Security relating to online safety and guides to help make you more secure

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Data Backup – How To do it right!

I have spent years trying to convince people about the importance of backups and unfortunately, this has fallen on deaf ears for some people. This small guide will help you understand how to backup your data and how much (if anything) you need to spend on it.

The first and most important question to ask is this: How much data can I afford to lose? A day, a week, a month, maybe even a year!? This will enable you to make a very important decision on how often you need to run backups.

What programs are available?

There are quite a few backup providers but for personal use, I would recommend EaseUS Todo Backup. There are both free and premium options available so no matter the budget, you can have this fantastic software looking after your system. The setup is user-friendly and the interface is very intuitive so even the most basic user will be able to set this up. The important part is to ensure that you set up the scheduler to run automatically based on your answer to the first question that you answered above. You can find the software HERE

But I always backup, So I’m safe……Right?

I think it’s probably safe to say that the majority of people reading this have a USB drive sitting on the top of their PC or sitting on their desk that they plug in whenever doing a backup so they don’t need to worry right? Perhaps……..

Identity  fire latinawomen latina women sonia manzano GIF

Backing up loaclly is fine and is really just the first step in backing up your data. You have to assume that an incident like a fire could break out and having a copy locally wont be much benefit to you if it’s kept in the same place as your laptop / PC. Cloud storage is super cheap these days so there is very little reason to NOT use it to store the information that is important to you either personally or for your business to function. Online providers like Dropbox, iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive are around €100 per year for a massive 1TB of storage space. These programs have desktop clients available to make it really easy to sync your files up (and down if you like).

Types of backup:

There are 3 types of backup that you will come across. This is primarily as follows:

  1. Full – This is typically taken the first time you run your backup software. Be prepared that this can take some time and depending on the amount of data you are backing up and the speed of your backup drive it could take a day or more.
  2. Incremental – This is what I advise you to use. This method backups (as the name suggests) in increments. Only the data that has changed between the time its run and the last incremental backup. This results in much smaller files and less time to run. If you run a full backup on Sunday and an incremental on Monday, the data change will be just one day. If you run it again on Tuesday, the data backed up will be the difference from Monday to Tuesday
  3. Differential – Differential backs up all of the data since your last full backup so unlike incremental backups, it ignores what it has already backed up. Eg. If you run a Full backup on Sunday and a differential backup on Monday, thedata chnage will be just one day (As with incremetnal) but if you run it again on Tuesday, it will still back up everything since Sunday so it’s not as effeciant as Incremental.

What Files or Folders should I backup?

If you are using windows, this is pretty easy. The most important folders for you will likely be located in “C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\”. This contains the files on your desktop, your documents folder, your pictures and your videos as well as some other folders that you may or may not need to backup depending on your preferences. The one thing I always do is remove the “Downloads” directory. This can be down to how organised you are but when I download anything important, I move it to a folder that is relavent(or create one) rather than leaving it there. That way you know you can periodically remove the files which are often large setup files and not needed more than once.

Once you have your cloud client installed (Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive etc) and you have signed in you can tell the program to sync these folders to your online account. This will ensure that you have a recent copy available from anywhere in the world!

If you would like a little more detail, just drop me a message and I’ll write it up. Thanks for dropping by!!

N.B. I have no affiliation with any of the companies products mentioned.

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Torrents – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Torrents first cropped up around the late 90’s. The first memory I have of downloading a torrent was when by brother downloaded “Pitch Black”. The process took 3 days and we got a letter from our ISP telling us they were disconnecting us because we had downloaded so much. This was a dial-up connection by the way ! *shudders.

You use torrents all the time and never had a bad experience, right? Well, the fact is that unless you are downloading a file legally, which most people who use torrents are not, then you are likely wide open to a number of worrying scenarios. You are certainly not alone though! There has been 27 million recorded users on BitTorrent at a single time and it’s estimated that it alone is responsible for 25% of all internet traffic.


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Bitcoins: Money you cant touch

I wrote a piece previously on The Deep Web which you can find Here and briefly touched on Bitcoins and promised that I would write a piece about them.

What are Bitcoins?

Bitcoins are a digital currency launched in 2009. It was originally joked and laughed at but has grown significantly over the last few years. They have really come into their own since 2014. There have been digital currencies in the past but none have taken off quite like Bitcoins have. There is a stigma that the only people who use Bitcoins are people who wish to purchase illegal goods on the dark web but this is very far from the truth. Although the currency is the primary payment used on illegal internet sites it also provides very useful alternatives to retailers worldwide. For example, credit card companies charge vendors for using their card systems which can be a set fee or a percentage of the transaction (depending on where you are and your provider). The credit card fee is typically between 2 and 4% whereas the fee for using Bitcoins can be 0-2% which will make a difference to any business.

The system works on a Peer to Peer basis so there is no need for an intermediary. The system is maintained by its users referred to as miners. Miners run computers that maintain the blockchain in which all transactions are recorded and verified using cryptography. A major pitfall of a currency that has no physical weight on it is that if it gets lost then it stays that way. When you buy coins they are assigned to your wallet address which contains your private key. If this key is lost, it’s lost forever. There was an unverified story of a guy who lost his private key when he discarded his hard drive. It was claimed that he was the owner of 7,500 Bitcoins which at the time had a value of 7.5 Million USD.

Digital Wallets:

A digital wallet is needed for you to easily buy and spend Bitcoins. There are many versions and the speed that you can get up and running will largely depend on the wallet you decide to use. Go here and decide which wallet you want to use but do choose carefully and no matter what wallet you go for back it up and then back up your backup! I use Bitcoin Knots which is fine for the occasional purchase I make but it involves downloading the entire blockchain which is every piece of data for the last 7 years to my hard drive. This equates to around 50Gb of data that must be updated every time you want to spend your bitcoins so it may not be practical for everyone. There are other options so have a good read and make the choice that suits your needs.


Bitcoins, like any currency rise and fall but just check out the graph below which shows the rise of Bitcoins. From 2015 to 2016 they have increased by 300%. If I had all of my money I would be quite happy now but because this is a digital currency, the whole thing could potentially fall down around us so investment is not a wise move at this time.

Bitcoin valueWhere to buy Bitcoins:

There are many places to buy Bitcoins and although I buy mine from a specific vendor, I’m not going to endorse. Do your homework and buy from a trusted vendor. Make sure you get value for money. I have seen people giving awful exchange rates as well as charging a percentage of your local currency which on a large purchase will definitely sting. Also be aware that because the value goes up as well as down, you could end up paying more for your goods than if you use cash. Of course, it can go the other way too.

Happy shopping!


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The Dark Web: What Is It And How To Get There

I’m sure that you have heard the term and probably briefly wondered “what is the Dark web?”. To break it down to it’s simplest terms, the Dark web is “another” internet. The internet or clear web, that you and I use daily is openly indexed by search engines in an effort to make it easy for you to find whatever it is that you are looking for. SEO companies (Search Engine Optimisation) make mega bucks by specialising in making sure that your website, shop, blog etc are easily found. The exact opposite is true of the dark web. These sites are not indexed by search engines and it can be quite hard to find them if you are not sure where to look. This also means that it is very easy to get scammed by wandering on to a site that you believe to be legit but it is not. I have toyed with the idea of providing all of the details you need but really, that would be irresponsible of me. I’ll point you in the right direction and where you go from there is entirely up to you. (more…)

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Mobile Game Hacked – How-To Secure Your Accounts

Today I would like to inform you of a recent security breach as well as help you to secure your online accounts. I wrote an article recently on the LinkedIn database leak and it’s become very obvious that this is becoming something that happens way too often. Recently (14th June 2016) the forum operated by the mobile game “Clash Of Kings” was attacked and compromised. The disturbing fact of this hack is that the hacker claims to have used basic tools to gain access because “The forum was running outdated software”. If this is true, then there should be serious sanctions in place for companies like these. Companies who make shed loads of cash need to ensure that your data is as safe as it can be. (more…)

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Has my account been hacked? Check here…..

Have you been hacked?

It’s something that comes up with my line of business more often than I would like. Has my account been hacked?

Before continuing the article, check your email account(s) in the following website to see if your account(s) were accessed and published: Have I Been Pwned?

Often, when hackers go after large sites they publish the information on (usually sketchy) websites. This information can be sold to potential cyber criminals for relatively small amounts of money when you take into account the money that could be made from accessing your email accounts. Once they get in they can search for your online accounts and start resetting passwords. Usually by the time you notice, the damage is done.

My advice?


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LinkedIn hacked – 100 Million accounts compromised

You hear about hacks daily and generally it doesn’t affect you so you ignore it right? Well, it seems that this is one that you might want to take notice of. The business social networking site LinkedIn was hacked in 2012 with 6.5 million people’s credentials posted online. LinkedIn never actually confirmed at the time how many accounts they thought had been compromised but the advice at the time was to change your password.

It has now come to light that more than 100 Million accounts have been compromised by hacker going by the name of “Peace” that managed to find access in 2012. The passwords have been checked by some independents and been confirmed as legitimate.

Is the story reliable?

The original news was brought to light by motherboard and the site have obtained a copy of the database. LeakedSource contacted 3 members from the hacked database and these users confirmed that their details were correct.


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