Stay Safe Online

Everyone is doing it.  We have even listed when and where you can find them.  (Overthere, on the right if viewing this on a big screen, down below if on a mobile!)

Yes, everyone has gone online.  This is a good thing.  I hate to think how isolated we would be if we didn’t have the internet tools we have today. 

I’ve seen people online in the last few weeks who previously would think that all this computer malarkey was not for them.  They would rather go and talk to people over a pint in a pub.  Now we have little choice. 

Because the internet is easily accessible to most and free tools abound it has never been easier to do stuff online.   There is a ‘but’ lurking, you can tell, can’t you?  Yes, there is. 

Long before I teamed up with Grapevine Magazine, I spent my time managing IT systems.  I have about thirty years’ experience in systems and security and was interested to see the panic surrounding the video sharing platform Zoom recently.  Not least the uninformed comments. One that particularly amused me started “I know nothing about this but it’s all about porn.”  Think about that sentence for a moment and spot the oxymoron. 

Online security is important, no more today than any other day.  “Why would anyone want to hack me?” is a common question I hear.  The fact is, it is not a person hacking you, it is a computer program, and if it can, it will.  The gazillions of bits of information the program gathers becomes a saleable commodity. 

Your security starts with a password, and believe it or not the most common password is ‘password’ – can you believe it? 

There is a website where you can check how secure your password is.  It’s called, with amazing originality: https://howsecureismypassword.net/  Type in ‘password’ and see how long it takes to crack that one! If you simply add your post code like this: ‘password+CB17GT’ it takes a whole lot longer to crack.  It is not difficult to make a password memorable and secure. 

Today we all have hundreds of passwords to remember, make it easy, use a password manager.  There are many out there, I have experience of Lastpass and Dashlane, both work well. 

Grapevine’s own security partner, Wordfence, yesterday published a blog on the topic of video conferencing with Zoom.  It is an informed, unbiased piece with some handy tips about settings: 

More than ever it is important to stay safe in the real world, let’s not neglect the virtual one.