We never stop talking about passwords and that’s because they are so important. There’s a couple of things that we would like to review about passwords and how they should be setup.

1. Don’t create a password that is too short or too simple
This should be obvious… password, 123546, your name, your birthday, etc. are not secure passwords. Hackers are going to run the simplest combinations and most obvious words first. The password should be meaningful to you, but, when you create this password, remember to add in things like special characters with your letters and numbers. For example: use the @ symbol instead of the letter A or an exclamation point ( ! ) instead of an L.

2. Never changing passwords or changing them too often
This is a double edged sword. Never changing your password isn’t good, but on the reverse, changing your password too often can also have negative side effects. For example, if you haven’t changed your password in two years, especially if it’s something like your Netflix account, then it’s definitely time. Why? Because, most people don’t type those passwords in, they’re just saved and when they’re saved they tend to be forgotten. On the flip side, changing passwords too often, statistically speaking, will cause most people to use a less secure password. This might be because people don’t want to be creative when the password is created or they’re just tired of changing the password and simply don’t care anymore. With that in mind, just remember that multiple years is too long but every month is probably too often…

Have questions or suggestions? Let us know by sending an email or simply responding to this email!

What passwords?

What if there was something better than passwords? Well technically there is, but it isn't necessarily widespread just yet. Biometric readers have been used for years as a way to unlock our computers (and many other things) and after Apple introduced Touch ID, passwords started becoming less necessary. For instance, I have several apps that now ask me if I want to use Touch ID instead of typing in my password. While this technology isn’t full proof, it certainly is very convenient and a little more difficult to hack. But Apple isn’t the only one in this game. Microsoft introduced Windows Hello which, on compatible devices, can not only read your finger print but also recognize you by your face or iris.

How does this work? Basically, when you set up Windows Hello, the system will take data from the finger print, face or iris sensor and create what Microsoft calls a data representation. In their words, this isn’t a picture, in the case of the face or iris, but more of a graph. This information then gets encrypted and stored on the device. The one thing that some people might not like is that some of this data is collected in effort to see how people are using the software and if it’s working properly. Microsoft does, however, say that all information that could identify the user is stripped out before it’s sent.

What do we think? This could be a good step forward for security. For years, organizations concerned about security have been using facial recognition as well as iris and finger print scanners. This is not, technically speaking, a new technology. It’s just finally made it to the hands of the average consumer and at the end of the day, it works. Will it stop all attacks or all possible break-ins? No, but it’s definitely moving in the right direction.

How's you virus protection?

When's the last time you thought about the virus protection on your computer? Often, we only talk about what to do after the infection has happened. However, there are ways to be proactive and in many cases avoid the infection altogether.

One basic way to be a little more secure is to find and fix the areas where a computer might be vulnerable. This might look like running an operating system that is no longer supported, such as Windows XP, or leaving outdated programs, that aren't being used, on the computer. In both of these instances, "doors" are open to an attack. Our advice, delete programs that you're not using. Not only will this free up space and help that computer to run faster, but it will also remove a possible entry point for a virus.

Of course, we can't talk about security without mentioning email. Plain and simple, be safe and cautious. Some things to look out for are the email address (do you recognize the sender?) and the formatting of the email (does the wording seem odd?).  

We've mentioned this a lot in the past, but always make passwords protecting critical information as cryptic as possible. The less they make sense, the harder they are to crack. Basically, don't use your birthday or easily found personal information.

No computer is unhackable, but why make it easy? So, take a few steps or as many as you can to protect that device.


We talk a lot about passwords and security here, but that’s because of how important they are to your computer’s security. If you have a simple password, i.e. 12345 or password (yes people do use that), then keep in mind that hacking such a simple password takes less than a minute. As we’ve said in the past, it doesn’t have to be so complicated that it can’t be memorized. However, a strong password should have upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters when possible. 

Let's talk about Surfing

We've always been told to put safety first, but to be safe, you first have to know that you're in an unsafe environment. That's what this article is all about, at least from the standpoint of the internet. Too often computers are hacked and valuable information is lost unnecessarily. Not necessarily because of careless behavior, but from simply not knowing that something was unsafe. 

The next two points are specific ways to be safer while browsing the internet:

Point One: Think about the network to which you're connected. Have both virus and malware protection on your computer.

Have you ever been at the local coffee shop, on your computer, and decided to pay a bill or check your bank balance? This would seem harmless (sometimes it is), but the problem lies in the fact that most coffee shops do not have any sort of firewall or protection from outside threats. At this point, I'm not even talking about someone stealing your private information, but about the person across the room who accidentally clicks on the wrong link. If someone else opens a virus while your computer is connected to the same network, then that virus has an extremely clear path directly onto your computer. This is why we advocate so much for anti-virus software and keeping that software up-to-date. Should you stay off of all public wifi spots? No, but make sure that the computer is protected by installing a virus protection and anti-malware software. Also, be cautious while browsing. If you're going to get on the internet at your local coffee shop, that's fine, but avoid checking your bank balance or any other potentially private information on unprotected networks. Caution is key! 

Point Two: Make your password secure. The less it makes sense the better!

If a conversation about internet safety starts, then talk about passwords will inevitably be thrown into the mix. There's a good reason for this and it's because passwords are extremely important. They should be complicated and, in general, not really make sense. This would make them as difficult as possible to crack. But I know that, for most of us, it needs to make a little sense so that it can be remembered. However, there are a couple of rules to follow that can really help with creating a good password.

A few of those rules to remember are:

1. Add in upper and lower case letters, special characters, and numbers. This makes it difficult for a hacker or "bot" to crack. Not all sites will allow the use of special characters, but, when possible, use them.

2. If a website says that the password is weak (this would happen at signup or when resetting a password) then listen. Rethink the password and come up with a new one. Again the more complicated the better.

3. Do not write down passwords! I know that sometimes it becomes difficult to remember multiple passwords, but having them written down opens the door of opportunity for them to be misplaced or misused.

The biggest factor in internet safety is caution. As the saying goes "better safe than sorry".