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Reminder to apply for the new Hospitality, Leisure and Retail Grants

A new ₤9.5 million fund to support small and micro businesses affected by Covid19 will open for applications on Monday, 30 November 2020. The Hospitality, Leisure and Retail Grants scheme is part of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's ₤40m emergency support fund. This new funding grant has been allocated to support small retail businesses that were forced to close due to the second national lockdown as well as the supply chain supporting the hospitality and leisure sector. Included in this sector is:- non-essential retail, the self employed, sole traders, licensed market traders and limited companies based at home who predominantly supply the hospitality and leisure sectors. The scheme will be open for applications, from 10am, on Monday, 30 November 2020 and will close at 5pm, on Friday, 11 December 2020. Business must also satisfy the following criteria:-

 Be based in the Liverpool City Region (covering the Local Authority areas of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral)

 Have been trading since 11 March 2020.

 Have not been eligible or received a grant from a Local Authority, from October 2020 onwards.

 Employ 1 or more people.

 Be able to demonstrate that its trading activities have been significantly and negatively impacted by Covid19 restrictions.

 Be State Aid compliant.

 Still be trading on or before 1 October 2020.

The grant application process and full criteria can be found on:- Liverpool.Gov.UK.  The aim is to pay the grant by BACS within 10 working days of an application being approved.

5 ways to keep your personal data safe from hackers this Cyber Monday

NEW research reveals that 49% of UK adults have not installed or didn't know whether their mobile phone has security software. So keeping personal data safe from hackers has never been more important. In the wrong hands, stolen data can be used by hackers for illegal activity such as applying for loans or credit cards under a victim's name, or bank accounts being accessed and money withdrawn. To help keep data safe, leading insurance provider, Insurance2Go, shares 5 ways mobile phone users can help to protect personal data stored on their device.

These simple steps are as follows:-

1. Be cautious of public WiFi - Using public WiFi is great for those who have a low data allowance, or are running out of mobile data. However, public networks often don't provide a secure connection, making it easy for hackers to use them to access personal data.

2. Hackers targeting public WiFi Hotspots are able to use what is known as a:- 'man in the middle' attacks, which is when a hacker intercepts financial information, passwords and log in information through a public network.

3. Always avoid using mobile banking apps or making online purchases whilst logged onto a public WiFi network. For those who do need to use public WiFi, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app. A VPN can protect data from getting into the wrong hands by encrypting online data and keeping personal information secure when using a public WiFi connection6.

4. Turn off:- 'sharing' settings when not in use; Smartphone features that share a location should be used with caution and always turned off when not in use. Features such as Bluetooth, WiFi, location services, mobile data and Near Field Communication (NFC) are susceptible to hacking, especially Bluetooth location services as they transmit a device's location and presence.

5. Hackers can easily get hold of personal information and data through features that mark a phone as:- 'visible,' so always make sure to disable such features when they are not needed.  Also....

 Only download legitimate apps; Downloading illegitimate apps is another way to open your personal data up to hackers. Often, apps hosted on some websites or 3rd party app stores can contain malware and can access data once downloaded6. It's recommended that users only download apps from the official app stores, so App Store for iOS users, Google Play for Android users or the AppGallery for Huawei owners.

 Be wary of app permissions - When an app is 1st downloaded, it often asks for:- 'permission' to access certain features or information held on a mobile phone. From the camera roll, to your speaker, location or phone contact list, apps can ask for a range of permissions in order for certain functions to work.

 Be cautious of what information an app is requesting access to and question whether the app actually needs that information. For example, a photo editing app doesn't need contact list information in order to function correctly, so take the time to properly think about whether or not that information is needed.

 Viral video app, TikTok, recently came under fire for security issues in the US, with reports claiming that the Pentagon warned U.S. military personnel in January to delete TikTok from their phones and India, last month, banned Tik-Tok amongst other apps, over security and privacy it's always important to review what permissions are being asked for by an app.

 Avoid using auto login... Whilst it's recommended to have a variety of passwords for online accounts rather than the same password, auto login gives hackers easy access to personal data by simply opening up an app or webpage. For those likely to forget multiple passwords, note them down in a secure, password protected note on a phone, or in a notebook that is kept secure and stored away.

It's not just using your mobile phone that can open your personal data up to hackers. What happens if your mobile phone is lost or stolen? Insurance2go shares some useful tips for people who might find themselves in this scenario and want to keep their personal data safe:-

 Firstly, report the phone as missing to the network provider, who can suspend or disconnect the service to the phone. This can help stop any authorised use of the phone if it falls into the wrong hands.

 If the mobile phone is known to be stolen, inform the Police who will be able to provide a crime number, which can be used if the user needs to inform an insurance provider.

Most smart phones now have a built in:- 'kill switch,' which can allow a user to remotely deactivate a device if it's lost or stolen. In order to work, the feature needs to be enabled. For iPhone users, the:- 'Activation Lock' can be enabled within the:- 'Find My' app to help keep data safe. Firstly, go to the:- 'Find My' app > Tap thedevices tab and choose which device is lost or stolen, then tap Activate under:- 'Mark as Lost'and follow the prompts on screen. Android users can enable the kill switch with:- 'Find My Device.' Go to Settings > Google > Security, then turn on:- 'Remotely locate this device' and:- 'Allow remote lock and erase.'

Finally, immediately change passwords for any accounts or apps that can be accessed on the mobile phone. Prioritise any important accounts 1st, such as online banking and other associated accounts.

Richard Gray, Head of Marketing and Digital, at Insurance2go said:- "Our mobile phones are home to lots of stored data and without correctly protecting your personal information, it could easily land in the wrong hands. 'SIM Jacking' is a common method where hackers are able to use stolen data to obtain a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC). This can then be used to switch the victim's phone number to another phone on another network, helping them gain access to a range of personal data and information, often including banking details. Protecting data stored on a mobile phone is extremely important. Hackers are often creating new ways to get a hold of our data, so we hope that by sharing our tips, we can help people avoid getting caught out by fraudsters."

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