Safety Tips for the Online User

QUICKTOP2Here are 5 quick tips to keep yourself stay safe online, protect your computer, your personal information and maybe save yourself some money.

The Basics are Important

Make sure that you have an up to date version of your operating system and internet browser. An up to date version of an antivirus program is also critical. These are things that a surprising amount of people fail to do. These days you can alter the settings on a lot of software so they update automatically, but you may have to do some things manually.

Password Management

There are a number of things you can do to make your passwords as strong as possible. The first is to try and have a different password for all of your accounts and logins, and use a combination of upper and lower case, numbers and letters.

You can find programs that can help you master your passwords and my favorite of course if LastPass. I have talked about this application many times and you can learn more here.

You can learn more about LastPass at www.lastpass.com.

You can learn more about LastPass at www.lastpass.com.

 

Be Suspicious

Too many people act like children in the proverbial candy store when they are online, clicking on any link they see, adding anyone that asks and giving away personal information at the drop of a hat. These are all mistakes and will eventually lead to digital trouble.

An important aspect of online security is adopting an attitude of suspecting everyone and anyone, especially with regards to opening emails and clicking on links. MacAfee SiteAdvisor is a great tool to show you when you are venturing off the beaten track and into potentially dangerous online territory.

Keep Your Personal Life Personal

This applies to everything you do, but especially social networking sites. Although it might appear that you are surrounded by friends and acquaintances on sites like Facebook, the reality is that you are one node in a very large network system that is accessed and used by millions of people every day.

Never list your address, phone number or email account on these sites and try not to give away too many personal details about where you work or when you are going out of town.

You wouldn’t walk down the street giving your phone number or address to anyone that asked you for it, so do not do it on the internet.

Beware of Public Hotspots

You should never access documents with sensitive information or your online banking on a public network or hot-spot. These public networks are at risk of being hacked or monitored by very bad people. Also look at the lawsuits brought against Google for sucking up people’s personal information to see how simple getting information from these networks about you can be.

 

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Wiping Your iOS Device

iphone-wipe-data-cleanToday is seems we are all using disposable technology. For example unlike days past when we would keep a TV for 10 or 15 years it seems every other year we are looking at the new exciting models. If this is true for TVs then it is really true for our smartphones. So what do you do if you want to give your old smartphone away or even sell it. Smartphones have a lot of your information in them so you really need to do what is called a “wipe”.

Using Apple’s iOS as an example of this process you can see how easy it actually is to “wipe” your smartphone.

The process for wiping Android and Windows smartphones are even easier then this, and I will cover their process in a later article.

First – Turn off Find My iPhone

If you’re on iOS 7 already and you have an iCloud account linked to your iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to sign out of Find My iPhone before you can truly wipe the device.

  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap on iCloud.
  3. Scroll down once more and turn Off the Find My iPhone option.
  4. You will be prompted to enter your iCloud password. Once you’re done entering your password, tap Turn Off.

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That’s it, you can now proceed to wiping your iPhone or iPad. The above steps are only necessary if the iPhone or iPad you’re trying to restore is on iOS 7.0 or above.

Finally – Erase all data from your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Now tap on General.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on Reset.
  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. You will be prompted to confirm your selection, tap on Erase iPhone.
  6. Once more you will be reminded that you can’t undo this action, tap Erase iPhone one more time to confirm.

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That’s it! Your iPhone or iPad will reboot and after a few minutes all your personal data should be gone and the device will look like the day it was first opened.

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Get To Know Your Internet Speed

Are you getting the internet speed at home you are paying for? When you sign up with an ISP (internet service provider) you actually pay a monthly fee for a specific internet speed. There are two specific speeds. One is download and the other is upload. For most consumers the one that is really important is the download speed. This (upload) is the service the you use for streaming video services. The lower the speed the weaker the video performance will be.

Knowing all of this the first thing you want to do is find out what internet speed you should be receiving. You can usually find this out by logging into your ISP account (Verizon, Comcast etc.) or simply calling and asking?

After you find what internet speeds you should be receiving Speedtest.net should be the very next website you visit in order to test your internet speed. The site is very easy to use and in seconds you will find out what internet speeds (upload and download) you are actually being provided.

If the speed is lower then what it should be try powering off and back on your router and run the speed test again. If this does not correct the problem contact your ISP. Let them know you are not getting the internet speed you are paying for after which they will probably correct it.

Also if you do stream video often you may want increase your internet speed once you find out what it is, and if you experience buffering issues when viewing online video services like Netflix.

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