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Internet security, internet casualty, online safety

I don’t want to become an Internet casualty. As a Lionlock ambassador, I take password and online security very seriously. Safety online is not just needed it is imperative in my line of work. As a blogger, I am in the business of sharing my life out loud on the Internet. Even as someone who has been doing this for years now and as an adult, I still have security slips. I sometimes forget that the Internet is forever and I get caught with my metaphorical pants down.

You know that saying, “A moment on the lips, and forever on the hips”? Well, the Internet is JUST.LIKE.THAT! We are so trusting of the Internet that we often forget that a moment on the Internet truly is FOREVER in the world. You can delete and undo all sorts of things but you are always just a screen grab away for being immortalized in Internet infamy. Those private sexts you sent to your ex? There is no such thing. You say Snap Chat? I say screen grab. That nasty comment you left and then deleted? Already sitting in someone’s inbox. That petty FB update about your soon to be ex? Yep, his lawyers already have a copy in their file. The cute naked photo of your toddler in the bathtub that you uploaded and promptly second-guessed and took down 5 minutes later? Some pedo is already getting his rocks off to it. There is no privacy online.

We’ve all put something on the Internet that we wish we hadn’t. It’s embarrassing and we get over it. It’s like going to a party, drinking too much and wanting to crawl under a rock and die the next day when you see the proof on Facebook. It might not ruin us, but it might. None the less, we’d prefer those moments stayed private because we are left feeling compromised and vulnerable. Unfortunately, there are no second chances on the Internet so you have to know going in that everything you put on the Internet is set in stone for eternity. No matter how badly it may differ from reality.  The Internet knows you from glimpses, social media shares and sound bites. There is no emotion, connotation, context or empathy. There is only what you say, what you share and what it sees. The Internet is a cold-hearted bitch and she doesn’t get innuendo or anecdotes. So what you put out there is who she thinks you are. So be safe and think before you go online.

While LionLock automatically audits any interaction that takes place with your passwords in the vault, it is still important to use common sense when sharing any important private information.

Here are a few online security tips to keep you from becoming just another Internet casualty.

1. Keep a Clean Machine

Keep all Internet connected devices free from infection and malware by keeping all critical software—security software, web browsers, apps and operating systems—up to date so that you can counter any new viruses lurking.

Have your security software set to monitor your computer continually, not just a weekly scan.

2. Protect Your Personal Information

Secure your accounts by making passwords long, strong and unique.

3. Own Your Online Presence

This is my favorite. I am very transparent; probably more so than I should be, but I know when I put it out there that it is out there. I consider this every single time I post anything. Set security and privacy settings to your comfort level of sharing.

4. When in Doubt, Throw it Out

If an email, social network post or text looks suspicious, even if you know the source, delete it.

5. Be Web Wise

Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.

6. Be a Good Online Citizen or Don’t be a Web Douche canoe

Post only about others what you would have them post about you.

7. Beware of public Wi-Fi ( hint: There is no such thing as FREE wi-fi)

Anytime you use public Wi-Fi, keep in mind that everything you do can be visible to a 3rd party/stranger that is also connected to the network. Criminals can see everything the users do and capture any information that is sent over the network. Find a staff member at the coffee shop or hotel that can verify the name of the proper network. Also disable auto-connection features when Wi-Fi is not in use.

8. Save money matters for your trusted networks

Even if you’re not on a compromised Wi-Fi hotspot, it’s really best to wait until you’re back on a secure network you trust before shopping or banking. If it’s an emergency and you need to move funds from one account to another, use your cellular data connection rather than public Wi-Fi.

9. Use Secure Sites (Https://)

Secure SSL connections are connections that encrypt any data you send through a website, adding a layer of protection for your private information. There are a couple different ways that you can check to verify that a site is secure. The first is that you’ll notice the https:// turns into https://, with the s indicating it is a secure network. Additionally, there should be a padlock displayed in the URL bar.

10. Secure your mobile devices

In addition to installing security software on computers, it is equally important to have a mobile security app, for your mobile devices. These apps will help your mobile devices stay secure by detecting security flaws in your apps and preventing you from clicking on malicious links.

The Internet is a wonderful place to live and play but it really is what you make it. Just like your home, you wouldn’t go on vacation and leave all the doors and windows open nor would you announce to the neighborhood gossip that you have syphilis. So use your common sense and take precautions to protect yourself online just like you would in your real life.

How do you keep yourself from becoming just another Internet casualty?



Photo Credit: Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own. Don’t be an Internet Casualty!

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LionLock, Safety, Internet, password protection

Last month when I announced my ambassadorship with LionLock, I told you what an incredible password management tool I think it is. It’s perfect for every 21st century small business from freelance writers, digital marketing professionals, and social media consultants to virtual assistants. And let’s not forget about us busy 21st century parents who do everything from monitor their nannycams to subscribe to parenting websites and manage their baby’s college fund online. We trust the Internet. We depend on it.

LionLock can securely store all kinds of protected information, including passwords, website logins, bank accounts and credit card details. This information is your “secrets”; called so because they should be protected. Each account or password is it’s own separate secret.

LionLock then encrypts and stores all of your Secrets using AES-256, which is the same level of encryption the government uses for Top Secret documents and then stores all of your information in the vault. It’s one secure place that you can access from your work computer, home computer or any of your mobile devices. Blockchain Startups are also utilized to ensure that vital and personal documents cannot be tampered easily by others especially hackers.

If you need to share a “secret” you created with clients, you can easily grant them access. If the situation or your mind changes, simply adjust their access permissions. You only have to change one password. It’s that simple.  As the Secret Owner you have full control of a Secret. Only you can edit, delete, and grant access to other users.

To help secret owners know how their accounts are being used, LionLock keeps automatic reports of all the users of that you share vaults/passwords with and date/time users viewed or changed any passwords that hey have access to. Owners can view all reports associated with a secret they own. You have complete control of your “secrets”. Nice, right?

But, where does all that information go? I mean the Internet can be a giant scary place and sometimes, I have so much information out “there” that I get a little agoraphobic and want to just keep it all close to home but that’s not really a solution. What am I a social media password hoarder? Maybe I need an intervention.

I work from home and I am my own brand so my reputation means everything. If a brand hires me or I am collaborating on a campaign with a client, I need to be responsible and professional not only for my sake but for theirs, as well. Those pieces of paper with notes written all over them is not professional. It’s very unprofessional and it is just an accident waiting to happen and jobs to be lost.  If I want to be taken seriously, I need to act seriously. My clients need to know that their information is safe on my site and in my hands.

So where does all that private, personal information go? This is going to be a little technical but you will be glad that I told you, so bear with me. Amazon EC2 secure servers in the United States host LionLock. It’s sort of like Dropbox taken to the security extreme. One major security feature of LionLock is that the passwords are not stored on the client machine (my computer, laptop or phone). Nope all the passwords are stored in the secure Lionlock website.

What does any of this mean to you and why should you care? Well, if your computer crashes, your passwords are safely stored on the cloud so you do not have to freak out worrying that they are gone forever and you will have to look unprofessional losing all of your information. People pay you so they don’t have to worry about every single detail.

Also, with passwords being stored offsite (like your money in the Cayman islands) there is never the worry that someone is going to “accidentally” get access from your computer. All passwords are retrieved from the Lionlock website using a secure SSL connection; this is the same web standard used by banks. And no, the developers at Lionlock do not have access to Amazon’s servers and data so they cannot access your “secrets”.

If you don’t believe me, try LionLock out for yourself. An account for up to three users and 25 passwords is free!  If you need more users and unlimited password storage, LionLock has that too! I’m hooked because it just makes my daily work so much easier and more streamlined. I have everything securely stored for myself and my clients.

Lionlock allows me to trust that my passwords and my clients are safe and so is my my reputation.

Have you had the chance to try LionLock yet?



Photo Credit: 1954 Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own.

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shhh, secrets, Lionlock, password management, passwords

I am thrilled to announce that I have partnered with Lionlock as a brand ambassador.

This makes me happy because not only do I get to share my love of a great and very useful product with you but they even pay me to do it. What? It’s like getting paid to eat chocolate without the calories.

I know many of you, like me, work, play and live online and for security reasons you probably have 25 different passwords. Me, I have so many passwords that I have passwords scribbled all over the place in my office in notebooks, on napkins, up my arm and none of it is really effective because if I misplace the password source, I have to try seemingly endless combinations of letters and numbers, some with capitalization and one even requires a “symbol”. What? Yeah, that account may be lost to me forever. It’s like when you hide all the scissors in the house from the kids only to realize you can never find them again. Yes, just like that and my mommy brain apparently doesn’t remember where I hide scissors, passwords or locker combinations.

So you are probably wondering what is this Lionlock she is rambling on about?

Lionlock is a password management tool for small businesses, teams and parents who live their lives online and honestly, these days, who doesn’t? LionLock can securely store all kinds of protected information, including but not limited to passwords, website logins, bank accounts and credit card details. They refer to this information as “secrets” because it should be protected. Each account or password is it’s own separate secret. For example, your bank account information is one secret.  Your 7 CMS logins are each their own secrets. Your five email account passwords are each their own secret. Now, unfortunately, Lionlock can’t help you at all with those misplaced scissors.

LionLock encrypts and stores all of your Secrets using AES-256 which is the same level of encryption the government uses for Top Secret documents. It’s like having your own personal secret service trained ninja assistant who keeps all of your online secrets in “the vault”. Only Lionlock’s vault can’t be plied open with vodka.

Lionlock’s vault stores all your information in one secure place that you can access from your work computer, home computer or any of your mobile devices. This is great for small businesses because a staggering 60% of small businesses suffer a cyber attack or major data loss in the first six months of operations. But it’s also great for me because when my mommy brain fails me, I know that my Lionlock account wont!

If you want to share your secrets with team members or your husband, you can decide to grant them access. If you change your mind, access denied. Change your Lionlock access password and that’s it. You only have to change one password. It’s that simple.

I am very excited about having the Lionlock password management tool in my online arsenal and getting to work as an ambassador for a product that I genuinely think is awesome. I think it’s perfect for everyone who has multiple accounts online.

Now that I’ve told you all about Lionlock, I’d love to invite you to our #Lionlock Twitter Party on Tuesday, February 25th at 6:00 PM PST/ 9:00 PM EST!  We’ll be giving away prizes and having great conversation.

lionlock, twitter party

**Lionlock Twitter Party Alert**

WHAT:  #Lionlock Twitter Party

WHEN:  TUESDAY, February 25TH, 2014 FROM 6-7 PM PST/ 9-10 EST



PRIZES: Four $25 Visa Gift Cards and one grand prize $50 Visa Gift Card


Join in the #Lionlock party for fun conversation and a chance to win some great prizes!

Please RSVP with your twitter name and link to qualify for a chance to win prizes during the #LIONLOCK Twitter Party.


Photo Credit: Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own.

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Online Privacy, what’s enough?

Privacy Please. Blogging is very personal. When I started blogging, it was 1) to exercise my writing muscles 2) to keep a memory book of my children growing up and this time in our life. I never even took privacy into consideration. I just assumed I was writing, on my computer, and that was where it was staying…like writing in my diary as a teenager, but without the paper.

I took the online name Truthful Mommy because I knew I wanted to be honest and by operating under a pseudonym, I could do that with a bit more ease. I wasn’t really too concerned about what I was going to write as much as I was concerned about who might find me by using my birth name; high school friends, people who hate me, people I know in real life who don’t know me as well as they might if they read my blog. People who were in Junior League with me, or on the school board or some of the Mom’s groups I was involved in at the time. I didn’t really want to hand them my diary.

I wanted the freedom to express myself and the safety of a space where I could be true to the process. I didn’t want to be censored because, honestly, censoring your journals is lying to yourself about your history.Besides, doesn’t old age muddle the truth enough as it is; sundowners is a bitch and I know I won’t remember everything exactly as it happened when I’m 87. I didn’t want my children to one day read a lie. I wanted to be able one day to give them access to my blog and let them know that we have all been there. I wanted that connection. I want them to know that we are united as women and as mothers and I understand everything they are going through. I wasn’t thinking of privacy.

I write honestly, irreverently and occasionally in a very raw manner. I find that, to this day still, I only want people that I don’t know in real life at all or that I know in real life but VERY well to read my blog. All the acquaintances and people I know from school, church, the local moms groups…I don’t want them to ever find me online. Ever. Father would be quite disappointed to know just how bad my potty mouth is. Yet, I started using my real name because I wanted to start working as a freelance writer and it just seemed more professional.

My community grew from a handful of family members and friends in the last couple of years to an audience that is growing by the day upwards of 50,000+ if you include my blog page views, subscribers, GFC, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Aiming Low, Smart Mom Style and the Stir.

How much of your privacy are you willing to forfeit?

I still write uncensored. I have to. This is my mission. My blog is called The TRUTH about Motherhood not I’m going to blow sunshine and unicorns up your ass about Motherhood. My honesty has gotten me some trolls to be sure. Not everyone will agree with me, nor do I expect or want them to. Variety is the spice of life and I like life spicy. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that seeing my numbers rise, getting the feedback and having received my fair share of hate mail, it has made me rethink some things.

For example, do you use your children’s photos in your blog? I used to have the pages of my blog filled with my girls’ photos and then I realized that when people don’t like what you say, they will take shots to hurt you wherever that might be. I can’t take that chance. So, there are seldom ever any recent photos of my girls on my blog anymore. It had to become, at least a little bit, about protecting the family on the web.

I used to use names of people that I knew (I know, this is blogging 101 but I had no idea). I don’t do that anymore. I’ve never used my husband’s name, nor talked about the place I work. I don’t talk about where I live. You’ll never catch me on Foursquare because I don’t want to give people a road map to come stab me.

I’m just wondering, what do you do to maintain your privacy online? It feels so personal that sometimes you forget that you are talking to the entire world and you never really know who’s listening. It could be someone who will give you the next greatest opportunity of your life or it could be the next Ted Bundy.

We really never know who is sitting behind the screen talking to us because we are all anonymous online. Next time you tweet, update your status on FB or write a blog post, just remember that your boss could be reading it. Your mortal enemy could be reading it. Your best friend. The mean mom from yoga class. The guy whose heart you broke in 9th grade. Your priest could be reading it.

Why did you start blogging? How much of yourself are you willing to give away? Where do you draw the line in what you publish? How do you protect your privacy online.

I will talk more about ways to protect your privacy online in a follow up post about blogging.

Privacy, how many of us have any?

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