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Verify your Apple ID

If you receive an email purportedly from Apple asking you to "Verify your Apple ID" then it is almost certainly a scam.

The convincing thing is the title will be almost always correct - it will say "Dear John Smith" for example - but that has probably been taken from the WHOIS information on your domain registration, and sent to the administrative contact.

Because TMB are the administrative contacts for hundreds of domains, we have been seeing a lot of these, all addressed to the owner of the domain, so we know that the Apple ID is a ruse to get you to log onto a fake site and divulge your Apple ID login and password.

Simple answer: if you receive ANY sort of email like this - go to the official website and try to log on, if you can, the email is a scam....

Windows XP and Security Essentials

If you are still running WindowsXP, and use MicroSoft Security Essentials as your Anti-Virus solution, you should be aware that there is a current issue with the above configuration, and it usually shows up as a huge delay when you start your PC - it can take up to twenty minutes to boot up.

Because WindowsXP has now reached its End-Of-Life, it is no longer supported by MicroSoft, and that includes Security Essentials support. You will start to see your Security Essentials icon showing up as red, and will receive a message stating it is no longer supported.

Your options are therefore to update your PC to run a later Operating System such as Windows Vista, Windows7 or Windows8, or to use a different Anti-Virus solution.
Fortunately, there are a number of products availoable to help you in this respect, such as Avast!, Bitdefender, Avira etc. - all of which have at least one FREE solution to help you.

Fake Flash Player update virus

Fake Flash

There is a fake Adobe Flash Player Update going round that is actually a virus and is stopping access to Google, Facebook and a number of other sites.

If you see a popup like the one above, DO NOT click on it as it will install the virus and it is very difficult to remove once installed.

We will post an update to help with removal once we have a robust solution.


Don't pay the PC hijackers

Cyber-criminals are increasingly turning to a new money making method of infecting your computer and holding it to ransom. ROSS MCGUINNESS of Metro Newspaper asks web security experts what users can do to stop their devices being taken hostage...

"You asked for miracles, I give you the FBI."
Die Hard's Hans Gruber isn't the only Christmas villain using the US government agency to carry out an evil plan this festive season. And he isn't the only one taking hostages, either.
Cyber-criminals are exploiting the FBI's name to hold PC users to ransom. In the latest scam in the US, computer owners whose devices have been compromised are greeted with a pop-up message pretending to come from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It tells them their computer has been locked by the FBI and that they must click to pay a fee in order to release it. This ransomware trap lives up to its name, effectively holding your computer hostage unless you cough up the cash. The FBI logo is one of many being used by criminals in an attempt to scare people into parting with their money - and it's working.
In a report on ransomware published last month, computer security company Symantec claimed that 2.9 per cent of people whose PCs are infected agree to pay the money. It means this particular branch of cybercriminal activity is worth about £3million a year.
However, it isn't confined to the US.

Three people were arrested in Stoke-on-Trent yesterday following an investigation into ransomware by officers from the Police Central c-Crime Unit. The investigation centred on allegations that computer users were targeted in an attempt to convince them to pay a fine because they were the subject of a police inquiry.
In this instance, it is alleged that the Metropolitan Police logo was being used to dupe users into paying £100 electronically to free their computer. Ransomware has been around for a few years but it would appear that criminals are tuming to it as people become more aware of scams such as phishing. The most well-known ransomware application is Reveton, a Trojan programme that fires off a warning purporting to come from the national police service of the country in which the user is targeted.
A medical centre in Australia was subjected to such an attack this week, with thousands of patient records encrypted by hackers who demanded £2,600 to release the information.
Accounts belonging to intemet domain name registrar Go Daddy have also been targeted.

Increasingly common

"Ransomware is an increasingly common type of malware that attempts to extort money from a computer user by infecting and taking control of the victim's machine, taking the files or documents stored on it hostage," explained Elad Sharf, lead senior security researcher at Websense.
"Typically, it will either lock the computer to prevent normal usage or encrypt the documents and files on it to prevent access to the saved data.
"This type of malware leverages social engineering to play to the victim's embarrassment or fear. It pushes them into paying the ransom demanded, explaining that their computer has been locked because of possible illegal activities on it, possibly due to visiting inappropriate websites.
"A ransom demand will be displayed, usually as a pop-up window on the desktop or webpage in the web browser that appears to be from the local police force, official authority, or a security company."

"Never Engage with them"

He warned: "You should never engage with the attackers or pay their demands - as several companies have done - as this will only encourage further illegal activities.
"Despite what they may tell you, your computer will not be returned in the same condition. Ransomware hackers often install infected computers with back doors, meaning they can gain further access to your data at any time.
"Users can protect themselves from ransomware attacks by ensuring they have a comprehensive security package with real-time content analysis that is updated and patched regularly.
Often the best weapon a user can have is good common sense - don't click on any suspicious links and take due care and attention when accessing potentially insecure websites.
"Remember also that the legitimate sources in Britain won't use these tactics to tell you of a local compromise and then demand a financial reward to remediate the issue."

Fraser Howard, principal vims researcher at Sophos, claimed ransomware attacks originate from "organised, criminal groups".
Some infections modify the master boot record of the computer, which locks users out of their own machines. He wamed the practice was becoming more widespread.
"Ransomware is often referred to as the new scareware [malware which tricks users into buying dangerous software]," Mr Howard added.
"The truth is we still see plenty of scareware but ransomware is certainly growing rapidly.
"Scareware relies on tricking you into paying up. So if you do not get tricked, they do not make money.
"Ransomware blocks access to your data. So even if people know it is malware, if they need access, I suspect many people just pay up.
"The best option is - as always - to avoid your machine getting infected in the first place."
Mr Howard said software should be patched and anti-virus protection installed that is fully up to date.

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