On Tuesday 14th January, Windows 7 came to the end of its supported life. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean it will stop working, but Microsoft will stop providing security updates from now on.
Windows 7 was launched in 2009 and currently still has a couple of hundred million users, many of them individuals or small businesses.
The problem for users is that holes in the security of Windows will no longer be patched and the malware industry will be able to exploit any vulnerabilities without protection from now on. This could include ransomware, where your computer is locked unless you provide payment.
So what can you do to protect yourself? The easiest option is to upgrade to Windows 10 but if you can’t afford that there are still a few things you can do.
If you can’t patch Windows, you can still make sure that other software you use is updated. In particular, your browser is somewhere that malware can infect your computer. Google has committed to fully supporting Chrome on Windows 7 computers at least until 15 July 2021.
Another way to protect yourself it to try to avoid untrusted or insecure websites. The websites of large organisatons are usually safe.
Running good firewall and anti-virus software is essential. Which recommends Avast as the best free anti-virus software or you may prefer to pay for one that includes a firewall such as Kaspersky Total Security.
Emails are another common source of infections. Never click an unsolicited attachment and beware of phishing emails that claim to come from a trusted source such as your bank or PayPal and ask you to click on a link or button to log into your account. Do not click the link, instead go directly to the organisation’s website and log in the way your normally would.
Finally, the best defence against ransomare is to have all your information – files, pictures backed up or stored in the cloud. There are free cloud storage sites such as Dropbox that will allow you plenty of space to store your files.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software which locks, or encrypts,
part of your computer until a ransom is paid. It is often delivered via
email, either through attachments or links to websites where it
downloads on to the victim’s computer. There are several steps you can
take to help stop criminals from holding you to ransom:
- Back up all of your important files, so you can still access them if you’re infected with ransomware. If this is to an external drive, make sure you unplug it once you’ve backed up as they can become infected too.
- Never click on a link or attachment in an email address unless it’s from a trusted source. Remember, email addresses can be spoofed or made to look very similar to genuine ones.
- If you have a back up, you’ll be able to factory reset your device and restore it. If you can’t reset your devices and restore them, try free decryption tools from https://www.nomoreransom.org/en/index.html
- Unplug your computer or remove your laptop battery as soon as possible to stop other computers or devices on your network becoming infected.
- Never pay the ransom. Those responsible may ask for more money and there is no guarantee you’ll get your files back.
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new Parish Council website.
Norton sub Hamdon Parish Council in Somerset wanted a modern website that was accessible and GDPR compliant.
It also needed to have all the pages necessary to publish the information required by the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities.
We used a new design that showcased all the lovely pictures of their village and surrounding countryside that they provided. Each page can have it’s own ‘header image’ which displays in an attractive panoramic shape.
We love the finished site and it was a pleasure working with them.
If you are interested in getting a new website for your Town, Parish or Community council you can get in touch using our Contact Form or request a quote using our Online Quote Form. Alternatively if you would like to speak to someone to discuss your requirements, please call 01453 298702
We are delighted to welcome our 100th customer – Little Gaddesden Parish Council. They are the winner of a free website. We are currently working on the site and will post a link as soon as it’s live.
The parish clerk commented: “Wow, we’ve hit the jackpot, absolutely brilliant our Councillors will be really pleased because they are constantly having to juggle expenditure and cannot always afford what they would like to do. We have an outdoor Gym equipment project that we can go ahead with now, so the good news is you are helping to keep the residents here fit and well!”
We look forward to working with them.
by becoming our 100th customer
We are getting very close to welcoming our 100th local council customer and would like to celebrate by offering a free website to whoever signs up as our 100th member. The site will be designed and set up with all your content, all you will need to pay is ongoing hosting costs.
Get a quote now – the 100th person to sign-up for a website will win it!
Click to get a quote
To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is mention the competition when requesting or accepting a quote from us (it doesn’t matter if we sent you a quote before the competition was announced – the winner of the competition will be the 100th council to return the signed contract to us).
The winner will be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Why You Need to Care About GDPR
Every time you collect an email address, a name, home address or phone number, you are obtaining someone’s personal data. If any of those people are citizens of the European Union, you must adhere to the new rules. But don’t stress! We’ll explain the basics and provide some tips to help you transition.
The GDPR was developed to modernize the current EU data protection laws with a stronger focus on an individual’s rights and privacy. While some of the legislation is stricter and the penalties for non-compliance are tougher, the ultimate goal is to improve trust in the digital ecosystem.
To that end, EU citizens will have several new rights to help them take more control of their own data. Here are the most important user rights that apply to local councils:
- Right to be forgotten gives someone the power to ask a company to delete ALL of the data that is associated with that person. If a user makes a request, you must delete all the data stored in your databases and anything else associated with the user.
- Right of access allows your parishioners to ask exactly how you are using their data and for what purposes. If a request is made, you’ll need to provide a personal data report at no cost to them.
- Breach Notification is mandatory under the GDPR, which means you have 72 hours from becoming aware of the breach to notify parishioners.
- Right of portability lets people request their data, which means you would need to download a file of all their data in a ‘commonly used and machine-readable format’.
Now that each individual has the power to request or delete their data, you need to think about what data you really need and what data you can live without. The more data you collect, the more documentation and management is required to quickly address a data request.