TalkTalk Issues with HomeSafe

From time to time, we come across issues that can baffle even your more focus IT guy. However, we have found a problem that is both simple to fix but also complex in resolution. The issue is with TalkTalk’s HomeSafe® a product designed to protect any device connected to the customers home router. Whilst it is enabled (which seems to be by default), the web filter will block access to potential harmful content, however this will include access to remote support tools like TeamViewer, ConnectWise Control and LogMeIn which are legitimate tools used by businesses and technical support experts to access remote computers.

We know that these tools in the wrong hands can be very dangerous and can compromise your privacy and data security. However, in the right hands these are tools that help you with tech support and getting you quickly and securely out of a jam.

Do You Need This?
This is a good question, should your use of the Internet be restricted by your ISP or should you have the freedom to choose what is safe or not (hence, complex in resolution)? This author personally does not believe they should and instead follow our simple principle, which is “educate to facilitate…”.

We are all taught that drinking dirty water is going to make you sick, but the water companies do not turn off your water supply on the chance that might happen.

With good anti-virus software, a firewall router, and some good education you can get on using your Internet devices without issues and compromise. Safety and security are kept intact and you don’t have to wonder why certain websites and applications don’t work.

Can I Turn it Off?
Simple answer, yes. You need to head over and log into to your MyAccount in your TalkTalk portal, then:
• Select My Services section
• Select View HomeSafe Settings
• Select Off and confirm that you want this service switched off.
It’s as simple as that!

If you have questions about your Internet security or how to best protect yourself from scams and fraud then please email us at or if you have been a victim of cybercrime report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime

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As part of our HOMEPLAN+ IT support, we apply updates, upgrades and patches to our clients Windows devices on a specified date each month.

If you are subscribed as a HOMEPLAN+ Silver member, you will receive our RLS Patching & Updates on the 28th of every month making sure your key applications are up-to-date and reduces the risk of vulnerabilities that can attack out-dated software.

RLS Patching & Updates Service is the solution to manage the updates and patching for both your Windows operating system and literally hundreds of applications. Now you don’t need to worry if your computer and software is up to date by adding Patching & Updates to your HOMEPLAN+ membership, we have you covered.

Features Include:
• No need to worry about updates
• 100’s of applications checked daily
• Real-time scanning
• All critical updates applied
• Updates deployed monthly
• No on-site visits required

What Gets Updated / Upgraded?

All current versions of Windows are checked including 100’s of 3rd party applications. For a comprehensive list of applications that are included visit:

How Do Do We Carry Out The Work?

We have included Patch Management to your Panda Anti-Virus and Security software to run a series of checks periodically which analyses applicable applications on your PC. These are then checked for critical vulnerabilities and if there is a update or upgrade available, push them out on the 28th of every month.

What Do I Need To Do?

  • Leave your Windows computer, laptop or tablet switched on
  • Make sure your device is connected to the internet
  • If using a mobile device make sure it is plugged into the mains supply

How Will I Know It’s Completed?

Your PC may reboot several times during the course of any updates. If you don’t hear from us assume everything is alright, however in some cases we might need to access your device to complete an upgrade, in these cases we will make a separate arrangement to complete the work.

What Happens If I Miss The Deadline?

If you forget to leave your device on, don’t worry it will get completed either the next day or when you next switch on your device. We must warn you that if this does happen, we cannot guarantee it won’t disrupt your day.

The service is just one of many other features of our new HOMEPLAN+ service and provides a whole host of other services you can add to your membership. These are designed to help you make the most out of your membership and provide extra security and peace of mind.

If you are interested in our HOMEPLAN+ service or you have any questions please email us at or call 01553 776937.

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Issues with Samsung Email App

Update Android OS

Some of you have reported issues with the Samsung email app crashing or not starting. This is due to several updates that need to be implemented in order to resolve.

Make sure you download and install the latest version of the Android OS, this will install essential updates to your version of software.

Update Samsung Email app

Go to the Samsung App store and see what applications need updating, specifically look for the Email App and if an update is available implement it.

Update Android apps

Go to the Google Play Store and update your apps. Specifically keep an eye out for the following recommendations to resolve this issue:

  • Android System Webview
  • Google Chrome
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Broadband Providers – Email Settings


Here is a list of all major Broadband providers email settings. The list isn’t verified so please check to make sure they are the most up-to-date details available. PlusNet BT TalkTalk Sky Post Office Virgin

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SMS Messages Not Opening in Outlook 2016

If you are use to opening SMS messages in Outlook and find them not working, this post will explain why.

If you have switched the facility on in your email app on your Android phone to sync SMS messages so that you can open them in Outlook then suddenly found you can’t, this is because Microsoft have removed the facility of opening them in Outlook 2016. You can still see the text but not open them, as a workaround you can open them in OWA (Outlook Web Access), if you absolutely need too.

Our advice is, as you can see/read the text and see the number that sent them, I wouldn’t worry about it too much and this should be enough for most users.

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What is a Microsoft Account?

Customer’s frequently ask me, “What is my Microsoft Account?”. So I thought I would explain with this simple little post.

A Microsoft Account is the generic name given to ALL Microsoft’s services and is used to access thsose services, so if you have OneDrive, Office365, Hotmail, Microsoft Live,, Skype, or Xbox Live then you have a Microsoft Account.

Now we have got that out of the way, I would like to disperse a few myths about a Microsoft Account:

  • You don’t need to setup a new email address to have a Microsoft Account you can use your own pre-existing email address.
  • The same email address will be used to access all these services, you don’t need to create different account details.
  • Yes Microsoft bought out Skype Inc. So if you have an old Skype account you can merge this with your Microsoft Account and then use your Microsoft Account to login to Skype but you do get to keep your Skype name.

Now for some top tips

  • Always set your security info with a telephone number preferably a mobile so that you can easily unlock your account if you forget your password.
  • Login to to access your account details, security info, billing, subscriptions, etc.
  • If you own a smartphone consider installing the Microsoft Account Authenticator [Google Play] [Apple App Store]. This app lets you quickly and securely verify your identity online, this way more easier and very simple to setup (see video below)

If you have any questions about how to setup a Microsoft Account or securing it, then comment in the box below.

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Cyber Attacks – What To Do?



Cyber-attacks are on the rise; so, what can we do to protect our identity and keep our information safe? Read my action To-Do-List to keep yourself safe online and out and about.

it was only last week when Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust suffered a major incident after systems were infected by a computer virus and now this week Tesco Bank suffered a sophisticated attack which saw monies taken from 20,000 of its customers’ accounts.

Here are my recommendations to keeping you safe online and out and about.

General Rules

  • Use a quality anti-virus solution and keep it up to date. There is no point scrimping on security here, an anti-virus application will provide several security benefits including malware protection, firewall and browsing protection.
  • Always use a strong password, which is a critical factor of preventing access to your  information. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated either, simply take this famous pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” and ask yourself how many ways can you write just part of this sentence (i.e. “TheQuickBrownFox”, “Th3Qu1ckBr0wnF0x”, or “Th3QBF0x”)? You can use your own sentence and create your own short versions to create your password, there is literally endless possibilities and combinations.
  • Password protect your PC and lock it when you step away, even if you are just visiting the loo.

Safe Browsing

One of the biggest concerns most people have is with safe browsing, but what does that mean? I define it as visiting known websites or searching for information on the Internet. To safely surf the Internet you should follow these simple rules:

  • Never search for a website that you know the address for, always type the fully URL of the website instead of just the name. For example when visiting the BBC website don’t just type “bbc” into a search engine as you are then presented with a mountain of responses to choose from and the first one isn’t always the correct one, instead type “” which will take you straight to the site.
  • Always use bookmarks for regularly visited websites (i.e. Bank, shopping sites, etc.)
  • Never install browser add-ons, toolbars and extentions when you don’t know what they do, this is one of the major causes of browser hijacking to date.
  • Turn on Pop-up blocker to stop ads and unwanted browser activity and selectively allow only those sites who need them (i.e. your bank might sometimes pop-up a window to present your latest bank statement).

Out and About

Cyber security isn’t just about what you do at home and work on your computers, it is also about what you do when you are out shopping, visiting friends and using your mobile devices. Here are my recommendations to reducing your chances of being cyber attacked when you’re out and about.

  • Check that cash machines haven’t been tampered with, credit card fraud can happen if a criminal has skimmed your card directly from a machine that has been altered to read your card and capture your PIN.
  • Always make sure no one can see your PIN number when typing it in, this should always be observed in shops and cash machines. Don’t be afraid to ask people to step back if they are too close.
  • Lock you mobile devices with a PIN in case you loose it and enable track and trace.
  • Don’t keep PIN numbers written down and if you absolutely have to don’t keep them in the same place as your cards.
  • Never let your card out of your sight, even at your friendly supermarket
  • If someone asks to use your mobile phone in an emergency just ask for the name of the person they want to call and the number and call it yourself, only handover the handset once you are assured you are dialling a legitimate number and talking to real person.

My last piece of advice I want to share with you is this, DATA is KING, after all cyber crimes are not just about stealing your money, it’s about stealing your information and the more detailed the information the better. So we must back it up and back it up with a quality backup solution. It is admiral to watch someone backup their data to a USB pen drive or external hard drive only to then loose it or break it. If you get hit with ransomware, lose your mobile device or simply delete your data (accidentally or by malware) the chances of recovery has been increased significantly when correctly backing up your data.

Further Reading

For more help with securing your IT systems, why don’t you give us a call on 0844 334 2020 or email

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Important information for Plusnet customers


Planned Network Maintenance – 5th, 7th, 8th December 01:00-06:00

What does it affect?
Broadband connectivity.

How long will it take?
Up to 5 hours.

What does the work involve?
Disconnecting some users on a single link in our network.

Am I likely to notice the work?
Yes, there’s a chance that your Broadband may disconnect during this work, however you would be expected to reconnect automatically.

Is there anything else I need to know?
Customers having problems connecting once the maintenance is complete are advised to cold reboot their router.

Kind Regards

RLS IT Support

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Cold Rebooting Your Router


Customers sometimes lose connection to their Broadband service and cannot re-connect. This could be due to issues with the line or work that is being carried out. If the issue or work has been resolved you might have to reboot your router in order for it to re-connect, this process is called cold rebooting.

To cold reboot your router follow these instructions.

  1. Switch off your PC and WIFI/network printer (this is not critical but helps with successfully re-connecting your PC and printer).
  2. Switch off your router and leave it for at-least 30 seconds.
  3. Switch your router back on and wait at-least 1 minute until it has settled (re-connected to your ISP).
  4. Now switch on your WIFI/network printer and wait for it to connect to your router (30 secs – 1 minute).
  5. Now switch on your PC.
  6. Test your connection (visit www, or other website) or try accessing your emails.

If all is alright you should have successfully re-connected to your ISP, if however you still cannot get access to the Internet, try accessing it with another device (tablet or phone) making sure you are connected to your router.

If that fails, try the above one more time and complete all the processes. If the problem is persistent, contact your ISP and report that you are still unable to connect. Failing that give us a call on 0844 334 2020 for advice.

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