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Tag: tips and tricks

Article: 5 steps to keep your accounts safe from hackers and scammers

Throughout the flood of hacks and data breaches at retailers, restaurants, health care providers and online companies this year — Home Depot, Target, Subway, Adobe and eBay were just a handful — the one safe haven was the banks. Unlike other companies, banks had a long history of keeping bad guys away from our money and personal data.

Unfortunately, that’s no longer something we can take for granted, as JPMorgan Chase customers discovered recently when the financial giant admitted that hackers had stolen information, including checking and savings account details, from 80 million customers. Even worse, the hack went on for two months before the company noticed anything was amiss. That’s not very comforting.

There’s no way you can prevent a data breach from occurring at a company that has your business. You can, however, make sure your accounts are secure from other forms of attack.

Here are my Top 5 methods to maintain safe and secure online accounts.

1. Lock down your password

Maintaining good password security is one of the easiest ways to protect your accounts.

A strong password — eight or more characters with upper-case characters, lower-case characters, numbers and symbols in a random order — is very hard for hackers to break. Click here to learn how to create a password like this that’s still easy to remember.

Of course, you need to create a unique password for every account. That way, if hackers get one of your passwords in a data breach, they can’t immediately get into your other accounts.

While you’re making your passwords strong, don’t forget to beef up your security questions, too. A strong password is worthless if a hacker can answer your security question after a quick trip to Facebook.

2. Secure your connection

When logging into a sensitive account, the best place to do it is at home. I’m assuming here that you’ve followed my other security tips about securing your network and making sure your computer doesn’t have a data-stealing virus.

Of course, in an emergency, you might need to connect to a sensitive account when you’re on the go. For banking, it’s best to use your bank’s app and a cellular connection.

If you have to use Wi-Fi, add extra security with a Virtual Private Network. This creates a secure, encrypted link with a third-party server, and you access your sites through that link. It’s an extra level of protection that hackers shouldn’t be able to crack. On a laptop, CyberGhost is a good option. On a tablet or smartphone, check out Hotspot Shield VPN or avast! SecureLine VPN.

Know that VPNs slow down your Internet speed. Turn them off for streaming videos and general browsing.

3. Set up account alerts

Many banks will automatically send you text alerts when purchases or withdrawals on your card exceed an amount that you specify. Click here to learn more about setting up text alerts. Check your credit cards and other accounts for similar options.

Many online accounts also offer something called two-step verification, or two-factor authentication. This is great. In order to log in from an unfamiliar device or location, you need a password and a code from a separate email account or smartphone text.

Click here for instructions on setting up two-step verification for Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other online accounts. It takes just a few minutes and can save you a bunch of time and hassles.

While we’re on the subject of two-factor authentication, some banks now feature an embedded chip that generates a new pass code for every use. Ask your financial institution if it offers cards with Chip Authentication Program (CAP) or Dynamic Passcode Authentication (DPA) technology. They don’t advertise this. You have to know to ask.

4. Avoid phishing scams

Even if hackers don’t get your credit card information or account number, they usually get the next best thing: Your name and email address.

That’s exactly what they need to launch a phishing attack. A popular type of phishing attack is a fake email claiming to be from a real company that asks you to click on a link or download an attachment.

Thanks to data breaches, hackers know exactly what companies you use. You might get an email claiming to be from JPMorgan Chase telling you that your account has a problem and you need to click a link or download a file for more details. Click here to learn the warning signs of a phishing email so you aren’t fooled.

Of course, the link will take you to a malicious site disguised as a Chase page, or the email attachment will contain a data-stealing virus. Either way, hackers can get your username and password, or other sensitive information.

Remember, no legitimate company will ask you to click a link or download an email attachment to update your account details.

5. Be vigilant

The best way to make sure your online banking account, or any other account, stays safe is to pay attention. Catching small problems early can prevent hackers from making bigger ones later. Here’s why:

In the cybercriminal world there’s a term, “fullz.” A fullz is all the information a thief needs to assume the identity of someone else and apply for credit under their name.

When hackers get your fullz, they often group it with fullz from other people and sell the whole package online. Click here to learn more about fullz and how they’re bought and sold.

After buying a fullz, a criminal will test the waters. He’ll place a few small-scale purchases using your account details. If you don’t take any action, he’ll continue making small purchases until he’s earned the amount he paid for your “fullz,” and then some.

Finally, the criminal will max out your card or drain your account without a second thought. How do you stop this? Watch your accounts. If you notice a strange transaction, call your bank or credit card company immediately. Better to err on the side of caution.

Copyright 2014, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/11/01/5-steps-to-keep-your-accounts-safe-from-hackers-and-scammers/

Wireless Display Standards Explained: AirPlay Miracast WiDi Chromecast

HDMI allows you to connect almost any device to a TV or another external display, but HDMI requires a wired connection. You might assume there’d be a well-supported standard for wireless displays, but you’d be wrong.

When it comes to mirroring a device’s screen wirelessly or using it as a remote-control for media displayed on another screen, there is still a wide variety of competing standards fighting it out in the market.

via Wireless Display Standards Explained: AirPlay, Miracast, WiDi, Chromecast, and DLNA.

Chrome App Launcher – All Shortcuts in One Place

It’s no secret around here that Chrome is our browser of choice, and has been for a long time. There are so many great reasons we stick with Google’s browser that we’d need to dedicate an entire article on the virtues of Chrome vs. anything else. Trust me when I say it wouldn’t be a quick read.

The built-in sync process in Chrome for example, which seamlessly keeps all your devices’ browsers current with your latest bookmarks, history and settings…across all  devices and desktop/mobile platforms…is enough to win me over all by itself.  But one of the coolest features in the Chrome browser is the App store, and the ability to add apps to your home page etc., making it really convenient to access things like Tweetdeck, Evernote, Skype, Facebook, Netflix…you name it…as well as shortcuts to Maps , GMail or just about anything. There are literally tons of apps, many of them both free AND useful, in the Chrome App store.

chromeapplauncher01

Google Chrome apps blur the lines between actual apps and shortcuts to web pages. Some are true apps, while others are a convenient shortcut to regular web content like GMail or Maps. Either way, the launch page makes it easy to create and customize your own personalized launcher with all of your favorite apps and websites in one place.

Chrome App Launcher takes it one step further, by giving you an “Apps” shortcut right on your toolbar, as well as the ability to set the Apps page as your Home page. My favorite feature is the ability to add the Apps shortcut to your Windows Taskbar, making most of my Chrome shortcuts just 2 clicks away.

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You can create a shortcut on your Windows Task Bar really easily. Well, actually all you have to do is install any Desktop App from the Chrome App Store, and Google automatically adds a shortcut on your Task Bar (and Start Menu, inside the Google Chrome folder) for you! The instructions are right below.

Visit the Chrome App store right after you install Chrome (if you haven’t already) and check out all of the free (and not so free) apps available that help make the Chrome experience our ongoing recommendation for trouble free, high performance browsing.

Of course, keep checking back here for more tips on how to make IT get out of your way and start working for you instead!

App Launcher

The Chrome App Launcher is a window where you can quickly access all of your Chrome apps right from your desktop. You can open App Launcher from your Taskbar (Windows) or Dock (Mac).

Install App Launcher

App Launcher installs automatically when you add an app from the “For Your Desktop” collection of the Chrome Web Store. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to the For Your Desktop section of the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Add an app by clicking the Free or Buy for [price] button.
  3. Look in your taskbar (Windows) or Dock (Mac) to find App Launcher .

When you open App Launcher, you’ll find the app you just added, as well as some other handy Chrome apps.

5 Ways to Create a Password You Can Remember – wikiHow

5 Ways to Create a Password You Can Remember – wikiHow.

Coming up with a password that is both safe and memorable gets harder and harder the more of them we have to memorize. Combining words, phrases, numbers, and coding them with simple substitutions will ensure that your personal information is safe. It is important to be able to come up with passwords that are personal enough to remember but varied and complex enough to be secure, so learning how to create appropriate passwords is a crucial skill that you will undoubtedly use often.

Read more on WikiHow.com

Get Around Hotel Wi-Fi Blocks and Use Your Chromecast When Traveling

Get Around Hotel Wi-Fi Blocks and Use Your Chromecast When Traveling.

I love my Chromecast. But since I haven’t traveled with it (yet), I didn’t even think about the fact that you wouldn’t be able to use it in a lot of motels/hotels. A travel router is a great solution as the author of the source article points out.

A tethering plan and a mobile device that supports 4G tethering would also work…but unless you have an unlimited data plan, Netflix would probably burn through your data plan in a couple nights. I’m wondering how many nights I could get away with per month on my “unlimited” plan and carrier-free tethering, thanks to my fully unlocked Nexus device 😉

SSsshh don’t let AT&T find out #BigMother

 

Dialog boxes may be killing Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer running slow? Dialog boxes could be at fault

Internet Explorer running slow? Dialog boxes could be at fault | PCWorld

 

If you’ve noticed Internet Explorer running slowly lately—or just halting altogether—here’s one possible cause: dialog boxes.

On Friday, the same day that Microsoft recommended users download the latest updates for Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft issued a hotfix for Internet Explorer. According to asupport article issued Friday, “web applications that implement consecutive modal dialog boxes may cause Internet Explorer to become slow and unresponsive over time.”

Microsoft issued the hotfix for Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11—basically every major version.

For more information about how Dialog boxes may be killing Internet Explorer, follow the source link below to check out the PC World article to find out how to fix the problem.

via Internet Explorer running slow? Dialog boxes could be at fault | PCWorld.

Mirror any Android screen on your PC

We’ve been playing around with Google’s Chromecast a little bit, and the first take has been excellent. You can use it to play all kinds of content: YouTube videos, Netflix and any other Chromecast enabled app, as well as sending “casting” the entire screen to any TV with an HDMI port. Very, cool stuff really. Screencasting is especially cool because it allows the full Android experience on your TV…your Android device basically becomes the remote control touchpad for a 42″ Android Display.  Like I said: Very, VERY cool.

We just found out about AllCast, and haven’t had a chance to test it yet. But at this point it seems to have many of the same capabilities as Chromecast…but instead of going to your TV, you mirror to your PC.  Casting your Android screen to your PC seems like it would be pretty cool…maybe even more cool than going to a TV, so I can’t wait to give it a test.

But don’t wait for me to get around to doing a full review (and I’m not suggesting that I ever will)…that could take way too much time. And by ‘time’ I mean…well just think of time from glacial perspective. But if you have an Android phone you can give it a try yourself…today!

Check out the Engadget article for more info, and if you have a late model Android phone, head over to the Google Play Store, grab the free app, and start casting!

Engadget: AllCast will let you mirror any Android phone’s screen on your PC.

Related articles across the web

 

Add Disk Space – Drop in a new drive

Add Disk Space – Drop in a new drive – Tips and Tricks

Your C:\ drive is at 93% capacity. Your two year old PC is crawling, growing slower each day with each new silly-kitty-cat-meme or stupid-human-reality viral video is added to the cache.  It seems to almost groan under the load, fans whirring, hard drive grinding, trying to shuffle files around to make enough space for Windows to run.

Click. Wait….for…it..still waiting… waiting. You start to wonder, is it time for a new PC already? Or maybe all you need is a new hard drive to add some space?  But that would mean…going inside your PC. *cue scary music*

Opening your computer can seem like a daunting thing. All those wires and fans and blinking lights…you’re bound to screw SOMETHING up if you start poking around in there, right?

Well, rip back the veil and take a peek…these days it’s not really all that hard and there’s not too much to be afraid of. You can add a TB or two and then clear out your C:\ drive. An overnight deep defrag after the whole schabang will make a big difference too, especially if you move a bunch of data from the system drive.

One last point: When choosing a drive, don’t skimp. If you think you’ll never need more than 1 TB, get a 1.5 TB (or bigger) drive. Data grows exponentially. Last but not least, choose a  high performance SATA 6.0 Gb/s drive that is 7200 RPM and has a 32 MB (64MB even better) cache or larger. These days, the hard drive is the slowest component in a PC, and optimizing your hard disk can make a big difference in your user experience…especially as time goes on and your disk fills up!

▶ How to install a new hard drive in your desktop PC.

The Above ‘How To’ Article Courtesy of
Marco Chiappetta
 at PC World
@MarcoChiappetta