Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A close shave

A word of warning to everyone out there.
Some of you may remember a few weeks ago when I apolgised to anyone who had received a very odd email from my personal email address. It was an email that I had never seen before and certainly hadn't sent. It was around that time that I lost all of my contacts in my address book. Himself worked in the computer business for over 30 years and always keeps our security up to date but just to be sure he gave it a thorough once over and I didn't think any more about it.
Then just the other day I was doing some online banking and noticed that the log in page was slightly different. It asked for slightly more information than it had done before. I had reached the website just as I have always done before but that little difference set my radar off.
And thank goodness it did.
I got son number 2 to try and log in on his computer and it was how it had been before. It didn't ask for the extra information.
I don't have a lot of money but what I have I have worked for and it is mine. However I was told when I reported it to the bank that had I put in that small piece of extra information I would more than likely have lost it all.
I know that this has absoloutly nothing to do with writing but I'm telling everyone that I know so that they are warned.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately all of the security measures in the world cannot prevent the good old con trick, which relies on human error. In the IT world, this is known as phishing whereby a computer user is tricked into revealing their banking (or other personal) details by means of fake e-mails and web sites.

I've been seriously thinking of posting some basic (non-techie) computer security tips on my blog, and your story has reinforced this idea. For the time being, here are some simple tips:

* You bank will never ask you for details, as they already have them.

* Check for the padlock symbol (or that the site address begins with https, not just http) when on-line banking. This indicates that you are using a secure connection.

* Dodgy e-mails often don't set the background colour (no idea why), so if your Windows background colour is anything except white, you can spot the fakes more easily.

It sounds like your computer and, in particular, your login account/profile could do with some disinfecting. Consult Himself on this. I recommend Spybot Search & Destroy to weed out any malicious software.

In the mean time I hope you haven't lost anything precious. It may be worth changing your passwords to be on the safe side.

Gonna be a writer said...

You see that's just it though Captain. I haven't responded to any emails. I am pretty paranoid about that sort of thing. The bank thinks that it is something to do with a dodgy link on google. They say that the con men are getting more adventurous.
I think that it would be an excellent idea tp post some tips on how to avoid this sort of thing.
Thankfullly I didn't lose anything (that I've noticed) it was just the financial things that were attacked.
Pox on those people.

Jarmara Falconer said...

Thank you for telling us. I shall keep an eye out for such things.

Gonna be a writer said...

You are most welcome Jarmara.

Karen said...

That's really quite scary - I'll be keeping my eyes peeled from now on.

Gonna be a writer said...

I would Karen. A little paranoia can go a long way. The most simple thing is something that Captain Black mentioned and thats the http thing. Without the s it's not secure. I ALWAYS lokk for that now.