An internet scam with a peculiar name – Tab napping

By | August 15, 2010
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In the Computers newsletter this month:

  • An internet scam with a peculiar name – Tab napping
  • An issue if you use the BT Yahoo browser
  • Seniors computing in Northampton
  • Google Ocean & have they discovered Atlantis?
  • A new edition of one of my most popular books and a quick advance warning


Back when I switched from writing the newsletter from being every month to being twice a month, I said it would get a bit shorter – but the advantage was you’d get news and tips that were bang up to date, rather than waiting a month.

Well, the second part has proved true – but I seem to still be writing as much as ever in each issue – and this one’s a bit of a whopper.  There just was so much new or that I’d just heard about that I couldn’t resist mentioning!  So I’d better get started:

Tab napping – the newest internet scam

A new internet scam is here.  It’s another way for the bad guys to try to nab your card details or bank login details.  Here’s how it works:

Say you’re browsing the web and you have several pages open in separate tabs (see this article).  You’re spending most of your time on one tab, visiting various sites.  Then you close that tab down and go to one of the others – which has your bank login page on it.  You login in to check your balance… except you’ve actually just given your details to the scammer.

How did they do it?  Well, if you either have a virus on your PC that you don’t know about or if you happened upon a webpage that had a dodgy bit of software on it somewhere, that virus can change what’s in a tab.  It can also check what webpages you’ve been to in the past – so it can turn a tab that you haven’t looked at for a few minutes into what looks like your bank login page, by checking what bank you do log in to.

Now you might be a bit suspicious if a tab that was (say) the weather on the BBC site turned into the bank login.  But occasionally you might forget what you had open in that tab.  And occasionally you might have opened the bank login, in order to check your account.

So that’s how it works – what can you do about it?  Three things:

  1. When you open a webpage to login to your bank, do it straight away – don’t leave it on screen while you do something else.
  2. Whenever you log in to your bank, I’d suggest not having any other tabs open.  That way any dodgy software on other webpages can’t access your login page.
  3. If you want to check, look at the address bar at the top of the screen.  On the login screen it should show the same address as usual and it should start https: not http:  It should also show a padlock symbol – usually to the right of the address.  If not, it’s not a secure page.

Any one of those three things should keep you safe from this new risk – but I’d suggest doing all three to be extra safe.

Read this if you have the BT Yahoo browser

You might have already seen a message saying the BT Yahoo browser is stopping from the 1st September – you need to upgrade or you won’t be able to get online any more.

You can read more here.

But they do go on a bit – which can make it harder to understand.

If you use BT Yahoo and get this message, I’d suggest:

  1. Download either Internet Explorer 8 here or Google Chrome from here.
  2. Get rid of the old Browser – click on where it says “Click here for a file you can use to uninstall your BT Yahoo! browser automatically” in that BT webpage.
  3. If you like you can do the other things on the BT webpage – but they aren’t essential, despite what BT suggest!

If you need a bit of PC help and live in or near Northampton

I can recommend a chap who’s giving help to beginners in the area in one on one sessions. You can read more about what he does here.

The next step from Google World – Google Ocean

I thought Google World was impressive enough.  But now they’ve added a new feature – Google Ocean. You can download it here – you need the actual Google Earth program.  Unfortunately you can’t use it just in a webpage like with Google Maps (yet, anyway).

Pretty amazing, anyway.

But not as amazing as what several newspapers reported last week – that Google Maps had found Atlantis!

If you look here you can see what looks like a grid street system off the coast of Africa.  And one “Atlantis Expert” claimed this was just where Plato had said Atlantis would be.

But it sounded a bit suspicious – the grid is about the size of Wales, but most ancient cities are more like the size of, well, Conwy Castle.  And other people said it might just be underwater cables or tracks of a sonar scan going on at the same time as Google’s scan.

It turns out it’s not true.  The grid bit is simply where the join between difference scans of the sea – in particular it’s where some high resolution (ie sharp) scans were fitted in amongst some low resolution (ie a bit blurry) ones.  The end result is a bit of grid on the map – but it’s not really there at all. A shame in a way – that really would have been something!

Next Steps on Your PC & Next Steps on the Internet – 2nd Editions

Anyway – that lot’s kept me busy today!  And we’ve been busy over the last few months, too.  We’ve just finished updating Next Steps On the Internet to cover Windows 7 to make the 2nd edition – we did Next Steps on Your PC first, so they’re now both bang up to date.

If you don’t already have these books, they follow on from Computers One Step at a Time and The Internet One Step at a Time – and they’ve proved some of the most popular books I’ve ever written.  You can read more here.

Advance Warning…

Oh, and by the way – we’re shortly going to be announcing an increase in our P&P charge.  After five years of the Royal Mail putting up prices every year and the packaging getting more expensive nearly every month, we’ve had to put it up a little.  But it won’t happen for a few weeks yet so if you order any books now, you’ll get the old P&P.  That goes for the Next Steps books and anything else as well.

Right – that’s it for now.  I’d better get home and see how the little one’s done today!


Tim Wakeling

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