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Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Creating safer, stronger and active communities

Ransomware Advice

What is Ransomware?

It is a form of malicious software (Malware) that enables cyber criminals to remotely lock down files on your computer or mobile device. Criminals will use ransomware to extort money from you (a ransom), before they restore access to your files. There are many ways that ransomware can infect your device, whether it be a link to a malicious website in an unsolicited email, or through a security vulnerability in a piece of software you use. This ransomware does not discriminate between businesses and individual users so everyone should read the below advice:

Key Protect advice for individuals to protect themselves from ransomware:

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device (such as an external hard drive or memory stick) that isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
  • Only install apps from official app stores, such as Google’s Play Store, or Apple’s App Store as they offer better levels of protection than some 3rd party stores. Jailbreaking, rooting, or disabling any of the default security features of your device will make it more susceptible to malware infections.

Key Protect messages for businesses to protect themselves from ransomware:

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device that isn’t left connected to your network as any malware infection could spread to that too.

  There are some direct advice links below for:

  • The Home User
  • The Enterprise User
  • General advice from the NCA.

The advice can also be found by going directly to the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) or Microsoft’s site.

Microsoft have advised their customers that “This ransomware can stop you from using your PC or accessing your data. Unlike other ransomware, however, this threat has worm capabilities.” and

“The exploit code used by this threat to spread to other computers was designed to work only against unpatched Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (or earlier OS) systems. The exploit does not affect Windows 10 PCs.”


  • Understand the technical estate (network) that you are responsible for, and patch all software on all systems within. Microsoft have also now released a patch for legacy Windows XP systems relevant to this malware.
  • NCSC have also released additional defence steps relevant to the enterprise network defender.
  • Use Anti-Virus software at all times and ensure that it too is updated.
  • Backup your system or critical data to a storage device that is not within the same network. Consider cloud storage options where suitable.
  • If you believe that you have been a victim of a ransomware attack, report it to your Local Police and in turn Action Fraud at

Master Level Guidance for use as reference:

The National Cyber Security Centre’s technical guidance includes specific

software patches to use that will prevent uninfected computers on your

network from becoming infected with the “WannaCry” Ransomware

Important information from Industry Partners to be used as reference:

·       Also from MS who have published a relevant patch for XP:


Fraudsters may also attempt to exploit this high profile incident and use it as part of phishing/smishing campaigns. We urge people to be cautious if they receive any unsolicited communications from the NHS. The protect advice for that is the following:

  • An email address can be spoofed (faked). Don’t open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details. 
  • The sender’s name and number in a text message can be spoofed, so even if the message appears to be from an organisation you know of, you should still exercise caution, particularly if the texts are asking you to click on a link or call a number.

Don’t disclose your personal or financial details during a cold call, and remember that the police and banks will never ring you and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw your cash, or transfer your money to another “safe” account.

Secure Online Sites

Before you type your card details into a website, ensure that the site is secure. Look out for a small padlock symbol in the address bar (or elsewhere in your browser window) and a web address beginning with https:// (the s stands for 'secure') You also need to check that the website is trustworthy.

Here are a few suggestions for ways in which you can reduce the risk of using an untrustworthy site:

  • Be suspicious of offers that seem too good to be true. This could indicate that a site might be selling illegal or pirated items.
  •  If you're not familiar with the website, you could ask trusted friends, colleagues or family members for their opinion. They might be able to offer you recommendations for alternatives.
  •  You could also do an internet search to see if the site you are investigating is mentioned favourably on sites you already trust.

Defend, Deter and Develop

Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has used his keynote speech at Microsofts Future Decoded event to launch a new National Cyber Security Strategy and strike back against cyber criminals. Hammond said his three-pillar plan of Defend, Deter and Develop to protect the privacy of citizens, tackle online criminals and boost internet security skills would provide a "once in a lifetime opportunity to futureproof the economy of Britain". 

The final pillar of the new strategy is ‘develop’. “We will develop the capabilities we need in our economy and society to keep pace with the threat in the future,” said the Chancellor.

Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators are ideally placed to watch out for those who are being left behind by the pace of technological growth. For instance many of our more vulnerable residents are unable to access services which are increasingly delivered online. It is unlikely that sufficient resources will be available from public services to deal with the rapidly developing threats from cyber criminals so we need to build community based resiliance by supporting increased understanding and awareness of the threats. 


national cybersecurity document logo

National Cyber Security Document

Smishing - what is it?


Smishing is a way of stealing your personal details using text messages. Mobile phones are increasingly used to make financial transactions and people tend to be receptive to texts more than any other form of communication. Replying to texts is often done instantly and lacks the consideration given to other messages that are replied too.

Read more: Smishing - what is it?




This is the home page of the Meerkats.Why did we choose the Meerkat? The Meerkat belongs to the mongoose family. It is famous for standing upright looking out for eagles and hawks that might attack their community.

Meerkats Logo Small

A Meerkat is always careful.

Meerkats work together to keep themselves safe. When a deadly puff adder attacked a burrow the meerkats helped each other and carried all their babies to safety.

 When they want to be safe, meerkats go to their burrow.

 Like the meerkat you can learn to be watchful and help to keep yourself safe. Meerkats teach us not to let our guard down and work together to keep our community safe from dangers.

We do not live in the wild, but we do have to know about the world around us because sometimes other people, or things we do, can be unsafe. 

The Meerkat pages will help you to find out how you can help yourself and your friends to stay safe.