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Dixons Carphone Data Breach

Dixons Carphone admitted there had been a data breach in 2017 which included 5.8 million credit and debit cards.  105,000 of those cards are not the chip-and-pin type. The chip and pin cards are assumed to be safe from fraud but this may be a false assumption.

Apparently, the hackers had tried to gain access to one of the processing systems used by Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores.

Dixons also announced that the personal details of 1.2 million people (name, address, email address) may have been exposed.

STOP PRESS: Dixons Carphone has just increased that estimate from 1.2 million to 10 million people whose information may have been compromised.

Dixons Carphone said it had no evidence that any of the cards had been used fraudulently following the breach.

The incident happened before the new GDPR regulation came into force or Dixons Carphone would be looking at potentially much higher fines than currently expected.

Dixons Carphone said that “unauthorised access” of data held by the company had prompted an investigation, the hiring of external security experts and efforts to shore up its security defences. It has informed police, regulators at the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The data about these cards that may have been compromised does not contain PIN numbers or the CVV number and does not contain authentication data that would enable cardholder identification or a purchase to be made.  At least that’s the theory, but hackers and scammers can use starting information to get access to more information and then perpetrate fraud.

“The National Cyber Security Centre is working with Dixons Carphone plc and other agencies to understand how this data breach has affected people in the UK and advise on mitigation measures.

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A Little Truth from Facebook

Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos resigned from Facebook in March 2018 and implored his colleagues to take responsibility for the social network’s failings.

He sent a note to employees attributing the social network’s problems to “tens of thousands of small decisions made over the last decade.”

His comments included:-

  • We need to build a user experience that conveys honesty and respect, not one optimised to get people to click yes to giving us more access.
  • We need to intentionally not collect data where possible, and to keep it only as long as we are using it to serve people.
  • We need to listen to people (including internally) when they tell us a feature is creepy or point out a negative impact we are having in the world.
  • We need to deprioritize short-term growth and revenue.
  • We need to be open, honest and transparent about challenges and what we are doing to fix them.

These are all issues that many people outside of Facebook have known about the company for a long time – the company is nasty, self-serving, greedy and obnoxious but it’s good to hear a senior insider trying to get the message through to his colleagues at Facebook.

Let’s hope someone listens.

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Free Website Audit Report

There are numerous versions of the basic email message about a free website audit.

This is because most of these messages aren’t from professional scammers but from people desperate to get work in the fields of website design, search engine optimisation, digital advertising etc.

The problem with these emails is that they are often full of lies. People seem to think it is acceptable to lie when writing Sales/Marketing messages BUT IT ISN’T.

An example from one of the more courteous versions sent to the radio station.

 “Hope you are fine. I was going through your website and I found it impressive!!! However when I search for your business keywords I see your competitors ranked on 1st page whereas I am unable to see your website anywhere on the 1st page of Google.

Then lots of stuff about why you have to be on the 1st page of Google to be noticed.

The website URL is never mentioned therefore he hasn’t looked at it.

He hasn’t searched for our business keywords as he clearly doesn’t know what they are.

He says our competitors are on 1st page Google.

What competitors are those? He clearly has no idea.

Then a list of issues with our website and these issues are all very general as he has not looked at our site and hopes by luck to find a fault that either our site does have or one that would worry us.

  • Low online presence for many competitive keywords
  • Unorganised social media accounts
  • Not compatible with all mobile devices

Then he mentions the audit report for our website which he has already prepared and will send us free of charge.

There is software that will automatically analyse websites and prepare a list of recommendations.

Presumably he could use such software to prepare a report if we actually replied saying we wanted to see it.

The whole email is a pack of lies, sadly. The company name and email address seem to be genuine and based in India and Singapore but that’s the only true part.

If you want website design, SEO or other such services then find a local company that has good customer reviews and can provide what you want but never reply to or try working with people who send out such blatant lies.

If you want a free audit report of your website – there are numerous ones available on the Internet, but do understand the reports are generic and every website is different which the automatic reports cannot recognise.

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TalkTalk Callsafe

Most phone service providers offer facilities to help their users block unwanted callers. The recent addition by TalkTalk is called Callsafe.

“At last, just the calls you really want”. “Wouldn’t it be nice to pick up your home phone, always knowing it’s a call you really want? No nuisance callers, no sales pitches, no scammers. We’re helping every customer get just that. All you have to do is switch on your free CallSafe”.

It works in a fairly standard manner. You create an approved list of phone numbers and those get straight through to you. Then a list of numbers to be blocked.

CallSafe automatically creates an Approved list from your regularly dialled numbers – like friends and family – and they’ll get straight through to you. You can also manage who’s on this list at any time, online or by calling 1472.

You can also keep a list of numbers you’ve chosen to block – plus CallSafe has a national database of known unwanted callers. If any of these numbers call, your phone won’t even ring.

If a number isn’t on your Approved or Blocked list, the caller will be asked to identify themselves in a short message. Your phone then rings, you hear their message and choose whether to take the call.

How Does CallSafe Work?

Every time you get a call, CallSafe will automatically check the number to make sure it’s someone you want to hear from. Regularly dialed numbers like friends and family, will be put straight through. For any new callers, CallSafe will:

  1. Check to see if the number is on a list of unwanted callers. If so, it’s automatically blocked and your home phone never rings.
  2. Manage any other callers with an extra step. It will ask the caller to record a short introduction before your phone rings. You’ll hear this message when you pick up your home phone and have the choice to either answer, ignore, or block the call.

CallSafe needs no extra kit, you dial 1472 to turn it on and leave the rest to them. If you want, you can view and manage your approved and blocked callers through My Account or by calling 1472. Or you can let CallSafe manage it.

Tristia Harrison, TalkTalk’s CEO, said:

“We’re tackling the industry-wide issue of unwanted calls head on. Protecting our customers is incredibly important to us and we’re committed to eliminating the disruption caused by unwanted callers. It would be a real shame if landlines became obsolete just because we are too afraid to pick them up.

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Who Do You Report Spam Texts To?

Many businesses choose to market their products by text, but this can be very annoying to those receiving the spam text messages.

These texts can be straight forward sales pitches but most are for PPI, accident claims, personal injury claims and debt management.

Plus, most of the businesses that send out these spam messages are not the product sellers but lead makers who take the details of people who respond to their adverts and then sell them on to interested parties, usually multiple times e.g. to insurance companies, personal injury solicitors etc.

It is against illegal for anyone to send you spam texts unless you have previously given them permission, but the law does not cover messages sent to businesses.

If you receive texts from businesses you do not know, then responding to the text or complaining to them will likely just will confirm that your number is active and your details will be sold on.

But you should  report the text to your network operator.

To report a spam text forward the text to 7726, which are numbers on your telephone keypad that spell out the word ‘SPAM’.

You may get an automated response thanking you for the report and giving you further instructions if needed. You will not be charged for sending texts to 7726.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcing the rules on spam texts and you can complain to them online at https://ico.org.uk/ or phone 0303 123 1113.

Complaining helps the regulators see what’s happening and who to target for investigation.

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