WhatsApp to be free

WhatsApp

Internet communication application WhatsApp is now free to use. For the last few years, you’ve had to pay a subscription after 12 months. But the company says that fee is being scrapped immediately.

It costs around 69p-a-year, but if you’ve just paid it, you won’t get a refund.

WhatsApp  is owned by Facebook, already has one billion users and the company hopes this move will bring in even more people.

Source: http://blog.whatsapp.com/615/Making-WhatsApp-free-and-more-useful

Friend Reunited to Close

Launched in 2000 one of UKs first social networking sites, Friends Reunited is closing. After being sold in 2005 the site went into decline, and despite being taken over again by its originators it could not recover it’s previous usage against the giant Facebook.

Although Friends Reunited is closing, the founder, Steve Parkhurst is opening a completely new service called Liife. Liife is all about capturing key moments in life – both the past and the present. And then sharing them with just the important people who actually took part in those moments, perhaps incorporating some of Friends Reunited features?

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35343091

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3405294/Friends-Reunited-close-Founder-say-just-handful-users-using-beleaguered-social-networking-site.html

BT gets go-ahead to takeover EE

After weeks of speculation the Competition and Markets Authority has given the all clear to BT to take over Britain’s largest mobile phone network EE. The Competition and Markets Authority saying the deal will not hurt mobile phone or broadband customers.

EE was previously formed from the mobile operators T-Mobile and Orange, and currently operates within the mobile phone and broadband markets. The takeover will give BT the “quad” of products – landline, mobile phone, broadband, TV.

BT said it would issue a formal prospectus for the deal in the last week of January, with the takeover scheduled to close on 29 January. Deutsche Telekom and Orange will own 12% and 4% of BT respectively once the deal has been completed.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/15/bt-ee-takeover-green-light-cma

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35320831

Netflix cracks down on Proxies

Video streaming has become a huge part of our lives, whether it’s catch up or watch movies on demand this is here to stay. There are a number of suppliers from the terrestrial TV companies, to the dedicated streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Today the BBC has reported that Netflix is goings stop subscribers using internet proxies to view content not available in their own countries.

A proxy server is a computer system that acts as in intermediate node between computer users (clients) and other servers. These servers can provide anonymity for users, including making the user appear in a different location (the location of the proxy server). By using a mechanism like this users (for example ex-pats) can still appear to be in the UK whilst in reality they are overseas, thus allowing them to access internet resources as if they were in the UK.

Source http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35320436

Welcome to 2016

Happy New Year to all.

Well 2015 has come to an end, another year seems to pass by without a thought, time seems to be passing faster with each year.

Looking back to 2015 the major impact in the IT industry was the release of Windows 10, without a thought definitely a milestone, not forgetting of course Office 16. There were some big scandals too with some high profile hackings.

It’s time to look forward to 2016 with plans and anticipation, what are the plans? The basic aim of AHB Information Technology Solutions remains unchanged, to help Businesses, organisations and individuals in the use of IT by ensuring that:

  1. The appropriate IT systems are available
  2. The user has the appropriate skill level through relevant training

Our new range of brochures will be available very soon..

To help improve your use of computers and Information Technology contact now

Cyberwhat?

In these days of the online culture there’s a whole new set of terms used for acridities on the internet, here IL take a look at some of these

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying can work in the same way as bullying in the life, the victim is made to feel frightened and alone, while the bully tries to hide from being caught.

  • Comments, images and videos about a person can be posted online causing the victim to feel frightened, victimized, alone and upset.
  • It is possible for cyber bullies to hack into the victim’s personal accounts and harass them from within their own user profile.
  • Often cyber bullies feel braver because they can’t be seen, but it can be the most traceable form of bullying because there’s evidence that it’s happened.
  • But because bullies think they can cover up their identity online sometimes people who wouldn’t normally bully might do so online.
  • Cyber bullying is often associated with children going online, but it’s NOT restricted to children, seemingly aware adults can be victims too.

Cyber stalking

Harassment on the internet can be just as frightening as other forms of stalking or bullying. Stalking in the real world can involve being followed, personal space being invaded. Now take that concept to the online world, internet activity being followed, social media profiles accessed and read, tracking your behavior.

  • Women and girls are usually the victims of this kind of behavior, but not exclusively, men can be stalked also.
  • They might be harassed by an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who is upset about the end of their relationship, for example.
  • It can begin when a purely online friendship turns sour.
  • It can begin entirely at random, by one online stranger towards another.

Identity Theft

It may not start with Cyber, but it’s still an online risk. The more information you make available online, the greater the risk of identity theft. This involves the finding of personal information on the internet, in these days of the online community there’s already information online about all of us, however a lot of information is not available. The watchword is only put online what you want to be publically available, keep you personal information private.

Personal information includes your:

  • email address
  • phone number
  • postal address
  • any banking information
  • photos of yourself

The consequences of fraud can be huge, so you should be aware of the very serious risks. If someone steals your identity they can:

  • steal money
  • open false credit accounts
  • commit crimes that could put you or others danger
  • commit crimes that you or others could find yourself in court

Awareness

The internet in general is safe, its a relatively small number unscrupulous individuals that we need to be aware of. With a few precautions the internet can be used quite safely, after all the topics discussed her may have an online slant to them, but bullying, stalking and identity theft can all happen in the real world too.

Staying Safe Online

In today’s online world most of us are ‘connected’ via our laptops, mobile phones, tablets or personal computers. There is a huge potential for the internet to be used as valuable and a fun resource for entertainment, making friends, keeping in touch and learning. If you use the internet, you could be at risk of illegal activity or abuse, this could be bullying, fraud or something more serious. It is possible to hide identities on the internet, it can be an anonymous medium, unlike seeing someone face to face, on the net, people aren’t necessarily always are what they first seem to be.

In the same way you learn about safety when you leave the house, it is important to learn how to stay safe online. These are skills that will stay with you for life, here’s some guidelines to staying safe you should follow:

  • Don’t give out personal information such as your address or phone number.
  • Don’t send pictures of yourself to anyone, especially indecent pictures.
  • Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know.
  • Don’t become online ‘friends’ with people you don’t know.
  • Never arrange to meet someone in person who you’ve met online.
  • If anything you see or read online worries you, tell someone about it.

The internet can be safe for everyone, just a little common sense, awareness,  and care can keep you safe.

Online Phishing

Online phishing (pronounced like the word fishing) is a method used by tricksters and fraudsters to gat you to reveal personal or financial information. This is done using a fraudulent email or website.

Most common phishing scams start with an email message that looks like an official email from a trusted source, for example a credit card company, bank, or online retailer. In these messages the recipient is directed to a fraudulent website, this has been designed to look like the actual website of the bank, credit card company, or retailer. On the website the recipient is then asked to provide personal or financial information, which can be used for identity theft, or accessing the recipient’s bank account.

Recognising Phishing Scams

Phishing scams either offer some type of enticement, or threat to get you onto the fraudulent website. It’s easier to identify these before going onto the website, than deal with the consequences. Here are some tips to help you recognize a phishing scam.

  • When the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • When asked to send personal or account info (like your user name and password, your date of birth, or bank info) by replying to the email. Legitimate companies will never ask you to provide this sort of info via email, they will ask you to go to their website to sign in and update your info there.
    Warning: In suspicious-looking email, never click links that supposedly take you to a company website. The sender might be spoofing the website (providing their own fake version) to collect your sign-in info. When in doubt, go to the website using favorites, search for the true website, or by entering the web address in the address box.
  • When the sender’s email address has an overseas domain. For example: someone@example.uk.co, @example.ru, or @example.ng.
  • When the sender’s email address has a domain that’s a string of seemingly random numbers and or letters. For example: @Wbg67TY.com.
  • When the sender’s name in the header doesn’t match the sender’s email address.
  • When the tone is personal and confidential, but it looks like a group email, with a generic greeting. For example: “Dear  Customer”,  “Dear  Sir or Madam”, “Dear valued Customer”, and so on

Some common types of scams

Here are some of the most common types of scams, with additional clues on how to recognize them.

Verify your account now or we’ll close it!

The scam:  You get an email that looks like it’s from your bank, or an e-commerce service like PayPal or Ebay, or from your email provider, warning that your account will be suspended or closed unless you “verify” your account by replying with your account info.
What the scammer wants:  In the case of bank or e-commerce scams, they want your personal info so they can steal your identity, empty your bank accounts, and run up charges on your credit card. If it’s supposedly from your email provider, the scammer wants your email account user name and password so they can hack your account and use it to send out junk email.
Additional clues that it’s a scam:  It demands an urgent reply (for example, “You must verify within twenty-four hours”). This gives you little time to research if it’s legitimate.
Actions you can take:  First and foremost, do NOT reply with any personal or account info, matter how dire the warnings sound

  • If it’s a bank or e-commerce site, contact the company’s customer service via phone or online to see if the email is legitimate.

A large sum of money can be yours, just send your personal info—or some cash

The scam: There’s money sitting in some account that some official-sounding person wants to share with you. All you have to do is send him your personal info or some money
What the scammer wants: Sometimes they just want you to send them money. Other times they want your personal info so they can steal your identity, empty your bank accounts, and run up charges on your credit card.
Additional clues that it’s a scam:
  • Any deal that involves an international bank, or where you have to send your info or cash overseas should be highly suspect.
  • There’s often an element of larceny. Maybe the money isn’t really yours or theirs, but the rightful owner is dead, or a corrupt official, or some faceless company who will never miss it. Or the money is supposedly yours, but some other party is trying to steal it.
  • If there’s anything at all suspect about the deal, or if you don’t understand why someone you don’t know is making you (out of all the people in the world) this offer, you can bet that you’re being conned.
Actions you can take: First and foremost, do NOT reply with any personal or financial info, matter how tempting the offer sounds.

You’re our big winner!

The scam: Congratulations! You just won the lottery! Or you were entered in a Microsoft sweepstakes and you’ve won the jackpot!
What the scammer wants:  Your personal info so they can steal your identity and empty your bank accounts.
Additional clues that it’s a scam:
  • You were entered in the lottery or sweepstakes without your knowledge or permission.
  • They ask for your bank info so they can make a direct deposit.
  • The purpose of a sweepstakes is so the company can gather personal info via the form you fill out when you enter. They then sell that info or use it to market their products and services to you. No legitimate sweepstake needs you to give them your info—you already did.
Actions you can take: First and foremost, do NOT reply with any personal or financial info, matter how tempting the offer sounds.

Help! I’m stranded

The scam:  A friend of yours is on vacation and got stranded. They need you to wire them some money, fast!
What the scammer wants:  For you to send them some money
Additional clues that it’s a scam: This one can be tougher to spot. Typically, the scammer has hacked your friend’s email account and sent this “emergency” email to your friend’s contact list. The sender email address will be legitimate. The salutation might even be personal (“Dear Joe”) but is the email really from your friend?
Actions you can take:  Before you do anything else, stop and do a reality check.

  • Pick up the phone and call your friend. If you can’t get a hold of them, try contacting mutual friends.
  • Ask yourself the following questions:
    • The email probably says they are desperate and don’t know where else to turn, but do the two of you have the sort of relationship where they would turn to you for such a request?
    • Did they say anything to you earlier about taking a trip?
    • What’s the likelihood of your friend being in the situation the email claims they are in, of doing whatever the email claims they have done?
    • Does it sound like your friend?
  • Unless you can contact your friend or a reliable mutual friend by some method other than email, you should probably assume it’s a scam. Report it as My friend’s been hacked (see above).

“If you (don’t) forward this email, something (bad) good will happen!”

The scam: Forward this email and you will be sent £500! Forward this petition to keep emailforfree.com a free service!

OR

Warn all your friends about this scary computer virus!

What the scammer wants:  To watch their hoax go viral and brag to their spammer friends.
Actions you can take: If it’s about a computer virus or other security threat, go to the website for your antivirus software and look at the latest threat info.

Help protect yourself from phishing scams

You might receive email that seems legitimate, but is actually a phishing scam—an attempt to get your personal info or steal your money.

  • Never reply to an email that asks you to send personal or account info.
  • In suspicious-looking email, never click links that supposedly take you to a company website. The sender might be spoofing the website (providing their own fake version) to collect your sign-in info.
  • Never open any file attached to a suspicious-looking email. It might contain a virus or other malware.
  • If the email claims to come from some company, contact the company’s customer service via phone or online to see if the email is legitimate. You can also forward the email to the third party’s abuse or fraud department.
  • Go to a hoax-debunking website like snopes.com and search on the email’s subject.
  • Resist the urge to respond, even to taunt or chastise the sender. You’ll just confirm that your email address is valid, and end up getting more junk email.

Ayr United

Fivestar1An eventful Saturday (October 31 2015) attending the Ayr United versus Stranraer football match at Somerset park, Ayr. AHB Information Technology Solutions sponsored the Ayr United Half-time Treble Chance Draw, and made the draw itself. Pictures is Dougie Porter from Ayr United 5 Star Lottery as I made the draw.

If you would like to take part in the weekly lottery please go to the Official Ayr United website then go to Club Shop then Season Tickets and Lotto where you can join and pay on line for either 26 or 52 weeks in advance

High profile Security Attacks

British Gas LogoBritish Gas has had some of it’s customer data stolen via it’s website. British Gas has contacted about 2,200 of its customers to warn them that their email addresses and account passwords were posted online. It says, however, that it does not think its own systems were breached and the affected accounts have been disabled following the discovery. This breach was thought to be different from others in that the access to user accounts was gained from phishing scams as opposed to a direct attack on the British Gas Infrastructure.

TalkTalk LogoFor the second time this year IT and telecommunications company Talk Talk has been hacked and data stolen, the previous time was in February. In the latest “significant and sustained” cyber attack bank details were taken from Talk Talk.

Link this together with the recent event where Marks and Spencer customers were able to see each others data, and the high profile attack on the extra marital data website Ashley Madison, then real questions need to be asked about the security of our data.

There seems to be an almost standard response that goes something like, the security of our customer’s data is extremely important to us, obviously not important enough.

Cyber security seems to be down the list of priorities of businesses and organisations, but maybe with these high profile examples it will become a top priority, them maybe  our data security will be extremely important, and safe.