Safety and Security Practices

This is something that has been asked of me a few times. How do you practice safe browsing and shopping online?  Also how do you deal with passwords?

The first question is rather simple to answer. Simply stated practicing safe browsing is just a matter of watching where you're going. But that is probably 80% of the job at hand in my eyes. Others may see that as a lower percentage and wish to leverage the security of the computer as the bulk of the protection. I disagree. It's rather simple to understand when you look at the internet as a road map. A rather expansive and infinitely complex road map but a road map nonetheless.  That said your computer, router, modem and service providers have a record of directions to the sites you browse frequently but in terms of how they work, the computer will ask the router that in turn asks the modem. Which then will ask the service provider if they don't know where your website is. Every web address is considered a street address. And much like if you punch in the slightest bit of wrong information into a GPS navigator you will be brought to the wrong location. Spelling is everything when it comes to an address.

It has happened for some of my clients as well as many a service calls where the wrong address will lead to the wrong type of a website. It will often be a website that is designed to incite the viewer to panic. Below is a screenshot of what a webpage like that is.

When you are presented with this I always advise that you need to leave the webpage any way that is possible. Often times this can be done by simply clicking leave the page. But it can be done by simply closing out the program. This type of a pop up or website is generally brought on as a popup, redirect due to a website that has been compromised, or by using the wrong URL.

The other part of the safe browsing involves the Internet security software or lack thereof for the PC. Many people out there don't want to use any type of a software because of the fact that they don't want to spend the money on the software. This software does help stop the redirection as well as browser hijacking. But also a lot of the software today also has system tweaks and performance checks to help keep the computer running smoothly.

On the assumption that you are spelling out the site correctly then you may not need the software to help protect it. We are not at all saying that you should go out to the world without any kind of protection. Rather the opposite. We encourage the use of Internet security software instead of just antivirus software for those tweaks. But we also encourage you to make the extra efforts comparing softwares and making sure that you're going to the right URL.

Now for the other question that I mentioned.  What about passwords? How do you manage them? Well there are a few schools of thought involved with them. The first one is what about storing them on the pc. In storing them on the computer it helps so that you don't need to really try and remember them. But at the end of the day with that the users are forced to depend on the storage and accuracy of what's storing the password.

The second school of thought is using the same password for everything. While that will make it very easy for you to remember the password. There are definitely some potential negatives for this, such as if a person figures out what this is they'd have access to everything it works with. Also with having the same password for everything, there is a massive positive for it. That being that you can easily get into what you're working with without fear of forgetting what the password is.

The third school is keeping a list of everything, usernames and passwords alike. Both good and bad. Good because that list allows you to not have to remember the info, just where it is. Another good thing is because of the list, you're bound to remember the info if you're not at your home location. The bad of this list is probably very obvious, someone getting ahold of the list and thus having total access to it.

The last school of thought is one that was suggested to me once. Have a prefix or a suffix to a single password. That prefix or suffix is an abbreviation to the website it's for. So therefore every password is different but very easy to remember. The benefits are self evident with the different passwords for every website. The downside is just developing and getting used to that system.

There are many others regarding passwords. But those are a few that I know have always been discussed with our clients. If you have questions on potentially others and want an opinion on them feel free to drop a line and email your question. I'd be happy to answer them.

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