Articles in Category: Security

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.

Five Reasons Ransomware Will Be Around for a Long Time

There are several reasons ransomware will be a scourge for some time to come. Most boil down to, well, us.

How to Avoid Ransomware — the 3 Things You’re Hopefully Already Doing

Avoid ransomware the same way you avoid any malware. A full backup will save you not only from ransomware, but from a host of other problems as well.

How Do I Bypass Keyloggers? The Guaranteed Way to Avoid Having Your Keystrokes Maliciously Recorded

I hear about techniques to bypass keyloggers often. The problem is, keyloggers can log much more than keystrokes. There’s really only one solution: avoid them in the first place.

Has My Computer Been Hacked? A List of Clues and Steps to Take

When you see the list of possible hacking signs, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion your computer has been hacked. It’s usually not the case. Regardless, prevention is always easier than recovery from an actual hack.

What If I Lose My Second Factor?

When you lose your second factor, there are two things to be concerned about: getting into your own account — for which you should be prepared — and someone else having access to your second factor — which isn’t as scary as it sounds.

How Do You Delete Things from the Internet? – Why the Internet is Forever, Except When It’s Not

Realistically, it’s impossible to delete things from the internet. Yet in an apparent contradiction in terms, if you happen to delete something in your control, you also can’t get it back.

Why Can’t Online Services Tell Me My Password? (If They Can, There’s Something Wrong)

It’s for your own protection, and the result of fascinating mathematical wizardry. And if they can tell you your password? They’re doing security wrong.

How to Protect Data on a Laptop – The 4 Most Important Steps

You REALLY need to protect your sensitive data if your laptop runs even the slightest risk of being stolen. It’s critical that you protect it (and yourself) with these four appropriate security steps.

Are You Ready for Your Computer to be Stolen?

You might lose your hardware and any un-backed-up data on it, and possibly give a thief access to it all! I’ll cover a few of the basics. A stolen computer or lost computer can open the doors to all sorts of havoc if you’re not prepared.

Can My Work Spy on My Home Computer? Three Ways You Might Be Letting Them In, and What To Do

Using a computer at work puts you at their mercy. It’s technically possible your workplace could spy on all your activities.

What’s the Difference Between Windows Defender, Windows Security, and Microsoft Security Essentials?

Windows Security is Windows Defender is Microsoft Security Essentials, by any other name. Windows Defender has also had different meanings over the years.

Who’s Trying to Change My Password? Why It Happens and What to Do

If your account has not actually been hacked, there’s little anyone can do to find out who’s trying to log in as you. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself from would-be hackers and phishing scams.

Microsoft Account Recovery Code – What and Why with Instructions Included

Possession of a Microsoft account recovery code is proof you are the account owner and should be allowed in should you ever lose account access.

What’s a “Zero-Day” Attack? A Diagram of the Vulnerability Timeline

A zero-day attack is an exploitation of a software vulnerability before there’s a fix for it. I’ll review the timeline.

How Can I Securely Delete Everything Except the Operating System? Five Steps to Get as Close as You Can

Before giving away a machine or returning a loaner, it’s important to remove personal information from it. That may be both harder and easier than you think.

Can Someone Install Something on My Computer When It’s Not Logged In?

If your computer is not physically secure, someone could install something even if you’re not logged in.

Can My Workplace See What Else I Do When I Work from Home?

Working from home can be convenient, or even a necessity. Does it open up your other online activity to scrutiny by your company?

Five Steps to Better Security Working from Home

Security threats for people working from home are increasing. I’ll review steps you need to take to keep yourself, your company, and your job safe.

Can Video Chat Be Intercepted and Recorded?

Video chat is probably not monitored, but there’s no way to prove that. If that’s too vague for you, then be careful what you do on your computer.

How Can I Delete an Old Account If I Forgot My Email and Password?

If you’ve lost your password, there are recovery steps. If you’ve also lost your email address, recovery becomes significantly more difficult.

Adobe Flash Download Site

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

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

How Do I Leave Services I Didn’t Request?

Unauthorized use of your email address is rarely anything more serious than annoyance.