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What is the best internet security tip you have ever been given?

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Educational institutions across the UK and Europe also being the target of an increasing number of cyber-attacks in recent months

From those working from home over the past year, to companies and those sporadically using the internet to communicate with family and friends, no one has escaped avid hackers in recent years. They have been busier than ever. In fact, a recent report by Beaming, an independent Internet Service Provider for businesses across the UK, revealed that in the first three months of 2021 firms were hit by over 172,000 attacks. These findings are as scary as they sound. Every day companies are having to survive 1912 attacks – with one intrusion attempt being carried out every 45 seconds in the United Kingdom.

The interest in breaching the online security of people and companies isn’t a new idea. Commercial organizations have suffered an 11% increase in cyber-attacks during the first months of 2021, with higher educational institutions across the UK and Europe also being the target of an increasing number of cyber-attacks in recent months.

As we all need to use digital devices and the internet, be it connecting to clients and family, or simply paying a bill, we need to know the answer to the question: How can we avoid the increasing risk of using technology?

Here, entrepreneurs and security experts share the best internet security tip they’ve ever been given – and the answers can make a big difference for you, and your business, too.

 

Don’t reuse old passwords

“The best internet security tip someone ever gave me is: do not reuse old passwords! Usually, I try to update all my password info – so my accounts are secure. However, I often catch myself reusing an old password. If one of my accounts gets breached, chances are that a different account of mine with the same old password might get breached too. That’s why I never have the same password for two accounts!

Having this on my mind, I force myself to think of new and stronger passwords that will keep my accounts safer. Regularly updating my passwords and creating new ones is what helps to keep all my data safe and secure.
David Morneau – CEO at SEO marketing agency www.breeeze.co

 

Don’t only rely on free software

“It seems simple, but the best online security tip I’ve been given was from my father when I was in my teens. It has made a huge difference: do not rely on the built in Windows firewall that comes as standard.

Always download a free version of AVG or Norton – or pay a fairly cheap yearly cost. The amount of viruses, phishing attacks and malware that’ll be picked up by these (and not Windows) is staggering.”

Alan Monaghan – Founder of soundproofing tutorials website www.quietliving.co.uk

 

Avoid public WiFi for sensitive browsing

“The internet can be a haven for some, but it can also put others at risk if not used cautiously. As a founder, the best internet security tip I received is not using public WiFi when browsing websites that require personal information. You’ll never know; someone might be collecting your data from the public WiFi and use it without your knowledge.”

Chris Muktar – Founder at www.wikiJob.co.uk

Mobile phone with padlock

Every 45 seconds a cyber attack is attempted in the United Kingdom.

 

Always use two-factor authentication

“As a website founder, the internet can be a viable source of information. That being said, it can also put our information at risk. The best internet security tip I have received is using two-factor authentication. It gives extra protection to the person who owns the account because there is another step to confirm the individual logging in is the authorized person. It prevents the hacker from invading an account. Even if they know the username and password, this alerts the authorized person that there is an attempt to login, and they can act right away to protect their account.
April Maccario – Founder at relationship advice website www.askapril.com

 

Have more than one email

“Have more than one email. Specifically, to have an email that I can put out there in the open, which, if compromised, won’t be putting me at great risk. This email is, of course, different from the one I use for my bank transactions and the like.”
Ted Liu – Founder at SEO agency www.justseo.co.nz

 

Never use the same password for everything
“One of the best tips I can give is to not use the same password for every account. Also, be sure to include numbers and various symbols like an exclamation mark or an @ sign. While it may seem easier to remember your password by using a common word or phrase, it makes it much easier for a cyber attacker to figure out your password and steal your information. Passwords should also be updated regularly, and you should use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Then, even if a hacker does obtain your password, they likely won’t be able to get in without the second factor of authentication, like a pin being sent to your phone.
Cindy Murphy – President of Digital Forensics at cybersecurity firm www.tetradefense.com

 

Easy to remember, easier to be stolen

“One piece of advice that helped me a lot with internet security is to never use passwords that have some kind of meaning and are easy to remember. Instead, get used to using a password management software and create strong, hard to crack passwords.”
Mikkel Andreassen – Customer Experience Manager at customer service software firm www.dixa.com

 

 

 

 

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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How was the first ever Metaverse Fashion Week?

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Young woman taking part in a virtual event
Game mania: Gen-Z has been spending an average of 7.3 hours per week in virtual worlds

You will surely be forgiven if you missed the first Metaverse Fashion Show, hosted by the blockchain-based, 3D virtual world Decentraland, which took place between 23rd and 27th March.

Although dozens of brands, including Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce and Gabbana, showcased their collections on the catwalk of the virtual reality, three-dimensional, browser-based world event – where the price tags of printed bucket hats, puffer jackets, and tuxedos by German fashion designer Philipp Plein range from € 1,500 to € 2,500 – glitches and basic visual graphics left room for vast improvement.

Challenges with low-quality visuals and streaming speed, though, didn’t seem to affect the enthusiasm of brands and marketers eyeing-up the multibillion potential of the gaming industry, a trend backed by recent studies. According to a 2021 Morgan Stanley Research Report, a 31% year-on-year increase can be seen when it comes to how people have been turning to games. The number is even more impressive if compared to the previous two years, when users grew by just 7% – the study reveals.

Currently popular across all ages and demographics, gaming has been of interest to young consumers before, during, and after the global pandemic. A recent study conducted by management consulting firm McKinsey, in partnership with fashion business intelligence portal Business of Fashion, found that 81% of Gen-Z played video games in the past six months – with the younger generation spending an average of 7.3 hours per week in virtual worlds.

No wonder longstanding brands are keen to enter the game:

“When I founded my namesake brand in 1985, I never imagined I’d see a time when fashion weeks would be held in a 3D, fully virtual world,” says Tommy Hilfiger. The American designer showcased his Spring 2022 collections and hosted a digital retail platform during the virtual event, where consumers were able to shop NFTs for their avatars or purchase physical items from within the Metaverse. “As we further explore the metaverse and all it has to offer, I’m inspired by the power of digital technology and the opportunities it presents to engage with communities in fascinating, relevant ways.” – says Hilfiger.

Online, the event received mixed reviews, with London-based Digital and Social Strategist Candyce Costa sharing: “I went to Metaverse Fashion Week, and it was awesome (and weird!).”

Tech & culture journalist, Elsa Ferreira, shared the technical challenges her avatar  faced trying to enter the event:

“For this first Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW), it was, above, all necessary to find a computer powerful enough to access this virtual world. Four computers later (including one borrowed from a developer, which will not prevent execution times worthy of Windows 95), here we are in Decentraland.”

Designer Julia Rosti celebrated the fact that the week-long virtual event also connected to the current happenings in Europe:

“So great to see that even @decentraland Fashion Week has found an opportunity to support Ukraine.” – Tweeted the founder of the digital fashion atelier BlancdeBlanc.

The free event, where Ethereum, a type of cryptocurrency, was needed to buy the fashion items showcased in the virtual world, is already confirmed to be coming in 2023 via the Decentraland platform.

 

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Elon Musk hints at paid Twitter verification

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Twitter user reading Elon Musk's Twitter feed about verification processes
South African Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, reportedly paid $2.9bn (£2.3bn) for 9.2% of Twitter this month | Photo: © Marcio Delgado

Entrepreneur and Chief Engineer at SpaceX, Elon Musk, has just bought a 9.2% stake on Twitter and, as it seems, the Tesla owner is already planning new ways to monetize on the social media platform.

On Sunday morning Musk hinted on Twitter about a possible paid authentication checkmark service for those willing to purchase premium features on the social media service.

‘Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue (ie pays $3/month) should get an authentication checkmark”, posted the new Twitter board member, adding that the paid feature ‘should be different from the “public figure” or “official account” checkmark’ already in place for notable users such as media outlets, government, large businesses, established fashion brands, influencers, and those officially competing in sports.

Elon also reiterated that current verified accounts already benefit from some perks, including free ads and the ability to retract a tweet before it’s visible to others.

“Blue already has a modifiable 20 second time to edit tweet feature” – celebrated the entrepreneur and social media shareholder.

However, Kevin Paffrath, a 30-Year-old financial analyst and YouTuber who joined Twitter in 2009 –and has a verified account – quickly pointed out that such existing button, for verified accounts, is not that straightforward:

“I have Twitter Blue & it’s lame. It’s not an Edit feature; it’s a tool that delays your tweet going out for a set period of time so you can reread it. But I find myself just quickly hitting “send now” because I want my tweet to go out when I hit Tweet. No edit possible once sent.” – says Paffrath.

Another user not remotely thrilled by Musk’s idea of ‘pay-to-play’, is writer Elvira Daukaeva:

“I don’t want to pay for tweeter! Brad! Advertising doesn’t bother me and I learn new technologies and products from it!’ – Daukaeva shared on her Twitter account.

Accountability for the content shared on Twitter has also been mentioned as a potential concern that could arise if the platform, currently with over 300 million active users worldwide, introduces an edit button for all in the future.

“Edit is a terrible idea. Imagine the damage people could do by changing what they tweeted historically when thousands retweeted the original. Therefore, aligning them with a new opinion they don’t agree with.” – questions Liverpool-based songwriter, Carl Bode.

While Elon Musk is planning new ways to use Twitter to enhance his $270+ billion net worth, users on the platform quickly suggested that those posting and engaging on a regular basis should also be rewarded for the time spent creating content – a practice already tested by Instagram and Snapchat.

“If you want Twitter to improve and become more widely used and engaged with, how about we get paid for our activity? We collectively provide the value of the whole thing so maybe we should get a slice of the pie too? Maybe coins/tokens.” – user Graham Lay, a holiday home sales manager based in Britain replied to Musk. “So maybe a small one-off registration fee (to cover admin of verification) and then we get rewarded back for the value our content and contribution bring. Allocating say 20% of advertising revenue towards users (us). The more we use it, the more we get rewarded”, suggested Lay.

For American talk radio host and journalist Kim Iversen, who joined the platform in 2021, genuine users not afraid of proving they real people should be the ones getting the coveted verification blue mark.

“People who can verify they are who they are via official ID should get a blue check. If people want to be anonymous, fine, but I like knowing I’m talking to an actual person” – shared Iversen.

Twitter is not the only social media platform offering direct access to a verification request form, within its settings. Instagram has a similar process, with almost identical categories considered to be eligible based on notoriety, and an average 30-day response time for those applying for a blue checkmark.

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Applications for a Barclays virtual academy for early-stage FinTech founders is now open

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Start up team in an online meeting
Programme participants will join the largest single-bank alumni of seed-stage Fintechs boasting a market cap of $7.8 billion

British bank Barclays is launching new initiatives targeted at FinTech founders across the globe, from early-stage to scale-up and beyond.

The first to launch is the Rise Start-Up Academy, a virtual digital skills-building accelerator targeted to early-stage FinTech founders. Applications are already open for founders addressing emerging FinTech trends including wealth equality, climate, the future of money and more. At a later date, Rise Growth Academy will be launched to provide capability development around key areas such as investment readiness, recruitment, accelerating sales and leadership development.

A FinTech Venture Studio will also go live later this year and focus on co-developing new FinTech ventures through working with internal talent, start-ups and other leading companies.

Corporate venture builder Rainmaking has been chosen as an innovation partner to support Barclays in its goals with the new initiative.

“Innovation is critical in driving growth in today’s challenging business environment and in solving some of the most pressing problems society faces today,” – says Mariquit Corcoran, Group Chief Innovation Officer at Barclays. “We have been humbled and changed by the incredible FinTechs we have worked with, and we understand first-hand the power of collaboration to evolve and unlock opportunities for our customers, clients, colleagues and the communities in which we operate. We are very excited to work with Rainmaking to further push the boundaries of corporate innovation and ensure collaboration is at the heart of our FinTech strategy.”

Rainmaking brings a track record in partnering with large corporates to build successful new ventures. Its approach is based upon the proven methodology used to build 65 of their own ventures and through its subsidiary, Startupbootcamp, to accelerate over 950 start-ups and over 100 cohorts. While only 10% of early-stage start-ups typically survive, over three quarters (76%) of Startupbootcamp companies are still active or have exited. According to Rainmaking, this has led to the creation of 4,626 jobs and raised over $800 million in funding.

“We are working with Barclays to drive positive change and play an active role in stimulating growth and opening up future revenue opportunities for founders of new businesses. By providing the tools to enhance digital skills, founders can build and scale their businesses for future revenue growth. The new suite of meaningful and cutting-edge FinTech programmes will combine the power of entrepreneurship, whilst unlocking the scale strengths and the deep domain expertise of Barclays.” – says Chris Locke, CEO Europe at Rainmaking.

The partnership will be led by Sonal Lakhani, Global Head of Programmes and Strategic Initiatives at Barclays Innovation Office, who also led the expansion of the Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis last year across the UK and Europe.

Barclays has played a key role in supporting the evolving FinTech ecosystem over the past decade through Rise, its award-winning FinTech platform. With offices in London and New York, Rise has been at the forefront in building the future of FinTech.

By partnering with Rainmaking, Barclays intends to continue expanding the limits of corporate innovation and accelerate co-creation with key players across the ecosystem. Together they will also expand Barclays’ critical role of supporting the creation and scaling of early-stage Fintechs.

To apply for the academy, visit the RiseStartUpAcademy 

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