Online Security

As someone who seems to know something about IT, I get asked a lot of questions by friends, family and work colleagues about anything technical, from what digital camera/printer/PC to buy through to what's causing a problem on their computers and how to do whatever in Word.

One of the things I get asked a lot about is online security, to which I have a fairly standard set of responses based on experience and reading up on the subject. I was very pleased, however, to see that the BBC were running a series on online security this week based around them setting up a 'honeypot' (a machine which is purposely left slightly open and monitored to check for and record attacks on it). The series also had some useful advice on analysing spam emails, spotting a phishing email and general advice on how to stay safe when online.

I advise the people who ask is almost everything they suggest in the series (and a few more things), my other advice is that you, the user, is almost always the weak point of any system, think before you do things like open attachments from people you don't know.

Staying safe is actually easier than it appears, but having programs running in the background isn't as visible as a locked door, a big padlock or a vigilant guard, so people worry. Having been watching The Real Hustle recently, shopping on the high street is just as dangerous.

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