When All Else Fails

02.06.2016 |

Episode #9 of the course Cyber security basics by FutureLearn


With cybercrime on the rise, the majority of us will face a security problem online at some point in our lives. Here’s how to recover from some of the most common ones.

Suspect a virus?

A slow, unresponsive computer, pop-up windows that appear often and unexpectedly, and changed user settings are all signs that point to your computer being infected by malware. If you suspect an attack, always run an antivirus check just to make sure. If you are the victim of a virus or other malware attack, it’s important to isolate your computer to avoid the virus spreading, then remove the virus. First, make sure your antivirus software is up to date, then disconnect your computer from the network so there’s no chance the virus can be passed on. Restart the computer in Safe Mode, which stops most malware from doing further damage. When the computer finishes booting, open your antivirus software and perform a complete scan of the disk.

Recovering from identity theft

Unexplained bank withdrawals, credit card charges, declined cards, or bills not arriving when they should are all signs that could point to identity theft. If you suspect you might be a victim of identity theft, a good place to start is to check your credit report from a credit reference agency (in the UK, these are Equifax, Experian, and Callcredit). They can run a report for you of all the searches made on your account and who authorized the search. If you lose important documentation such as passports, driving licenses, and bank cards, always report it immediately to the issuer so they can block the card and issue you a new copy. It’s a good idea to report the loss to the police too and request a crime reference number.

If you’ve accidentally deleted a file

If you have moved a file to the Recycle Bin (or Trash on a Mac), you can recover it by simply dragging the file out of the trash. If, however, you have since emptied the trash, you’ll need specialized software to restore the file from the hard drive. File recovery is typically easier on Windows computers than on Macs. If you do need to restore a file from the hard drive, time is of the essence—if it was a file deleted some time ago, you may only be able to get a partial restore. Stop using the computer the moment you realize a file has been deleted and start the file restore process to ensure you can retrieve it.

Bank card fraud

It’s good practice to monitor your banking transactions each month. If you find any unusual activity, report any unexplained transactions to your bank or credit card issuer as soon as possible so that they can be investigated. If you’re suspicious of a particular transaction, give the card issuer as much information as possible: the name of the website if it was an online purchase, how much was spent, and the date and time the transaction was processed.


Recommended free course

Introduction to Cyber Security


Recommended book

“Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It” by Richard A. Clarke, Robert Knake


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