It’s a sign of the times that hackers are constantly on the lookout for weaknesses in people’s computer security systems.
Individuals can go a long way to making things more difficult for the hackers by ensuring they have up to date anti-virus software in place and that their passwords are good passwords.
But what is a good password?
Before answering that, let’s look at some bad passwords.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) released a report on some of the most hacked passwords. They analysed hacked accounts where details were being sold by hackers.
In one year alone an astonishing 23 million people around the world with the password “123456” were hacked.
You should really hang your head in shame if your password is 123456 as it’s very easy to hack into.
OK, what about the name of your favourite football team as your password. Would that provide you with more protection?
Alas not as football team names are very common passwords.
Roughly 280,000 accounts were breached in a year with the password “Liverpool”.
“Chelsea” and “Man-Utd” passwords were breached 216,000 and 59,000 times respectively.
Using the names of your favourite music artist also isn’t a good idea.
The most popular passwords using the names of music artists are “blink182” and “50cent” (these are probably popular as they satisfy the need to have letters and numbers in a password).
If you’re a fan of superheroes then avoid Superman, which was the most common superhero inspired password.
So, onto good passwords.
According to Ian Levy, the Technical Director of NCSC, “Using hard to guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you, so people can’t guess your password.”
There you go.
As easy as 123 or should that be, as easy as “123456”…
One of the five fundamental ethical principles is Integrity.
Being straightforward and honest is a vital characteristic of being a professional accountant.
Most people who are studying for their professional exams have one thing on their mind. Namely, to pass their exams but four students who were studying for their ACCA exams had other things on their minds and at the same time, were not the brightest individuals out there.
What they planned to do was to register for some Computer Based Exams (CBEs) and then whilst sitting the exams they would use their mobile phones to take photos of the computer screen showing the questions. They would then sell these photos with the questions on them via the internet.
The four individuals involved, Chen Yiyun, Hiujiao Ru, Zehui Gong and Ziying Wang decided to sell the questions on Taobao Marketplace, a Chinese shopping website.
They no doubt thought that this was an extremely clever way of making some money. What could possibly go wrong by taking photos of the questions and then selling them online?
One of the other fundamental ethical principles is that of Professional Competence.
Now, if these individuals had even a minuscule amount of Professional Competence, they would have reviewed the photos before selling them.
Alas for them they didn’t review them.
If they had reviewed them, they would have seen at the top of the computer screen in the photos their ACCA student registration number and the exam centre.
ACCA were made aware of the questions being for sale and made a test purchase on the Taobao Marketplace. Given the student registration numbers were on the screen, they didn’t need a team of top detectives to identify the individuals involved.
Unsurprisingly, the four individuals are now ex-students of ACCA having been found guilty of misconduct and they were ordered to pay costs ranging from £3,500 to £7,000.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ACCA-exam-cheating.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-04-18 07:38:372022-04-26 15:05:44Exams for sale….
Do you have children? Have they ever told you a lie? Even a small teeny weeny lie?
Well, if they have then although you may not be particularly pleased with them, it may actually mean that they have good memories and excellent thinking skills.
Psychologists at the University of Sheffield tested 135 children and found that those children that lied performed much better than the honest children in the group.
The children in the study were aged between 6 and 7 years old and during the study they were given a trivia game. The answers to the trivia game were on the back of the card which they had been given. Initially, each child was in a room accompanied by one of the researchers but the researcher then left the child alone with the card with the answer on the back.
Before leaving the room the researcher told the children not to look at the answer but what the children didn’t know was that when they were alone in the room there were hidden cameras which were monitoring whether they would look at the answers on the back.
25% of the group subsequently cheated and looked at the answers on the back of their cards but claimed that they hadn’t cheated when the researcher returned to the room.
At a later stage, all of the children had to perform a separate memory test and the research found that the children who had lied performed significantly better than those children who didn’t lie.
Dr Tracy Alloway, project lead from the University of North Florida was also involved in the research and said that “this research shows that thought processes, specifically verbal working memory, are important to complex social interactions like lying because the children needed to juggle multiple pieces of information while keeping the researcher’s perspective in mind”.
This has got me thinking as a lot of the readers of this blog are accountants or studying to be accountants.
“Thought processes”, “verbal working memory”, “juggling multiple pieces of information” and “keeping other people’s perspective in mind” are all skills which many accountants need.
Does this mean that you would make a good accountant if you were a good liar when you were a child?
Whatever your answer is, I’m not sure I would believe you…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Young-accountant.jpg7691361Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-04-05 09:00:252022-04-01 15:57:19Would a good liar make a good accountant?
Do you wish you had a better memory? Perhaps you do but you can’t remember whether or not you do.
If this is the case then help may be at hand.
University researchers have suggested a simple technique which could improve your memory.
Dr Mark Moss from Northumbria University led a research study which found that students studying in a room with the smell of the herb rosemary (in the form of essential oils) achieved 5% to 7% better memory results than students undertaking similar studying in a room without the smell of rosemary.
Dr Moss reported that the sense of smell in humans is highly sensitive and sends messages to the brain which can set off reactions and responses.
In the case of rosemary, the smell could well result in a better memory.
This view isn’t new though as ancient Greek students used to wear garlands of rosemary in their exams and Ophelia, the young noblewoman in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
So, in conclusion, the next time you are studying hard for an exam it may be an idea to buy some rosemary essential oils to help your memory.
That is of course, if you can remember to buy some in the first place…
(Details of some of the work done by Northumbria University can be found here).
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/rosemary_memory-scaled.jpg14402560Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2022-03-20 22:27:222022-04-01 15:55:22Remind me – what was I going to buy?
If you do, how long do you spend sat there before you get up to move around?
If you sit at your desk and work on your computer without moving around then I’ve for some unfortunate news for you because a sedentary lifestyle where you sit at your desk without moving around is bad for you.
Researchers at the University of Utah examined the health, exercise and nutrition records of over 3,000 Americans over a 3 year period and on average they spent 34 minutes sitting or lying down per hour whilst working.
Ignoring the question as to what were they doing lying down it will come as no surprise that the more time they spent on sedentary activities the more likely they were to die during the study.
Swapping sitting with standing up appeared to make no difference to the risk of death but what did make a difference was replacing 2 minutes sitting with 2 minutes of walking around
2 minutes of walking around per hour instead of sitting down reduced the risk of death by 33%.
So, the trick is to make sure you walk around for a couple of minutes an hour whilst at the office.
Of course, if those 2 minutes are spent walking to the vending machine to stock up on crisps and chocolate to eat at your desk there may not be that much of a benefit…
How would you feel if your chair was taken away from you at work? Probably not too happy I would guess.
A bit of research though may make your boss think otherwise.
Scientists from the Texas A&M Health Science Centre School of Public Health installed “standing desks” in a call centre employing over 150 people. The standing desks could be adjusted so that the employee could work at them either sitting down or standing up.
Half of the employees were given sit–stand desks to use whilst the other half were given traditional sitting desks. The performance of the employees was recorded over a period of 6 months and the results were surprising.
Despite the employees who had the sit–stand desks only using the desks in the standing position for a third of the time, their productivity increased by 50%. Productivity was measured by the number of successful calls that the employee made to the clients with “successful” being defined as being when the company earned revenue from that call.
Each employee typically made in the region of 400 to 500 calls every month and the company wanted them to achieve on average 2 successful calls per hour. Those with the sit–stand desks achieved the target whilst those with the traditional seated desks averaged 1.5 successful calls per hour.
Dr Gregory Garrett from the centre was quoted as saying that “having the ability to move throughout the day really makes a big difference”.
So, is it time to introduce standing chairs in your office?
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/office-exercise.png10261833Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-10-15 08:13:352021-10-15 15:19:07Standing up for productivity.
Most of you have probably had an interview. In fact, some of you may have had a number of interviews but a boss of one of the top companies in Australia has recently disclosed a pretty unusual way of deciding who not to offer a job to.
Trent Innes, who heads up Xero in Australia said that he will greet the person when he or she arrives for the interview and then take them to the kitchen to offer them a drink before heading to the meeting room with the drink. Even if they aren’t tea or coffee drinkers they will generally walk away with a glass of water.
He explained in the Venture Podcast with Lambros Photios that after taking the drink back for the interview “one of the things I’m always looking for at the end of the interview is, does the person doing the interview want to take that empty cup back to the kitchen?”
He explained that what “I was trying to find was what was the lowest level task I could find that regardless of what you did inside the organisation was still super important that would actually really drive a culture of ownership.”
He went on to say, “You can develop skills, you can gain knowledge and experience but it really does come down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk a lot about is the concept of ‘wash your own coffee cup’.”
That’s quite a smart move by Mr Innes as he said that attitude was the most important trait he looked for when hiring people.
He said that “Especially in a fast growth company or a start-up environment or scale up environment – you need people with a really strong growth mindset and that comes back to their attitude.”
So, how many interviewees do you think offered to take their cups back?
Perhaps surprisingly, the number of people who offered to take their cup back to the kitchen was pretty high. According to Mr Innes only 5 to 10 per cent of the interviewees didn’t offer to return their empty coffee cup back to the kitchen.
So there you go. If you’re attending an interview and you go to the kitchen with the boss to get a drink, it’s probably a good idea to offer to take the cup back.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/coffee-interview-1.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-06-04 09:28:312021-05-24 09:52:23Best to take it back…
A lot of you may have been on business trips but I bet your trip wasn’t as exciting (and tragic) as this gentlemen’s trip was.
What was also surprising was that his employer was found liable for his death as it was classified as an industrial accident.
The exact cause of death was a cardiac arrest whilst he was having sex with a stranger he had met on the business trip.
Now, whilst having a heart attack during sex with a stranger probably wouldn’t meet most people’s definition of an “industrial accident” a French court found otherwise. The court stated that the employer was responsible for any accident occurring during a business trip and ruled that his family were entitled to compensation.
The man who died on the job, named as Xavier X, was working as an engineer for TSO, a railway services company based near Paris and his employer had perhaps quite reasonably argued that he was not carrying out professional duties when he got into an extra marital relationship with a total stranger in his hotel room.
This opinion though wasn’t accepted by the court and they upheld the view that sexual activity was normal, “like taking a shower or a meal”.
As a result of it being classified as a normal activity on a business trip, the death was considered to be an industrial accident and under French law, partners or children of industrial accident victims receive up to 80 per cent of their salary until what would have been the person’s retirement age, with pension contributions paid from then on.
Whilst a lot of you won’t admit to being lazy (and I’m sure most of you aren’t in fact lazy!), some of you will know somebody who you feel is lazy.
Is it such a bad thing to be lazy though?
Perhaps not, as according to a study by scientists from Florida Gulf Coast University laziness could correlate with high intelligence.
The study found that people with a high IQ rarely got bored. As a result, they spent more time lost in thought. On the other hand, the study suggested that less intelligent people were more likely to be prone to boredom and consequently were more likely to do more physical activity.
The researchers worked with 2 types of students. The first group expressed a strong desire to think a lot whilst the second group were keen to avoid doing things which were mentally taxing.
The participants were then fitted with fitness trackers which monitored how much they exercised over a 7 day period. The study found that people who thought a lot were much less active than those individuals who avoided high-level thinking. Interestingly, this discrepancy in levels of activity only happened during the week and there was no difference during the weekend.
Before any of the lazy people out there start claiming that they are more intelligent, it’s worth noting that the sample size of the test was small and further tests will be needed to prove the correlation.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/lazy-in-the-office.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-02-19 07:53:222021-02-22 14:35:37Laziness and intelligence.
Should you employ good-looking people or not so good-looking people?
Whilst the obvious answer would appear to be that it doesn’t matter what a person looks like as long as they can do their job properly, researchers in Japan have found out that the attractiveness of an employee can have an impact on the sales of a business.
Interestingly though, it’s probably not the correlation most people would think applies.
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong studied retail sales in shops and found that the more attractive the shop assistants of the opposite sex were, the lower the sales were. The researchers found that male shoppers were less likely to go into the shop if the more attractive woman in the research study was serving.
Even if they entered the shop with the attractive shop assistant in it, only 40% of them bought something. This compared to 56% who purchased something when a less attractive assistant was serving.
Lisa Wan of the University said “attractive service providers can lead consumers to become self-conscious or embarrassed. This is especially true when the provider is of the opposite sex. Even when the attractive salesperson is the same sex, consumers may feel a sense of inadequacy through self-comparison.
In either case, the shopper may avoid interacting with physically attractive providers, rendering the salespeople ineffective”.
It’s worth mentioning though that the scientists undertaking the research were monitoring a shop selling figures from Japanese comics and the male shoppers were obsessed with computers.
“Male shoppers obsessed with computers” – surely they would only notice the female shop assistant if she was holding a computer?
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ExP-blog-geek.jpg9381668Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-11-19 16:47:142020-11-24 21:41:52Should you employ good looking people?
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