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Knowing your Phishing from your Smishing

Following an outstanding, if a little scary, talk from Aimee Payne of the Kent Cyber Unit at Maidstone last week we would like to forward to you some advice on how to reduce the risks on Cyber Crime on yourself and your business.

Fraud and cybercrime are the most prevalent crimes committed against people in England and Wales. Statistics from June 2015 stated 74% of SMEs had suffered a security breach, a figure that is raising.

So, what can you do to keep your data more secure?

Key Protection advice for individuals and businesses is:

– Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
– Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
– Create regular backups of your important files to a device (such as an external hard drive or memory stick) that isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
– Only install apps from official app stores, such as Google’s Play Store, or Apple’s App Store as they offer better levels of protection than some 3rd party stores. Jailbreaking, rooting, or disabling any of the default security features of your device will make it more susceptible to malware infections.


Fraudsters may exploit high profile incidents (such as the recent NHS one) and use it as part of phishing/smishing (SMS text scams) campaigns. We urge people to be cautious if they receive any unsolicited communications.

The advice for that is the following:
● An email address can be spoofed. Don’t open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details. A common one is sending an Invoice as an attachment.
● The sender’s name and number in a text message can be spoofed, so even if the message appears to be from an organisation you know of, you should still exercise caution, particularly if the texts are asking you to click on a link or call a number.

Don’t disclose your personal or financial details during a cold call, and remember that the police and banks will never ring you and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw your cash, or transfer your money to another “safe” account.


Another type of malicious software is known as ransomware. Ransomware makes your data or systems unusable until the victim makes a payment.

What can I do to protect myself?

There are three main things you should do to protect yourself.

1. Update Windows

Ransomware affects computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems that don’t have the latest security patches installed. If you are using a recent version of Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10) and have automatic updates turned on, you should already be protected automatically against new outbreaks of ransomware.

To update your version of Windows:

If you are using a currently supported version (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10), run Windows Update and apply any updates.

If you are using Windows XP, Windows Vista or older versions of Windows, NCSC strongly recommend that you do not continue to use unsupported operating systems, but instead upgrade to one which receives regular security updates from the vendor.

2. Run antivirus

Make sure your antivirus product is turned on and up to date. Windows has a built-in malware protection tool (Microsoft Defender) which is suitable for this purpose.

Run a full scan to make sure your computer is currently free of all known malware.

3. Keep a safe backup of your important files

Regularly create a backup copy of your important files (such as photos, documents, and other files that can’t be replaced). If you have backups of files that you can recover, you can’t be blackmailed.

Make sure that this copy is kept separate from your computer. If it’s on a USB stick, or a hard drive, or on any type of removable media, do not leave it connected (or anywhere on your network) or it may also be attacked by ransomware.
You should consider using cloud services to back up your files. Many cloud service providers (for example, email providers) offer an amount of cloud storage space for free.

By implementing these security checks, being vigilant to emails, texts and phone-calls, you can help to reduce your risks. We are now being forwarded information from the Kent Cyber Unit if incidents occur which we will forward to you.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber-crime, please report it to Action Fraud at: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

For more information on scams, hacking, data leakage and how to protect yourself, please download ‘The Little Book of Cyber Scams’ here

Website – Have I Been Pwned?

This website allows you to check if your personal data has been compromised by data breaches, in other words when your private data has been exposed in a publicly leaked breach.


After checking my own emails – every one was found on the Onliner Spambot (Spam List) that occurred in August 2017, and my original Holges Consulting one has appeared on 7 breaches over the years! I’m off to improve my Passwords……..

Social & Open Networking Event – 7th November (Now extended to 8:30pm)

As part of our 4th Birthday Celebration, Metis Women are sponsoring a free Social & Open Networking event on Tuesday 7th November at Judds Folly. Put it in your diaries now, and drop in between 5:00-8:30pm for a chat and meet-up. Open to both Men and Women.

Book your ticket now >>

Forthcoming Meetings

Ashford-Folkestone – 3rd November, Westenhanger Castle – Learn Session: TBC
* Sponsored by Westenhanger Castle, Wedding, Meetings & Conferences

Maidstone-Medway – 10th November, The Centre – Mind Body Sprit, Moto Services, M2 London Bound – Learn Session: TBC
* Sponsored by The Centre – Mind Body Sprit, Workshops, Healing, Therapies

Faversham – 16th November, Judd’s Folly – Learn Session: TBC
* Sponsored by Judds Folly, Hotel, Restaurant & Wedding Venue

Meetings run from 9:30 (For networking) – 12:00

Book Now:

We are currently not running any meetings, for further details see our facebook page

Have a great weekend

Amanda & The Metis Women Team