In amongst the Government advice on how to keep yourself safe during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to keep your online safety a priority too - especially in a time where more and more people will be turning to the internet for entertainment.
That is why we are urging you to complete Derbyshire County Council's Digital MOT to see how safe you are online, and to be aware of the tips below.
Although we haven’t had any confirmed reports of the below in Derbyshire, we have issued the following guidance to have in the back of your mind so you can stay safe online.
• Be aware of scam emails – scammers may take advantage of messages that are being sent, and try to send something similar with links claiming to have important updates, which once clicked on lead to devices being infected. Spot their sense of urgency, threats, spelling/grammatical errors, generic greeting and random sender email address. If you’re unsure if a message is genuine, double check it by visiting the genuine website (not through the link) or contact the organisation independently.
• If you’re working from home – be sure to log off if you move away from your machine. Sensitive information may be left on your screen, so be sure to close your computer properly. More information on passwords, encrypted work and VPNs has been released by the National Cyber Security Centre, you can read more here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/top-tips-for-staying-secure-online.
It’s worth mentioning too, don’t leave your laptop in a car overnight. Be sure to take it into your house and put it in a safe place – not in front of the window or by the door. Take time away from the screen too, you wouldn’t do a solid day’s work in the office, so take time to make a drink, stretch your legs and eat away from your computer.
• Ransomware - A new strain of ransomware has been created that completely encrypts the victim's device making it completely unusable. To get your files back it demands a payment in Bitcoin to release them. There is no guarantee that if you become a victim and do pay the demand that your files will be released. This malicious software is being installed through an app which claims to provide Coronavirus updates.
To prevent this - Only download apps from official stores, keep all software up to date, and only use the World Health Organization (WHO) or Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) for updates on COVID-19.
Please be aware that yesterday the Government sent out a verified text message that is pictured below. There is a chance that in coming days fraudsters may abuse this and try to impersonate legitimate organisations via phishing measures. If you received a link, or get this in the next couple of days and are unsure if it's legitimate, verify the information by checking the genuine website instead of clicking on the link to it in the text or email.
You can also proactively check how safe you are online by using the Derbyshire Police and County Council online MOT: saferderbyshire.gov.uk/MOT and find more advice from the National Cyber Security Centre on their website: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/