The benefits of using a password manager

A password manager is a tool that securely stores all of your passwords in one place, allowing you to access them with just one master password. With a password manager, you don’t have to remember every password for every website and app you use. Instead, the password manager can generate strong passwords for you and remember them for you, making it easier and more secure to manage your online accounts.

Here are some reasons why you should use a password manager:

Stronger security: Password managers generate strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts. This helps prevent hackers from cracking your passwords and accessing your sensitive information.

Convenience: With a password manager, you only have to remember one master password. The password manager will automatically log you into your online accounts, saving you time and hassle.

Cross-device syncing: Most password managers can be used across multiple devices, such as your computer, smartphone, and tablet. This means that you can access your passwords from anywhere, making it easy to manage your accounts on the go.

Improved password habits: Using a password manager can help you establish better password habits. You’ll be encouraged to use strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts, and the password manager will remember them for you.

Increased privacy: With a password manager, you don’t have to worry about your passwords being stored in a text file on your computer or written down on a piece of paper. The password manager uses encryption to protect your passwords, keeping them secure from prying eyes.

Overall, a password manager is a simple and convenient way to improve your online security. By using a password manager, you can reduce the risk of having your passwords hacked and protect your sensitive information.

CASE STUDY: Freelance Writer in a Ransomware attack

Meet Sarah, a freelance writer who writes blog posts and articles for various clients. Sarah worked from home, using her personal computer to store her work and communicate with clients.

One day, Sarah received an email from what she thought was a well-known software company. The email contained a special offer on the software and she clicked on it without hesitation.

After downloading the software, Sarah noticed that her computer was running slow and crashing frequently. She tried to access her work but found that all of her files were encrypted, and she was unable to open them.

Sarah soon realized that she had fallen victim to a ransomware attack. The software she had downloaded was actually malware that encrypted all of her files, and the hackers demanded a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key.

Despite attempting to negotiate with the hackers, Sarah was unable to get her files back and was left with no choice but to start from scratch. She had not backed up her work and had lost months of writing that she could not recover.

The cyber attack had a devastating impact on Sarah’s freelance writing business. She lost many clients due to her inability to deliver work and her reputation was tarnished. Sarah learned the hard way that it is crucial to take digital security seriously and to regularly backup important data and files.

By following best practices for digital security, such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and regularly backing up important data, freelancers like Sarah can protect their work and avoid costly losses in the event of a cyber attack.

In the news: NETGEAR Nighthawk routers need an urgent firmware update

In the news this week NETGEAR announced that their Nighthawk routers need an urgent firmware update.
A vulnerability has been found that allows hackers to enter the Netgear Nighthawk routers (and, therefore the users wi-fi network) without first entering credentials.
Your router is an essential line of defence for your devices and must be kept up-to-date, and protected by an effective password.

Software code constantly evolves. Criminals find new ways to break into software, meaning code once considered rock-solid will, over time, need to be updated. So code writers have to keep on top of their software, which they do by releasing patches.

Should we be worried about software that is constantly updated? No, it’s a good thing. It shows they are actively looking for issues and resolving them. Instead, be cautious of any software that never/rarely releases patches.

For your part though, make sure you are running your updates.

How secure are your digital assets?

Digital Assets are your online accounts, website, online shop, booking system, domain name, social profiles etc…

Each of these assets has its own security need. Are you confident that you have the highest level of security in place for these assets?

Currently, the cybercrime threat level is high; the criminals know micro businesses like yours may not have their security ducks in a row, making you an active target.

👉🏻 This January, let’s get stuck in and review the security of your digital assets.

Need some support?

I believe that you, as a self-employed business owner, have unique needs regarding digital security. You are likely non-technical and untrained, yet 100% in charge of your own IT, your decisions and actions being yours alone.

Browse my website to learn more about

🎓 My bitesize training on business security – which includes a process to follow that helps you get the job done

❓ A free quiz to check how secure your business currently is

✔️ A free checklist featuring the seven most important jobs to have ticked off before you’re hit by cybercrime.

COMING SOON! A free workshop for self-employed business owners on business security. Details on how to register will be sent to my email list THIS Thursday. 

If Love Actually was made in 2023…

If Love Actually was made in 2023…

I took part in a Love Actually quiz last night, so a few days ago, I sat down to watch the film with my trusty notebook, looking for quiz-worthy moments.

While my heart, once again, broke for Karen after Bad Harry brought the his secretary that necklace, I was struck by how low-tech the world was back in 2003. VHS Cassettes, Square boxy TVs, and not a smartphone in sight.

For example, Mark stood on Juliet’s doorstep to convey his message and used giant handwritten cards and music on a portable CD, FM and Tape player. Like an analogue reel?

The romance of Jamie and Aurelia’s speaking in their native languages; now they’d be translated by Google – with a computerised voice cutting through those lingering moments.

The lake scene where they dive in to save the typewritten pages of Jamie’s book would now be obsolete through the uptake of ‘the cloud’.

The fission of office romances would have to navigate staff working from home via Microsoft Teams and the company WhatsApp groups today.

Digital security would play a starring role, as it does for everything today.

What if we could go back to those days almost twenty years ago?

If we did, we would find a simple world where burglars must physically get into our brick-and-mortar premises to steal our possessions. Instead, in 2003 our crime threats were local, and our front doors were our first line of defence.

Just like our everyday interactions, this has changed over the last twenty years. Today our valuables can be accessed anywhere in the world – often with just a password. As a result, we face a global threat of crime.

Cybercriminals know that small businesses are unprepared; if you fall into this demographic, you are currently their low-hanging fruit.

Today’s equivalent of locking our office doors is to have unique passwords, two-factor authentication and good tech hygiene.  

Small business owners are vulnerable, but it doesn’t need to be this way.

I am excited to be running a new series of security workshops in the new year exclusively for my email subscribers. The workshops will cater for the needs of the self-employed and provide lots of helpful advice to secure your business. Add your details to the form below, and you’ll be amongst the first to be invited.

Merry Christmas x

Digital security is boring

Boring it may be as small business owners you still need to make the time to secure your digital tools.

I’m here to help you optimise that time so you efficiently work through a programme of steps to improve the security of your business.

I will help you understand how to

  • spot phishing
  • manage excellent passwords
  • keep your business tech safe
  • be prepared and plan for an incident
  • spot if an incident is taking place

As a first step, start by getting a copy of my checklist to see how well you are already doing. To receive a copy directly to your mailbox fill in the form below. 

P.S.. for the record, I don’t think security is boring and I’m happy to share my enthusiasm with you!

Your future self is going to deal with a cybercrime incident.

I appreciate that you would much rather get on with your day; however, we need to discuss something.

If you lose a piece of your digital world, it can upend your business operations for some time; it could be days, weeks, months even.

 I have three important questions for you

  • On what digital service are you reliant?
  • What would it mean for you if you lost it?
  • And finally, how good is your security for this service?

Let’s take a run-through and use an example; we’ll pretend you run sports classes and use an online booking system.

If your booking platform is hacked, the consequences could be:

  • Clients are unable to book; or worse still, clients are still booking, but you’re locked out.
  • You are unable to provide your service
  • Hackers may be able to change the email notifications and payment details to their own
  • You may be unable to contact your clients if the booking system is your only means of contact.
  • That the hackers extract your customer details from the platform, then individually target them with scams passing off as you. Using the information you hold to personalise their messages will make them more likely to pull off their fraud. 
  • Damage to your reputation and your trust relationship with your clients.
  • Financial loss for you
  • Your time commandeered

I think that is quite a long list of consequences.

What’s more, you need to re-establish your platform’s access and rebuild your clients’ trust. Finally, it’s worth noting that your clients’ details will forever be in the hands of these hackers now, as will yours.

While your business may not take customer bookings online, there will be a digital service on which you rely.

How is this service protected? How strong is your security?

A long and unique password, with a second factor of authentication (such as a code generated by an app), is ideal. Anything less than this, and you expose yourself to risk.

I believe in self-employed business owners taking action to protect themselves from cybercrime.

Securing the entry points to your business is vital for your survival. The only way to avoid being an easy target is to make a defence.

There are 7 things you must do before a cyber attack. If you would like a copy of my checklist to check off what you have and haven’t already done, then fill in the form below.

How did they get my password?

Picture this; you’re going about your business one morning when your phone rings. It’s a friend who’s just received an unusual email from you. No bother, you carry on.. it was just a one-off… but then you get three more calls saying the same thing and the fear kicks in.

Your email has been hacked.

You’ve been locked out.

Once you manage to restore access you’re greeted by an EMPTY inbox.

Everything gone.

This happened to a friend of mine recently. The hackers stole ten years’ worth of emails. Ten years’ worth of companies he has dealt with and knowledge of his solicitor, accountant, clients, and shopping preferences. The whole lot.

To get all this, all the hackers had to do was breach one password.

My friend had opened his email account a long time ago and had not updated his security; as such he didn’t have 2FA.


How did the hackers get his password?

There are several ways for hackers to obtain passwords, or break into accounts.

A reused password
If the same password is used elsewhere and is stolen in a data breach, the hacker will then take the credentials they have and move laterally to test other sites.

You’ve lent the password to someone else
If you historically sent the password to someone else, perhaps by email, then this other person is hit by cybercrime and has their inbox breached.. the hacker will be able to find your password.

Malware infection on your device
This is malicious software that can arrive on your computer in multiple ways and if not caught can extract information; including passwords.
Software updates and antivirus software help minimize this event.

Public Wi-Fi
Connecting to public Wi-Fi means that you are on the same network as all other users, your devices are connected. The internet traffic to and from your device can be read by other users, with specific software and a bit of know-how. This can include unencrypted passwords.

Brute force
This is where a hacker uses software to breach your password; it will try thousands of combinations a second until it hits the right combination of characters.

My friend’s password was about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

The solution here is to enable two-factor authentication; which is a valuable second layer of security.

If you haven’t already now is a great time to review the security of your inbox. Make sure you have a long password that is only used for this account and set up that second layer of security.

Would a checklist be helpful?

There are 7 things that must be done before a cyber attack on your business. I have compiled a checklist for you to work through – please fill in the form below if you would like a copy.

Digital security without the overwhelm

Hacking this, cybercrime that… I get it, you want to get your work done quickly, and efficiently, with little talk of security. 

The trouble is if you don’t sit up and pay some attention to security, things could get an awful lot more complicated very quickly. 

Self-employed business owners are targeted by online fraudsters because they’re easy targets and they’re underprepared.

Unfortunately, the fraudsters are earning good money from us.

If you are a self-employed business owner there are improvements you can make to your business security.

I offer a plain-talking digital security programme for non-techy self-employed business owners. During this, I guide you through an audit of your digital tech, help you close off the ‘easy routes in’, and develop your security awareness.

What’s more, I wrote the programme for the over 40’s, the generations that remember life before the internet.

For clarity this doesn’t mean it is slow-paced or patronising; just that you will recognise most of the words used and the tone is on your wavelength. 

Interested? Want to find out more?

My next workshop called Digital Security for Self-employed Business Owners is currently being scheduled and my email subscribers will be the first to get the details.

If you would like to join the list you can pop your details in the form below.

Are car mechanics reliant on digital security?

Car mechanic?

There’s a digital aspect to all businesses nowadays. A car mechanic can’t fix a car without access to their email, customer records, purchasing accounts, and online access to the manufacturer’s software. There is potentially much more too, but I’m not a mechanic! (Feel free to educate me)

Just one link in this digital chain needs to be compromised for their workday to be spannered.

Yet geeking out on computer security may not be their top priority.

For this reason, I provide online training for small business owners so they can learn about Digital Security. In fact, I suggest one hour a day, for five days, is all the time you need to complete the course AND do the work to secure your IT.

The course teaches you how to do digital security and guides you to do the work as we work through the topics.

Defend your business from digital threats – to find out more follow the link:

7 things to do before a cyber attack

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