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Q: My email / facebook / paypal / amazon / outlook / hotmail / gmail (etc.) was hacked / compromised ! What sh​ould I do?

A: If you have the slightest suspicion that your email account was hacked, then the first thing to do is replace your account password with a stronger one. If this solves the issue, then you're good to go. If it happens again, write to the email Account's support team and provide the necessary information which should include only your email address. They should be in a position to provide the necessary help to solve your issue.

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Q: I need to report inappropriate behaviour on social network. How can I make a report?

A: All Social Networks have their support sites. One of the main support areas covers "inappropriate behaviour". Report your findings to the respective Social Network giving out the details and provide all the necessary proof. The Social Network will then take it from there. One inappropriate behaviour which comes to mind is "Bullying". There are cases where the Social Network took immediate action and blocked the offender's account and subsequently removed the contents

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Q: I think my son/daughter downloaded stuff from illegal sources? How can I check and are there any consequences? Can I be held responsible?

A: First and foremost "PROTECT" or prevent this from happening. Install an Internet Security suite or a Web protection application which scans every page on the internet and detects illegal sources thus preventing the user from accessing the site. Also, make sure that your "Firewall" is enabled. If this kind of software is in place, you can put your mind at rest for the second part of your question.

The consequences may vary from a site content to another. For example, the consequences for downloading pirated material such as movies, videos, etc could incur harsh monetary penalties (depending on the country you live in). If the site has pornographic content, then there are other consequences which might include the intervention of the police force and the confiscation of the devices for further investigations.

As a parent, you will most certainly be held responsible for anything which is illegal, hence the reason why 1) You should install the software; 2) Educate your children to use the web wisely.

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Q: My young son/daughter has created a social networking profile. Is it possible to limit who accesses his/her profile? Is there a way to prevent his/her profile from appearing in search engine results?

There are a lot of Social Networks on the web. What comes to mind is that most of them allow the owner of the profile to configure as to who can access the profile. It is hard to prevent certain profiles from appearing in the Social Network search results, however I stand to be corrected, Facebook has a setting to customise the searches.

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Q: I found out that my picture has been shared without my permission. What can I do?

A: First of all, if you know the perpetrator(s), ask them to remove your picture from their wall and tell them that for next time, they would need your per​mission to post your picture on a Social Network. What they did is a breach of the Data Protection Act. Depending on the content type, you can also report this to the Malta Police Cyber Crime Unit. They will investigate and if they deem that there was in fact a breach, they would take this further.

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Q: What is a ‘strong’ password and why is it so important?

A: A "Strong" password is a password which is not easy to hack or guess. As a rule of thumb, a "Strong" password should be at least 8 characters long, does not contain vocabulary words, and made up of low and upper case characters, numbers and symbols.

Let's take an example and make sure that the password is easily remembered. Take a phrase, "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water" and extract the first character of each word, ie JaJwuthtfapow. Now that we have a password, let's make it a bit stronger. We will include numbers and symbols in such a way that it will look like this - JaJwuth2f@p0w. As you can see, the password is composed of low and upper case characters, numbers and a symbol. This is what we call a "Strong" password.

We must also remember not to use the same password for different accounts, especially if these are office accounts and personal accounts.

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Q: How do I know an app is safe and appropriate for my child?
A: This depends on the age of your child. When children use an application, especially on the internet, they would need a bit of mentoring from their parents. It's useless to tell your child "do not do this", "do not browse this page", "do not use this application", etc. If you buy off-the-shelf applications for your child's computer, you should find the age bracket of the targeted audience. If on the other hand, the app is downloadable on a smartphone, then this is a different problem.
Computers, tablets and smartphones contain some kind of protection where the parent can configure certain areas in the device to prohibit certain usage in areas on the device itself and applications. For example Windows 10 has a configurable option "Family and other people" where a parent can enter certain restrictions on the device. The same applies for tablets and smartphones.
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Q: I am being bullied online? What should I do?
A: Unfortunately, Cyber Bullying is very common and if you deem that you're being harassed or bullied, you can always contact the Malta Police Cyber Crime Unit here.
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Q: What is sexting and what are the implications? 
A: Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between mobile phones. It may also include the use of a computer or any digital device. The implications are endless as it may psychologically affect the parties involved or even lead to legal action from the authorities.
Sexting is a variation of pornography, sex and paedophilia.
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Q: I suspect my child has been contacted online by an adult. I have concerns about online grooming. What should I do?
A: Investigate the situation more thoroughly as this could result in paedophilia. Speak to your child and obtain as much information as possible. If this results into a false alarm, well and good but I would still mentor my child to be on the alert when contacting persons he/she doesn't know. The worst-case scenario is that your suspicions turn out to be correct. In this case, we suggest that you contact the Malta Police - Cyber Crime Unit here.
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Q: I have worked hard to build my business and invested in IT equipment for advertising and selling. However I don’t know if I am at a risk and someone might steal my money or information. What can I do?
A: First of all, you need to protect your IT equipment from cyber attacks and malware. Invest in a Firewall and IPS (Intrusion Prevention System). This equipment and relative software will provide an adequate protection from intruders (hackers). Make sure that all your IT equipment has anti-virus software installed with automated daily definition file updates. Last but not least, make sure that the system includes an automated feature to install any Operating System vulnerability patches when these are available.
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Q: What are the risks when sharing a home/public computer?
A: The risks of using a computer that does not belong to you is that you have no prior knowledge of the state of that computer. How good is its security? Is there any monitoring software or spyware on it? Is it infected with computer viruses? Can I delete or hide what I used the computer for from the owner? And so on.
In essence you have no control over the security aspects of the computer that you are temporarily using, and you also have no idea how secure your connection to the internet is and whether what you use the computer for and all actions are being recorded in some way.
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Q: I receive strange emails. What should I do?
A: As a rule of thumb, if you receive emails from someone unknown or unsolicited, delete them. From time to time you may receive emails tagged as SPAM or Junk. Delete these too. If you receive emails asking you to provide private information such as Credit Card Details, etc, make sure to delete them (phishing scam). Another type of email which you should delete are emails containing links, where the sender explicitly asks you to click on links within the email. If you click on these links, there is the possibility that you will be infected with malware or worse, software used to hack your device.
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Q: How do I backup the data on my device?
A: Today, with all accessories available, it's quite easy to backup your device. This depends on the amount of data you need to backup. Let us say that you have less that 64Gb to back up, you can easily purchase a USB Pen drive equal or larger than the amount of data and use it as a backup device. If you need to backup more data, then we recommend that either you purchase a secondary Hard Disk (for a PC) and use it as a backup device or else, purchase an external portable USB Hard Disk to backup all your data or even make a System Image (Windows 10)..
As for smartphones, the data can easily be copied on an incorporated SD Card or through a third party application on your PC or Laptop. For example, Samsung have their own software called Kies (for Androids 4 and below) and Smart Switch (for Androids 5 and above).
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Q: I am aware that using the internet for business can be risky. Is using an anti-virus software enough or should I train my staff as well?
A: First of all, you need to protect your IT equipment from cyber attacks and malware. Invest in a Firewall and IPS (Intrusion Prevention System). This equipment and relative software will provide an adequate protection from intruders (hackers). Make sure that all your IT equipment has anti-virus software installed with automated daily definition file updates. Last but not least, make sure that the system includes an automated feature to install any Operating System vulnerability patches when these are available.
IT awareness training is an added asset and therefore we highly recommend that you provide training sessions for your staff. They will learn the basics in Cyber Security and the do's and don'ts when browsing the internet.
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Q: Can I post a picture of a friend online?
A: As a courtesy to your friend, and as the Data Protection Act dictates, you require your friend's permission to post their picture online. If you intend to ridicule your friend, deface the picture for malicious intent, expose something personal, etc, be aware that there are harsh penalties if you get caught.
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Q: What is Cyber Security?
A: Refer to a comprehensive definition of Cyber Security here.
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Q: What is the difference between a Trojan, worm, virus and bot? 
A: There is one common thing amongst these types of malware. They all pose a risk and threat to your data and your operating system.
A Trojan or Trojan Horse oftenly disguises itself as normal software. This malware is typically common among cyber criminals and hackers where they try to gain access to various systems. Users are commonly tricked into loading and running Trojans on their systems. Trojans allow cyber criminals to spy, steal data, and gain backdoor access to the system once activated.
A computer worm is a standalone malware program, replicating itself to spread on other computers. Typically, it uses the network to spread itself depending on security failures on the target computer to access it. Networks are mostly affected by worms as they consume bandwidth. Most worms are created and designed only to spread and rarely attempt to change the systems they pass through.
A computer virus is a typical malware program that replicates by reproducing itself once loaded (copying its own source code) or modifies programs by infecting them. It can also infect data files or the "boot sector" of the hard drive.
A bot is a terminology deriving from "robot". This typically runs over the Internet automatically. Others only execute commands when they receive specific input. Common bots include web crawlers, chat room bats and malicious bots.
Q: What is Identity Theft?
A: Identity theft is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personal information, such as Social Security or driver's license numbers, in order to impersonate someone else. The information can be used to obtain credit, merchandise, and services in the name of the victim, or to provide the thief with false credentials. In addition to running up debt, an imposter might provide false identification to police, creating a criminal record or leaving outstanding arrest warrants for the person whose identity has been stolen.
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Q: What is Phishing?
A:  Phishing is a form of fraud in which the attacker tries to learn information such as login credentials or account information by masquerading as a reputable entity or person in email, IM, SMS or other communication channels.
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Q: What is Spyware?
A: In general, spyware is any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. Internet advertising (adware) has been criticized for occasionally including code that tracks a user's personal information and passes it on to third parties without the user's authorization or knowledge. This practice has been dubbed spyware.
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Q: What is Malware?
A: Short for "malicious software," malware refers to software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer system.
​Common examples of malware include viruses, worms, trojan horses, and  spyware.
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