Con­ser­va­tory con­ster­na­tion for cus­tomer

MR J’s TOP CON­SUMER TIPS PLASTER ANDWINDOW WOE AF­TER IN­STAL­LA­TION

Sunday Sun - - News -

WARN­ING mums and dads – your kids prob­a­bly know more about to­day’s gad­gets than you do but there are still things you should do to keep them safe, es­pe­cially if you’re plan­ning to buy them new tech­nol­ogy for Christ­mas.

The In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice (ICO) has shared tips to make sure buy­ing and us­ing mod­ern tech goes with­out the fear of be­ing hacked.

Deputy com­mis­sioner Steve Wood says: “We want par­ents, guardians and oth­ers to consider data pro­tec­tion and pri­vacy is­sues in the same way they would check on the safety of presents they’re plan­ning to give to chil­dren.

“We want those buy­ing con­nected items in the com­ing weeks to take a pause and think about both the child’s on­line safety, and also the po­ten­tial threat to their own per­sonal data such as bank de­tails, if a toy, de­vice or a sup­port­ing app is hacked into.”

Here are his tips:

1. Re­search the se­cu­rity of a prod­uct be­fore buy­ing

Do­ing your home­work be­fore buy­ing a con­nected de­vice should al­low you to recog­nise those with poor se­cu­rity. Re­search on­line re­views and man­u­fac­tur­ers’ web­sites for in­for­ma­tion on pri­vacy no­tices and poli­cies. You should also look to see how a prod­uct will be up­dated in the fu­ture if a se­cu­rity is­sue is iden­ti­fied.

2. Take care when shop­ping on­line

At this time of year, when on­line shop­ping is near­ing its peak, scam­mers may be more likely to try to ac­cess your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion such as bank ac­count or credit card de­tails. Only use se­cure sites when shop­ping on­line – they usu­ally carry the pad­lock sym­bol be­fore the ad­dress. Get Safe On­line has pro­tec­tion ad­vice.

3. Take your time

Don’t wait un­til Christ­mas Day, when ex­cited chil­dren will want to just turn on a new toy or de­vice and skip as much of the set-up process as they can. Take the time be­fore­hand to read the man­ual and fa­mil­iarise your­self with the se­cu­rity and pri­vacy op­tions.

4. Change pass­words and user­names from de­fault

De­fault pass­word or code pro­tec­tion will only pro­vide the most ba­sic se­cu­rity. De­fault cre­den­tials for many de­vices can be freely avail­able on the web. You should al­ways change the de­faults im­me­di­ately and choose a strong pass­word. Use a dif­fer­ent pass­word for each ac­count and de­vice.

5. Is your router se­cure?

Your router is the first line of de­fence on the perime­ter of your home net­work. If you have de­vices con­nected to your net­work, the de­fault set­tings of your router might be ex­pos­ing them to the internet and there­fore ev­ery­one else. Cre­ate a strong pass­word and look out for and in­stall se­cu­rity up­dates.

6. If there’s a two-step iden­ti­fi­ca­tion op­tion, use it

Two-step au­then­ti­ca­tion of­fers you an ad­di­tional layer of se­cu­rity when log­ging in to an on­line ser­vice. While few de­vices will of­fer this ser­vice, the web­site you use to view its data might.

7. Be cam­era aware – you never know who’s watch­ing

Some toys and de­vices are fit­ted with web cam­eras. The abil­ity to view footage re­motely is both their big­gest sell­ing point and, if not set up cor­rectly, po­ten­tially their big­gest weak­ness, as the baby mon­i­tor hack­ing is­sue of a few years ago demon­strated. If you have no in­ten­tion of view­ing footage over the internet, then turn the re­mote view­ing op­tion off in set­tings, or else use strong, non-de­fault pass­words.

8. Lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion

One of the main sell­ing points of chil­dren’s smart watches is the abil­ity for par­ents to know where their chil­dren are at all times. How­ever, if this isn’t done se­curely, then oth­ers might have ac­cess to this data as well. Im­me­di­ately get rid of de­fault lo­ca­tion track­ing and GPS set­tings and set strong, unique pass­words.

9 Blue­tooth ache

It is not just po­ten­tially in­se­cure web con­nec­tions that can put chil­dren‘s on­line safety at risk. Some toys and de­vices have been found to have un­en­crypted Blue­tooth con­nec­tions. Consider dis­abling this or, where pos­si­ble, set a strong pass­word.

10. Chil­dren have in­for­ma­tion rights too

Have age-ap­pro­pri­ate con­ver­sa­tions with kids about on­line safety. Chil­dren’s in­for­ma­tion rights and pri­vacy are a key area of con­cern for the ICO. We are fund­ing in­de­pen­dent re­search into this area, are active mem­bers of the UK Coun­cil for Child Internet Safety and new leg­is­la­tion com­ing next year will also strengthen chil­dren’s le­gal rights.

11. If in doubt, don’t splash out

If you aren’t con­vinced a smart toy or con­nected/wear­able de­vice will keep your chil­dren or your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion safe, then don’t buy it. If con­sumers re­ject prod­ucts that won’t pro­tect them, then de­vel­op­ers and re­tail­ers should soon get the mes­sage.

12. Have a se­cure Christ­mas

By tak­ing some time and care be­fore­hand and fol­low­ing our ad­vice, you can still see a child’s face light up when they open their tech present, safe in the knowl­edge you are keep­ing them se­cure too. THE boss of a kitchen and con­ser­va­tory com­pany ad­mit­ted work was not up to scratch when I in­ves­ti­gated a com­plaint from a cus­tomer.

Derek Bolton con­fessed the plas­ter­ing work on a con­ser­va­tory was not up to stan­dard.

The ad­mis­sion came when I asked him about cus­tomer Eileen Holmes.

Eileen had come to me with a com­plaint about Kitchens Plus and I wanted to hear what he had to say.

She said the plas­ter­ing was poor and a win­dow would have to be screwed down be­cause it banged against a down­pipe.

She said the plas­ter­work was so bad that she was los­ing sleep.

“I have been dev­as­tated by the whole ex­pe­ri­ence and wished I had never come in con­tact with Kitchens Plus,” she told me.

“I could not be­lieve that plas­ter­ing could look so bad.”

Derek ad­mit­ted some­thing had gone wrong with the work of a con­trac­tor.

He said: “There were some is­sues with the qual­ity of plas­ter­ing which were iden­ti­fied by the cus­tomer and our in­stal­la­tion man­ager agreed that the stan­dard is not what we would nor­mally ac­cept.

“We as a com­pany were not happy with the re­sult so in­structed an al­ter­na­tive plas­terer to rem­edy the is­sues.

“The cus­tomer was un­happy with the new work done so we sent the owner of the plas­ter­ing firm to see her.

“De­spite the owner of the com­pany be­ing sat­is­fied the new work was done within in­dus­try tol­er­ances the cus­tomer was still un­happy.

“So, purely as a ges­ture of good­will and at sub­stan­tial cost, he agreed to start again from scratch.

“Yet again, Mrs Holmes claimed the work was not sat­is­fac­tory.

“The owner has agreed, still at sub­stan­tial cost, to have the room painted free of charge.”

Even then, Eileen, of Blyth, was un­happy and more work was car­ried out. And what about the win­dow?

Eileen said: “They have sug­gested screw­ing the win­dow down. What’s the point of a win­dow which does not open and close?”

I asked Derek about this and he said it could not be helped.

He ad­mit­ted an ex­ist­ing down­pipe pre­vented it from open­ing. He said the choice was to fix the win- dow down or amend the de­sign which would mean that the six panels of the con­ser­va­tory did not match.

“The cus­tomer was in­formed at point of tech­ni­cal sur­vey that the win­dow would not open fully and she a c c e p t e d this,” he said.

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