There is a myth about “Gateway Drugs” that has been disproved, but has started to perpetuate again. The words below, which have been attributed to Russel Brand, explain concisely what the gateway is.

“Cannabis isn’t a gateway drug.
Alcohol isn’t a gateway drug.
Nicotine isn’t a gateway drug.
Caffeine isn’t a gateway drug.

Trauma is the gateway.
Childhood abuse is the gateway.
Molestation is the gateway.
Neglect is the gateway.

Drug abuse, violent behaviour, hyper sexuality and self-harm are often symptoms (not the cause) of much bigger issues. And it almost always stems from a childhood filled with trauma, absent parents, and an abusive family.

But most people are too busy laughing at the homeless and drug addicts to realise your own children could be in their shoes in 15 years.

Communicate. Empathise. Rehabilitate.”

 

I seen this guy on a Saturday night
You’re looking good yeah you’re shining bright
I seen the girls in their high heeled shoes
Looking for love they’ve got nothing to lose

What happened through these years
All I feel is fear and doubt
What happened to the confidence
I’m older now

Where did it all go wrong, my love, where did we fall apart
Summer in the 70s, living like a king and queen
Looking back on where we are
Where did it all go wrong, my love, where did we drift away
Walking along the Hudson, singing you my love song
Never let it fade away

Seen your smile from across that room
All the girls here they’re looking at you
Seen your face under disco lights
The room is spinning but I feel all right

What happened to the girl I was
I stopped believing in it all
I never realized that life
Would take my all

Where did it all go wrong, my love, where did we fall apart
Summer in the 70s, living like a king and queen
Looking back on where we are
Where did it all go wrong, my love, where did we drift away
Walking along the Hudson, singing you my love song
Never let it fade away

Running down where they twinkle on Broadway
Young and naïve and we were so damn reckless
Looking through the lovers and you don’t know who you are
Now I know that there’s nothing I’d change
We were running riot we were playing the game
True love is only something you hear in the songs
It doesn’t really last that long

Where did it all go wrong, my love, where did we fall apart
Summer in the 70s, living like a king and queen
Looking back on where we are
Where did it all go wrong, my love, where did we drift away
Walking along the Hudson, singing you my love song
Never let it fade away

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 your 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

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