Articles in Category: Security

What if I Forget My Passwords If I Use Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is different than passwords, but they both share important recovery steps if there’s a problem.

How Do I Safely Back Up an Infected Drive?

Once your machine is infected, system backups are likely to include the infection, but are still important. I’ll look at what steps to take.

Can My Computer Be Hacked If It’s Off?

Hacking a turned-off computer requires a few mistakes on your part. It’s unlikely, but possible.

Should I Just Hire a Hacker to Recover My Account?

Desperation can lead you to consider hiring so-called “legit”, “ethical”, or “white-hat” hackers to regain control of a your account. Don’t do it.

Just What Is a Hack?

Hack or hacking can mean several different things — both good and bad — depending on the context. I’ll review the most common definitions.

It’s Important You Know: There Are Ads in Search Results

It’s absolutely critical you learn to recognize the difference between advertisements and actual search results.

Your 6 Strongest Practical Password Techniques, Ranked

Six practical approaches to generating passwords, ranked from best to worst.

How Do I Access Gmail Without Phone Verification?

There are a number of ways to confirm your identity if you don’t have your phone. The catch is that most have to be set up before you need them.

How Do I Make Sure I Don’t Have Malware?

It’s impossible to know your machine has no malware. What does that mean for your safety?

Should I Take the Flash Update I’ve Been Offered?

Adobe Flash player is dying dead and should be avoided. I’ll explain why you should be cautious if you think you still want it.

Extensions page in Microsoft Edge.

Can Browser Extensions See My Bank Account?

Browser extensions are often installed with little thought to the immense security risk they present.

How Do I Remove Malware that Blocks Downloads

Some malware goes to great lengths to prevent you from downloading, running, or applying a fix. I’ll tell you what steps to take.

Should Your Username be More Like a Password?

Occasionally people suggest that usernames should be treated like passwords. While there’s some merit to the idea, it’s ultimately impractical.

The Easy-to-Avoid Two-Factor Loss Risk

Two-factor authentication is an important tool to keep accounts secure, but prepare for losing the second factor so you don’t lose your account.

How to Protect Your Cloud Storage and Backups from Ransomware

There are additional protections for your data if your machine becomes infected with a form of malware known as ransomware.

Isn’t Storing Your Passwords In One Place a Security Risk?

Yes, password managers put all your information in one place. It better be a very good place.

Password

Are Longer Passwords Better, Even If They’re Simpler?

A longer password of repeating characters is more secure than a short complicated password — but there’s more to security than cracking.

Yes, SMS Two-Factor Authentication is Broken; Use it Anyway

SMS messaging has some serious security vulnerabilities, but does that mean you should always avoid it? No.

9 Ways Your Account Can Be Compromised, Even with a Super-strong Password

Strong passwords are important, but they don’t protect you from everything. I’ll look at other ways your account can be compromised.

Should I Always Sign Out of My Online Account?

It is perfectly safe to stay signed in to your online account as long as you’re protected from a few specific scenarios.

How Do I Protect My Laptop Data from Theft?

Laptops are portable, convenient, and easily lost. If lost, all your data could easily be available to the finder. Encryption is the answer.

What’s the Best Two-Factor Authentication Option?

The best two-factor authentication approach varies based on your needs, and what’s offered by the service you’re trying to use it with.

What Should I Do About the Changes to LastPass Free?

LastPass is changing the terms of their free service. Find out if you’re affected, and what to do if you are.

Can Hotel Internet Traffic Be Sniffed?

Many hotels offer both wired and wireless internet, but with those hotel internet connections comes a security risk most folks don’t consider.

What Can a Computer Thief See If I Password Protect My Windows Sign-in?

Password-protecting your Windows login does not protect your computer’s data, particularly if the computer is stolen.

The Biggest Risk to Your Privacy Revealed

We worry a lot about privacy, but our concerns are often misplaced. Fortunately, the biggest risk to our personal privacy is right under our nose.

Can I Have Different Passwords for YouTube and Gmail?

A Google account includes Gmail, YouTube, and much more. If you want to keep those services separate, you’ll need separate Google accounts.

Why Password Managers are Safer than the Alternatives

If you’re not using a password manager, you’re likely compromising your security more than necessary. Here’s why using one is safer.

Is Passwordless Sign-in Safe?

Signing in without a password seems almost nonsensical, yet it can be more secure than traditional sign-ins. More convenient? That depends.

You’re Just Not That Interesting (Except When You Are)

Worried about privacy? I believe we over-imagine the risks and at the same time are our own worst enemies.

How Two-Factor Authentication Works

Two-factor authentication is a great way to keep your accounts secure from hackers — even those who manage to get your password.

Will Ransomware Encrypt Backups?

A full-image backup is still the best defense against ransomware. But what if your backup gets encrypted? I’ll look at the likelihood of that happening and make some recommendations.

How Do I Decrypt Files Encrypted by Ransomware?

Once your files are encrypted by ransomware, your options are few. If you’re not prepared, there are a few straws to grasp at.

Grant Location Permission: Why You Should and When You Shouldn’t

Granting location permission gives apps and web sites a more accurate idea of exactly where you are. The question is: do they need or do they abuse it?

Can People Track My Email Address Location?

Email addresses can be used to locate public information, which could allow someone to track your location from your email address. Use caution when sharing it with someone you don’t trust.

Why Did My Security Software Not Detect a Virus on My PC?

Even with up-to-date anti-malware tools, you can still fall victim to malware. I’ll explain why by comparing your computer to your … bathroom.

A One-step Way to Lose Your Account Forever

I see people lose access to their most important accounts all the time. It’s often their own fault that they can’t regain access.

Is it Safe to Allow Remote Access?

It can be safe to allow remote access, but it requires absolute trust. The risks are significant, especially since scammers have become involved.

Why Is It So Important to Use Different Passwords for Everything?

Using different passwords on different sites is not only good practice, it’s necessary to keep your accounts safe. I’ll review why, and how best to handle a plethora of passwords.

How Do I Hack Someone’s Account? How Do I Hack My Own?

These are oversimplifications of many variations on the same basic question. People want to hack into other people’s accounts, or even their own, for a variety of reasons. Some sound perfectly legitimate. Others, not so much. And others are just blatant attempts at theft, harassment, or revenge. What’s really scary is that I get these requests … Read more

Is a Periodic Password Change a Good Thing?

Changing passwords periodically is conventional wisdom. I disagree, and then discuss whether periodic password change can even happen reliably.

How Do I Remove Malware from Windows 10 in 2021?

Trying to remove malware? I’ll walk you through the steps and options, from simple to hard, including the only approach that’s guaranteed to work.

Online Shopping: Just How Safe Is It?

Online shopping is ubiquitous, and yet some avoid it completely. Why are some people afraid to shop online when it’s arguably safer than offline?

Yes, Your Security Software Might Slow Down Your Computer – What to Do About It

Security tools are asked to do an important, sometimes resource-hungry task. Here’s how to mitigate their impact on your ability to use your computer.

How to Remove PUPs and Other Unexpected Things From Your Computer

Casually installing one download may result in several other things being installed. I’ll review the steps to remove these pesky, problematic, painful, Potentially Unwanted Programs, or PUPs.

What Security Software Do You Recommend? Basic Protection in Four Steps

My recommendations for specific security software and techniques to keep your computer, and yourself, safe.

Resist Those Dancing Bunnies

Malware authors often make fantastic promises to get people to bypass their security software. It’s important to remain skeptical, vigilant, and attentive.

Should I Disconnect My Backup Drive When I’m Not Backing Up?

Some people disconnect their backup drive when not backing up because they fear ransomware. I explain why that’s a Really Bad Idea.

How Long Should a Password Be?

For years, the standard practice has been to assume that eight-character passwords made up of sufficiently random characters was enough. Not any more. Not even close.

Another Reason Your Computer Might Be Slow: Prevention, Presence, or Removal of Malware

Malware can impact your computers performance before it arrives, once infected, and even after removal.