Help Me, Help You

Help Me, Help You

LincsConnect has been busy on your behalf and things are set to get even busier. Click on the picture to see what’s been happening…

Can You Help Me?

It can’t have escaped your attention that I have been rather busy here on your behalf.  All of the retweets on twitter, the additional posts for you, The Facebook posts to help promote your business and events, not to mention all the blogs! I know you appreciate what I do and I appreciate the fact that you share what I’m doing too.  #LincsConnect only works when we work as a team and with 11,000 Twitter followers and steadily growing I know that your help is working for me too.  However, at the risk of sounding cheeky, I still need more help.  We are heading for a major recession so working together as a team is even more important than it ever has been.  You are still posting your work using LincsConnect and I’m very grateful.  LincsConnect is trying hard to share your work around the County and along our borders but I really need to ask more people to search the hashtag #LincsConnect (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) to help share the messages and support each other.

Just imagine, if all 11,000 local followers each searched the #LincsConnect hashtag and shared just one message there….!

How Can LincsConnect Help You More?

What else can The account do for you?  Please let me know as I have plans for the account and need to know that it isn’t missing something important.

#LincsArtCraftHour

If you read my last blog you will recall that we have a dedicated weekly hour set aside on Monday lunchtimes to help promote artists, crafters, jewellery designers and sculptors.  Please take a look at the link below to refresh your memory:

#LincsArtCraftHour

Keep your eyes open for the #LincsArtCraftHour.  Click on the picture to go to the blog

I have a question for the Artists who will be joining us and those of you who will be looking to see what masterpieces and bargains are on offer:  Which hashtag would you prefer?  Are you happy with #LincsArtCraftHour or do you thing it would be better as #LincsArtCraft hour?  The latter is shorter and more general as it can be used at any time while the original idea is very specific to the Monday lunchtime hour.  Please do let me know so that I can make sure I get it right for you.

Guest Blogs

Do you have something to say that you would like to have included in the regular #LincsConnect blogs?  Please do get in touch if you would like to have your work included here as it’s always nice to see you here.

If you would like to collaborate with your blog here please email me at martin@lincsconnect.co.uk 

 

Featured Twitter Hour…

Do you have any featured hours that you would like to see on twitter? How about #LincsAuthors, #LincsMarkets, #LincsIT, #LincsHousing, #LincsGardening#LincsCharities #LincsRestaurants …..?  Who do you think should have their own featured hour?  The hashtag is here to help you so whether you’re a trader, a charity or a potential customer, I wan’t to make sure that #LincsConnect has something for you.  Please do send me your suggestions in the comments block at the bottom of this blog. Perhaps you would like to run your #LincsConnect hour?  I’m always open to suggestions so please do get in touch.

Here To Help

If there is something you need would you like to do a skills swap?  Would anyone be interested in a #LincsSwaps hour?  An our each week where you can offer your skills to swap for something of equal value?  Some of us may be finding finances a little tight at the moment but are willing to trade to get what we need.  Here’s an example:  A local restaurant may be in need of leaflets for a local leaflet drop and be willing to swap a meal to the value of £xxx in return for 200 hundred leaflet.  That’s just an example of course.  The exact figures would have to be agreed privately by the restaurant and the designer/printer but you get the idea I’m sure.  Again, if this interests enough people I’ll happily organise it.  You’ll need to get in touch though so that I know whether to go ahead with the idea or not.

Advertising/Local Discounts

Advertising space is always available on the blog of course so if you would like a spot here please let me know.  I could also arrange a feature with your advert to help highlight your business/organisation.  Again, just get in touch to make arrangements.  You can email me at martin@lincsconnect.co.uk

Perhaps you have a special offer or would like to offer readers a discount?  You could have a voucher on here to share across the County.

20% discount on Mandarin Leisure services for all NHS, 999 and military members across the County.

Featured Song Of The Week By A Local Artist

Each week I include a local artist, band or choir on twitter to highlight their work and show off the great talents that we have in our county.  If you have a favourite band with music on YouTube that you think should be featured please let me know.

All last week I featured Alex Cavan from Grantham with his song ‘Waterfall’.  If you would like to hear him just click on the picture below to go straight to his YouTube upload.

To hear Alex singing ‘Waterfall’ just click on the picture and if you would like to follow him on Twitter you’ll find him at @AlexCavanMusic 

It’s For You…

The blog is here for you to support everything from the North to South, East and West of the County and bordering towns and villages too.  It’s for you and the rest of our community so please, please, please do share this blog and lets see if we can get more people reading it and interacting.

Stay Safe 

Stay safe everyone, keep your distance and keep washing your hands.  We’re not in the clear yet so we need to ‘Stay Alert’

Sponsored by Mandarin Therapies and Mandarin Mothers. Bespoke complementary Therapies throughout Lincolnshire

 

 

How Secure Is Secure?

How Secure Is Secure?

As A Blogging Novice I Wonder How Secure A Blog Can Be

Having experienced several scares on the internet I wonder how secure a blog, website, smartphone or social media account can actually be.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some fantastic support around me to help and guide but (is this a ‘man’ thing)? I’ve also been determined to do things by myself.  Getting things wrong is part of the learning curve and I can’t blame everything on my dyslexia.  That leaves me with only one conclusion then;  Sometimes I get it wrong!

As usual though there is a ‘however’ to add to that.  Having had a few comments on my last blog my suspicions were raised as I noted the addresses of the emails.  Although it’s nice to think my posts may have reached .de (Germany) and .xyz (who knows where?) I’m not likely to approve those comments without first checking their credibility.  Putting the question out to Twitter I received an interesting tweet from Liam @ZaddleMarketing who advised me not to click on any links or even the email addresses in those suspicious comments.  Confirming my fears that these posts were in fact SPAM but also advising me to look at a good security plugin for my WordPress site.  Liam is a very knowledgeable and trusted member on Twitter and I won’t hesitate to recommend him.  Of course there are lots of good people on social media that you know you can trust so it’s always best to ask the question of your contacts if ever you’re in doubt.

Thank You Kerrin

Thank you Kerrin @Kerrinwilson999 for your hospitality (and the lovely cake of course).  It was really nice to meet you and I’m looking forward to extending the reach of  LincsConnect to include regular posts by you and your team across the whole County.  Thankfully I have already had some security tips from some of your colleagues and that information has proved invaluable.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy my short post here today and will have time to add a comment too.

Getting It Right By Chance

I’ve heard that smart speakers listen in to our conversations and it’s not uncommon for adverts to pop up on our social media platforms directly relating to a conversation at home the previous day.  I know I’ve had issues with my iMac and I’m convinced it had been infected with some sort of malware.  It’s taken a long time to convince the experts that this is the case but after trying to rebuild my computer it has become obvious to them that some sort of infection had occurred. Thankfully it has been stripped back to factory settings now and re-built.  It’s extremely uncommon (I’m led to believe) that an iMac can be infected but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it’ll happen to me!  Technology and I don’t gel all of the time I’m afraid.  However, having feared the worst following a rash of phishing emails (ransom emails sent to my inbox supposedly from my own address) I decided that the only course of action was to contact Lincolnshire Police Cyber Crime Unit who responded very quickly with a visit to my office.  A full inspection of my computer confirmed that the emails were really just phishing emails and should be deleted.  However, the nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right stayed with me and after several incidents with my computer Apple decided that a full restore and section by section re-build was required.  Needless to say, I’m happy now that my computer and details are safe once again.

What If…?

What if it’s true that the smart devices can leak our information?  A recent BBC Panorama programme about Amazon revealed that they knowingly and openly use our information for marketing and advertising purposes. I don’t think that the machines (or people) are listening to our every conversation but when key words are detected the link is made with you, your device, your email address and your broadband hub.  Recent news reports have also highlighted that smart devices can be hacked and accessed remotely.  The video doorbells, video baby monitors and even smart TVs and smart fridges are all susceptible to the unscrupulous hackers who want our information.  Accessing our personal data can be very upsetting and worrying of course so we need to protect ourselves.

Basic Protection

If we can access any devices from our smartphone it’s a fair bet that the unscrupulous criminals can do the same.  The smart fridge, smart monitor and smart TV come with factory settings and passwords that can be found easily online and it may not be possible to change those settings.  Hacking your fridge isn’t too much of a problem of course.  Let’s face it, what’s the worse case scenario with that?  Perhaps someone could remotely alter the temperature or turn it off?  I’m sure that isn’t going to be at the top of the criminals priority list but accessing your router from your fridge Or your smart TV etc may be more sinister.

Passwords

The obvious and most basic form of self protection is strong passwords of course.  Whenever you get the chance, change the passwords from factory settings to something that you can remember.  Names aren’t usually a good idea for passwords as we would tend to use names of relatives, pets or celebrity/sporting heroes.  All of these names are likely to crop up on your social media pages at some point so can easily be guessed.  Random passwords are by far the best option but it’s important to have different passwords for different logins so that your security is as high as possible.  There are some very clever Apps around that can store your passwords for you but I’m sure you will have your own remembering system that works for you.

Privacy

I’ve had a few scary moments that have made me review my security of course but thankfully, as I don’t trust myself with technology, I don’t keep any client information on computer or electronic device.  The closest I get to storage of any data is the phone numbers on my smartphone.  That’s protected by a security password as well as facial recognition, finger print and VPN (I’ll cover VPN later).  It’s better to be safe than sorry!  Keeping your personal information safe should be a high priority and simple precautions can be all you need.  If you have data stored on you mobile device make sure it’s protected with a security code and backed up regularly.  My devices can be deleted remotely which is a good feature.  If you’re not sure if you can do the same with your own device it’s best to check for peace of mind.  Two factor authentication is handy too – that’s when you get an alert on your chosen device to tell you that someone is accessing your other devices.  My iPhone will prompt me to confirm that I am who I say I am when I log onto my computer and I have to type in a one time only code before the computer will let me in.  It takes seconds and provides an extra level of security.

How Secure?

You’ve changed your passwords from factory settings to secure ones that aren’t easily guessed.  You have a different password for every device so you’re good to go….?  Well, not quite!  Your router may not be secure so if you’re not sure ask your provider to guide you through changing the factory set password.  You’re ‘almost’ there…  You’re now safe in your own home but what happens when you are out and about?  Do you log in to the Cloud or other public WiFi to use your device?  How secure is that system?  The truth is, you have no idea.  Your final piece of security is VPN.  What is VPN?  This is the explanation from Wikipedia: “A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.”  You might want to look this one up for yourself.  It is a ‘belt and braces’ approach to security but if you have any private or confidential information on your devices you might want to read a bit more about it.  It is a ‘paid for’ service so you’ll need to be aware of that and you’ll also need to be aware that not all internet routers are capable of installing it. However, once installed on your home router ‘all’ devices using that WiFi connection will be protected under the higher level of security.  I have it installed and the one I chose covers six devices. I have it on my iPhone and iPad so that I know I’m secure whenever I log into a public WiFi system.

It’s Good To Share

All of this information comes from people I have spoken to who have been kind enough to guide me.  I’m not an expert in this field at all but hopefully some of the things I’ve learned along the way and printed here will be useful fo you.  If you have any other tips that may be useful for other users please feel free to add a comment and send a message on twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LincsConnect

Helping each other is always good of course but if you need any additional help I suggest you contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP), local IT specialist or if you’re worried about cyber security you could contact @lincspolice to ask about their Cyber Security courses.  I have been on one and can highly recommend it.  After all, these are the experts who really want to help you to prevent crime.

 

Back Soon

Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings.  I’ll be back soon with more blogs of course but keep watching as they are about to evolve into something quite unique.

Best wishes