This week brings the start of the online shopping event known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  With most high street shops closed for lockdown; the biggest online retail event of the year is expected to be bigger than ever. Be warned, this increase in internet shopping brings increased dangers to consumers.

Cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated and convincing techniques. Unsuspecting shoppers looking to bag a bargain can easily fall victim to online fraudsters. Fake websites advertising must have items, seemingly genuine emails with links to the best deals, fake social media posts with buy it now options.  These are just some of the ploys being used to obtain your money and your personal details.

According to Action Fraud, over £3million was lost to cybercrime in 2019 Black Friday shopping. Action Fraud also reports that since the start of the COVID pandemic online shopping fraud has increased by more than 30% as cyber criminals exploit the boom in online sales.

This week Action Fraud have launched the #FraudFreeXmas campaign to warn bargain hunters about the dangers of online fraud. Here we share our own top tips to avoid falling victim to a cybercrime this Christmas.


  1. Choose where you shop:
  • Look for known and trusted retailers
  • Use website search to find a retailer rather than clicking on a link in an email or message
  • If buying from a retailer you don’t know, check their reviews and search consumer websites
  • Avoid deals that seem too good to be true – they almost always are!


  1. Choose safer payment methods:
  • Never pay for shopping via bank transfer
  • Use a credit card if you can, they offer some protection and you’re not sharing your bank details
  • Use a payment platform like PayPal, GooglePay or ApplePay, this keeps your data private.


  1. Be secure:
  • Make sure there is a closed padlock icon in the web browser before entering payment details. It doesn’t mean the retailer is legitimate but does mean their website is secure.
  • Only share personal information that is essential to your purchase
  • Don’t create an account with that retailer unless you absolutely must
  • If you are creating a user account, never use the same password twice
  • Choose strong passwords that are different to your email accounts
  • Use 2 factor authentication wherever possible
  • Don’t save payment details for later if a website offers this option
  • Use a secure WIFI network when you’re shopping or banking.


  1. Watch out for phishing emails and texts:
  • These can be really convincing and appear as though from a genuine retailer
  • Look out for subtle differences in email addresses for businesses you do subscribe to
  • Don’t click on any links sent via email, these can be used to download virus to your devices which will harvest your data
  • Copy and paste the address into your browser or do a search for the genuine website.


  1. What to do if you think you’ve been scammed:
  • Don’t panic or be embarrassed – it can happen to anyone
  • Contact your bank immediately
  • Report it to action fraud


Cybercrime can affect any individual or business, but there are steps you can take to prevent it.  If you’d like to review your cyber security and cybercrime awareness please book in for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our security experts. or call us on 0330 1224 420

International Fraud Week, November 16-21, 2020 

Why you need to act against cybercrime during the COVID pandemic 


It’s International #fraudweek! Why does it matter? There has been a massive acceleration in cyber-crime since the start of the COVID pandemic, with a 660% increase in March alone according to the Office for National Statistics.  The nature of these cyber-attacks varies, but there are increasing trends in email hacking leading to serious invoicing fraud. Ransomware attacks, phishing and data breaches are also increasingly common resulting in costly downtime. 

With fast-paced changes in workplaces and more staff working from home, cyber-criminals are exploiting vulnerabilities created by the situation.  The increased risk to business is a real and serious threat.  Cyber-attacks can cause both data and financial loss for organisations already impacted by COVID.   

So, what can you do prevent yourself becoming a victim to cyber-fraud? Having a security plan in place to protect your company and employees from cyber-crime is essential.  The most cost-effective way to deal with fraud is to prevent it!  

As a business, knowing where to start can be daunting. IQ in IT uses and recommends cyber-security training tool to train all your employees what to look for.  We use it for our own staff as well. 

Our training platform offers comprehensive and ongoing training for all your staff.  There are quizzes, cartoons, graphics, downloads and even comedy shows to engage your staff in learning.  The platform is fully interactive, allowing managers to track staff engagement, identify risk and any further training needs.   

At IQ in IT, we set this up for our clients and work with you to understand any identified risks and make suggestions on actions you can take to protect yourself.  Avoid becoming a statistic.  

Book your fraud health check up here:

or give us a call on 0330 1224 420 

You might also like to see our free webinar explaining all about cyber-crime and simple steps you can take to prevent it. 






Kat DamcovaFounder and Managing Director of IQ in IT, has been elected President for the Kingston Chamber of Commerce. 

The Chamber is a local business support organisation, IQ in IT have been active members since 2011. Kat was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015 and is a passionate advocate of supporting the local business community. 

Kat was elected as President at the Chamber’s summer AGM.  She is the first president to be elected virtually and during a national lockdown!  Her role as President is to support and represent the Chamber at events and meetings with local stakeholders and partners across the business community. 

On being elected President Kat says: 

“I am thrilled to be President and be able to help the local business community.  With so much economic uncertainty, it is a challenging time for many companies.  I am looking forward to supporting the Chamber and its members in my year as President.” 

“I joined the chamber for networking but have made friends as well as clients.  I’ve gained so much support from other local businesses and this is my opportunity to give something back.” 

To mark her presidency Kat gave a short interview to the Chamber which you can see here: 

A new bug with Microsoft Edge has caused issues world wide with the New Edge browser to crash when typing into the address bar. The quick workaround at this time while awaiting a fix is to disable the site suggestions. To do this, navigate to Edge settings and select Privacy and services and then scroll […]

A new bug with Microsoft Edge has caused issues world wide with the New Edge browser to crash when typing into the address bar.

The quick workaround at this time while awaiting a fix is to disable the site suggestions.

To do this, navigate to Edge settings and select Privacy and services and then scroll down to Address bar. See image above for help. Slide the “Show me search and site suggestions using my typed characters” to the off state.

We started preparing our clients for the possibility of a lockdown in February. Back then, a potential lockdown was not seen as imminent or even likely for the UK. We reviewed our clients’ existing business continuity plans and created a pandemic strategy. We knew we would have to keep their businesses operating by moving their […]

We started preparing our clients for the possibility of a lockdown in February. Back then, a potential lockdown was not seen as imminent or even likely for the UK. We reviewed our clients’ existing business continuity plans and created a pandemic strategy. We knew we would have to keep their businesses operating by moving their entire work forces home.

Then suddenly lockdown across the UK became a reality and we had to move whole companies to remote working over a single weekend. This brought about some huge logistical and technical challenges for our team. Like our clients, we also had to adapt our business practises to deliver to all our clients quickly but with security at the forefront of everything. We needed to get out to employees’ homes, deliver laptops and other hardware, then login to set up WIFI, install software and systems (even online school for one client) remotely. But most importantly it had to be secure and safe for our clients.

Other businesses might not have had a plan or support to implement one. Many employees will have switched to using their personal computers out of necessity or convenience. Most of these devices will not have the right level of security for a business, creating potentially increased threats to corporate security. Since lockdown started, there has been a huge increase in compromised email accounts, attacks via ransomware and malware, invoice and payment fraud, data breaches and more. Sadly, fraudsters are active, and you must take steps to protect your business. If you rushed to get everyone online at home, take the time now to check the security on the devices they are using. Make sure your work data is being securely backed up, revisit your business continuity plan and make sure you are secure during this pandemic and beyond.

IQinIT Managing Director Katerina Damcova says: “This shift in working from home is here to stay, the accelerated change was long overdue and many of our clients are already planning to keep this as a standard practice. This means changing and adapting the way we support our clients also, and we have learned that we can do this and do it well. We are embracing the change, you can too as long as it’s secure!”

You may receive error messages below: Having Office 365 mailbox spread across multiple data centres can cause issues when accessing shared resources. The issue can demonstrate it self by an inability to send as a shared mailbox or losing access to it completely in Outlook or Web-mail. Outlook error The specified object was not found […]

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2-1024x445.png

You may receive error messages below:

Having Office 365 mailbox spread across multiple data centres can cause issues when accessing shared resources. The issue can demonstrate it self by an inability to send as a shared mailbox or losing access to it completely in Outlook or Web-mail.

Outlook error

The specified object was not found in the store., Can’t connect to the mailbox of user Mailbox database guid: XXXX because the ExchangePrincipal object contains outdated information. The mailbox may have been moved recently. Email could not be sent. The message has been moved to your Drafts folder.

Webmail error

Your request can’t be completed at this time

Connect to your remote power-shell and run following command to view your user list and list of databases

Get-MailBox | select Displayname,Database

You will see a list below:

DisplayName Database
———– ——–
Owner 1 GBRP123DG081-db136
Owner 2 GBRP123DG077-db006
Discovery Search Mailbox GBRP123DG059-db037
User 1 GBRP123DG065-db120
User 2 GBRP123DG058-db105
User 3 GBRP265DG075-db123

GBRP – this shows the country location of the data centre

123 – this indicates the datacentre, if this number is different it will cause issues with shared access

To resolve this issue run a command to move the mailbox which location does not match, in our case User 3

New-MoveRequest -identity [email protected]

This will start the mailbox move to the correct database, to check if the mailbox is moving to the correct database run below command to view the current Move Request

Get-MoveRequest -identity [email protected]

DisplayName Status TargetDatabase
———– —— ————–
User 3 InProgress GBRP123DG071-db070

A new type of extortion email has been sneaking into inboxes over the last year. You may be familiar with the traditional ransom email. You would receive an email from a miscreant saying that your browsing habits have been recorded, and without sending a payment this sensitive information will be revealed to the world, to your family, to your colleagues.   What makes this new email particularly frightening to […]

A new type of extortion email has been sneaking into inboxes over the last year. You may be familiar with the traditional ransom email. You would receive an email from a miscreant saying that your browsing habits have been recorded, and without sending a payment this sensitive information will be revealed to the world, to your family, to your colleagues.  

What makes this new email particularly frightening to the receiver, is that these messages include a real password that was linked to their email address. 

Quite often, these are historic passwords, that might not have been used for a number of years. These passwords are most likely pulled from the big database leaks that you may have heard about in the news. Companies like Adobe, Yahoo and Tesco have had data such as usernames and passwords posted to forums where these scammers can readily access them. Details of the websites that have had breaches, and the ability to check if your data was included in one of these breaches can be found on websites such as;  Have I Been Pwned. 

The scammer will claim that, by using this password, they were able to access your web camera, record the sites you were visiting, and your actions while viewing these sites. They say that they installed malware on your computer or that they have accessed your contacts.


The email may look something like the below: 

I do kno‌w XXX i‌s yo‌ur pa‌ss. Lets g‌et stra‌i‌ght to th‌e po‌i‌nta‌bso‌lut‌ely no‌ o‌ne has co‌mp‌ensat‌ed m‌e to‌ inv‌esti‌ga‌t‌e a‌bo‌ut yo‌uYo‌u do‌n’t kno‌w m‌e and you ar‌e pro‌ba‌bly thinki‌ng why yo‌u’r‌e g‌etti‌ng thi‌s ‌ema‌il?

i‌n fa‌ct, i s‌etup a malwa‌re o‌n the X vids (po‌rn) w‌eb si‌t‌e a‌nd do‌ yo‌u kno‌w wha‌t, you vi‌si‌t‌ed thi‌s si‌te to‌ ‌experi‌‌enc‌e fun (yo‌u kno‌w wha‌t i‌ mean). Whi‌l‌e yo‌u w‌er‌e viewi‌ng video cli‌psyo‌ur i‌nt‌ernet bro‌ws‌er b‌ega‌n functi‌o‌ni‌ng a‌s a‌ R‌emo‌t‌e co‌ntro‌l D‌eskto‌p tha‌t ha‌s a‌ key lo‌gg‌er whi‌ch pro‌vi‌d‌ed m‌e a‌ccess to‌ yo‌ur displa‌y as w‌ell a‌s ca‌mRi‌ght a‌ft‌er that, my so‌ftwar‌e gath‌er‌ed yo‌ur enti‌r‌e co‌nta‌cts from yo‌ur M‌esseng‌er, FB, a‌s well as ‌ema‌i‌l . a‌nd th‌en i‌ ma‌d‌e a‌ double-scr‌e‌en video‌. 1st pa‌rt displa‌ys th‌e vi‌d‌eo‌ you w‌er‌e viewing (you ha‌ve a‌ fi‌n‌e tast‌e haha), a‌nd n‌ext pa‌rt sho‌ws the vi‌ew o‌f yo‌ur ca‌m, y‌ea‌ i‌ts you.

Yo‌u ha‌v‌e go‌t only 2 so‌luti‌o‌nsW‌e should go‌ thro‌ugh each o‌f th‌es‌e so‌luti‌o‌ns in a‌spects:

1st so‌luti‌o‌n i‌s to‌ ski‌p thi‌s ‌e-ma‌i‌li‌n this i‌nsta‌nc‌ei wi‌ll s‌end o‌ut your vi‌d‌eo‌ to‌ a‌ll yo‌ur yo‌ur co‌ntacts a‌nd th‌en imagi‌n‌e r‌ega‌rding th‌e di‌sgra‌c‌e yo‌u f‌e‌elNo‌t to fo‌rg‌et i‌f yo‌u ha‌pp‌en to b‌e in a‌n i‌mpo‌rta‌nt rela‌tio‌nshi‌pho‌w it i‌s go‌ing to a‌ff‌ect?

2nd o‌pti‌o‌n sho‌uld b‌e to‌ comp‌ensate m‌e 3000 USD. L‌et us thi‌nk of i‌t a‌s a‌ dona‌ti‌o‌nSubsequ‌entlyi‌ mo‌st c‌ertai‌nly wi‌ll qui‌ckly ‌era‌s‌e yo‌ur vid‌eo‌. You ca‌n ke‌ep yo‌ur da‌i‌ly li‌f‌e li‌k‌e thi‌s n‌ev‌er ha‌pp‌en‌ed and you would n‌ev‌er hea‌r ba‌ck a‌ga‌i‌n fro‌m m‌e.

Yo‌u’ll ma‌ke th‌e pa‌ym‌ent vi‌a‌ Bitco‌i‌n (i‌f you do‌ no‌t kno‌w this, search ‘how to‌ buy bi‌t‌coin‘ i‌n Goo‌gl‌e).

B‌TC a‌ddr‌ess to‌ s‌end to‌: xxxx
[Ca‌S‌e-S‌eNSi‌Ti‌V‌e co‌py a‌nd past‌e i‌t]

i‌n cas‌e yo‌u a‌r‌e planni‌ng on go‌i‌ng to‌ th‌e co‌pw‌ell, this ‌ema‌il can no‌t b‌e tra‌c‌ed back to m‌e. I‌ ha‌v‌e co‌v‌er‌ed my a‌cti‌o‌ns. i‌ a‌m no‌t trying to‌ charg‌e yo‌u a hug‌e amo‌unt, i‌ wo‌uld li‌k‌e to b‌e rewa‌rded. Yo‌u no‌w hav‌e t‌w‌o da‌ys to‌ ma‌k‌e th‌e pa‌ym‌ent. i‌’v‌e a‌ sp‌eci‌a‌l pi‌x‌el i‌n thi‌s ma‌ila‌nd a‌t thi‌s mo‌m‌ent i‌ kno‌w tha‌t you ha‌ve r‌ea‌d thro‌ugh thi‌s e ma‌i‌l. if i‌ do‌n’t g‌et th‌e Bi‌tC‌o‌i‌nsi‌ d‌efi‌nit‌ely wi‌ll s‌end o‌ut yo‌ur vi‌d‌eo‌ to‌ a‌ll of yo‌ur co‌nta‌cts including fa‌mi‌ly m‌emb‌erscoll‌ea‌gu‌es, and so‌ o‌nNo‌n‌eth‌el‌essi‌f i‌ do g‌et pai‌di‌’ll ‌era‌s‌e th‌e r‌eco‌rdi‌ng i‌mm‌edi‌a‌t‌ely. i‌f you wa‌nt to ha‌v‌e proo‌f, r‌eply wi‌th Yea a‌nd i will certa‌i‌nly send yo‌ur vid‌eo‌ r‌eco‌rding to‌ yo‌ur 5 fri‌ends. it’s a‌ no‌n:n‌egotia‌bl‌e o‌ffer, thus don’t wa‌st‌e my perso‌nal ti‌m‌e & yours by r‌espo‌ndi‌ng to‌ thi‌s m‌essa‌g‌e. 


The truth is, that the attackers do not have any of this information. They are finding your data from these breaches and sending it to you in the hope that you are adequately frightened and will send them the ransom money.  


How can I protect myself?

IQ in IT have received a number of emails about this scam over the last month and were able to advise our clients on how to proceed. To start, IQ in IT recommend you use a webcam privacy cover, with which you can cover your monitor’s webcam when not in use. Here at IQ in IT, we provide these for free and always have them to hand when attending events.  

IQ in IT are also happy to share that there is no merit in these emails and that they should be ignored. The only scary part here is that, this data is being breached from trustworthy companies. Make sure that you are regularly changing your passwords and always using secure passwords. Here at IQ in IT we recommend using a password manager that can generate and store unique passwords for every website.  

The Government has recently launched a new scheme across the UK to assist small to medium sized businesses in upgrading their broadband.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will see firms being able to claim up to £3,000 to upgrade their broadband to a gigabit capable connection. The scheme forms part of the Local Full Fibre Networks programme, backed by a £200 million investment courtesy of the Government.

The Gigabit Scheme will open the doors to cloud services such as VoIP, cloud based email, cloud desktops and other hosted solutions, meaning even the smallest business will enjoy the opportunity to compete on a global playing field thanks to time and money saving systems known to make doing business more efficient.

Eligibility criteria

There is a set of eligibility criteria for the scheme. To qualify, companies have to be based in the UK. They must employ no more than 250 staff; have a turnover of less than £50 million and / or a balance sheet total under £43 million.

You don’t have to be a registered company to qualify: sole traders can also apply providing they meet the above criteria. This means that even the smallest businesses will be able to take advantage of today’s cloud based technologies that are reliant on fast and reliable internet.

Cloud services

VoIP: Also known as a cloud phone system, ‘voice over internet protocol’ telephone services have come a long way since they first became popular at the turn of the millennium, especially when backed by super-fast internet speeds. Cloud phones bring flexibility to the working day, providing access to an office phone system regardless of where you are. Money saving, convenient and presenting a professional profile without heavy capital investment, cloud phones offer a vast range of features such as call forwarding, call queuing, call routing and music on hold to name just a few.

Cloud email: Any time, any place access to business email with the reassurance of antivirus and antispam protection is made possible by cloud email. If you use Outlook, then you’ll appreciate its features such as contact lists and shared calendars, all available on the go on any device thanks to cloud email.

Cloud desktop: Everyone will agree that there is nothing like your own personal desktop. All your own shortcuts; the taskbar just how you want it; access to all your apps right there at your fingertips. So when you can see your familiar desktop on any device, wherever you are, that has to be a major advantage. Cloud desktop services reduce hardware costs because everything is hosted on cloud servers rather than locally. Plus with data stored in the cloud, there is an automatic back-up and built-in disaster recovery.

Laying foundations for the future

Matt Hancock is Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. On the subject of the Gigabit Scheme, he said: ‘Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and now they can turbo-charge their connectivity with gigabit speeds.

‘By building a full fibre future for Britain we are laying the foundations for a digital infrastructure capable of delivering today what the next generation will need tomorrow.’

Cloud services for the aspirational business

Whether you are just starting out in business or are planning expansion, a move to cloud services is sure to deliver a major boost to your efficiency and competitive edge. The new Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will enable access to a range of cloud based services, so it is well worth learning more. Visit to discover how the scheme could benefit your business, and if you are eager to find out more about cloud services, don’t hesitate to contact the IQinIT team.

You’re working away when a window pops up on your screen letting you know that there are new updates available. But you’re busy right now, so you hit the ‘remind me later’ button. But when later comes around and you get that reminder you asked for, you’re still busy, so you dismiss it again.

The thing is that these notifications are not just created to annoy us while we’re working. They are trying to tell us something incredibly important: that our software needs a new layer of protection, or that there are improvements or bug fixes you could be benefiting from.

What are software updates?

Software updates perform a wide range of tasks. Some are for individual software programs; others are for our operating systems. There are updates that clean up and get rid of outdated features, whilst others install new and improved ones. Some updates renew drivers and others fix annoying bugs. But perhaps the most important updates are the ones that deal with security flaws.
What is a security flaw and how does a software update resolve it?

Software flaws are weaknesses or holes in the security of an operating system or software program. Hackers are a dab hand at writing code to exploit these weaknesses via malware. The code gets them into your machine when you open a certain website or email or play infected videos.

Once malware has infected your machine, it has the ability to compromise data, take control of your PC or use software differently to how it should be.

Why should I install software updates?

Once an update is released, hackers worldwide will know there is a security flaw ready for the taking. As fast as software developers are coming up with ways to halt security attacks, so hackers are finding new ways in. The game just goes around and around.

You should be aware that your data and files are at risk unless you have installed the latest updates. Everything you store digitally: photos, videos, files, databases; it’s all potentially exposed to hackers. Certain strains of malware have the ability to completely wipe documents from a hard drive or copy them to a remote server. No one will forget the effects of the WannaCry epidemic that swept the nation and further afield in 2017 leading to personal data and company documents being held hostage until payment was made to release them. In a lot of cases, the systems that were compromised were not up to date.

Ensuring you update operating systems and keep software updated as and when it prompts you is vital if you want to avoid these types of threats.

What about legacy systems?

A large number of organisations are still using legacy infrastructure, mainly because it delivers continuity, but also because there is a belief that the cost and upheaval of migrating to new technology would be damaging both financially and in terms of productivity.

In actual fact what some organisations may not realise is that the cost of maintaining legacy systems could actually be higher than the long term gains made by updating.

Aside from hindering innovation, there are some extremely serious risks associated with sticking with a legacy system, malware being one of them. Windows XP for example is, according to Microsoft, six times more likely to be infected with malware than more recent versions of Windows.

Some legacy systems simply cannot be security patched, or there are no patches available at all.

With such high risks offering up the potential for reputation damage, reduced profitability and loss of competitive edge, and the fact that legacy systems are subject to expensive maintenance costs, it is clear to see that the most astute option would actually be to update to a system powered by today’s technologies and protected by modern security measures.

In Summary

Even though software updates may seem like an inconvenience, and the prospect of system upgrades may be a real worry, the fact is, both could actually save you from a host of serious issues.

So, the next time you see an updates notification, be sure to action it. And if you are ready for a system upgrade to move your legacy infrastructure into the 21st century, how about talking to IQ in IT? We offer a hands-on service whereby we’ll get to the bottom of your individual needs and then build a system around them so that you have the infrastructure you need to grow, and that does the best job possible in keeping your organisation safe and secure.

Living in a smart-enabled home? It certainly has its benefits. Ordering household supplies at the touch of a button on the cupboard or washing machine; turning the heating up via your phone before you even arrive home; issuing smart keys to tradespeople to access your property whilst you’re at work. We can switch the lights or TV on remotely to make it look like we’re home after dark, and we can even see what’s going on in the house when we’re out using cloud cams.

Our lives certainly seem to be getting so much easier and, you would think, more safeguarded thanks to smart technology. But have you stopped to consider how secure all these WiFi connected devices actually are?

Even children’s toys are connected to the internet these days. But worryingly these, and household devices that are remotely controlled over the web, are actually laying homeowners wide open to serious risks including break-ins and spying.

Lack of smart device security can lead to shocking consequences

Devices that are not adequately secured can open a home up to extremely shocking consequences. Often set with no password or a default, smart devices can provide a far too simple way for cyber criminals to obtain personal details from any web pages or apps that are not using secure encryption.

Kaspersky Lab’s Denis Makrushin has said, “Cyber-attacks conducted by seemingly harmless connected devices are no longer just the stuff of movies, or even of the future. They are a very real and current threat.

“As more devices have connectivity built-in, users urgently need to realise they must employ the same level of security for mobile phones and computers.”

The Mirror newspaper uncovered the calculating methods used by cyber criminals to acquire personal details. It also reported that whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has published documents which it claims revealed the range of hacking tools used by the CIA. These include techniques developed to transform everyday household gadgets such as smart TVs into spying devices.

The newspaper challenged First Base Technologies, the online security company used by financial institutions, supermarkets and the government to uncover holes in their online security systems. The response revealed major cause for concern.

Smart home devices spark major cause for concern

On attempting to access a British Gas Hive Active Heating system controlled by a mobile app, the company’s (legal) hacker, Rob Shapland, was able to access the device with ease. Worryingly, he managed to obtain the owner’s home address and holiday dates.

Hackers start their in-road with a name. They then search for social media accounts. Then, through the ‘forgot my password link’ and internet searches, they can work out an email address. All they then need is a password, which hackers can find easily by searching previous data hacks databases. These are logs of illegally harvested data shared by hackers in secret parts of the web. Because most people use the same passwords for all their accounts, this method is usually effective in revealing login information.

Mr Shapland’s key message was that passwords should ALWAYS be varied across different accounts and devices, even for devices that do not store financial information. Just bear in mind how dangerous it would prove to reveal your holiday dates: it’s almost as risky as leaving your front door unlocked.

Is your security camera protecting you, or spying on you?

Rob Shapland demonstrated how hackers could well be spying on you without you knowing. According to the Mirror newspaper, 100,000 British devices are believed to be at risk in this way. Even security cameras, designed to safeguard your home, could be putting you in a perilous position.

Some smart cameras are designed to be accessed using an app. Hackers access them using the default password. And how do they know when a camera only has the default password set? By using a piece of software intended for security analysts, hackers can see which webcams in any local areas are using the default setting of no password.

The advice here from Mr Shapland: “If you need to be able to access your webcam while you’re not at home, make sure it asks you for a password. Don’t use anything that doesn’t allow you to set a password.”

It is reckoned that by 2020, there will be 212 billion connected Internet of Things devices.

Already a widespread problem

Cyber-crime is estimated to net £34 billion per year, with six million people having become victims in just the past year alone. 1.4 million have reported computer virus attacks, and 650,000 email accounts and social media profiles have been compromised.

Hugh Simpson, security expert at Zyxel, says: “The more devices that integrate into the wireless network, the more risk and indeed the more that people know about you. So a balance between convenience and security is key.

“There are some basic practices that should be followed by everyone, from individual home users to the largest global enterprises. These include using strong different passwords, regularly checking for and installing software updates and implementing appropriate security software.”

Regular updates can prevent internet-connected devices falling prey to hackers and their continuously evolving attacks.

If you are in any way concerned over the security of your internet-connected devices whether at home or at work, why not seek the tailored advice of our experts here at IQ in IT?