Lincolnshire Police have joined together with forces across the East Midlands to promote cyber security after Lincolnshire County Council fell victim to a cyber attack.
The council's systems were quickly shut down and business has now resumed, but experts say that malware is constantly evolving, so it is important for people to be aware of how to protect their computers.
From individuals, to small businesses, to large organisations, we all need to continually refresh our understanding of the current threats in order to protect ourselves. It is estimated that 80% of cyber-attacks could be prevented. We need to arm people with knowledge and encourage vigilance in the fight against this unseen villain.
The force has issued the following tips to keep safe online:
Do not open emails which you suspect as being spam.
Do not forward emails which you suspect as being spam.
Do not open attachments from unknown sources.
Do not readily click on links in emails from unknown sources. Instead, roll your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination, displayed in the bottom left corner of your screen. Beware if this is different from what is displayed in the text of the link from the email.
Do not respond to emails from unknown sources.
Do not make purchases or charity donations in response to spam email.
Don’t click on ‘remove’ or reply to unwanted email.
Check junk mail folders regularly in case a legitimate email gets through by mistake.
When sending emails to multiple recipients, list their addresses in the 'BCC' (blind copy) box instead of in the 'To' box. In this way, no recipient will see the names of the others, and if their addresses fall into the wrong hands there will be less chance of you or anybody else receiving phishing or spam emails.
Similarly, delete all addresses of previous parties in the email string, before forwarding or replying.
If you are suspicious of an email, you can check if it is on a list of known spam and scam emails that some internet security vendors such as McAfee and Symantec feature on their websites.
Most Microsoft and other email clients come with spam filtering as standard. Ensure yours is switched on.
Most spam and junk filters can be set to allow email to be received from trusted sources, and blocked from untrusted sources.
When choosing a webmail account such as gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, make sure you select one that includes spam filtering and that it remains switched on.
Most internet security packages include spam blocking. Ensure that yours is up to date and has this feature switched on.