Author Archives: Admin

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Risks of using Public Wi-Fi

We have all done it, sat in a café or hotel and checked our social media, bank balance and emails. It’s free internet, it’s easy and convenient, but have you ever considered the risks?

There are a few problems with using public wi-fi and you should be very careful what you use it for.
Anyone can connect to a public Wi-Fi network. It could be full of compromised machines, devices or the hotspot itself could be malicious.

At home, you can’t see what your neighbour is doing on their wireless internet connection and vice-versa. This is because your wireless traffic is encrypted between your laptop/tablet/phone and your wireless router. It is encrypted with your Wi-Fi password. When you connect to a public network other people can see what web pages you are visiting. More often than not everyone who connects to the network is using the same password. They could see what you are typing into web forms and even see what encrypted websites you are visiting.
Think about having a very private conversation with a friend in a restaurant. You would use hushed tones and pause when the waiting staff approached, you would be aware of people being able to eavesdrop on what you were saying. The difference is you can’t whisper online.

It’s not all bad news. if you are on an encrypted website, for example online banking they can see which bank you are connected too, but they can’t see what you are typing in. If you are on an un-encrypted website i.e. a webpage pretending to be your online bank they can see everything!

Protect yourself. If you really need to access sensitive information over a public Wi-Fi network check that you are connected to an encrypted web page – HTTPS. That said it is still possible to hijack your connection and steal your information – Is it really worth the risk?
Compromised devices (Computers with virus or malware) may also be connected to the public Wi-Fi. If you are using your laptop make sure you chose the “Public Network” option in Windows not “Home” or “Work” option. This helps to lock down the connection and prevents Windows sharing files with other machines on the network.

Be aware of your surroundings. When using your laptop in a public place watch out for “Shoulder Surfers” they might be watching you type in your password.
The other thing to consider – is the Public Hot Spot itself legitimate? It is possible, however improbable (so it must be true) that someone could have created the hotspot with malicious intentions.

 

Our advice – When connected to public Wifi avoid accessing websites where you need to enter usernames and passwords.

If you travel regularly it may be worth investing in a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This basically creates a network within a network and keeps everything you do Private. Speak to us if you need further advice or guidance.

 


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Mother of Dragons – That use the internet

I have recently been thinking of myself as “Mother of Dragons”. There are only 2 of them and strictly speaking they are teenagers, but sometimes the similarities are too close for comfort!

Trying to keep up with their online shenanigans can be exhausting, worrying and sometimes downright scary!

My daughter was recently offered a large sum of money for some pictures of herself and my son’s world ended when we changed the Wi-Fi password. I would have happily flown off north of the wall for a bit of R&R but instead decided I might be able to help other people understand some of the things our little darlings are doing online.

Here is my little guide to help you understand some of the terms you may hear banded about and the things you need to be aware off (especially for you younger, less worldly wise teens)

Lets start with the apps my dragons use most often.

SnapChat

It’s a mobile app that lets you send pictures and videos to friends which then disappear a few seconds after being viewed.  You can add filters or lenses to your pictures and create a story, which collects all your snaps for 24 hours.

Be Aware  
There is a Chat feature You can direct message other Snapchatters and you don’t need to be “Friends” with them to  send them Direct Messages “DM”

 

There is a Video Chat Feature When video chatting you can chose to watch (You won’t be able to see the watcher, but they can see and hear you) or join (You can see and hear each other)

 

Snap Maps Allows everyone who uses snapchat to see your location – Turn it off by enabling ghost mode!

 

 

Instagram

It’s a mobile app designed for sharing photos and videos on the internet. You can follow people and see their photos and videos and vice versa. You can tag people in photos. You can apply fun filters to photos and editing effects to videos.

Be Aware  
Anyone can follow anyone. All content is public by default You can set your profile to private which means you have to approve anyone who wants to follow you and see your photos.

 

There is a chat feature You can Direct message people and send them pictures via direct message, they don’t have to be your pictures.

 

You can link to other social media sites If you link your Instagram to your facebook, twitter etc any Instagram photos will be automatically be posted to these other sites when you press Share (unless you turn it off)

 

 

Tinder

It’s a social networking and online dating app that uses your location data to help you meet other people in your area.

Be Aware  
If you have a Facebook Account you can have a Tinder Account To create a tinder account you only need your first name, age and location data from your phones GPS. It will automatically use your facebook public photos to show to other people. You can change these photos later.

 

A lot of people browse it for fun. A lot of tinder users “like” every photo they see in an attempt to “match” with as many people as possible. As soon as you match with each other Direct messaging can begin.

 

It is a Location Based social app. It needs to know where you are to match you with people close to you. This means that other people also know they are close to you.

 

 

I have skipped over Facebook as its popularity with teens has reduced in recent years, though many still use it to message their friends and create group chats.

It really is important, especially with the new school term fast approaching and many pre-teens taking that daunting first step into secondary school that you understand what they could be doing so you can help them protect themselves online.

Here is a quick synopsis of other apps your brood might be using.

WhatsApp Text friends, post status updates, send video, share your location, make voice/video calls over the internet.
WeChat Sign up using your phone number. Call phones, talk with friends. Use the Shake feature to find other WeChat users all over the world and start chatting with total strangers immediately.
Tumblr Create blog posts and gain a worldwide following.
Yellow There is a lot of news articles out there about how this app has been slammed by the NSPCC. Basically it turns snapchat into Tinder.
Omegle Social networking website that randomly connects you to another person who is on the site. One-to-One audio or video. You can be anonymous and so can they!

 

There is a lot of good advice out there about how to keep safe online. I hope this little blog post helps  shed some light on the multitude of apps out there and encourages you to investigate further. Call it snooping if you want, but if I saw “DTF” out of the corner of my eye on my kids instant messaging I would not hesitate to step in and ask some seriously awkward questions.

DM – Direct Message

PM – Private Message

SMH – Shake my head

TBH – To be honest

FWB – Friends with benefits

IDK – I don’t know

ASL – Age Sex Location

DTF – Down to F (4 letter Swear word starting with F)


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Can you spot the fake?

Can you spot the fake? It might be harder than you think.

Once again Cyber Security hits the headlines. The majority of these Ransom Ware attacks get into your systems via email – so I thought we would have a little test to see how confident you would feel about rooting out those “Phishing Emails”. Have a look at the image below and pick the fake, for full marks and a gold star work out why before checking out the answer below.

 

fake1

Ok so they both look pretty innocuous, they don’t want your pin number or inside leg measurement and neither of them have a dreaded attachment.

The top email – the one pretending to be from Paypal is the fake – what you really need to know is why. Did you spot all the problems?

1. You are mentioned by name – This means nothing, phishers are doing this more and more, just having your name on there is not good enough any more.

2. Did you spot the spelling mistake “crdit” second line of the email?

3. Many big companies do provide you with instructions on how to do things, the instructions provided in this email are pretty useless and very vague.

4. The “Click Here to login” link – This is what’s known as a “Click Link” this is the hook line and sinker. You can’t see where this link is going to take you. It could be pointing to “www.myvirus.com” for all you know! More than likely it will point to a website that looks very much like the original, you type your username and password and voila they have your info!.

Ah you say, but the other email had links in it too! Yes it did, but they were “Copy and Paste” links, you could see the website address they were pointing you too. If you were unsure you could type that into your browser and know where on the web you were headed.

The other thing I would point out is the “You don’t need to do anything”. Most phishing emails are designed to instil you with a sense of purpose or urgency, “You need to do something now or everything will stop working!”

If in doubt take no action – delete it – check with the sender

 


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Conflict Resolution

How to have a happy working relationship with your computer.

The hate-hate relationship that can build up between user and computer is a real thing! I have no scientific evidence whatsoever to back me up, just experience. I’ve seen the hate, I’ve heard it and I have also experienced it.

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Windows 10 – Hidden gems and useful features

So I think it’s fair to say that after Windows 8 we are all grateful to Microsoft for giving us back the Start Menu, but Windows 10 has so much more to offer. Here are some useful features of Windows 10 to help you acclimatise and get the most out of your software.

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Microsoft Word Hidden Gems – Helping you get the most out of your Software.

Getting the most out of Word – Hidden Gems

Microsoft Word must be one of the most used tools in many offices today, most people are quite familiar with it and let’s face it it’s not rocket science, open type, print, repeat! There are however a few hidden gems which might save you time and effort.

Convert your table to a graph! Yep I’m still talking about Word.

So you have a nicely formatted Table, but the boss wants pictures. Highlight your Table. Choose the Insert Tab, then click on the little arrow beside Object. Choose Object Again. When the dialog box pops up find “Microsoft Graph Chart” in the list then click on OK. Voila! Pretty charts in Word!

word1

Did you know you can “Paste” the last 24 things you “Copied”?

On the Home Tab, find the Clipboard section – there is a tiny little square in the corner – click it and your clipboard opens up. From here you can see items you have last copied and can paste them all at one time into your current document or one at a time if you prefer.

word2

 

Save heartache – Setup AutoSave

We’ve all done it, so focused on the job at hand, hours of typing then the phone rings and you step away from the document you’ve spent hours typing and formatting. We all know we should Save often, but if you struggle to remember then setting up Words AutoSave feature could just be your saving grace.

From the File Tab choose Options, then click on Save from the list on the left hand side. You can set your AutoSaves to happen as often as every minute if you so wish and choose the location so if the worst does happen you can find your AutoSaved document should you need too.

word3

 

One last little gem before I go especially useful if you are writing instructions such as these – Use the Insert Screenshot feature to take screen clippings and insert them straight into your word document.

From the Insert Tab, click on Screen shot, then choose, ScreenClipping. Use your mouse to draw a rectangle around the part of your screen want to insert into your document.


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Special Offer on Sage Training – Virtual Classroom

Virtual Classroom training is a great alternative to attending traditional training. You connect to the virtual classroom from your own desk, no need to spend the entire day out of your office.

Virtual Classroom training sessions focus on one area, making them shorter than traditional classroom training and much more easily digestible.

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Automatic Enrolment – the Facts

The law on workplace pensions has changed. Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK must put certain staff into a pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called ‘automatic enrolment’.

Most businesses are already processing Auto Enrolment or are due to start processing within the next 18 months.

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Has your computer got “Man-Flu”?

Yep we’ve all been there. We have either had, or had to deal with the dreaded man flu. It slows you down, means you can think properly and renders you incapable of actually doing anything. As a happily married woman working in what is still very much a male industry I deal with “man flu” on a daily basis and it’s not always the “man” I can blame.

Computers are very much like men. (some days they are very much like women, but we will gloss over that for now) Computers like to be operated in a particular way. If you are dealing with one which is a little older you may need to make it think that it was his idea to do whatever it was you wanted to do. Patting it gently and stroking its ego is all well and good but now again it needs a bit of a shouting at!

When man flu strikes it’s imperative to act quickly. You must assert your dominance swiftly to prevent utter surrender.

What has all this got to do with computers?

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Are you about to renew your Sage Cover for Payroll?

If so this might be the perfect opportunity to move onto subscription.

A Sage 50 Accounts or Payroll subscription means it has never been easier to keep your software up to date and your costs down.

Our subscription offerings are totally flexible, there is no large initial outlay and no upfront costs. You will never need to worry about upgrading or buying new software again. A subscription means you will always be on the latest version of the software.

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