Don’t panic! Don’t panic!

October 19, 2011 at 3:51 am by

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UK readers may well be familiar with that phrase often shouted by Corporal Jones in the comedy series Dad’s Army – and it rather neatly sums up what I want to talk about – when the dreaded alarm bells start ringing and your PC has been (or is about to be) compromised.

The first thing I would do is actually pull the plug on your internet connection – literally. Take the connection out of your router or the back of your case or wherever your connection happens to be located. Now, you may well be compromised but with no connection you cannot be further infected.

OK, done that? Now what? If you consider yourself a knowledgeable user then you’ll probably be taking steps to fix the situation already. If not, then try and find someone who knows their stuff to give you a hand. If you are reading this then you will know that there are numerous forums on the internet – many of which can help you. You can use another PC (or your friend’s PC) to contact us and request some help.

Let’s look at how you arrived in this situation.

You will have data backups, of course. You do have backups, don’t you? If not, why not? Would you be quite happy losing all that music and all those photos of the kids? Get into a regular backup regime – it’s worth it in the long run.

You were running some security software of course. You do have an Anti Virus (AV) programme? Hmm…it still surprises me how many users simply do not bother installing an AV – they will not protect you from every nasty but some protection is better than none.

All your software, including Windows, is up to date, isn’t it? Ah, so you didn’t bother with the last 30 Windows patches. Microsoft tend to issue patches and upgrades for good reasons – an updated system is more secure than one where dozens of known vulnerabilities leave you open to attack.

I’m about to send you an e-mail asking for help. All you need to do is send me £1,000 and I’ll send you back £10,000 once I’ve completed this fabulous deal I’m negotiating. Do you believe me? I hope not! And yet thousands, yes thousands of people fall victim to such requests every year. An old adage applies here – if it sounds too good to be true then it IS too good to be true. No-one is going to offer you money for nothing, so don’t send money to someone you know nothing about. And Banks will NEVER request your log in details via e-mail – NEVER!

Use your commonsense – stop for a few minutes and think about what you are doing – or what you’ve already done. Think it through – does it make sense? Those few minutes of thought could save you further heartache.

So, don’t panic – if in doubt ask for other opinions and help. And remember, places like TSF are here to help.

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