ISP woes (part 2)

Talk Talk again this time. We were back this morning for another attempt to recover a non working email password for a client. She has been with Talk Talk since 2006, and had the same password since then.

After an hour of getting nowhere with online “support”, they went to check their records and disconnected the chat window.

I started a new chat, very carefully explained the situation and the steps taken to resolve it – their password reset cleverly involved sending a link to the email address we couldn’t access – and after asking directly several times was eventually told that Talk Talk support can’t access or change passwords. It was then mentioned by them that the fault lay in the computer, where nothing had changed.

When I then mentioned that we also couldn’t access the same account via webmail using three seperate computers, in two locations, with five different browsers, it was suggested that as the fault couldn’t be at their end we should go to Microsoft for help. I ended that chat before I lost my temper. The process took one hour, fifteen minutes.

Transcripts of all conversations have been kept, and I’m thinking very hard about contacting Ofcom (not that it will likely make a lot of difference).

One to consider, especially as Talk Talk seem to be pushing for new clients.

ISP woes (part 1)

This is latest sneaky charge from BT – £31.00 is added to your final bill if you move to another ISP, move house and change provider, or for instance are a student moving home for the summer and finishing your contract. Full details here:

We regard this as somewhat underhand to say the least. Apparently it is buried deep in the T&C’s of the BT contract.


Flash player “update” scam

We’ve recently noticed that on certain websites which have embedded video clips (the sort that play as soon as you go to the site) that a second page opens stating the “Flash Player is out of date – please click here to download a new version” or a variant of this; it seems to depend on the site visited.

Don’t click on this link. It will install endless malware onto your computer (someone did and it took ages to clean it out) and stop Flash Player from working. The best bet is to close both websites immediately.

If you think you have inadvertently clicked on something you shouldn’t have, please contact us for a chat about it.


Anyone who has been to see us over the past few weeks will know that we were a temporary maternity unit for Speedy and her latest (and final) litter.  The wee ones were both a delight and a huge worry for the time that they were here, thankfully Speedy is a brilliant mum and all six thrived and have now all been rehomed.  All are thriving.  Speedy herself was finally captured (she isn’t called Speedy for nothing) and thanks to Cedramount Vets won’t be having any more kittens.

Thanks to all who left in food, milk and treats, and also to the brave souls who took on young kittens 🙂

Current Ransomware threat

You will no doubt have heard about the current Ransomware which has crippled Windows computers in the NHS in England and Scotland.

What we know so far:

Only Windows based computers are at risk.

It does not seem to come from a spam or spoofed email, although continue to treat these with utmost suspicion. The means of original infection remains unknown.

Only large organisations have been targeted so far.

Not many ransoms have been paid ($54,000 as of this morning, so in global terms not a lot).

There have not been large scale infections of home computers or networks.

What to do:

Have an up to date, working, tested backup, and disconnect the backup media when it isn’t in use. If it is connected to your PC and you are infected, it is encrypted too.

Make sure you have all Windows updates installed and up to date.

If you are running an older, unsupported version of Windows (Windows 7 is supported until January 2020, Windows 8.1 until January 2018, Windows 10 until October 2025, anything else has no current support) please seriously consider moving to a newer platform to avoid risk or catastrophic data loss.

If you are infected, turn the PC off, and bring it to us. Do not pay the ransom.

If you are feeling especially paranoid, turn your router off and stay offline until there is more information on this threat (this is what the Health Service Executive in Ireland have basically done).

Contact us or help or advice on anything mentioned above.

New scam – not here yet, but on the way

This one, reported in the Independent, is really nasty, and worth looking out for, as it will be very easy to fall for:

How it would stand up in court appears unclear, but it’s yet another way to steal your money…

Happy New Year

A very belated Happy 2017 to all our clients.

We hit the ground running in 2017, and haven’t had much time to add anything here before now.

The usual HMRS email and Microsoft / BT / Talk Talk (not) scams continue, and are more sophisticated than ever, so please be very careful. If you receive an unexpected communication by phone or email regard it as a scam until you can absolutely verify that it is not.

Apple owners are also now targets for scammers – this is fairly new and will will report in depth on it next week. It scam involves an on-screen message from “Apple Care”. Apple will not send unsolicited messages directly to your computer, so please be aware of this.

Christmas 2016 holidays

We will be closing on Friday 23rd December at 1.00 pm, and re-opening on 3rd January at 9.00 am.

Many thanks to everyone who has made 2016 one of our best years ever – we wouldn’t be here without you.

Happy Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful 2017 to everyone.

Ongoing threats

While there hasn’t been a “new” virus or spyware threat for a while, all of the old favorites are still out there and still active.

Some to look out for (and not fall for) are:

1: The HMRC tax refund email

This is an email from HMRC to tell you that you are due a refund, usually of Income Tax. The email contains a link to supposedly claim your refund. The link takes you to an official looking website where you are required to enter personal and bank details in order to claim the money. The whole thing is a scam – HMRC will write to you if they need to speak to you, and do not generally use email to communicate with the public

2: The “Police” virus

We’ve written extensively about this one in the past, basically your computer is locked and and a ransom demanded to unlock it. This is theft, pure and simple, do not pay, and take your PC, laptop or tablet to someone (us 🙂 ) who knows how to get rid of it.

3: The technical support phone scam

Again, we’ve written and warned a lot about this one. Microsoft, “Windows”, BT, “your broadband provider” or anyone else will never, ever ring to tell you that there is a problem with your computer’s hardware which they have detected. All this is is an opportunity for the thieves to take control of your computer, steal your personal details and a fair chunk of your money. Hang up at once if you receive such a call.

4: The bogus charity wall chart / diary

One for businesses more, but still a scam. A pleasant sounding (usually northern) caller will ask if you want to support an anti-bullying (or similar) campaign in return for advertising in a local school, college, library etc, then get you to sign up for a Standing Order and a contract. There is no such campaign, and the callers can become abusive when challenged. We have fallen for this, then became aware of it, and now give as good as we get on the phone.

5: The “Locky” trojan

This one is really nasty, and encrypts your files beyond recovery. It arrives as an email attachement, usually in MS Word format, which when opened is garbled and unreadable. Once it has been opened, the damage is done and the trojan software is at work. Any files changed by the trojan are unreadable, and it cannot be reversed. At the end of the encryption process, a ransom for the decrytpion key is demanded. This is usually several hundred pounds, and is not guaranteed to work once purchased.


A good rule of thumb is that anything that appears to be too good to be true usually is, and that anyone ringing out of the blue will likely not have your best interests at heart. If in doubt, delete the email or hang up the phone.

EE Broadband customer support

It isn’t very often that we have anything good to say about ISP customer support (yes, we do mean you, Talk Talk), but we had reason to contact EE earlier today on behalf of a new client who had no broadband connection.

After the inevitable “press one for…” routine, the phone was answered after one ring, and a very helpful representative cheched the line and carried out the usual tests – “have you switched it off?”, “is it in the master socket?” etc.

As we were talking he was running a line test, and quickly worked out that there was an external fault. He escalated the problem to Level 2 support, and promised a call back within 24 hours. All of this took no more than ten minutes.

It was actually a pleasure to contact EE. We will see if they keep up the good work and phone back as promised.