Thursday, 18 December 2014

Nuisance Calls - Aaaarrrrh!!!

Did you know that around 85% of the population receive nuisance calls and yet only a fifth of us actually do anything about it?

Furthermore and very worrying is that a staggering 40% of calls received by the elderly are nuisance calls. 

The Government's Nuisance Calls Task Force was formed following a petition by "Which"  and is infact chaired by their Executive Director Richard Lloyd. They will be reviewing the way businesses obtain and use consumers' consent to be contacted by phone and text for direct marketing.

As reported by Rob Goodman in "Moneywise" the taskforce is recommending that businesses improve their direct marketing practises and make it easier for people to stop companies from pestering them.  Senior Executives will be held to account for the way their company behaves in this direction.  Fines have already been increased (now up to £500,000) and  hopefully it will become easier for the Information Commissioner to take action against companies who break the law.

By following the link below you can report a call or text where:-
  • You received a call where a person spoke to you
  • You received a silent or abandoned call
  • You received a recorded marketing message
  • You received an SMS text message or text alert

From the link below there are further informative articles on how to deal with cold callers:-

Friday, 12 December 2014

Two Factor Authentication

We take security issues very seriously at Merlin and always ready to pass on helpful articles and information so that you keep up to date and informed.

We particularly applaud the article written by John Shief for Naked Security on the subject of Two Factor Authentication (2FA) as it covers the basics of; one time passwords via SMS, authenticator apps, login verification and true two factor verification.  Not only does the article explain how each system works, but gives the pros and cons of using them.

As a google apps user myself, if I need to access my e-mails via another computer, I am asked for my user name and password and once I OK this, Google ask for my verification code.  At this point, I receive an SMS message from Google with a 6 digit code and I'm there.  Easy and secure.

Clearly no system is infalible, but this does add an extra layer of protection.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Plants are the way to go!

We love to share interesting articles with our readers, so here is something a little different and light hearted, found on "Lifehacker" on the benefits of having plants in the office.

It appears that a few well chosen plants can create magical effects in the workplace; from reducing stress, cleaning the air and increasing productivity.  The article cleverly advises which is the best plant for what location.

So, if you are off to the garden centre to pick up your Christmas tree, grab a few plants for the office as well!  Make great secret santa gifts too!!


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Do you want Twitter to know what apps you use?

We spotted a very interesting article from Naked Security and thought we would share this with you.

Twitter are going to have access to the apps you have installed on your devices, via their instant timeline feature, in order to promote content that they think you will find interesting.

Entry on the the new tracking system is by opt-in by default although Twitter have said they will alert users when the new feature is turned on!

Surely the default should be opted out and opt in if you really want Twitter to have access to this information?!

If you don't want Twitter to capture this personal information about you then  follow the link from Naked Security who talk you through how to turn it off:-