Monthly Archives: September 2016

Tips to Tackle Internet Trolls

From name-calling and ridicule to abuse and torment, internet trolls can make life miserable for online users. Here’s our guide to tackling trolls.

What is an internet troll?

Similar to their fairytale counterparts, internet trolls are nasty pieces of work.

An internet troll is someone who deliberately provokes others online by posting offensive or inflammatory comments, or taunting others. In essence, they’re online bullies who operate under a cloak of anonymity to cajole, threaten and abuse others.

Trolls can be found everywhere online – from community forums, blogs, websites and social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Cybercriminals even mimic trolling by posting controversial content with links that contain malware.

However, it’s worth remembering that not everyone who shares a negative opinion or replies to something you post is a troll, so consider their motivation before taking action.

How to deal with internet trolls

1. Don’t respond

Trolls are looking for a reaction Their aim is to upset and provoke you into making an angry or emotional response.

You can’t prevent a troll from targeting you but you can decide how to react. So, don’t respond – you’ll never win an argument with a troll because they’re not interested in reason or fairness.

By not taking the bait to respond, trolls usually give up and go away.

2. Tell someone

If you’re being bullied online or receiving abusive comments, don’t keep it a secret.

Speak to someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend, who can help and support you.

3. Record and save

If someone makes an offensive post, take a screenshot of it or print it so that you can share it later with others if necessary.

4. Report trolls

Ask for the website moderator, administrator or owner to intervene if the troll doesn’t stop.

Most websites and social networks have strong anti-abuse policies and, in most cases, trolls are guilty of violating a website’s terms and conditions so will have their accounts terminated.

In extreme cases, such as posting racial abuse or inciting violence, trolls are committing a criminal offence and the police may decide to take action.

Reporting social media trolls

In social media sites such as Facebook, you can report abusive posts by using the ‘Report’ link that appears near the content itself.

For example, to report an abusive post on Facebook, click the down arrow at the top-right of the post and select I don’t want to see this. Click ‘Why don’t you want to see this?’ Choose the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.

Block social media trolls

You don’t have to put up with the antics of trolls. It’s OK to block people whose behaviour offends or makes you feel uncomfortable.

Blocking someone on most social media sites is easy. In Twitter, go to the troll’s profile, click the gear icon that says ‘More user actions’ when you hover over it, then select ‘Block’ and click ‘Block’ again to confirm.

In Facebook, you can block a person by clicking the down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page. From the drop down menu click ‘How do I stop someone from bothering me?’ Enter the name of the person you want to block, select them from the list that appears and click ‘Block’.

Some Tips for Using Social Media Sites Safely

Keep your personal information safe with our 10 top tips for protecting your privacy on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Social networking sites are great for keeping in touch and making new friends but they’re also boon for criminals looking to harvest personal information and scam victims.

Sharing too much information on a social network may leave you at risk of identity theft – and even home burglary.

Follow our top social networking tips to help safeguard your privacy.

1. Use strong passwords

Use a separate password for each social account.

Make it at least eight digits long and a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

Choose a username that doesn’t help identify you, such as maryjsmith_1961.

2. Use a separate email

Create a separate email account to use with each social network. That way, your main email account is protected from any spam or phishing email you may receive.

3. Don’t get personal

Don’t post personal details, such as your phone number, home address, full name or date of birth. Avoid posting photos of your home that make it easy to identify where you live.

4. Don’t overshare

Never give details of upcoming holidays nor post holiday snaps while you’re away. Criminals scour social networks to find empty houses to burgle.

Some insurers may refuse a claim if you’ve broadcast your vacant home on Facebook or other social accounts.

5. It’s not a popularity contest

Don’t accept every friend or follower request you get – only connect with people you know in real life or whose identity you know is genuine.

Criminals create fake online accounts in order to befriend others and harvest personal information.

Where possible always follow social media accounts that have a white tick in a light blue circle next to their name. This means they are an officially verified account.

6. Make use of privacy settings

Read the site’s privacy policy and use its privacy and security settings to control who can see your personal information. Facebook, for example, offers controls over who can see your basic or full profile, your posts and photos and what appears in your timeline.

7. Control your profile

Don’t make your profile public. Use settings so that only friends can view your full profile.

8. Be wary of links

Avoid clicking on links in messages, tweets, posts, and online advertising. These may be links to viruses or other forms of malicious content.

9. Be careful of third-party apps

Polls, quizzes and games are often a fun part of some social networking websites, but by signing up to these you may be giving the companies who create them permission to access your profile. Use the privacy settings of your social networking website to avoid this.

10. Don’t link accounts

Many websites and apps give you the option to ‘Log in with Facebook’, rather than creating a separate account. But by doing this, your social network may share all the information it holds about you, including the date and place of your birth, your email address and employment details, along with photos.

Furthermore, with just one log-in for multiple sites, if one site is hacked, then all your accounts are compromised too.

Let’s Learn About Some Ways The Internet of Things Is Already Affecting

The internet of things is already having a big impact on your life – even if you’re not be fully aware of it. Here’s how it affects your everyday life.
The internet of things (IoT) may sound like it belongs in a sci-fi movie, but it’s already here and impacting our daily lives. But what is the IoT? In essence, electronic devices and home appliances are becoming ‘smart’ – using computer chips and wireless technologies to connect and talk to other devices including smartphone and computers over the internet.

What is the internet of things?

Internet of things in the home

A smart home that’s energy efficient and makes life easier is often the first thing most people think of when considering a future shaped by the IoT. While we’re not yet at the point where our fridges can order a new carton of milk, the impact of the IoT is already evident in our home.

Smart TVs, games consoles, energy meters and home security systems already have the ability to be remotely controlled over the internet. British Gas’s Hive system has an intelligent thermostat that lets you remotely control your home’s heating and hot water from anywhere using an app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. It works with your existing heating system and as you’re only heating your home when needed, you could save up to £150 per year on your energy bills. Home automation systems, such as Apple’s HomeKit, let you remotely control connected appliances and gadgets around your home, such as turning on the lights before you arrive home or locking and unlocking electronically smart doors.

Internet of things and health

When it comes to health, the potential of the IoT is far reaching. We already enjoy the benefits of wearable IoT health devices, such as activity trackers from likes of Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as the Apple Watch. These devices can record the steps we’ve taken, calculate the distance walked, calories burnt, and measure how long and hard we exercise – then transmit all this information to an app on our smartphone or tablet. Other smart wearable gadgets can track even more, including sleeping patterns and heart rate.

IoT connectivity is also helping to provide care for babies and the elderly. This includes smart baby sleepsuits that record sleeping patterns and temperatures, as well as care systems that allow you to remotely monitor an elderly loved-one’s health and activities with alerts should they leave their home at odd hours.

Driving and the internet of things

The IoT is set to fundamentally change the way we drive, making journeys safer and less stressful. For example, road sensors will communicate directly to car dashboards about unsafe driving conditions. But even today, smart cars monitor real-time traffic using connected sat-nav systems to reroute around congestion. Other car sensors with connected apps can monitor engine performance, diagnose problems, find parking places and even call for help in a crash. Smart cars will become ever more connected and soon-to-launch driverless cars from companies such as Google are set to change the daily commute forever.

The internet of things and the environment

The IoT is helping us monitor and reduce our environmental impact, from smart meters that help us use less energy at home to smart bins in our streets that send out an alert when they’re full, so collections are only made when necessary. IoT connectivity is also evident with sensors that detect water levels in our rivers to prevent flooding and sensors that monitor sewage to avoid it being dumped in the sea.

Shopping and the internet of things

The IoT has already begun to change the way we shop, with some retailers using Bluetooth signals from customers’ smartphones to track their journey through a store. Customers who have the retailer’s app on their smartphone can then be offered coupons and promotional material directly on their screens while they’re out shopping.

Know More About Li-Fi

Li-Fi is a new way of wirelessly connecting computers to the internet, in which a lightbulb can become a hyper-efficient internet connection.

What is Li-Fi?

Li-Fi, short for “light-fidelity”, is a new way of wirelessly connecting computers to the internet that could one day replace Wi-Fi.

It is substantially speedier than the networks that we’re used to, and can transmit huge amounts of data easily using light.

You can literally turn a lightbulb into a hyper-efficient internet connection.

What should I do if my broadband service isn’t working?

How Li-Fi works

Unlike standard Wi-Fi, which transmits information through radio waves, Li-Fi uses the light spectrum (hence “light-fidelity”).

The network signal is broadcast through an ordinary household LED bulb, using dims and flashes undetectable to the human eye. The signals are then picked up by a sensor on your computer or phone.

In theory this could be built into every lightbulb in your house, into street lights, the lighting on buses, trains or aeroplanes, in pubs or concert venues or into portable devices like torches, making connectivity extremely easy – if you can see it, then it’s connected.

Li-Fi vs Wi-Fi

Aside from extremely high speeds of data transfer (roughly ten times faster than broadband over Wi-Fi), Li-Fi has all sorts of advantages.

Because it uses light instead of radio waves, all of those places where using a Wi-Fi or mobile phone signal could be dangerous no longer apply, as there’s no risk of interference – that means unlimited data use in traditional no-go areas like aeroplanes and hospitals.

As light can’t travel through walls your data is much more secure – no-one can hack into your network through the Li-Fi because if they can’t see the bulb they can’t connect to it.

You could also connect many more devices to one network as the capacity is much greater. This makes internet-enabled household appliances (known as ‘the Internet of Things’) much more practical. It could even be used underwater, as light will pass more easily through water than radio waves.

What is the internet of things – and how does it affect you?

What are the disadvantages?

The main one is the range: light doesn’t pass through walls, so two devices can’t connect to the same light source if they are in different rooms. You’d have to have separate bulbs in each room.

And of course the light has to be switched on for the connection to work, so you might have to leave the lights on when you go to bed if you wanted your internet-enabled-fridge to send your order to the milkman, which could well be the case in the near future. Browsing on your phone in bed becomes much more problematic too.

This sounds brilliant – where can I sign up?

Actually at present you can’t – mainstream adaptation of Li-Fi technology is still a little way off.

Li-Fi pioneers PureLiFi have developed several products but none are actually on the market yet. They expect to roll out some early versions later this year.

So it’s not worth throwing your old router out just yet – even when Li-Fi devices are more common, it’s expected they’ll work alongside traditional Wi-Fi for some years, if they ever replace it at all.