Category Archives: Software

Password Management

With hundreds of accounts spread across the Internet, covering everything from social media to email to financial data, its important to have strong, unique passwords for every website.   But keeping track of those passwords is a huge pain.  Many people resort to storing their passwords on paper or a worse, in a document stored on a computer.

The best way to deal with all that account security is to use a password management tool.   Some of the most popular password management tools:

Things to look for:

  • Does it work on phones as well as laptops/desktop computers?
  • How much does it cost:  is there an annual fee or cost per device?
  • Can you synchronize the stored data between platforms (phones and laptops)?

Note:  Some browsers, like Google Chrome, can do a remarkably good job of generating, storing and recalling passwords.   However, that’s about all they can do — that can’t keep track of secret questions, birthdates, etc.

Security tips:

  • Always use strong, unique passwords.  A good password manager tool can generate strong, unique passwords for you.
    • Passwords should generally be composed of upper and lowercase letters as well as some punctuation and numbers, and should be at minimum eight characters long.
    • Every website should have a unique password — do not reuse passwords.
    • Don’t make up new passwords based on a variation of common root word (like bobby12, bobby12a, bobby5x).
  • Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for all sensitive accounts including financial, social media, and storage accounts.  Major accounts that provide access to key personal data like Google (gmail) and Apple accounts should definitely have 2FA turned on.

Malware Attacks Becoming More Deceptive: XP Antivirus

One of the more insidious malware attacks in recent months as been an attack that disguises itself as an antivirus program. It appears on your system as ‘XP Antivirus’, which is not a real product. It then usually flashes up a fake virus detection notice such as this:

And then tries to get you to purchase the software or updates, thus providing your credit card details to some rogue organization. In addition, the virus usually embeds itself deeply into your system software, making it difficult to remove. It may also monitor keystrokes and steal other personal data.

If you start encountering antivirus warnings from a program you are not familar with, you should have your system checked immediately.

You can also do a cursory check of your system following the steps outlined in our Support article:  Spyware/Virus Detection.