My boys love halloween. They always do love spooky things.
And I must admit all the spookiness can be quite fun – telling them stories about haunted houses and so on.
It’s not so much fun when it’s your laptop or PC haunting you, though. Or your tablet or smartphone.
You know those ghosts that follow you around, from room to room in an old castle so that no matter where you are, they’re there, haunting you? (Know them from films, I mean, probably not from actual experience, unless you do live in a haunted castle.)
Well, your PC, tablet or smartphone could be like that.
I mean, there are enough different things to be scared about on devices like this. Viruses, trojans, spyware, worms and so on…
But as well as all those, there’s something called a keylogger.
As the name suggests, it logs or records every key you press. Then it sends that information to the people who wrote it.
That might sound harmless enough, but what they’re looking for is where you’ve typed a password in. Then if they know you were on a particular website at that time, they know the password for it and can get in. In some cases that might not matter too much – but if it’s say a bank website or even your email account, it could be a real problem.
So, what can you do? Well, the most important thing is to have decent security software running – one of the well known anti-viruses like McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky or so on. If you have Windows 10, Defender is already built in and you’d have to work quite hard to not have something running to keep you safe.
If you have a tablet or smartphone, more important than security software is making sure it’s not set up to allow you to install unofficial apps (because keyloggers aren’t official ones!). On Apple devices it’s really hard to set it up to allow unofficial apps, so you won’t have done it by accident.
On Android devices, you need to make sure you don’t change the setting to allow it to install apps from “unknown sources” – it’s not that every app from unknown sources is bad, but keeping it set to not allow it keeps you safer.
Then you also should be sensible with what you install and so on – installing things from dodgy websites (eg illegal downloads of movies and so on) puts you at risk of things like keyloggers. Similarly, if you get an email from someone you’ve never heard of, telling you to open the attachment, you’re best off deleting it.
That should keep you safe from keyloggers and mean you don’t have to worry about your device being haunted.
7 minutes of Tim
In case you missed it, the short video I recorded explaining how I use Facebook (what features I use and what devices I use it on) is still available to watch here. There’s no fancy production or stunning effects – in fact I recorded it on my phone when I had a spare half hour. But you might well find it interesting none the less.
“What to do if your Facebook account is hacked…
…how to spot it’s happened, and how to avoid it in the first place.”
That’s the title of a short booklet that Claire and Jess wrote for me. It’s important stuff – as you might guess from the title of it, it’s the kind of thing that everyone who uses Facebook should be aware of.
You can read a little bit more about it in the full information about the Facebook books I’ve been talking about recently. Here’s the link so you can read a bit more about it. (The bit about this booklet starts under the heading “A free gift of…”)