By Editor Tarvin Webteam - 5th November 2013 6:30am
The internet brings many advantages (not least Tarvinonline.org!) but the email service unfortunately introduces two opportunities to disrupt our lives. Both are annoying and one potentially damaging i.e. expensive.
I am of course referring to scam emails and virus threats.
The first point to make is to ensure that all your computers/ Ipads/ Iphones etc. that receive emails or access the net have a good virus checker installed, active and up to date. Which one to select is up to you but the choice is very wide and people will have their favourites. Many are free but often offer limited protection , otherwise why do they have versions that cost?. I decided a few years ago to pay for mine and renew annually. I receive daily updates automatically from the anti-virus software to cover new viruses that have been discovered. It may seem an unnecessary insurance policy to pay for this but if you have ever suffered a virus attack that has got into your email contact list or even worse started to mess up files on the hard drive then you will think the price is cheap. You will also realise how an integral part of your life the computer has become as it goes away to be sorted out -hopefully!
Good virus checkers scan both incoming emails and also webpages you are visiting.
Enough of the parental lecture!
These are just annoying and most email packages will push them into the junk folder automatically. Do ensure though that you check this folder say every few days to ensure that by mistake something you want has not got diverted. If the email of the sender is in your contact/address book this should not happen. I have on occasions sent emails, awaited a reply which never came and on checking the recipient "found it" in the junk folder after denying ever receiving the email!
Sometimes you get an email purporting to come from a friend that has a weird or unexpected link inside. NEVER open this link, delete the email and tell your friend their address book has probably been hacked into. This has happened to me more than once recently and of course if opened in error the virus quickly spreads to other address books. You know then what going Viral means!
So avoid opening ANY unknown, unwanted websites or links in emails, attachments in spam emails, they may carry this virus and other malicious programs. Avoid downloading free software from unknown websites, especially peer-to-peer file sharing websites.
Scam computer virus
Fear of the unknown , and trying to be helpful to friends means that sometimes you get an email from a friend supposedly exposing an email about a virus that is in circulation. Some of these may indeed be about real viruses but often many are scams out to extract money from you or just worry you.
I find the website Hoax-Slayer a good place to check on if you receive one of these emails
The prompt for this article was an email (real!) from the West Cheshire Police Crime Reduction Office that was recently contacted about a (Cheshire Police Authority Virus).
This 'scam virus' has been in circulation for some time, targeting different police force areas. It attempts to extract a fee from unsuspecting victims by locking their computer screen with a fake message warning them that their online activities have violated certain legislation and asks for payment of a fine to unlock the screen.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CYBER CRIME visit the police website