Southport Reporter (R) Online Nespaper for Merseyside

Read our Tracking & Cookie Usage Policy


Terms and Conditions

Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
Covering the news in and around Merseyside


Click on here to email our news room today!



Your free online newspaper for Merseyside
This website is licence to carry news from and UK Press Photography.



Latest Edition



Order Photos  Help Client Admin Advert Options

Updated news stories weekly.  Published online only every Thursday

Your online newspaper.   Your words.

Issue:- 03 November  2011

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!

Most 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 on.

With the case of emails reporting to be from the Inland Revenue send them to "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.


Providing the 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."

HMRC 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?

If you 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 attack!

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.

Leaving 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 though... It 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 steps.  

Email us to:- and 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 at:-

Liverpool Plays 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!!!   Click 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 individual tuition."

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:-

New look ‘Lime’ for Kensingtone

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.

Click on here to go back to this week's home page!

Our radio station phone in message line...   Call us now!

Click on this section to see last weeks edition of Southport and Mersey Reporter!

Sign up today for our daily email news service!

Sign up to our Daily Email News Service by clicking here now...

Southport & Mersey Reporter - leading the way for local news.
We where the UK's first online only newspaper!

All email addresses and information is held under the UK's Data Protection Act.

Highlighted events that are taking place this month:-

If you have an event and want to get it noticed, let us know by emailing us to:-

Click on the event title displayed above to find out about lots more events, as well as dates & times!

Our websites in our online series.   Group navigation, information and useful none group links...
Southport TV - Our online video archive. Liverpool Reporter - Our online music station. Mersey Reporter - OUR HUB WEBSITE.
Southport TV Liverpool Reporter Mersey Reporter Formby Reporter

Add to Google

This is what the moon is doing tonight.  Click on to find out why.

See the view live webcamera images of the road outside our studio/newsroom in the hart of Southport.

Our live Southport Webcam.  To see click live, click on image.


Show us your location
Please sign our map and let us know where you are  from....


News Room Phone Number

(+44)  08443 244 195
Calls will cost 7p per minute, plus your telephone company's access charge. 

Calls to this number may be recorded for security, broadcast, training and record keeping.

This online newspaper and information service is regulated by IMPRESS, the independent monitor for the UK's press.

How to make a complaint

Complaints Policy  -  Complaints Procedure  -  Whistle Blowing Policy

© PCBT Photography & PBT Media Relations Ltd. - Southport Reporter® is the Registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope