entitled Protect Yourself Online (received 31st May 2017).
The Pre Crime Unit has also put together a series of other crime prevention guides to help protect your home, car, shed, valuables, caravan and many more. To view the guides click here.
Vodaphone advice (you don’t need to be with Vodaphone!) on keeping children and young people safe in a digital world (22 Feb 2013).
Online security and wider computer security is a constant media topic and, as such, can lead to an almost paranoid attitude to the great potential offered by modern systems.
For a detailed look at online scams, phishing, bogus warnings and much, much more, have a look at www.hoax-slayer.com for a thorough exploration of this whole topic. Don’t get caught out!
Data protection: whether it be lists of voluntary group members or your list of passwords (you do use a list - not the same few for everything, don’t you?) it is vital that these are not kept on your computer. In the former case you may have some difficulty explaining any security breech to the Information Commissioners Office and in the latter you might lose more than you’d like to imagine if someone hacks into your computer and retrieves enough information to impersonate you. Then, of course, is the possibility of computer failure - could you cope with losing all of the information on your machine?
Backing-up your data is fairly well understood as a security practice, but have you thought that using a simple USB Flash Drive could be the place to keep all of those sensitive documents, spreadsheets, etc. Try keeping a spreadsheet of your passwords, user names, etc. but store it only on a flash drive which can be locked away somewhere remote from the computer. When in use, this takes just a few more seconds - and probably a couple of ‘clicks’ - than having it stored on your hard drive, but is vastly more secure.
Do also remember to delete any sensitive data from letters, etc. that you may store in your correspondence after printing them. It is very easy to write a letter to your bank or building society with account number in it, only to forget to replace these with a line of ‘xxxxxx’ before saving it as a record. If the machine is stolen - or hacked into - then your account number is out-and-about!
Secure your mobile - leaflet from Nottinghamshire police (31 July 2012).
A little sensible advice and general awareness of common risks can make things so much more comfortable. For a simple but powerful overview of the security landscape together with basic tips and advice that can significantly improve your IT experience, click here to see (and download - highly recommended as something to keep handy beside your computer) our local IT Group’s worksheet on security issues.
The topic of data removal prior to disposal of old computer equipment has recently been thrown into high relief by some tests carried out by Which? Computing magazine. Two key methods are at the top of the list to accomplish this vital task - a) destroy the hard drive - yes, a lump hammer works well! Alternatively, if this prevents sale of the equipment, data-wiping software can reduce the risk of thieves restoring your deleted data - but only to a degree. A better alternative is to contact the charity Computer Aid who will delete the data and provided a donation report showing that data has been erased.
The following Neighbourhood Alert details a number of scams that have hit Nottinghamshire residents in the very recent past together with sensible advice to avoid getting caught in a similar way:
Mobile phones scam - Neighbourhood Alert (24 Apr 2012).
Computer scam still active in Nottinghamshire (19 Apr 2012).
Scams warnings for internet users - Neighbourhood Alert (15 Feb 2012)
For more information on how to protect yourself from this type of threat, please visit the GetSafeOnline website