30 January 2024

Cyber Crime: 5 Tips to Avoid Getting Hacked


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Your online security has never been more critical than it is now. With more and more people using online services and even more cybercriminals looking to exploit those living digitally, being able to stay safe when conducting digital activities should be paramount for everyone.

It's thought there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds, and falling victim to any type of hack, cyber threat, scam, or other criminal activity can have massive implications on your life. 

This post is going to look at some of the best ways you can protect yourself online to ensure you don't compromise your identity or safety.


A vpn is a virtual private network that establishes a connection between you and a remote server. It allows you to border the internet securely and desire that none of your data is shared, be it your location, digital habits or anything else you get up to online.

However, it's important to know that while VPNs encrypt your data and offer you some levels of protection, they're not a complete security package on their own and are best used in conjunction with other measures for complete security and privacy online.

Update Software

Using outdated devices and software will leave you vulnerable to hacks and cyber attacks from people looking to exploit weaknesses in the software. Software updates allow developers to identify issues, fix them, and then roll them out to users to offer added protection and features.

Neglecting to keep your software updated, even your mobile phone software, can leave you at risk from threats that have been identified and viruses or malware that will take full advantage of these issues. Set your devices to accept automatic updates so you don't miss anything and are always up-to-date and secure.

Monitor Your Social Media Settings and Usage

Cybercriminals can glean a lot of information from your social media accounts. In the first instance, you need to go into each platform and check your settings. You want it locked down to private so you can limit who can access your accounts and what you share. You also want to make sure that you have a strong password and use additional authentication steps to help secure your account.

From here, you need to be mindful of what you share, too. For example, try not to update where you are in real-time and save tagging places or locations until you have left so people can't track you. Avoid connecting to third-party apps you don't know much about, as they are often used to mine data and will typically learn more about you than you realise. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don't know or clicking links in messages pertaining to the platform itself, as generally, these are phishing scams, and as soon as you log in and enter any details, they have your account. Always delete the message and change your password by logging onto the social media site in your usual way.

Clear Your Cache

Never underestimate how much your browser collects during your time online. Your browser will save searches, cookies, search information and more from each session until you clear it.

You can use the browser setting to clear the data held by the browser and either completely delete it or choose which settings to delete. Or you can use Ctrl+Shift+Del to open up a dialogue that lets you choose what to delete and what to keep.


If passwords are the bane of your life, then you need to rethink how you approach them. Your passwords are integral to the security of all of your online accounts. Even logging into your device needs a secure password so people cannot access all of your details.

Some top tips for secure passwords and password activity include

  • Not using a saved password features in browsers.

  • Using a password manager or store and suggest strong passwords

  • Use a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password.

  • Combine random three or four-letter words to create a password, e.g. helptimepull, as these will be harder to guess; add in random capital letters, numbers and symbols to make it more challenging still, for example, hElptImepUll258$ will add additional security to your account.

  • Use different passwords (this is work; the password manager and generator come in handy) for different accounts.

  • Change passwords regularly.

Staying safe online should be something that you pay attention to, and knowing what you can do and what to avoid will help you avoid common pitfalls associated with cybercrime and ensure that you make it as hard as possible for people to get a hold of your information or complete some of the more common online scams.

4 January 2024

My End of Year Post

* This post was supposed to be written in the Christmas break, but I was having fun and spending some much need relaxation time with my boyfriend, family and friends and as such, this post has been delayed!

When I used to write frequently on this blog, I always did an end of year post.  A rounding up of the past year, what had happened, what I had learned and what I was taking forward.

This year has been quite the year.  Many ups, many downs.  Coming back to my writing now, I feel like an end of year post is fitting.

When looking back, it is easy to only look at the bad and fixate on that.  But I always think that it is important to counteract the bad with something good.  Even if it only what you learned from the experience.

We always grow from our experiences, good and bad.  It is up to us which way we grow and in what direction we choose to go.  Forward is the best direction of course, even if the path isn’t straight and looks long and winding.  Onwards and upwards is the trajectory that we always aim for, however we reach them.

So where do I start with 2023?

I learned many things in 2023. I learned (again) to grieve a loved one lost, my wonderful Uncle Jack.

I learned that some people who were in my life are capable of far worse than I ever imagined.

I learned that other people in my life are capable of being far greater and stronger than I ever knew.

I learned, or came at least to realise; that no amount of revenge will ever truly satisfy you, so why dwell on it. Karma usually finds it mark eventually.

I came to understand that I am not responsible for the actions of others or the hurt that they have caused myself and others. I now choose not to feel anger about the whole situation any more, because in reality all angers achieves is more pain and gives away your power to the person you are angry at. I refuse to give anyone control of my emotions. I want no part in that.

There was a lot to learn and process in 2023. But what about the good things? The kind that you don't need to learn from and understand. The fun stuff. The joy. Here was mine.

I moved into my second year of living together with my boyfriend and am still and continue to be utterly in love. I am forever grateful to whatever kind of kismet brought us together. He is perfect for me and I am so happy.

I went on three holidays last year including a stay in the beautiful village in Portmeiron and also ten days in Greece where I saw my wonderful friend get married.

I think perhaps the most important thing for me in 2023 is that I realised that I could, and wanted to plan ahead in my life. Wanted to think about future years, not just where I am now. That only comes with happiness, with security and knowledge that you are safe and secure enough in your life to do so.

There will be changes afoot in my life in 2024 and that is so exciting. I will let you know when they happen!

30 November 2023

A Thank You To My Former Self

I talked recently about how many different versions of you there are and will be in your life.  A Thousand Different Women.

Of all the women I have been, there is one that I look back on with awe.  With gratitude.  She saved me.

When I am scared, when I think I don't have the guts, when I am sad, or lonely or lost; I think of her.  I am so far away from the girl I used to be, we are practically polar opposites, but our core remains the same.  I owe my life to her.  I have to honour the gift that she gave me.  That gift was my future.

I do not exaggerate when I say that my early twenties almost killed me.  I was falling down a deep hole of depression that I did not understand.  I wanted a reason for it, but in truth there was none.  At least not one that I could recognise back then.

I cried every day.  The pain I felt nearly consumed me and it felt like my soul was splitting in two.  I could see no way out and many times, I thought that it would be better if I were dead.  Nothing could be worse than this pain.

I would go out with friends at weekend and drink to escape it.  It worked, for a few hours at least, until I drank too much and the pain came back.

I never spoke to anyone about how I was feeling.  I was too lost.  Too afraid of telling my best friend, the only real friend I had back then.  What if she couldn't handle it?  What if my problems were too much?  Instead though, she got to see the times when the pain crept back in and I drank too much.  I should have told her.  I should have told someone.  But I didn't.  I suffered alone.

Sometimes I went out driving to try and clear my head.  It was on one of these drives that I passed a cliff road, not too far away from where I lived.  That night was the first night that I really thought about suicide.  Whether I should drive off that cliff.

I cannot remember how many times I went back to that place.  Three times, maybe four.  There was a sort of car park there.  I presume for people who went walking.  I would park up and sit in my car and sob.  I knew that this could not go on much longer.  I could not go on much longer.  The walls around me were crumbling.

My sadness had consumed me.  Nearly whole.  All that was left of me was a fragment, held together with pretense, sticky tape and a strong stubbornness to not to let anyone else see my pain.  

The last time that I drove to that car park, I had a plan.  I couldn't do this anymore.  I could not take the never ending pain.  I just wanted it gone.  Me, gone.  

I clearly remember driving faster as I got nearer to the cliff.   I had made my decision.  But then, as I neared the place, something deep inside me fought back.  A strength, a voice that seemed to surge from nowhere.    

No.  Don't you fucking do it.  I am not dying today.  No.  Pull the fuck over.

It was the strongest feeling that I had ever had, both then and since.  I knew that I had to live.  I did actually want to live.  I just didn't know how.

The black dog of depression had had me for so long, pinned down under its feet that I could not see a way out.  That day, I had felt that there was nothing left of me.  I was consumed.  Yet from nowhere, a tiny fragment of what was left of me, won the battle that day.  A new woman was arising out of my ashes.  She was strong.  She would fight for me.  And she did.  

I cannot say that my life became easier after that, or for many years after.  I still hid the worse parts of me in the shadows.  Still hid the pain.  But something had changed.  I knew that there was a strength in me.   A strength so powerful that it stopped me dead (pardon the pun) in my path of destruction.

Over the years I had fought many battles with the black dog, sometimes taking many steps forward, sometimes a stagger or two to the side.  But I had never stepped back again.

Perhaps this is why that I always refer to myself as being different versions, different women throughout my adult life.  Because there have been many versions of me, many that I could not identify with now, or even understand.  But each version of me has been important.  Another step to the person I am today.  Someone who is whole.  Someone who is happy.  I am no longer lost.  I am found.  Found by myself and found by the man in my life who loves me.  All of me.  It is the “all” part that was the final healing peace of my soul.

I have already fought the battle for my life.  I won.  The sadness and pain that consumed me back then will never do so again.  Because I have built the foundations of my soul back together.  I have healed.  I have grown.

It is stems back and is thanks to the part of me, that version of myself that stepped up and said no.  Not today.  Don't you dare.  She is still in me.  I will never forget her.  I am live today because of her.