Articles in Category: Security

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?

The Biggest Risk to Your Privacy

The biggest risk to your privacy is probably not what you think it is.

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.

"Just" remove your files

Can Malware Survive If I Reset My PC?

It’s possible for malware to be difficult or nearly impossible to remove. It’s also extremely rare.

How Do I Choose a Good Password?

With occasional security breaches at service providers and rampant email account theft, password security has never been more important. Make sure you choose and use secure passwords.

Preparing For The Ultimate Disaster

If you’re not around to unlock all the digital data you take such care to secure, who will be able to access it, and how?

Can the Owner of an Open WiFi Hotspot See What Files I’m Downloading?

Open WiFi hotspot downloads are available for the internet cafe owner to see. Whether or not they take the time to do it is another story!

Why Does Malware Exist?

Malware has come a long, long way since it began as a benign joke or proof-of-concept. Today, most malware boils down to someone, somewhere, making money.

Firefox warning of form that's not secure

How Can an Https Website Still Not Be Secure?

Surprisingly, it’s possible for aspects of an https site to still not be secure, if the site is improperly designed. And it’s extremely difficult to tell.

It Pays to Be Skeptical

If we would all be a little more skeptical, we’d be safer and the internet would be a more trustworthy place.

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

Hacking into someone’s account is often seen as an answer to some problem. In reality, all it does is open a much larger can of worms and put you at more risk.

How Do I Know a Web Address is Safe?

Domain names are simple in concept, yet can be constructed in ways that might fool you. I’ll look at some examples, and discuss what’s important.

Windows Remote Desktop setting

Does Turning Off Remote Access Keep Me Safer?

Turning off remote desktop is incrementally safer, but it is a very small piece of a much larger puzzle.

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.

How Do I Remove Myself from a Machine?

Although there’s no way to remove all traces of yourself from a machine, there certainly are ways to remove as much as you can.

What Can We Learn from Mat Honan?

Mat Honan is a reporter for Wired magazine whose digital life was effectively destroyed due to account hacks and lax security policies. There are important lessons here.

Is Wi-Fi Provided by My Landlord Safe?

Connectivity is becoming an added “perk” in some housing situations. Make sure you know the risks and alternatives when someone else provides your internet connection.

Why Is It So Important to Use a Different Password on Every Site?

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.

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.

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?

Do I Need More than One Anti-malware Tool?

It’s tempting to think more is better when it comes to anti-spyware and anti-virus software and firewalls. In reality, too many can cause trouble.

How Do I Find Who Hacked My Email Account?

It’s natural to want to find out who hacked your email and why. Begin by recovering and securing your account. I’ll review what steps you can take after that, and their chances of success.

Does Whole-disk Encryption Impact Computer Performance?

Whole-disk encryption has only minimal impact on the performance of modern computers and hard drives. I’ll review why that’s the case and outline something more important: your ability to access the data when something goes wrong.

Are Password Managers Safe?

Password management utilities are great tools to manage your passwords and be more secure about how you use them.

Why Is It Important to Have Different Passwords on Different Accounts?

Using a different password for every login is an important part of overall security — and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Why that “Unimportant” Account Matters

Regardless of your initial thoughts, every account is important, and you and I are all targets.

Why ANY Two-Factor Is Better than No Two-Factor at All

Headlines are proclaiming that two-factor authentication has been hacked. That in no way means you shouldn’t use it. Your account is still much safer with two-factor enabled.

Why Password Vault Bugs Make Me Cringe

In those rare cases where an issue is discovered with any mature password vault, I cringe — but not because of the issue.