Get Tough with Tougher Passwords

Over my years online and also advising people on their computer setups, I have seen some very concerning things. People writing down their passwords in books, on little slips of paper in their purses and wallets or even in their notepad on their computer.

Using a strong password will make your online accounts a lot tougher for strangers to hack. It is essential you protect your online accounts, things like email, social media and online banking for example. Never fall into the trap of using the same password for everything either. Check out the tips below to get on the right path.

If you want some added protection when browsing online, consider using a VPN such as NordVPN.

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Two-Factor authentication explained

Securing our login details for the ever increasing number of services we sign up for is more important now than ever. There aren’t many weeks that go by where the media aren’t reporting on a service that has been hacked. You may be wondering what you can do in order to better protect yourself from such hacks? Thankfully there has now been a large number of sites that have implemented two-factor authentication which greatly improves the security of your account and makes it very hard for the wrong people to access your accounts.

Two-Factor authentication (TFA) is quite a simple method to implement and it’s benefits are huge in terms of online security. TFA is basically the process of verifying somebody's identity by using two out three possible identifiers. The identifiers are:

Something you know

Something you have

Something you are

In the past our login details have been based on just one of these identifiers, something we know, like our password. Using a password, whilst securing your account can also be exploited quite easily by using keyloggers, someone looking over your shoulder or even brute force cracking. When we implement a second factor we are making it increasingly more difficult for someone to access your account that isn’t you.

Typically most services use the ‘Something you know’ and ‘Something you have’ identifiers. This works by using a password (something you know) and a security token sent to another device you own such as a smartphone (something you have).

The third identifier which isn’t as widely used yet is ‘Something you are’ which typically involves fingerprint scanning, retina scanning or facial recognition. Whilst this is not as widely adopted as the other two identifiers it is on the increase and used in devices such as Apple’s iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner.

Hopefully this article has given you a basic understanding of two-factor authentication and how it works. Many of the popular sites you use each day already implement two-factor authentication and we have listed below some of the most common sites that do and how to enable it.


How to

Link to enable


How to

Link to enable


How to

Link to enable


How to

Link to enable

There are many more sites and services that implement two-factor authentication, far too many to list here so it’s worth checking yourselves to see if it’s available for the services you're signed up to.

(image courtesy under WikiCommons license).


Tips to Reduce Email Spam

Spam has now become synonymous with e-mail, as it once was with the tinned foodstuff. If you have an email account, chances are that you’ve got a spam problem. These days, spam filters in email inboxes are far more sophisticated than they used to be. For instance, if you already had an email address back in say, 2001, you’ll have noticed the change in the amount of unwanted emails in your inbox.

However, as you also may have noticed, there are more and more ways spammers have found to bypass your email security, getting their junk into your inbox. With the swift evolution of the internet over the last five years, it’s important to know how you can keep your inbox safe from the pernicious ways of spammers.

Don’t post your email address on your website

This is a critical error that, surprisingly, a lot of web users still make. You should never post your email address or give it out freely online unless you’re sure that the site you are submitting it to is totally secure. Spammers utilise software that scans the internet for wayward email addresses that are hovering around freely.

If you own a website and you want to have your e-mail address on it, it’s best to use a form that visitors can fill out and email you instead. Never reveal your email address to the sender. Alternatively, you could post a graphic of your email address, so it cannot be scanned and ‘read’ by spam software.

Don’t reply to suspicious emails from Gumtree or Craigslist 

Public online classifieds sites like Gumtree and Craigslist are rife with spammers wanting to infiltrate your inbox. These websites try to get around spammers by creating a temporary email address for you when you post an ad, which then forwards any replies you get to your actual email address.

Unfortunately, spammers collect these temporary email addresses that are created for you and mail them, hoping to get a reply. The idea is that you’ll open the email, thinking it’s from someone answering your ad. The moment you reply to them, they’ll have your real email address.

Be safe when you use the internet

Being wary of spammers getting hold of your email address is one thing, but unfortunately, their methods evolve with extreme frequency. They design viruses that infect your computer with the sole purpose of collecting your email address, or even use your email address to send out spam without your knowledge. They can even collect the email addresses that are stored in your contact list.

To protect yourself, you should run virus checks regularly - every day if necessary. Make sure you have a firewall set up, too. Alternatively you can look to an email cloud security provider  that can accomplish all security tasks for you, like Mimecast.

Fighting spam successfully often requires a degree of instinct which you will build up over time once you start becoming accustomed to the various schemes employed by spammers. Armed with instinct as well as anti-virus software and sophisticated spam filters, you won’t have to worry about falling victim to their plans.