You can check if you have had a security breach with an email account, by going to haveibeenpwned.com and inserting your email address. You may have had a security breach even though you have been using strong passwords. You can have accounts that have been compromised by the security failings of organisations that have stored your account details.

On haveibeenpwned.com there is a section where you can enter passwords to see if there have been any known breaches. If you use a password that someone else has previously used, and it has been breached, it is “burned” and no longer safe to use by anybody. haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords

To increase the security of your accounts it is advisable to use Two-factor Authentication.

Google’s version is called 2 Step Verification.

By using 2FA you are supplying two pieces of information to authenticate who you are. You are verifying your identity.

A common example is when I attempt to log into an account, a code will be sent to my phone which I have to type into the web-page before I can continue. So even if a hacker knows my password, they would need to have my phone before they could access my online account. There are variations on this which I won’t go into, but for anyone not using 2FA who is unfamiliar with it, just search Google using (I will use Facebook as an example) “2fa facebook” (without quotes) and you can find out how to set it up.

Password Managers

Good passwords are difficult to remember, the solution is to use a Password Manager. A password manager is software that stores all your passwords in a secure vault and is accessed by a Master password or passphrase. Some browsers save you passwords for you, but this is definitely not a secure method.

A question that is sometimes asked regarding Password Managers is “What if someone gains access to it, they will then have access to all your passwords?”. Ironically the people who are sceptical about password managers are usually the people who have had security issues because they have been using weak passwords.

If you have not already been using a password manager, you will be increasing your security to a much higher level by using one.

There are various types available, but the one I use is called KeePass. I tried various managers in the past and this was my favourite.

When I open a new account online and I have to insert a username and password, I do not need to think of a password because KeePass will generate one for me at whatever length or complexity I choose.

These are examples of the type of passwords I use:

  • M`V>Ud~xtU $_5
  • P|oho|j?gH@m
  • 17CwoZdTDq8!-X
  • nZ\(+n-E5VacbYI@’+qF4W<lt

When I want to log into an account, I click on the link in the manager and then select “Perform Auto-Type” and I am then logged in very quickly and securely without having to remember any passwords except my master password, which I only use at the start of the day. Occasionally I have to copy & paste my username and password separately depending on the site I am logging in to.

You can also use a portable version on a memory stick to use on other computers. It will not leave any trace. KeePass is the most frequently used software I have and it is free. I am not endorsing KeePass; I suggest that you try out a few managers to see which one suits you best.

I always recommend looking at YouTube videos to find out how to set up any new software. For KeePass there are short clips for experienced people and more in-depth tutorials for the less experienced.

KeePass Link

 

There is a lot of misunderstanding about passwords and password usage. I hope to clarify a few points about this.

The following is a list of some commonly hacked passwords:

123456
qwerty
password
111111
Internet
12345678
abc123
1234567
password1
Robert
sunshine
iloveyou
princess
admin
welcome
football
monkey
654321

The first one has been breached more than 23 million times to access sensitive information. All of the above passwords are in effect useless.

If you think of a password as a combination for a safe that keeps your online accounts private and secure it has to have a certain complexity to it.

It is not a case of IF a password can be cracked, but WHEN. Weak passwords take minutes to crack, but really good passwords take years to crack.

A password of 8 characters used to be recommended, but that changed to 10, although nowadays a minimum 12 is preferable.

The recommendation of using a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and keyboard symbols such as @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + is because you are then using the maximum variation of keys from the keyboard to create a password. The 47 available keys are doubled by using the shift key which enables you to use a combination derived from 94 keys. The permutations are increased massively compared to just using lower case letters or numbers.

The most common reason for a hacked email account is using a weak password.

When a hacker gains access to your email account they can then access every account connected to that email address. They can even lock you out of your email account and use it for their own needs.

Google recommends changing your password if your Gmail account is hacked, but hackers will usually put in a “backdoor”, so if you change your password, they will be aware of it. It is better to replace a hacked account with a new one. It is the same with “spammed-out accounts” you are better to get rid of them. Some spam is a nuisance but other types of spam are malicious.

Using one password for multiple accounts is a bad idea because if that password is cracked, the hacker can access all your accounts. There is a popular demand on the Dark Web for email addresses with a password, because there are so many people who use one password for everything.

You can check your password strength and get a better idea of good passwords by playing around with passwordmeter.com

The BBC decides to stop broadcasting the Scottish Government’s daily Covid-19 briefing.


 

Petition started by Laura Mcneill

 

Reverse the BBC’s decision to stop broadcasting the Scottish Government’s daily briefing.

“The Scottish Government Covid-19 Briefings have been and still are an essential tool in dealing with this public health crisis, used to convey important information to the people of this country. To deny that is to put the country at a serious risk.

We have no control over broadcasting rights and no national media and not everyone has access to internet. The BBC is causing an issue where the only one should be that of public health.

Let them know you will not accept this. Please sign and share.”

 

 

PETA Asia’s latest investigation in Indonesia has found that kopi luwak, expensive coffee made from the faeces of civets, is not only cruel, but could also cause the next pandemic.

The coffee is produced by capturing Asian palm civets and feeding them an excessive amount of coffee berries and then collecting the berries from their faeces. Following the SARS outbreak in China, researchers found that the SARS coronavirus had jumped from civets to humans, but the industry hasn’t changed.

 In Indonesia, PETA Asia’s investigation found civets confined to barren, filthy cages encrusted with faeces, dirt, and decomposing berries and often covered with cobwebs. Civets who are “lucky” enough to survive the abusive and unsanitary conditions until they’re no longer considered useful to the industry are often sold to live-animal markets, where any illnesses they may be harbouring can easily spread to other animals, including humans. Scientists have identified civets as a possible “intermediate host” for COVID-19, potentially allowing the virus to mutate and pass from bats to humans.

 

See full article here

British-Lebanese pop star Mika to perform ‘I Love Beirut’ livestream concert for explosion relief funds.

He will perform his special ‘I Love Beirut‘ show on Saturday, September 19th across four different time zones on YouTube, with tickets currently on sale from £10 on Ticketmaster.

Additionally, fans can donate to the affiliated GoFundMe ‘I Love Beirut‘ campaign, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Red Cross Lebanon and Save the Children.
 

 

The high ground is safe, above all the turmoil, away from the collective angst.

Secure from the hordes below, and separated from the gregarious followers of the trends.

Casting one eye along the valley and the other to the sky, watching and waiting

For the light of dawn to shine on the truth, and illuminate the dark lies

Of the corrupted, whose destructive influence has a glaring omnipresence.

The poor can be satiated and find contentment and the hungry can be fed,

But the dissatisfaction of the affluent minority who worship wealth have an impairment,

They have to feed a multi-headed monster whose ravenous hunger for more riches can never be satisfied.

People are measured by the good they do in their life, not by the amount of material gains they leave behind.

 

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Due to the COVID -19 pandemic, the band has been unable to practice or perform together for over four months. Piper Tim Hutchinson arranged “The Sound of Silence” for the pipes, including five harmony parts.
 
Thirty band members recorded individual parts on their phones and it was merged into this final piece.

 

Audio and video editing: Tim Hutchinson
 
The Keith Highlanders Pipe Band was formed in 1952 as a non-profit arts education organization serving the Seattle community, and seeks to broaden the public’s interest in and appreciation for traditional Scottish piping, drumming, and dancing in the Pacific Northwest.

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