Defeating The Dreaded Ransom Virus

The other day I fell victim to the dreaded Ransom virus that has afflicted thousands of people all over the world. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it is basically a vicious form of malware that once in your system begins secretly encrypting all your files behind the scenes, basically turning your computer into a 1980s toast machine. The computer owner is then ordered to pay a “ransom” to unlock the computer, hence the name and many people, desperate to get into their files simply pay up! Cyber bandit
As you all know, BODO is a social enterprise with employees and contractors who all work remotely from all parts of the world. As founder of this small ethical fashion business, I have a great deal of important information on my computer, so you can imagine the ghostly shade of white that I turned when I realised my system was infected with this malicious virus.
To be totally honest with you, I was so close to paying the ransom, the idea of all the hard work, that myself and many others had put into BODO being lost for good was a terrifying one and for a few moments paying the ransom seemed like my only option. But luckily for me and for BODO, I have some very talented friends, and one in particular popped into my head like the hero of the piece – picture John McClane storming through the flames and shattered glass of my technical world to save the day! This guy is what you might call an ethical hacker. Someone who knows and can navigate this dark world for the sole purpose of combating the destruction and devastation that viruses of this nature inflict on the unsuspecting!
So I reached out with my SOS and my friend dropped what he was doing and rushed round to me. Within a little while, he had out-hacked the hackers and all was right with my virtual world without me having to pay a silly amount of money to some cyberspace bandit! I honestly could not be more grateful to this guy for saving my virtual bacon!
Despite the happy ending to my story, I feel that cyberfraud is becoming a massive issue and our authorities definitely need to do more to combat it, before yet more people fall foul to this kind of scam. Right now though, I’m just glad that I’ve got an ethical hacker as a friend!

Don’t Be A Statistic: An Important Campaign About Male Suicide

The other day I saw an incredibly moving video created by the inspirational entrepreneur behind SBTV, Jamal Edwards.  Edwards is supporting a campaign entitled “Don’t Be A Statistic” aimed at tackling male suicide, an issue he was moved to do something about after two of his own friends took their own lives.

Award-winning SBTV founder, Jamal Edwards

Award-winning SBTV founder, Jamal Edwards

Working with Rapman, they have produced a short film called Rollercoaster and using the hashtag #dontbeastatistic they aim to raise awareness and encourage openness about suicidal thoughts.
Talking to the media about the campaign on International Men’s Day back in November, Edwards, who has an MBE for his incredible contribution to the community, said; “It’s not seen as cool to ask for help. Many men, especially young men, don’t ask for help…Too many will play football with their friends, play PlayStation, never feeling they can say “I’m feeling like this”. There’s nowhere near enough awareness of the dangers.”
His campaign has been backed by CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Edwards is doing what he can to raise awareness of the issue and attempting to change the tragic statistic that suicide is the number one killer of men under the age of 45 in the country.
The Rollercoaster video really hits home and through the story of a guy named Clint, explains just how quickly someone can spiral into despair.
Just a few weeks ago, we covered the subject on BODO Planet, looking into mental health awareness, after our content writer experienced the loss of a friend because of suicide.
I too have known many people who have committed suicide and it truly is heart-breaking. Looking back on all your interactions with that person, you scour your memories for something that you should have noticed, a hint at just how desperate they were feeling, that maybe you could have picked up on and done something about. Sometimes the subtle hints are there, things we don’t pick up as the conversations fly around the room, sometimes there is simply no clue, but either way, it is always too late. This is why we must encourage open dialogue about suicidal thoughts and feelings, get people talking and seeking help, so that no more lives are lost unnecessarily.
I am a huge fan of Edwards’ campaign and I think his video has the power to break down the stigma and change a lot of minds. So please watch and share!

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

The other day I started reading one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time, well I say read, but I The 4 hour work weeksuppose I mean listened to, because I actually took in this incredible material via the means of an audiobook. Because of my dyslexia, I find listening to audiobooks a great alternative to reading. I still read books on occasion, but because I have to read so much for work, audiobooks make it not only easier, but also something a bit different.
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss is a global bestseller, I was recommended it by a friend and although dubious at first, I placed aside my misgivings and purchased the audiobook.
The book presents a fascinating way of looking at the world around us. So many of us spend so much of our time unhappy, working all hours of the day and night to make ends meet and holding out for some distant hope of a glorious retirement, where we will be able to do all of the things that we are simply too busy to do today. But it needed be that way, as Ferriss explains, we need to realise that reality is our own to create.
One of my favourite quotes from the book is; “Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard. It really doesn’t. Most people, my past self included, have spent too much time convincing themselves that life has to be hard, a resignation to 9-to-5 drudgery in exchange for (sometimes) relaxing weekends and the occasional keep-it-short-or-get-fired vacation. The truth, at least the truth I live and will share in this book, is quite different.”
In many ways, I am luckier than a lot of the people that Ferriss discusses in his book, simply because I do not hate my job and as director of BODO, I work for myself, so no horrible boss to contend with – crushing my will or breaking my spirit! But I am a victim of one of the epidemics that he discusses in the book – working too many hours. As I’ve discussed before on here, I often find myself working all hours under the sun, anti-social and then some! This is one of the routines that Ferriss explains how to get out of, making it work for you and saving you the most precious commodity of all – time!
At the moment, I only about a quarter of the way through, but I am already hooked. Once I have completed it, I will let you know how successful I am in implementing his suggested changes and if I do succeed in only working a 4 hour week!

Dyslexia & Entrepreneurs

As many of you already know, I am a dyslexic and given my age (I’m not going to tell you the exact number) I went to school at a time where so very little was known about it. Many define dyslexia as a learning difficulty, but having it does not mean that you are destined to a life of under-achievement, it just means that sometimes we have to go about things a little bit differently. Dyslexia image2
I’ve often heard the statistic bantered about that a high percentage of entrepreneurs are dyslexic and that doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Many dyslexics are incredibly creative people, drawing us into the type of career that enables us to see the fruition of our ideas. We also learn to think differently, to tackle the kind of tasks that our non-dyslexia suffering counterparts find simple and commonplace, a skill that springboards us into the realm of the entrepreneur!
The other day I read a fascinating article written by Elliot S. Weissbluth, the CEO of financial advisory firm HighTower. Weissbluth explains the methods he used to overcome dyslexia and how having it actually helped to prepare him for the age when computers became commonplace. Because his parents had already bought him one to help him transcribe his class notes, he was already pretty adept at using a keyboard!
He also gives his top tips for coping with dyslexia and ensuring that it doesn’t affect his performance. One of the things that he mentioned, which I believe to be incredibly important and something I have to remind myself to do on occasion, is to “reject the myth of multitasking”. Weissbluth states that if you are listening to someone speak or reading something that is important, then you will retain much more information if you resist the urge of trying to do other stuff at the same time. You see it in offices all the time, people will be having important conversations, whilst at the same time, skim-reading emails, or checking notes on a different topic!
The other thing he said, which I am a firm believer in, is recognizing your strengths and learning to develop them, rather than to become unstuck because you waste too much time focussing on one of your weaknesses. I know I am never going to be ballet dancer or excel in applied mathematics, so I focus my attentions on the areas where I know I can succeed.