Living and working in and around Warrington as I do is fun, we never know whether a large new train line is going to be built outside our front door to facilitate the Northern Powerhouse or not.
HS2 aside, one of the items of particular interest to me working in the information field is access to good quality broadband connections. This is something that’s pretty patchy across the UK, and I was amused recently when there were news items highlighting that Wales has the worst broadband in the UK with speeds of 2.5mb.
My home is 10 mins from Trafford park with service provision from BT and I average speeds of around 1.0 - 1.3mb on my connection, with this dropping below 1mb at peak times. I have been trying to download an Xbox game for a over a week now, and with 2gb still to go it could take a while to finish.
Most of the time now I rely on my phones connection and have paid for the ability to tether with a generous allowance of data. Its not cheap, but I do get speeds of 12-30mb reliably with EE and very little outages so it does allow me to work from home when necessary.
What use due diligence? When I moved here 5 years ago, I did my due diligence and checked the fibre position and noted that the exchange was enabled and that fibre was being rolled out. After a while though, it appeared that this was not quite the case, so I followed up. I even enjoyed an exciting ping pong of information between OpenReach and BT both of whom were telling me different things.
To be fair to both, fibre was being delivered, but only to one half of the village, those of us who sit on the other side of the railway bridge have been cruelly denied. I am not sure if its a combination of old copper lines that BT are too cheap to replace, or if it's something else that BT are too cheap to replace. Either way those of us on my side of the village have to plan ahead if we take a fancy to watching a film on download, or use various work arounds to stream content.
Getting yourself heard
I have complained about this obviously, so it was with interest that I received a phone call from a very friendly chap from “BT” wanting to look into problems with broadband. We started a conversation and it was only about 30 seconds in when it started to sound funny, and quickly led into a conversation which would take a user in a direction of providing passwords for their router and downloading and installing various pieces of software to compromise their machine.
As the old investigative journalists used to say, I made my excuses and left the conversation.
Over the following few weeks, these calls were repeated on a regular basis, always in the afternoons and always quickly moving to the need to install some kind of software. Many people have been used to the friendly call from Windows support telling them there is a problem that needs a similar software solution resolution, and which only leads to expense and pain.
A sign of the times
Clearly the reports of poor broadband, coupled with the reliance on a single major infrastructure provider for nearly all broadband suppliers has resulted in a new opportunity for the scammers.
Of course I may have been mistaken and BT really did want to do something about my speeds over the phone with software update. Somehow though I am just not convinced, so keep your ears peeled and let your customers, and friends know about this new variation on an old theme.
The Weakest Link
The weakest link in information security tends to be the wetware/human in the mix (see Wannacry for reference) so keeping the users up to date with things to look out for is a key step in maintaining safety and its easy to do.
If you want some help with easy processes to improve your security or are looking to improve your security over the longer term get in touch. We can help you develop a strategy and give you the tools to deliver it. Stay Safe!