Stop Remote Desktop Access

Remote desktop / remote control desktop / remote desktop protocol 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.

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.

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Facts About Data Breaches

Hackers break into company computer systems and steal confidential information. i.e. they make copies of it for their own purposes.

The hackers might then ransom the data back to the owner or sell it to a competitor or sell it to other scammers or  might make us of it in phishing scams i.e. to get more confidential information which they can then sell to fraudsters.

This is big business and usually it’s the customers of the hacked business that suffer.

We give our private and financial information to companies to do business with them but we expect they will do everything necessary to keep that data secure.

Many companies do have excellent data security but some fall short.

The cost to a company of a data breach can include:-

  1. Creation of contact databases
  2. Regulatory requirements
  3. External experts
  4. Postal costs
  5. Communications set-ups
  6. Audit services
  7. Helpdesk
  8. Legal expenditures
  9. Reimbursement for customers
  10. Cost of cleaning up data

Besides the material costs, there may be reputation damage.

Recent research shows:-

  • The average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million
  • The average global total cost per record stolen is $141 but there is huge variance across incidents.
  • Companies in South Africa and India have the highest chance of data breaches whereas companies in Germany and Canada have the lowest.
  • The mean time to identification of a data breach is 191 days
  • The faster the breach is recognised, then generally the lower the total cost
  • The increasing use of mobile platforms is increasing the chances of data breaches.

For information on how to recognise a cyber attack see https://fightbackonline.org/index.php/business/102-do-you-know-if-your-business-has-been-cyber-attacked

[facts taken from 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study]

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Are Facebook Private Lotteries Legal

Lottery syndicates are legal and many people belong to one or more.

But gambling through Facebook Groups is not legal though hundreds of such groups exist.

Facebook users are being warned about illegal lottery groups which take money from members but don’t pay out.

The prizes promised include smartphones, cars, game consoles and cash prizes of up to £5,000.

Stakes of 50p to £20 are bet on the number of the Lotto bonus ball, with the administrator of the illegal raffle usually taking a large share of proceeds. Some may be rigged or the organisers simply disappear with all the stake money.

The law says that lotteries cannot be run for private or commercial gain. Gambling experts say these privately run groups encourage children to start betting. Illegal bets on the National Lottery.

Some groups do pay out, with the organisers taking a share of the money, while a few have been set up to raise money for charity or community campaigns, but according to the law lotteries cannot be run for private or commercial gain.

The Gambling Commission is working to close down these groups and it can also prosecute those found in breach of the law with a £5,000 fine or up to 51 weeks in prison.

If in any doubt, you can check the licence register on the Gambling Commission  website (www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk) or contact the local authority where the lottery is based.

Join a syndicate of people you trust and not through a Facebook Group.

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G Has Problems with Scam Callers


G. received a phone call from someone claiming to be from BT.
The caller told him there is a very important and urgent problem with your Internet router and we need to replace it.
“We will send a new one out to you immediately.”

G. wasn’t impressed and said that he wasn’t interested and goodbye.
The caller tried again – being more insistent this time.
“Your Wi-Fi is sending out dangerous signals and needs to be fixed”.

G. is a courteous person and didn’t want to offend but again said he wasn’t interested. “Goodbye”. He hoped the caller would leave him alone.

But next day the caller was back again. This time claiming there were problems with the Internet line and replacement kit was on the way

 

G. still didn’t want to be rude to the caller so politely asked him to stop calling, said ‘Goodbye’ And hoped that would be the end of it.

But the caller continued to call 2 or 3 times per day.

G. realised something had to be done so he set-up Sky Talk Shield on his phone.

This service stops anyone calling his number directly.

When you phone his number you get a recorded message from Sky telling you the number you’ve called  has Sky Talk Safe and to say your name and press 2 on the keypad.

When you’ve done that, the service calls G. and plays back the name of the caller. He then chooses to accept or refuse the call.

This service does have a cost but it does seem an effective way of blocking all unwanted callers and solved G.s problem with the fake BT caller.

A quicker way of dealing with this type of persistent scammer is to tell them exactly what you think of them, using direct language – have a good shout, it does you good.

If you haven’t worked out how G. knew from the start that it was a scam call – he didn’t have a BT line, only Sky.

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Strange Happenings at romancescams.org

Romancescams.org was set-up some time ago to warn people about the many varieties of romance based scams that go on.

There is a lot of information to help people to avoid being scammed, but recently the site seems to have been taken over by a business that advertises dating sites.

These are legitimate sites, so no real problem but it is odd that such a business would acquire a scam warning site.

The scam warnings are still on the site but there are also lists of reviews of dating sites and recommendations on dating sites to use.

Perhaps it was a temporary issue but the Report a Scam button didn’t work for me.

Do you know anything of what’s going on with this site? Let me know.

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