Ryanair has complained to the regulators that too many people are booking Ryanair flights via travel agents and that’s causing problems for Ryanair including that some passengers are being overcharged.
This is perfectly legal of course – you can book a Ryanair flight via a physical or online travel agent. Ryanair estimate this to be 10% to 15% of their business – about 25 million flights per year.
They may charge you a premium over the Ryanair direct booking cost – but they do need to make money for their time spent, so is not unreasonable.
Most of concern is that they if they book the flight using their corporate credit card and then the flight is cancelled then Ryanair don’t have the correct details to process a refund and the agent may not pass on the full refund or refund their own charges.
This is legal, so consider whether to buy a Ryanair flight directly through the Ryanair website or to use a travel agent which may be more convenient but more costly.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.
Remote desktop / remote control desktop / remote desktop protocol – this means to take control of one computer from another one.
This can be very useful if say you need to work at home but access some services from your workplace or files off your work computer etc. It’s also used extensively by IT support staff when diagnosing and fixing problems.
Within a company network it can be safe but if you open your firewall to allow remote access through the firewall then this can be a problem.
Microsoft’s implementation of remote access has vulnerabilities that the hackers know about and they scan IP addresses looking for anyone that has left that door in their firewall available (typically RDP is on TCP port 3389).
Security experts believe that this vulnerability is extensively used by ransomware spreaders who can then bypass the password check and gain access to your systems.
If you use remote access through your firewall – make sure you’re safe or turn it off permanently.
Can There Be Safe Remote Access?
This depends on exactly what you want to achieve but the general advice from many security experts is to use a Virtual Private Network or just don’t allow remote access from outside of your firewall.
Do leave a comment on this post – click on the post title then scroll down to leave your comment.
On the Internet, there are numerous essay writing services. These are supposed to be used as examples or for research and not handed in for exams or coursework as if work done by the student, but we all know that cheating goes on. You need an essay for college so you pay a service to write it for you
These are illegal in New Zealand but most countries haven’t yet followed this lead.
One such service is grademiners.com, but there are hundreds of others.
The scammer’s email claims to be from grademiners.com but that is probably not true as the grammar and misspelling in the message is atrocious e.g.
“It call’s Graderminers”
“I am admin of big website of essay writing service”.
“I want to create catching content in your website”
“I’ll try to connect topic of your site with education direction”
Maybe this is the result of machine translation from another language. However, whatever the source, I would not employ someone who writes emails like that to work on my website. No thanks.
Criminals keep finding new ways to take advantage of us.
Bitcoins and other cyber currencies are constantly in the news and this has led to endless scam offers of untold wealth from Bitcoins and other cyber currencies. But there’s also a new way for criminals to take advantage of you.
The Creation of New Bitcoins
This is through a process called ‘mining’ and it applies to most cyber currencies.
Cyber currencies use something called the Blockchain to keep a record of the currency and updating that Blockchain uses huge amounts of computer processing. Mining needs progressively more and more computing power to make those updates and this slows down the creation of more Bitcoins for example.
Bitcoin has been in circulation for some years and effective mining requires super computers.
However, hackers get around this by stealing processing power from large numbers of other people’s computers – possibly your computer.
The hackers infect your computer with malware that lets them download data to be processed and upload the results back to themselves. If you find your computer is always slow and seems to be busy doing something you haven’t asked it to do – this can mean your computer has been infected and is busy working for someone else.
The same hacking tool that allowed the Wannacry ransomware to wreak destruction in 2017 has also been used by hackers to take over people’s computers and use them for mining.
Another similar one is called Smominru and makes infected computers mine for the cyber currency Monero. It is thought that up to half a million computers were taken over for this purpose.
Make sure your computer is protected against these attacks through the use of anti-virus and anti-malware, take regular backups in case of data corruption or ransomware attacks.
Do enter your email address and click on the subscribe button on top right to keep up to date with new posts.
You will come across fake website links in emails, on websites, social media, text messages and more.
In this context, “fake” means a link that doesn’t take you where it says but instead goes to some other website or web page.
Why do people make such fake links?
Mostly there is a deliberate intention to mislead – promise a link to one site but take you to a different site where you don’t want to go.
This may be an attempt to infect your computer with malware or to get you to a page you have little interest in or simply to get you to look at a video or a webpage for which the link poster gets paid per visitor.
How to Identify Fake Links
On a PC hover the cursor over the link and it should show the real destination URL. If this does not match what the link says then you have a fake link and you should not click it.
On a MAC make sure you have the status bar showing first
On Android phones you can press and keep your finger on the link and a box will open offering options but at the top it shows the complete link
Some webpages have very long addresses and if you’re sending a link to someone or posting on Twitter for example then some way to shorten these links would be welcome. There are various services on the Internet that can do just that. Twitter does this automatically for long links.
These shortened URLs make it difficult to identify the destination of the link. If in doubt – do not click.
But some large websites deliberately create long URLs in order to make the purpose of the page easy to understand from the name e.g. www.sheppardsoftware.com/content/animals/kidscorner/classification/kc_classification_appearance.htm
Scammers use long URLs in order to try to hide the true destination of the URL. E.g. www.customerservice.lloydsbank.768092676414336492872654576277cheapscam.com
That is not Lloyds Bank, but is cheapscam.com
Scammers also use the confusion trick with email addresses e.g. [email protected]23719273917cheapscam.com
This is not a LLoyds bank email address.
Do click on the Facebook or Twitter icons on top right to follow Fight Back Ninja.
A very clever way to demonstrate the danger of Facebook Likes was devised by CIFAS (Fraud Prevention Service) and BT.
They used a normal looking coffee shop with a sign in the window saying ’Like Us on Facebook for a Free Coffee and Croissant”.
People saw the sign and did ‘Like’ the coffee shop on their smart phones.. What they didn’t know was that a team of researchers watched their actions and trawled through Facebook and public websites to find them and any personal details they could find about the customer within a maximum of three minutes.
In the coffee shop, their free drink was made and the waitress listening in to the researchers on an earpiece then wrote that personal information on the drink.
The video is at http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/money/money-tips/coffee-shop-customers-shocked-by-like-stunt-in-cifas-data-to-go-video-11364071638280 3/9
The customers reactions are quite funny and range from suspicion to bafflement. Hidden cameras filmed their reactions and the film ends with the line ‘Don’t make it easy for fraudsters. Set your privacy settings’.
This is a great way to show how much of our personal information is online for anyone to find.
In 2015, 23,959 people aged 30 and under were victims of identity fraud. This is up from 15,766 in 2014, and is more than double the 11,000 victims in this age bracket in 2010.
People of all ages can be at risk of identity fraud of course.
Simon Dukes, Cifas Chief Executive, said: “Fraudsters are opportunists. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves.
“We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share. Social media is fantastic and the way we live our lives online gives us huge opportunities. Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.”
Set the privacy settings on your social media profiles so only you and people you trust can view them and be careful what you post as fraudsters can often access it.
Do Share this post on social media – click on the post title then scroll down to the social media share buttons.