Recently this mag has been asked for advice from users suffering from suspected PHISHING spam mail.

Phishers of Men- the other sort of Phisher.

Phishing is an aspect of Identity Fraud where a sender is emulating a well known web site (recently even M&S) or firm with the intention of getting you to reply, establishing some confidence with you, and finally getting you to divulge passwords, etc, for them to raid or use an account at a later date.

If you suspect that a message is not right- your name or address is slightly mispelt or it purports to have an important message, the simple way out is not to open the message or click through.

If you should actually have an account or be registered with the target firm then go directly to their site as you normally would and check yourself, not through a link on a mail.

Then look for any messages they may have stored for you. Banks often do this. A Bank or big firm will know your name or last four numbers of your account to identify, the phisher will not know this. Check bank and paypal  type statements frequently. Dont assume.

A good way to protect yourself is to use the filters in your mail browser/account settings, and use two or more levels of inbox, such as Inbox & a  ‘Safermail ‘sub-folder to the Inbox (where known firms or people send you regular advert mails which you know about).

Set up your filters to only allow those in your contact (address) list to go into Inbox, set filters for regular firms you know into Safermail, and the rest straight into Junk box.  Simple sorting.

Its useful also to have an active Archive box into where you can select a batch and slide them into the archives to keep. Each of the boxes will set a pattern which you can then adjust as necessary as you get experience.

Set your Junk box to empty itself after 90 days but do check it weekly to ensure some misdirected mail has not got in there by accident.


The bottom line is–if you're not sure, then don't open it or don't click through. Check the sender’s URL, and if unsure do a google.. Its often eye-opening. Changing passwords is a good idea, too, particularly with social media sites and places like LinkedIn. Checking account details occasionally is useful. Talking of social media- have you changed your passwords?

Thunderbird Mail Client taking ages to do things?- Try compacting the mail account, after you've done your file housekeeping. Do you really need to keep years' worth of old mails?. Use archives for a purpose, its easy to open new boxes as yearly sub-folders. Then remember to trim them down and perhaps see what you forgot to do. Then drag the folders down to ‘Local Folders’ for storage.

Use free Cloud accounts to back-up or even synchronise accounts. Amazon use Cloud with Kindle and offer a free 5gb, Microsoft offer free Cloud using their mail sign-in; Google gmail offers 15Gb free. Apple offer iCloud.  Its a useful intermediate stop for your files. Its becoming very widespread in its use, often you dont realise.

With Microsoft Cloud OneDrive you can access the latest versions of MS Office  for free (Lite Versions but still very useful). It saves what you've done into its Cloud but you can download back to you when you want.

Run a business?  Back-Up is essential. A 1Tb stand-alone hard disk could save a lot of anxiety if used to back-up QuickBooks or Sage on a weekly basis. Perhaps use Cloud for day to day, then download to your h/d weekly? If you're running an office accounts system without cloud/physical you are taking a big risk.  

Windows10 -  this has now been running for three years and is settling down. It seems that there are two half yearly major updates followed by monthly minor updates together with some other software updates.  

Experience has shown that some of these updates are quite large and need some time to download and install. For best results let your device have the time to do all this- usually after the second Tuesday in the month. Often the actual install/configuration is done when you sign-in. If you get that ‘installation’ screen, leave it alone and go make a cup of tea.

As W10 is not dvd based it is linked into your BIOS, and its a good idea to find out its (your) ID number (5 sets of 5 characters together with its install Product key. It will probably be linked to your Microsoft Outlook mail account whith which you sign-in. Should you need to fresh install W10 these will be indispensible. Make a note and store separately.