Staying Safe Online

Written by on 2nd February 2016

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Last week, Lincolnshire County Council became a victim of a cyber-attack. The malware that affected the computer system was triggered by a link within an email. Police forces across the East Midlands are now joining together to enforce the dangers of cyber security, and are advising how you can protect your own computer or business.

Regional Cyber-Crime Protect Officer Detective Sgt Carole Walton said: “In the region, we’ve had a number of incidents where it has become quite evident that there have been some breaches in regards to online safety and cyber security. “What we’re trying to do is to try and engage with as many different areas of the community as possible to try and educate and prevent a lot of the offences that are occurring.”

To use your email safely, follow the tips below from Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org):
1. Do not open emails which you suspect as being spam.
2. Do not forward emails which you suspect as being spam.
3. Do not open attachments from unknown sources.
4. Do not readily click on links in emails from unknown sources. Instead, roll your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination, displayed in the bottom left corner of your screen. Beware if this is different from what is displayed in the text of the link from the email.
5. Do not respond to emails from unknown sources.
6. Do not make purchases or charity donations in response to spam email.
7. Don’t click on ‘remove’ or reply to unwanted email.
8. Check junk mail folders regularly in case a legitimate email gets through by mistake.
9. When sending emails to multiple recipients, list their addresses in the ‘BCC’ (blind copy) box instead of in the ‘To’ box. In this way, no recipient will see the names of the others, and if their addresses fall into the wrong hands there will be less chance of you or anybody else receiving phishing or spam emails.
10. Similarly, delete all addresses of previous parties in the email string, before forwarding or replying.
11. If you are suspicious of an email, you can check if it is on a list of known spam and scam emails that some internet security vendors such as McAfee and Symantec feature on their websites.
12. Most Microsoft and other email clients come with spam filtering as standard. Ensure yours is switched on.
13. Most spam and junk filters can be set to allow email to be received from trusted sources, and blocked from untrusted sources.
14. When choosing a webmail account such as gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, make sure you select one that includes spam filtering and that it remains switched on.
15. Most internet security packages include spam blocking. Ensure that yours is up to date and has this feature switched on.

For more detailed information on cyber security, you can learn more from the following websites:
Cyber security guidance for business (10 steps) is available from www.gov.uk.
Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org)
Cyber Streetwise (www.cyberstreetwise.com)
Thinkuknow (www.thinkuknow.co.uk).


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