Protection Against Data Breaches

Company data breaches can cause a lot of damage – financial and otherwise to customers and to the reputation of the business. Some companies never recover from a large scale data breach, so it is vitally important to protect your business against the possibility.

Data breaches happen through targeted attacks, theft, or even by accident.

Typically, a hacker gains access to an organisation’s private network and then can steal information on staff, customers and suppliers or research in progress, product data etc.

These attacks can be quick or take a lot of preparation and may take months or even longer to detect or in some cases are never detected.

How to Protect Against Data Breaches

  • Take all cyber security steps necessary – preferably with a qualified expert in charge
  • Insist on strong passwords across the organisation as weak passwords are the easiest way for hackers to gain entry to the systems.
  • Staff training. All staff who use the computers need to know how to recognise phishing attempts by email and by phone.
  • Robust security procedures can reduce the likelihood of human error or oversight.
  • Up to date security systems and updates – unpatched software leaves an open door to hackers.
  • Hackers sometimes gain access to larger company systems by first targeting smaller companies that are supplier to the larger company. Take precautions.
  • Frequent reviews of all security processes and systems is essential as new flaws turn up every day.

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Music Magpie

Music Magpie ( is for selling off old stuff – particularly CDs, DVDs, computer games, books and a growing range of other items.

Music Magpie say they are the quick and easy way to declutter and get cash for your stuff, which is why millions of people use them every year to sell their CDs, DVDs, Games, Books, Blu-Rays & Tech. They have paid over £350 million to more than 6 million customers.

It is quite simple to sell to Music Magpie – you select the item you want to sell from drop down lists and they give you an approximate valuation.

If you agree with that value, then you send them the item and get the money.

However, the problem in these types of transactions is that the offered price may turn into a much reduced price once they receive the item and revalue it and that will cause issues with the seller.

As long as the company offer fair prices then most sellers should be happy, but many people think Music Magpie been offering unreasonably high prices, knowing that almost all items that are sent in, are then down marked in price and it’s difficult for the sender to say no at that point.

There are numerous reviews of Music Magpie on Trustpilot and it seems there are more complaints than there should be.

e.g. 1  Got an email statement to say magpie was giving me £6.50. Right. No wrong. The original statement was £8.90. Another complaint. Sent email to magpie. Np response as yet. Absolutely terrible service.

  1. Terrible. Daughter’s iPod was valued at £40; when I send to Music Magpie I received a revised valuation of £4 as a “technician” had diagnosed a non-functioning lcd. I asked for it to be returned and sure enough everything functions perfectly fine.
  2. I purchased an iPhone from Music Magpie around 9-months ago. It then suddenly stopped working around 3-months ago. I sent it to be repaired immediately – hoping for a quick fix. 3-months later and many “standardised” emails probably sent via robots. I am still without a working phone. In fact they even suggested sending it back to me still broken as they were unable to fix it but didn’t want to replace or refund the phone. I’ve never received worse after-care from any retailer in my life. I will never use this company again because of their inability to honor their warranty. I suggest you do not get bought in because of the low prices, and shop with a legitimate retailer instead.

Be careful if you buy from or sell to Music Magpie.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Garlic Ears

Why you should put garlic in your ear before going to sleep” is a ridiculous headline heralding a ridiculous email message about lost health remedies.

There are probably thousands of books proclaiming long lost remedies and books of kitchen medicines, home-made potions to cure all ills, grand-mothers methods, ancient healing potions etc. and many will contain ideas that could work e.g. the age old remedy for indigestion is peppermint tea.

But, equally many of the old remedies are dangerous or just plain wrong. People have believed in the most ludicrous things in the past (and some still do).

This message claims:-

”the most powerful natural painkiller”

“the most powerful natural cures lost to mankind”

“when medicines vanish you’ll need this on your bookshelf”

turn your backyard weeds into antibiotics”.

No. Better to stick with modern medicine for anything serious and be careful over which kitchen remedies you try.

The line about garlic in your ears isn’t explained in the message and I wont be buying any book just to find the no doubt strange reason behind such a practice.

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118 Directory Charges Capped

In the days when only BT ran a directory enquiry service i.e. to look up phone numbers for you, it was free for a long time then people complained when a modest charge was introduced by BT.

Then the government opened it up to anyone and instead of competition driving down the price – the price went up and the tricks played by the new 118 firms (i.e. directory lookup services) led almost everyone to distrust the various 118 services and the adverts on TV didn’t help as they were designed to be memorable i.e. very annoying.

The charges for the most popular 118 services for a 60 second lookup call reached ridiculous levels e.g.

  • 118 004 (Telecom2) £15.98
  • 118 118 (TNUK) £8.98
  • 118 212 (Maureen) £8.98

Whereas BT and the Post Office maintained more reasonable pricing

  • 118 500 (BT) £2.32
  • 118 555 (Post Office) £1.00

Some of the mobile phone providers offer free directory lookups for their customers.

BT also operates the free 195 directory enquiries number for people with disabilities. To sign up you call 0800 587 0195 to get the relevant form, that needs to be countersigned by a GP.

In 2018, the regulator got fed up with the rip-off prices and created a cap that took effect on 1st April 2019, bringing the charges back to 2012 levels. This meant a 90 second call would cost at most £3.65

Well done the regulator. Sometimes the free market fails to work properly and needs to be fixed.

Some of the services offer to connect you to the number you want, but beware – they make continue to charge you a premium rate per minute while you are connected to that number.

If possible, use Internet lookup to get phone numbers for free and always dial the number yourself to avoid additional charges.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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