Did you know
that the vast majority in UK are vulnerable to cyber attacks?
Report by Patrick Trollope.
AS London hosted a
Cyberspace Security Conference, that had representatives of 60
nations who gathered to discuss how to tackle the rising levels of
cybercrime, the Inland Revenue again is warning people about yet
more phishing emails. Cybercrime estimated to cost £600bn a year
worldwide, so Electronic Security and Digital Forensics are now hot
topics. The UK intelligence agency’s based at GCHQ has warned that
cyber-attacks on the UK were now at "disturbing"
levels. But many, like Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, are warning
that ill-advised interventions posed their own risks.
With Iain Lobban, the head of GCHQ, warning that a
"significant" attempt was made to target the computer
systems of the UK's Foreign Office and other government departments
over the summer, can we the public play a part in the fight? Well
the answer is yes!
Cyberspace Crime can be fought by the public, as well as big
business and the police forces. If you get phishing emails like this
one (click on the photos to see), and also the fake site likes the
one below, that we received this week, delete them, but if they have
a way to report them to the people they report to be, forward them
With the case of emails reporting to be from the
Inland Revenue send them to
firstname.lastname@example.org. "HMRC thoroughly
investigates phishing attacks and works with other law enforcement
agencies in the UK and overseas. In the last 2 years, scam networks
have been shut down in a number of countries, including Austria,
Mexico, the UK, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan."
they told us this week. Reports of fraudulent "phishing”
emails have risen by 300% over 2011, HM Revenue & Customs has
confirmed, but it is part down to a rise in the email scams and also
to the fact more people know how to report them. The emails often
seen provide a "click-through link" to a cloned
replica of the HMRC website or hosts a copy on an attachment on the
email that links to a scam host in some way. This email example had
the attachment form style embedded in it. The recipient on both are
asked to provide their credit or debit card details.
information asked for enables criminals to steal the account.
Victims risk not only having their bank accounts emptied, but also
their personal details being sold on to other organised criminal
gangs. Joan Wood, Director of HMRC Online and Digital told us that:-
"We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in
writing by post. We currently don’t use telephone calls, emails or
external companies in these circumstances. If anyone receives an
email claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to us before deleting
it. The increase in reports are partly down to improved awareness of
these scams. However, I have no doubt that more of these 'phishing'
emails are in general circulation than ever before. HMRC will do
everything possible to ensure those receiving this email know what
steps to take to protect their information, and we are working
closely with other law enforcement agencies to target the criminals
behind this serious crime and see them brought to justice."
is currently helping to shut down around 100 scam websites a month.
Other ways cyber can hit your computer are via attachments. The
advice is do not to open attachments, on emails, from people you do
not know, unless you asked for them. More still can be done, by
putting on up-to-date anti-spyware software and anti-virus software
on you computers. Sadly many businesses and homes in the UK are
lacking protection and cybercriminals are taking advantage?
have a Mac, you are a target and many Mac users do not realise that
the operating system, program and browsers are just as vulnerable to
attach as PC users are, thus making the user even more vulnerable to
Many Mac users do not have any protection in place and this
is a worry for the computer industry. This is not a new thing as
even back in 2006 Apple Computer's Mac OS became vulnerable to
attack through Adobe PDF Reader Software. iServices.A is a recent
big example of Mac malware, and due to poor understanding on
vulnerabilities of Mac, it affected network all over the world,
including a Hospitals Trust in the UK and also reportable the
Ministry of Defence. The OSX.Trojan was discovered in January 2009
and is still regarded as a "Serious Risk". This like
many Trojans, it opens up a "backdoor" on the victim's
computer, effectively alerting the virus writer that a new system is
infected and potentially allowing the attacker to upload new
software to or perform other actions on the infected Mac.
aside the question of whether Mac users need anti-virus, regardless
of the operating system in use, it is always important to avoiding
risky behaviours online that could jeopardize the security your
systems and personal data. The main rule is keep up-to-date, get
protection and avoid giving out to much information when on Social
Net Working Sites, like Facebook. Remember the saying as well:-
"If it looks like a
duck, quacks like a duck and walks like
a duck, it's a duck." when it comes to
the internet and emails.
Other areas that often get overlooked are the
browsers and the applications they run. Qualys Inc. recently stated
that:- "almost 80% of browser users are vulnerable to attacks
via insecure plug-ins." They found that their security stats
showed that between 25% and 30% of users had missing security
updates. So do not forget to update your browsers and its plug-ins
like Flash, Adobe Reader and Java Runtime, to name a few! So ask
yourself, when did you update your computer's browsers and plug-ins, in
both work and at home? Are other things
update like anti-virus software and does the computer you are using
have up-to-date anti-spyware software on
it? Then you should also check if your computer removes cookies from your internet browsers when you
close them, at home and in work? It not only does it free up space, but
also stops tracking of what sites you look at.
Another thing you can do to prevent problems from
being attacked by online criminals are simple things like
not savings your passwords and user names on your browsers.
A big issue in today's society is internet and
telephone banking. How many times are you asked the same
questions by Banks and other financial groups? Be warned
might be nice to put all your information in on Facebook and other
sites like it, but do you know who is looking? If you say
want to find out someone’s Mothers Maiden Name, it is often easily
found out via sites like that. Check it is not online. If
it is, or you think it might be or even has been online, then do not use it.
Often in places like banks ask for Mothers Maiden Name as a security
question for phone banking etc.
if asked to give it when setting up, don't, give another name or
phrase... Simple steps like this help prevent the rise in Cyberspace Crime
and protects you a bit more.
It is also a fitting moment to remind readers that no security
software is going to protect the user who is intent on installing
software that may be tainted with malware, as long as that user is
willing to ignore any advice (or alerts) to the contrary. So we can
as a nation of computer users can also fight the rise in crime and
be responsible for our nation’s security, with just a few simple
Email us to:-
let us know what you think? If you want more information
on how to safe guard your self, email us and we will try and point
you in the right direction to get advice.
A few facts from the Inland Revenue:-
1. Scam emails often begins with a sentence such as:- "we have
reviewed your tax return and our calculations of your last years
accounts a tax refund of XXXX is due.”
2. Legitimate tax rebate forms (P800s) from HMRC will contain a
payment order and will never ask for credit or debit card details.
3. The current increase in scam emails is partly due to people
following HMRC advice and forwarding them to the department’s on
line reporting facility.
4. In September 2009, a record 83,000 phishing attempts were
reported to HMRC. The following month, an unprecedented 10,000
reports of phishing scams were made to HMRC on one day alone.
5. You can now get advice from:-
6. HMRC have publicises details of current Tax and NI scams to look
out for on their website
Host To Top US Author!
WE have an exclusive
evening with Maggie Stiefvater on Saturday, 12 November 2011, and
what a night it will be! Maggie Stiefvater will be in Gourmet
Coffee’s beautiful new store, located in the idyllic setting of
Exchange Flags, at the back of Liverpool Town Hall, on 12 November
2011. She is in the UK, after flying over from New York, for only a
few weeks ahead of her film launch, 'Shiver', due for 2012... With
thanks to Formby Books, this is your chance to not only to ask
questions and meet Maggie, but also to get a signed copy of her new
book called:- 'The Scorpio Races'. The event starts at
7:30pm. Tickets can be collected from the venue on the night or from
Formby Books, within Derbyshires Department Stores, Formby,
Merseyside, L37 4DU. Your book will be brought to the venue on the
night and will be given out upon arrival. Cut off for paying online
is 11am, on Friday, 11 November 2011. Any orders taken after that
will be refunded and not taken. If you can not attended, we will
post a signed copy of the book to you. Please note that no refunds
will be given unless the event is cancelled by ourselves or by
Formby Books. There is opportunity for a public queue to get books
signed at 8.30pm after the event. Tickets will sell out fast for
this so if you like The Twilight Saga, do not miss this event!!!
here to order tickets now!
Henshaws goes mobile with free I.T.
sessions for visually impaired people
BLIND and partially sighted people in
Merseyside who want to find out more about the basics of using a
computer are invited to attend a free training course. The
Mobile I.T. training sessions are being run by Henshaws Society for
Blind People, one of the main providers in the North of England of
expert support, advice and training to anyone affected by sight loss
and other disabilities. During the 12 weekly sessions, visually
impaired adults in Merseyside will acquire all the computer skills
needed to get up and running. All of the computers will be equipped
with specialist magnification or speech-based ‘access
technology’ which means that the course will be open to
anyone who has experienced sight loss. The training sessions
will also provide Internet and email tuition to enable people to
send emails and browse the internet.
The sessions last for 2.5 hours. They are taking place in the
following community venues:-
► Birkdale Library, Liverpool Road,
Birkdale on Wednesday morning and afternoon.
► Bootle Library, Stanley Road,
Bootle, on Monday morning.
► Knosley (Bradbury Centre until New
Year) Yuens Way on Thursday afternoon
► Ashville Lodge, Ashville Road,
Birkenhead on Thursday morning.
► St Helens Millennium Centre,
Corporation Street, St Helens, on Tuesday morning and afternoon and
Thursday morning and afternoon.
Bill Milner, The charity’s Merseyside Area Manager,
Said:- "These training sessions will be an ideal starting
point for visually impaired people, even those who have never used a
computer before. Being able to use a computer and surf the web is
just as important for blind and partially sighted people as it is
for anyone else. Whether it’s to look for a job, shop online or keep
in touch with friends by email, these sessions will give people all
the skills they need to use their computer with confidence. Over the
years, our staff have built up considerable expertise of providing
computer-based training to visually impaired adults. It may sound
daunting at first, but I’d urge people to come along and give it a
try. The sessions are very relaxed and everyone receives plenty of
Anyone interested in booking a place or finding out
more, can do so by phoning Neil Kynaston, Henshaws I.T. Training
Manager on:- 0151 708 7055. More information about Henshaws
society for Blind People is available online at:-
A plan to transform a run
down day centre in Liverpool into a Health and Wellbeing community
‘hub’ is set to move a step closer. On Friday, 4
November 2011, the city council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve
a report which recommends spending almost £870,000 on ‘The
Lime’ in Kensington, including a new café and hydrotherapy
pool. It is part of the council’s £3.5 million
‘Transformation’ plan for day care services, which will see
6 Health and Wellbeing ‘hubs’ created to provide help
and support for people. ‘The Lime’ will be 1 of 3
centres across the city open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week,
providing intensive health and social care support for people with
complex needs as well as placements for people coming out of care...
It will also give advice on employment and housing and serve as a
place for people to meet and hold events. Discussions have been held
with the De Vere Hotel Group who are interested in running the café,
and training people who use the centre in hospitality skills. The
hydrotherapy pool will also be used by different organisations,
including injured service personnel undergoing rehabilitation.
Councillor Roz Gladden, cabinet member for adult
social care, said:- "This is going to be an absolutely
fantastic facility offering state-of-the-art support and care for
not only people who use day services, their families and local
residents. This is a significant investment in a new kind of care
facility which is completely changing the way in which we deliver
services. We are moving to a system where we are focused on meeting
people’s individual needs, rather than having to choose from a fixed
menu of social care services. Despite the difficult financial
situation we are in, we are committed to investing in and improving
services where we can."
The other 12 hour a day centres will be at the Lancaster Centre in
the north of Liverpool and Speke Resource Centre in the south. 3, 24
hour centres, are also proposed; including a new dementia centre at
Sedgemoor Care Home in Norris Green, stroke support at Venmore Care
Home in Everton, and a service for people who have suffered a fall
at Granby Care Home in Toxteth. Much more emphasis will
be placed at the 6 new ‘hubs’ on making sure that
people in intermediate care do not end up deteriorating, so that
they become institutionalised in residential accommodation
permanently. Instead, they will be supported through rehabilitation
so they can end up living independently again. Overall, there will
be a significant increase in the number of people being supported.
It will be paid for by ploughing the money saved from
decommissioning the buildings into direct payments and the
personalisation of services.