How to keep your Zoom meetings safe from hackers

Zoom’s privacy and security issues have been in the headlines for a number of weeks now, causing concern for lots of users. But many people have no option but to use the software after it has been selected by the company they work for.

If you find that you have to use Zoom, there are steps you can take to ensure your experience is as safe as possible.

Zoom has already taken some steps to address concerns that have been raised in recent weeks, and the company says that it will continue to make improvements to the video conferencing software. But even when this happens, there is a lot you can do to lock things down.

  1. Protect your account

A Zoom account is just another account, and in setting yours up, you should apply the basics of account protection. Use a strong and unique password, and protect your account with two-factor authentication, as this makes your account harder to hack and means it is better protected, even if your account data leaks.

There’s at least one more Zoom-specific catch: After you register, in addition to your login and password you get a Personal Meeting ID (PMI) – avoid making it public. As Zoom offers an option to create public meetings with your Personal Meeting ID, it’s quite easy for that ID to be leaked. If you do, anyone who knows your PMI can join any meeting you host, so look to share this information prudently.

  1. Use your work e-mail to register with Zoom

A weird glitch in Zoom (which at the time of this writing wasn’t yet fixed) causes the service to consider e-mails of the same domain — unless it’s a really common domain such as @gmail.com or @yahoo.com — as belonging to one company, and it then shares their contact details with each member of that group. For example, users who registered Zoom accounts using e-mails ending with @yandex.kz, which is a public e-mail service in Kazakhstan experienced this. It may happen again with e-mail addresses belonging to smaller public e-mail providers.

So, to register with Zoom, use your work e-mail. Sharing your work contact details with your real colleagues should not be a problem. If you don’t have a work e-mail, use a burner account with a well-known public domain to keep your personal contact details private.

  1. Don’t fall for fake Zoom apps

As Kaspersky security researcher Denis Parinov discovered in March, the number of malicious files incorporating the names of popular video conference services (Webex, GoToMeeting, Zoom, and others) in their filenames had roughly tripled in comparison with the numbers he found month by month over the previous year. That most likely means malefactors are ramping up their abuse based on the popularity of Zoom and other apps of its kind, trying to disguise malware as videoconference clients.

Don’t fall for it! Use Zoom’s official website — zoom.us — to download Zoom safely for Mac and PC, and go to the App Store or Google Play for your mobile devices.

  1. Don’t use social media to share conference links

Sometimes you want to host public events, and in many places online events are the only option available these days, which means Zoom is attracting more and more people. Even if your event is truly open to everyone, you should avoid sharing the link on social media.

If you knew anything about Zoom before reading this post, you’ve probably heard about so-called Zoombombing. It’s a term Techcrunch journalist Josh Constine coined to describe trolls disrupting Zoom meetings with offensive content. Right now, several chats on Discord and threads on 4Chan (both popular with trolls) are discussing targets for their next raids.

Where do the trolls get information about upcoming events? That’s right, they find them on social media. So, avoid publicly posting links to Zoom meetings. If for some reason you still want to, make sure you don’t enable the Use Personal Meeting ID option.

  1. Protect every meeting with a password

Setting up a password for your meeting remains the best means of ensuring that only the people you want in your meeting can attend it. Recently Zoom turned password protection on by default — a good move. That said, don’t confuse the meeting password with your Zoom account password. And like meeting links, meeting passwords should never appear on social media or other public channels, or your efforts to protect your call from trolls will be in vain.

  1. Enable Waiting Room

Another setting that gives you more control over the meeting, Waiting Room — recently enabled by default — makes participants wait in a “waiting room” until the host approves each one. That gives you the ability to control who joins your meeting, even if someone who wasn’t supposed to participate somehow got the password for it. It also lets you kick an unwanted person out of the meeting — and into the waiting room. We recommend leaving this box ticked.

  1. Pay attention to screen-sharing features

Every normal videoconference app offers screen-sharing — the ability of one participant to show their screen to the others — and Zoom is no exception. Some settings that are worth keeping an eye on:

  • Limiting screen-sharing ability to the host or extending it to everyone on the call. If you don’t need other people to show their screens, you know which option to choose
  • Letting multiple participants share screens simultaneously. If you can’t immediately see why your meetings would need this capability, you’ll probably never need it; just keep it in mind in case you ever need to enable it.
  1. Stick with the Web client if possible

The various Zoom client apps have demonstrated a variety of flaws. Some versions let hackers access the device’s camera and microphone; others let websites add users to calls without their consent. Zoom was quick to fix the aforementioned problems, as well as other, similar ones, and it stopped sharing user data with Facebook and LinkedIn. However, given the absence of a proper security assessment, Zoom apps are likely to remain vulnerable, and they may still employ shady practices such as data sharing with third parties.

For this reason, we recommend using Zoom’s Web interface instead of installing the app on your device, if possible. The Web version sits in a sandbox in the browser and doesn’t have the permissions an installed app has, limiting the amount of harm it can potentially cause.

In some cases, however, even if you want to use the Web interface, you may find that Zoom has gone ahead and downloaded the installer, and there’s just no other option to connect to the meeting but to install the client. In that case, you can at least limit the number of devices on which Zoom is installed to just one. Let it be your secondary smartphone or, say, a spare laptop. Choose a device with next to no personal information. We know that sounds somewhat paranoid, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If your company already uses Skype for Business (previously known as Lync), then you have another option. Skype for Business is compatible with Zoom and can handle Zoom conference calls just as well — without the aforementioned flaws.

  1. Don’t believe in Zoom’s advertised end-to-end encryption

Zoom gained its market share not only for its prices and feature set, but also because it touted the product’s end-to-end encryption. With end-to-end encryption, all communications between you and the people you’re calling are encrypted in a way that only you and the people on the call can decrypt them. All other parties, including the service providers, cannot.

Sounds cool, but it’s next to impossible, as security researchers have pointed out. Zoom had to acknowledge that in its case, the other end means the Zoom server — meaning the video is encrypted, but Zoom employees, and potentially law enforcement agencies, have access. The text in chats, though, seems to be really encrypted end-to-end. The encryption fudging is not necessarily a reason to abandon Zoom for good — other popular video conference services lack end-to-end encryption as well. But you should keep it in mind and avoid discussing personal or trade secrets on Zoom.

  1. Think about what people can see or hear

This one applies to every videoconferencing service, not just Zoom. Before you jump on the call, take a moment to consider what people will see or hear when you join the call. Even if you’re home alone, they may expect you to be fully dressed. Basic grooming is probably a good idea.

The same holds true for your screen if you plan on sharing it. Close any windows you’d rather others not see, whether it’s a surprise gift you’re buying online for another person on the Zoom call or a job search your boss doesn’t need to know about. We’ll leave other examples to your imagination.

How to make Excel spreadsheets accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating Excel spreadsheets that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

How to find it

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals.

Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.

To find all instances of missing alternative text in the spreadsheet, use the Accessibility Checker.

Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Add alt text to visuals in Microsoft 365

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2019

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2016

Add meaningful hyperlink text and ScreenTips.

To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan the workbook.

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page.

Tip: You can also add ScreenTips that appear when your cursor hovers over a cell that includes a hyperlink.

Add hyperlink text and ScreenTips

Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.

To find insufficient color contrast, use the Accessibility Checker.

You can also look for text in your spreadsheet that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.

If your spreadsheet has a high level of contrast between text and background, more people can see and use the content.

Use accessible text color

Give all sheet tabs unique names, and remove blank sheets.

To find out whether all sheets that contain content in a workbook have descriptive names and whether there are any blank sheets, use the Accessibility Checker.

Screen readers read sheet names, which provide information about what is found on the worksheet, making it easier to understand the contents of a workbook and to navigate through it.

Rename sheet tabs

Delete sheet tabs

Use a simple table structure, and specify column header information.

To ensure that tables don’t contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables, use the Accessibility Checker.

You can also visually scan your tables to check that they don’t have any completely blank rows or columns.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Add headers to a new table

Use headers in an existing table

 

Add alt text to visuals in Microsoft 365

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your Excel spreadsheets in Microsoft 365:

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, “a graphic of” or “an image of.”

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images, such as pictures, screenshots, icons, videos, and 3D models, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Right-click an image, and select Edit Alt Text. Excel Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for images
    • Select the image. Select Format > Alt Text. Alt Text button on the Excel for Windows ribbon
    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the image and its context to someone who cannot see it. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for images Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to shapes or SmartArt graphics

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Right-click a shape or SmartArt graphic, and select Edit Alt Text. Excel Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for shapes
    • Select the shape or SmartArt graphic. Select Format > Alt Text. Alt Text button on the Excel for Windows ribbon
    Note: To add alt text to the entire shape or SmartArt graphic, click the border of the shape or SmartArt graphic, and not an individual shape or piece. The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the shape or SmartArt graphic and its context to someone who cannot see it. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for shapes Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to PivotCharts

  1. Right-click a PivotChart.
  2. Select Edit Alt Text. Excel Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for PivotCharts The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  3. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the PivotChart and its context to someone who cannot see it. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for charts Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Make visuals decorative

If your visuals are purely decorative, such as stylistic borders that add visual interest but aren’t informative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. People using screen readers will hear that these are decorative, so they know they are not missing any important information. When the document is exported to a PDF file, decorative elements will be marked within the PDF file with artifact tags, which are skipped over by screen readers.

  1. Right-click a visual.
  2. Select Edit Alt Text. The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  3. Select the Mark as decorative text box. The text entry field becomes grayed out. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for decorative elements

Toggle the Automatic Alt Text on and off

If you don’t want to add automatically generated alt texts to inserted pictures, you can turn off the automatic alt text option. If you change your mind later, you can just as easily turn it back on.

  1. Select File > Options > Ease of Access.
  2. In the Automatic Alt Text section, select or unselect the Automatically generate alt text for me option, and then select OK.

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2019

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your Excel spreadsheets in Office 2019:

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, “a graphic of” or “an image of.”

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images, such as pictures, screenshots, icons, videos, and 3D models, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Right-click an image, and select Edit Alt Text. Excel Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for images
    • Select the image. Select Format > Alt Text. Alt Text button on the Excel for Windows ribbon
    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the image and its context to someone who cannot see it. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for images Tip: Save time and add an alt text generated by the system to the image. In the Alt Text pane, select Generate a description for me. Then edit the automatic alt text to better suit the content.

Add alt text to shapes or SmartArt graphics

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Right-click a shape or SmartArt graphic, and select Edit Alt Text. Excel Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for shapes
    • Select the shape or SmartArt graphic. Select Format > Alt Text. Alt Text button on the Excel for Windows ribbon
    Note: To add alt text to the entire shape or SmartArt graphic, click the border of the shape or SmartArt graphic, and not an individual shape or piece. The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the shape or SmartArt graphic and its context to someone who cannot see it. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for shapes Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to PivotCharts

  1. Right-click a PivotChart.
  2. Select Edit Alt Text. Excel Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for PivotCharts The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  3. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the PivotChart and its context to someone who cannot see it. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for charts Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Make visuals decorative

If your visuals are purely decorative, such as stylistic borders that add visual interest but aren’t informative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. People using screen readers will hear that these are decorative, so they know they are not missing any important information. When the document is exported to a PDF file, decorative elements are marked within the PDF file with artifact tags, which are skipped over by screen readers.

  1. Right-click a visual.
  2. Select Edit Alt Text. The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the document body.
  3. Select the Mark as decorative check box. The text entry field becomes grayed out. Word Win32 Alt Text pane for decorative elements

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2016

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your Excel spreadsheets in Office 2016:

Note: We recommend only putting text in the description field and leaving the title blank. This will provide the best experience with most major screen readers including Narrator. For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images, such as pictures and screenshots, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Right-click an image.
  2. Select Size & Properties.
  3. Select Alt Text.
  4. Type a description and a title. Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.
Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Picture pane describing the selected image

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Right-click a SmartArt graphic.
  2. Select Size & Properties.
  3. On the Shape Options tab, select Alt Text.
  4. Type a description and a title. Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.
Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Shape pane describing the selected SmartArt graphic

Add alt text to shapes

Add alt text to shapes, including shapes within a SmartArt graphic.

  1. Right-click a shape.
  2. Select Size & Properties.
  3. On the Shape Options tab, select Alt Text.
  4. Type a description and a title. Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.
Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Shape pane describing the selected shape

Add alt text to PivotCharts

  1. Right-click a PivotChart.
  2. Select Format Chart Area > Chart Options > Size & Properties.
  3. Select Alt Text.
  4. Type a description and a title. Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.
Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Chart Area pane describing the selected PivotChart

Make hyperlinks, tables, and sheet tabs accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the hyperlinks, tables, and sheet tabs in Excel spreadsheets accessible.

Add hyperlink text and ScreenTips

ScreenTips are small windows that display descriptive text when you rest the pointer on the hyperlink.

  1. Select the cell where you want to add a hyperlink.
  2. On the Insert tab, select Link.
  3. In the Text to display box, the content of the cell you selected is displayed. This is the hyperlink text. To change it, type the new hyperlink text.
  4. In the Address box, add the hyperlink URL.
  5. Select the ScreenTip button and, in the ScreenTip text box, type the text of the ScreenTip.
  6. Click OK > OK.

Tip: If the title on the hyperlink’s destination page gives an accurate summary of what’s on the page, use it for the hyperlink text. For example, this hyperlink text matches the title on the destination page: Templates and Themes for Office Online.

Screenshot of the Insert Hyperlink dialog box

Use accessible text color

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Ensure that the text displays well by using the Automatic setting for font colors. Select the cells that contain text, and then select Home > Font Color > Automatic. Font color menu in Excel for Windows Desktop.
  • Use the Accessibility Checker to analyze the spreadsheet and find insufficient color contrast. It checks the text in the spreadsheet against the following things:
    • Page color
    • Cell backgrounds
    • Highlights
    • Text box fill
    • Paragraph shading
    • SmartArt fills
    • Headers, footers, and links

Use headers in an existing table

Specify a header row in a block of cells marked as a table.

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in a table.
  2. On the Table Tools Design tab, in the Table Style Options group, select the Header Row check box.
  3. Type the column headings.
Screenshot of the Table Style Options group, with check boxes selected

Add headers to a new table

Specify a header row in a new block of cells you are marking as a table.

  1. Select the cells you want to include in the table.
  2. On the Insert tab, select Table.
  3. In the Create Table dialog, select the My table has headers check box.
  4. Select OK. Excel creates a header row with the default names Column1, Column2, and so on.
  5. Type new, descriptive names for each column in the table.
Screenshot of the Create Table dialog box, with the My table has headers check box selected”>>

Rename sheet tabs

  1. Right-click a sheet tab, and select Rename.
  2. Type a brief, unique name for the sheet, and press Enter.
Screenshot of the Rename menu item

Delete sheet tabs

  1. Right-click a sheet tab, and select Delete.
  2. In the confirmation dialog, select Delete.
Screenshot of the Delete menu item

S

Fake Ransomware Bitcoin Scam Claims “Your Site Has Been Hacked”

A fake ransomware scam is going around that targets website contact forms. It sends an email to the site owner with the subject “Your Site Has Been Hacked.” The body of the email claims the hackers have exploited a vulnerability to gain access to the site’s database and “move the information to an offshore server.” The email threatens to ruin the site owner’s reputation by selling the site’s database, notifying customers that their information has been compromised, and de-indexing the site with search engines using blackhat techniques.

Within the past few weeks, website owners have reported having received this email on various support channels, including WordPress.org, stackoverflow, and reddit. The sites in question have not been defaced, nor do they show any other evidence of tampering.

The Bitcoin Abuse Database has seen a surge of reports regarding this scam in May and June, logged under various Bitcoin addresses. The scammers send the email out indiscriminately, even targeting sites that do not have a database. So far the campaigns have not been very successful at convincing site owners to pay the ransom.

The Bitcoin Abuse Database advises visitors that extortion emails are 100% fake and those who receive them should not pay ransoms.

If you or one of your clients receive an email like this, rest assured that it is a scam that requires no action. If you want to be extra cautious you can change your passwords and use a security plugin to scan your files for changes. Otherwise, simply delete the email.

An example of this scam email is below for reference:

PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO SOMEONE IN YOUR COMPANY WHO IS ALLOWED TO MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS!

We have hacked your website [website URL] and extracted your databases.

How did this happen?
Our team has found a vulnerability within your site that we were able to exploit. After finding the vulnerability we were able to get your database credentials and extract your entire database and move the information to an offshore server.

What does this mean?

We will systematically go through a series of steps of totally damaging your reputation. First your database will be leaked or sold to the highest bidder which they will use with whatever their intentions are. Next if there are e-mails found they will be e-mailed that their information has been sold or leaked and your site [website URL] was at fault thusly damaging your reputation and having angry customers/associates with whatever angry customers/associates do. Lastly any links that you have indexed in the search engines will be de-indexed based off of blackhat techniques that we used in the past to de-index our targets.

How do I stop this?

We are willing to refrain from destroying your site’s reputation for a small fee. The current fee is $2000 USD in bitcoins (BTC).

Send the bitcoin to the following Bitcoin address (Copy and paste as it is case sensitive):

12KLZzgrNX2DvbWQM7yQ1V9vPwy9JPvUKM

Once you have paid we will automatically get informed that it was your payment. Please note that you have to make payment within 5 days after receiving this notice or the database leak, e-mails dispatched, and de-index of your site WILL start!

How do I get Bitcoins?

You can easily buy bitcoins via several websites or even offline from a Bitcoin-ATM. We suggest you https://cex.io/ for buying bitcoins.

What if I don’t pay?

If you decide not to pay, we will start the attack at the indicated date and uphold it until you do, there’s no counter measure to this, you will only end up wasting more money trying to find a solution. We will completely destroy your reputation amongst google and your customers.

This is not a hoax, do not reply to this email, don’t try to reason or negotiate, we will not read any replies. Once you have paid we will stop what we were doing and you will never hear from us again!

Please note that Bitcoin is anonymous and no one will find out that you have complied.

How to publicise your new website

So you have got a shiny new website. How do you go about letting people know it’s there and building up your numbers of visitors?

The first thing is to make sure it is appearing in Google when you search for your town or parish council name. We’ve written an article about how to optimise your content so that you get a prominent listing in Google (and other search engines) that you can read here: How to improve your search engine ranking

The next step would be publicising it to your parishioners who may not even know that you have a website. Ways to do this is include:

  • adding the web address to your email signature so that it appears at the bottom of each email you send out
  • putting posters in your village noticeboard, shop and/or pub
  • including the web address on all council documents such as minutes or notices
  • you could also deliver flyers around your village advertising the site

Another way to keep visitors coming back it to keep publishing lots of news items and useful information.

Other councils publicise their site or information on social media – usually Facebook or Twitter. We’ve published a series of guides about setting up social media here: https://parish-council.website/category/marketing/social-media/

It is also good to get incoming links to your site. This will have the effect of bringing more visitors to your site and will also help with your search engine ranking. These could come from your local and district council, neighbouring parish councils or local institutions such as the church or the WI. If you set up links to them, you can ask them to return the favour and set up a link back to you.

Website Accessibility Training for web editors

We are planning on running training for local council councils on how to create accessible website content.

The course will include:

  • What is website accessibility?
  • How to ensure your web pages are accessible
  • How to ensure any files you add to the site are accessible
  • How to check whether your pages are accessible

The cost will be around £250 for a half-day, depending on the number of people attending.

We will also offer online training at a reduced rate. The training will take the form of a webinar and you will have the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

If you are interested in accessibility training, please complete the form below as an expression of interest. We will then be able to asses where we can run courses based on numbers.

    Approximately how far would you be prepared to travel for a course

    Would you be interested in attending an online course

     

     

     

    I’m still running Windows 7 – what shall I do?

    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.

    How to clear your cache

    Sometimes your site just doesn’t display as you would expect it to. It could be that it’s not showing the latest updates you have made or it could be giving you odd redirects. A good idea is to clear out your cache and see if that fixes the problem.

    Everybody’s browser stores a copy of any sites visited so that it can load them more quickly if they revisit the same site. Exactly how this is set up depends on the browser and the settings on the user’s computer.

    How you clear your cache depends on which browser you are using. For information about how to clear the cache in your browser, click on one of the links below:

    Checking your website can be viewed using screen magnifiers

    Users with visual impairments will often need to enlarge the text on your site in order to read it. It is important that they are able to do this without the website appearing so large that they have to scroll sideways to see all the page content. The WCAG 2.1 Accessibility Guidelines state that you must be able to magnify the text to 200% without there being any problems for users to view it.

    To check your website, works correctly when zoomed in or magnified, you can change your browser settings to magnify the page. To do this in Chrome, select ‘Settings’ then ‘Font size’ and change it to ‘very large’. If you use Firefox you can click on the 3 horizontal bars icon at the top right of your browser and click the ‘+’ in the Zoom section.

    If you would prefer to use keyboard shortcuts, you can hold down the ‘Cmd’ or ‘Ctrl’ key and the ‘+’ key on your keyboard at the same time. Click the ‘+’ key repeatedly to enlarge the text. The %size will show at the top of the browser next to where the website address is showing. If you need more details about your particular browser, click one of the links below.

    You need to check that you can complete all tasks with the font magnified to 200% for your website to be accessible (WCAG 2.1 level AA).

    Help! I can’t see my website updates

    How to reload or refresh your page if you can’t see your updates

    Sometimes you may find that you have made changes to your web page and you have a look at the page on the live site and can’t see the changes you have made. The reason you aren’t seeing the latest version of the website is most likely because you are viewing a ‘cached’ version.

    Everybody’s browser stores a copy of any sites visited so that it can load them more quickly if they revisit the same site. This is called the cache. Exactly how this is set up depends on the browser and the settings on the user’s computer.

    The way to make sure you are seeing the latest version of the web page is to reload or ‘refresh’ the page.

    You can either reload the page by clicking the CTRL + F5 at the same time (or Cmd + R in Mac) buttons on your keyboard. Alternatively you can click the icon that appears to be an arrow going round in a circle that is usually on the top bar of you browser. We’ve outlined the button in red on the screenshots below.

    Reload your web page in Google Chrome

    reload page - chrome

    Refresh your web page in Firefox

    reload page - firefox

    Reload web page in Internet Explorer

    reload page - internet explorer

    Another way to check if the changes you have made have been applied is to have a look at your site using a different browser, or a different device, for example your phone. If you can see the changes then they have been applied and it is because your most commonly used browser is showing you a previously stored version.

    Very occasionally, you may need to clear the cache on your browser to see your changes. How you do this depends on which browser you are using. You can read about how to do that here: https://wiredimpact.com/blog/clear-cache-see-website-updates/