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7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

 

With all the reports of websites and computers being hacked these days, it’s important to ensure your data is protected with the most secure passwords possible. You certainly don’t want anyone to be able to access your financial information in CreditSesame.com or messages from matches in your Sugardaddie.com account. Many people struggle with password generation and end up creating something generic that is easy to crack. If you are someone who needs help finding ways to create a secure password, we’ve got you covered.

 

Here are 7 ways to create a strong, secure password for optimal data protection:

 

1. Make it as long as possible

The longer your password is, the harder it is for a hacker to crack. Most experts recommend a minimum of 8 characters, but more than that is ideal.

 

2. Use a mix of characters

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

If your password consists of only letters or only numbers, it provides less potential combinations for a hacker to decode–thus, it’s easier to steal your information! Always include at least 1 letter, 1 number, and 1 special character like an ampersand (&), asterisk (*), or dollar sign ($). The goal is to make it as difficult as possible for someone to guess what you’ve chosen.

 

3. Do not reuse old passwords

As time goes on, encryption technology becomes increasingly secure. So a site that you signed up for 10 years ago will be less safe than a site you sign up for today. That being said, now the older site is easier to hack into, and your information is at risk! If the hacker then tries to get into your other accounts and you are still using the same password, they will have no difficulty accessing your important and private data. This is why it is so imperative that you use different passwords and change them over time.

 

4. Opt for multi-factor protection

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

Some websites will allow you to choose multiple methods of protection for your account. If you have the option, always go for 2 or more factors. This may include a standard password coupled with a CAPTCHA system, fingerprint scanner (for mobile devices), text message verification code, or a security question. This is especially important for companies that house your sensitive information like online banks or your student loan servicer.

 

5. Use the strength analyzer

Many sites will tell you how strong your password is as you type it in when creating your account. Utilize this feature! If it says your password is weak, it is. Make sure your password is the highest level of difficulty. If the site doesn’t have this included, you can use a third party site to analyze it for you.

 

6. Store them safely

If you’re following our tips thus far, you now have a different password for each account. Realistically, these are going to be difficult for you to remember. Writing them down is likely the easiest solution, but it’s not the most secure. Read security software reviews to find a program that will save your password information in an encrypted, protected file that no one else can access.

 

7. Keep it to yourself

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

Last, but not least, always remember to keep your passwords to yourself. Don’t share them with anyone, even the people you trust most. The more people that know your password, the higher the likelihood of your data being at risk.

 

Consider these tips the next time you sign up for an account somewhere. And if you’re in violation of any of them, go back and change your passwords. Don’t take the chance of losing important information or having your data stolen due to something that is easily preventable!

 

There are many scammers out there looking to steal your password information under false pretenses. Keep yourself safe by checking out our related post: 4 Signs For Recognizing An Email Scam

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam?

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam?

 

With the rise of smartphones came an increasing need for customization. This came in the form of mobile apps that allow you to add functionality to your device. From to-do lists to games to streaming services, there are millions of apps to choose from. However, not all apps are made equally, and neither are their creators. Many apps are created with malicious intentions that will hack into your phone or even contain viruses to render it unusable. But how do you know if an app is a scam?

 

Here are 5 tips for mobile app predator prevention:

 

1. Do your research

Google is at your service! Look up the name of the app and any other information that the app store tells you to find out some background information on it. Especially check out the software reviews, because if someone had a negative experience they will be sure to post about it all over the web.

 

2. Look into the developer

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam

Another important piece of information you can discover through the app store is the name of the app’s developer. Some developers will be accredited by the app store with a badge appearing next to their name. Click on the developer and do research on them to see what other apps they have created (if any) and if they have a reputable, professional website or social media presence. If you’re able to get any personal information, like their name or company phone number, you can use a service like Kiwi Searches to get more details about their criminal record to ensure their intentions are good.

 

3. Check permission requirements

When you click on the app you want within the app store, the description will also include a list of the permissions requested from your phone. Some apps will require access to your contacts, messages, call history, or other secure information. If it seems irrelevant to the function of the app, be wary. The more apps that have access to your information, the more likely you are to be scammed and have your data stolen.

 

4. Download security software

Security and antivirus software isn’t only for desktop and laptop computers. Phones themselves are miniature, portable computers that also need protecting. The best way to avoid app scams is to look at security software reviews to find an app to protect your device and alert you of potential scams when downloading other apps to your phone. The peace of mind it will afford you is almost as valuable as the protection it provides to your device.

 

5. Only use credible sources

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam

There are two main sources of mobile apps: the Google Play Store and the App Store, for Android and iPhone devices respectively, which are the two most popular devices for app users. If you download an app from any other resource or online site, you run the risk of accidentally programming malware, ransomware, or spyware into your cell phone instead of the intended application.

 

Remember to always listen to your gut when it comes to your findings. No one is safe from hackers or viruses. These scary takeovers of our devices risk our data and potentially even our lives. Take caution when downloading apps to your phone and follow our advice for making smart decisions during the process.

 

Although it can be daunting and scary to allow our lives to rest in the hands of our devices, there are benefits, too, to going completely digital. To find out more about this, see our related post: Your Financial Security Is At Stake: Why Digital Funds Are Safer Than Cash

Your Financial Security Is At Stake: Why Digital Funds Are Safer Than Cash

Your Financial Security Is At Stake: Why Digital Funds Are Safer Than Cash

 

Cash transactions are becoming more and more obsolete with time. An increasing number of retailers are beginning to accept digital payments like Apple Pay or credit cards with chip technology and are stocking their registers as minimally as possible. This is done for convenience as well as concern for health. CNN reported recently that there are 100+ different types of bacteria swarming all over the currency circulating New York City alone. Imagine how much more can be found throughout the state, country, or even world? It’s unsanitary and the reason food handlers have requirements for wearing and changing their gloves during cash transactions. 

Consumers realize this. It’s a major source of the switch from physical bills to digital payments. Of course, it’s also so much easier to carry your wallet around on your phone. For men and women alike, carrying around cash is bulky and irritating to deal with. Minimalism is the new trend, including reduction of personal items on your actual person. Especially for travelers, this is the safest way, since cash is easier to steal and makes you more of a target for thieves and scammers.

Digital funds have even taken over the personal transaction market, with apps like Venmo that allow you to instantly transfer money from your bank account or Venmo reserve to friends via only your mobile device. No need for cash, a credit card to upload funds, or even to meet in person. You can send money to someone that lives halfway around the world in an instant if you want or need to.

Your Financial Security Is At Stake: Why Digital Funds Are Safer Than Cash

Now, Venmo is expanding its reach by venturing into the retail environment. Soon, users everywhere will be able to use a Venmo debit card in their favorite stores. This practice will use your reserve of Venmo funds as if Venmo itself is your bank. This way, if a friend pays you through the app, instead of having to transfer the money back into your bank account or use it to pay someone else in the future, you can use your debit card to make a transaction directly from your account.

How else do digital transactions protect us?

When your funds are entirely digital, it’s not only easier to spend money, but it’s easier to keep track of your payments. There are apps to track your spending, like Mint or GoodBudget, as well as financial planning software you can download to your computer. They will even analyze the data for you to help you spend and budget most efficiently. Look around to find the best program for you. Check out reviews of Intuit Quickbooks, for example, before taking the plunge. Many of these softwares are for the business owner and individual alike.

Your Financial Security Is At Stake: Why Digital Funds Are Safer Than Cash

Although digital currency like Bitcoin has done extremely well in terms of its value over the past few years, it has yet to catch on as the popular mode of spending (although its use is widely accepted by online retailers and marketplaces). However, given the trend towards digitizing our purchasing power, there’s no doubt that we will see an entirely computerized world–money and all.

Digital wallets are the most effective method of spending while traveling, too, for safety purposes. If you’re interested in learning more about protecting yourself and your devices from theft while on vacation, check out our related post: 6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

 

Without installing a top antivirus software, your computer is at risk for viruses, malware, hacking, and all kinds of suspicious activity. So if your device isn’t protected, how can you know if you’ve got a computer virus?

 

Here are the 6 most common symptoms of an infected computer:

 

1. Slow speed

Both the internet and your computer itself will significantly slow down if you’ve got a virus. This can happen because the attacker has uploaded a large application or multiple malicious files to your computer, bogging it down with excess data. It can also be that the purpose of the virus is to slow down your system enough that the hacker can obtain your private information.

 

2. The Blue Screen of Death

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

Especially on older systems, the Blue Screen of Death would appear when crashing to inform you that there is a technical error. This error is typically caused by malware altering or overloading the computer and preventing it from starting up properly. These days, the actual blue screen is less common, but if your computer or any specific applications are regularly crashing, you are most likely dealing with an infection.

 

3. Low disk space

If you’ve never had a storage space issue in the past and aren’t excessively downloading or creating files, you shouldn’t have any problems with this. So when you get a message telling you your disk space is low, be suspicious. This is possibly due to the unwarranted loading of files or applications onto your system by hackers and viruses. Some people incorrectly attribute this to an antivirus software. However, that will not be the culprit here, especially if you use a cloud-based system like Panda Global Protection.

 

4. Excessive toolbars

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

When you install something from an unknown source, it can result in the addition of toolbars and extra search bars to your default browser. These are usually just a front for the real, malware-carrying application that is being transferred to your computer.

 

5. Strange messages or pop-ups

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

Pop-ups are a normal part of surfing the web. Most websites will have pop-up advertisements on them, but this doesn’t mean you should click on them without caution. And if you’re getting pop-ups and unsolicited messages on the device itself without the browser being open, it’s likely due to a virus.

 

6. Disappearing files

If you ever think to yourself, “Hey, where did my files go?” this is a huge red flag for a computer infection. Your files will never just hide themselves on their own. The most probable explanation is that your computer has been the target of an attack. Hopefully, you will have a backup plan to retrieve your lost files, but if not you should be looking up data recovery software reviews to find something that will assist you if this sort of thing ever happens with your device.

 

The best way to prevent ever having to diagnose your computer with a virus is to be proactive. Install an antivirus or security software to your computer, tablet, and cell phone to ensure you never have to deal with this problem again.

If you’re worried about the content of your emails potentially being a source of viruses or malware, read our related post: 4 Signs For Recognizing An Email Scam

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

 

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you’re probably going to have to (or want to) bring your electronic devices along. Chances are, you only have one of each device and are worried about potentially losing it and all the data kept inside.

 

To ease your worries, follow these 6 safety tips for the tech-savvy traveler:

 

1. Use VPNs

Using a secure network like a VPN (Virtual Private Network) will keep your data and all internet traffic encrypted for your eyes only. It essentially hides your device’s true IP address so no one will be able to track or steal your personal information.

 

2. Security software

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

There are programs you can download to your device that will protect it from all kinds of external threats, including a helpful wifi protection feature that determines if a network is safe for you to access. Since the average traveller uses mostly public networks at cafés, parks, and transportation hubs, this is a great way to ensure you are not entering a wifi trap that is run by a malicious hacker looking to steal your data. Read reviews of security software before purchasing to ensure it promotes this feature and any others that may be of assistance during (and after) your travels.

 

3. Back it up

When you take your devices with you to any location other than the safe nest of your home, you run the risk of theft. If that were to happen, would you have another copy of your precious data, files, photos, videos, and games? If the answer is no, you need to take action immediately. Look into a program like DDI utilities for your mobile device or read reviews of Acronis True Image for a data recovery program compatible with your PC or Mac.

 

4. Trackers

Any device these days has the ability to turn on the location services. By having this system enabled, coupled with a cell phone tracking app that will monitor the location of your device and even remotely access the camera should your phone be stolen or lost, you can easily retrieve your data and find out where the thief is hiding your device!

 

5. Loss protection and insurance

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

One of the greatest assets a frequent traveler can obtain is travel insurance. These programs protect your wallet against cancellations, lost or stolen luggage and personal items, and even medical issues. Without it, you may find yourself stuck with a hefty bill and no way to pay it.

 

6. Take advantage of apps

There are several apps that can help you plan your travel and stay on track. Flight trackers, itinerary planners, and destination podcasts are just a few of the interesting features of the best travel apps out there. Use them to help you find quality coffee spots, interact with locals, and inform you of potential transportation delays.

 

The safest travelers are the smartest travelers. Keep your technology and all your data safe while you’re on the road, in the air, or underground by practicing these tips. You can thank us later.

 

For the traveling businessman’s guide to protecting company data, see our related post: 5 Strategies For Protecting Your Business Assets And Ideas From Fraud Or Theft

5 Strategies For Protecting Your Business Assets And Ideas From Fraud Or Theft

5 Strategies For Protecting Your Business Assets And Ideas From Fraud Or Theft

 

As a business owner, you should do everything in your power to make sure your company grows to be successful and is always safe from dangerous threats. In order to do so, it is important to make sure you have a plan in place to protect and secure all of your precious data and information.

 

To help you plan, review these 5 strategies for protecting your business assets and ideas from fraud or theft:

 

1. Trademark, watermark, patent

Keep others from stealing your creations by trademarking names, watermarking photos and videos, and patenting your ideas. By using these methods, you can safeguard your things effectively and legally. Watermarking can even be done on your own, using a watermark software to make the process quick and easy. You can’t prevent someone from stealing your photo this way, but you can make sure everyone who sees it knows it’s really yours.

 

2. Data encryption

5 Strategies For Protecting Your Business Assets And Ideas From Fraud Or Theft

Your business data is valuable to you. If it were to fall into the wrong hands, the repercussions for your company could be detrimental. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to encrypt your files. Encryption scrambles the data or makes it password protected to hide it from prying eyes.

 

3. Due diligence

When working with anyone other than yourself, whether it be clients, partners, or employees, you need to do your due diligence. This means running a background check and thoroughly vetting them to ensure they are trustworthy. They must be willing and able to keep your company secrets.

 

4. Non-Disclosure Agreements

5 Strategies For Protecting Your Business Assets And Ideas From Fraud Or Theft

Having your partners and employees sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) ensures that they by law cannot share your secrets. So even if they turn out to be untrustworthy, there are legal repercussions for them that will allow you to take action against the offending party.

 

5. Secure your devices

Your company cell phones, tablets, computers, and all electronic devices are susceptible to being hacked or infected with a virus. To prevent these issues, consider browsing reviews of security software to find the program that best suits your business needs. These programs can include special features that you may find more useful to you than others, so it’s important to do your research before committing.

 

Protect your business today. If you fail to follow these safety precautions, then you are ultimately leaving yourself, along with everything you have worked so hard to build, vulnerable.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about data protection and security, take a look at our related post: 3 Easy Ways To Protect Your Data

 

5 Strategies For Protecting Your Business Assets And Ideas From Fraud Or Theft

How To Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

How To Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

 

It’s nearly impossible to keep children safe and secure 100% of the time. There are times when they are going to have to be away from you at school, summer camp, or during a sleepover. You can’t control their every action, but you can monitor them remotely to verify they are making smart choices while out of your sight.

 

Here are 4 ways how to use a cell phone to keep your children safe:

 

1. Social media alerts

If your child has accounts on social media sites, it’s up to you to ensure they are behaving responsibly and not posting anything dangerous. To keep track of this without violating their privacy and logging in to their account, you can set up social media alerts. This means that any time your child posts something, you’ll receive a notification on your own account so you know to check and see what they shared. If it’s inappropriate, you can speak to your child about taking it down.

 

2. Parental controls

How To Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

When using your device, you can enable “kid mode” or “safety mode” as some developers call it, so your child can only access certain apps or games on your cell phone. However, this can also be an option if they have their own device or utilize streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Call and speak to your service provider to find out if this option is available so you can make sure they are only using approved sites and applications.

 

3. Cell phone spy app

For the extremely concerned parent, a cell phone spy app like Highster Mobile or DDI Utilities will allow you to see every digital move your child makes. You can track their text messages, see what apps they used, view their photos, and more. If you think this is a viable option for you, check out some reviews on cell phone spy apps to find which product is best for your needs.

 

4. Check in

How to Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

The simplest and easiest way to monitor your child is by trusting them to do the right thing, but checking in on them when you’re concerned. Require that your child sends you a text message or a photo when they get to their destination. If you don’t know where they are, don’t stew in silence or wondergive them a call! Regular contact with your child is the most efficient way to build trust while monitoring their behavior.

 

As a parent, keeping your child safe is your #1 priority. It can be difficult to accomplish, but thankfully there are these available methods to help you along the way. If you follow these tips and encourage communication with your children, you are sure to be successful in keeping them as safe as possible.

 

If you’re interested in reading more about protecting you and your loved ones, read our related post: How To Safely Browse The Internet

 

You Are Being Watched: How Harvard Used Social Media Monitoring To Rescind 10 Student Admissions

You Are Being Watched: How Harvard Used Social Media Monitoring To Rescind 10 Student Admissions

 

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a great outlet for sharing things with your friends and family, making connections, and reading interesting articles (like this one!). However, it’s not all fun and games. Despite monitoring your friends list, nothing you post to social media is ever truly private. Many people have learned this the hard way over the years. Employers are firing employees over inappropriate posts. Human resources departments are scouring profiles to judge the potential character of job applicants and candidates. Now, even colleges are turning to social media monitoring to keep tabs on their students, both current and prospective.

In fact, repercussions for inappropriate actions on social media have gotten worse. Most recently is the news of Harvard rescinding the admission of 10 newly admitted students after they engaged in lewd conversation and meme-sharing in a Harvard admitted students Facebook group. What the students believed to be a private, friendly banter in an attempt to impress their peers ended up turning their dreams into nightmares. After going through the exciting process of announcing their acceptance to a top Ivy League college, maybe even combing through financial software reviews to help stay on top of their impending tuition payments, they then had to bear the shame of being rejected before even setting foot on campus.

It has been disclosed that their group chat within the Facebook page included instances of racism, anti-semitism, and general bigotry. Little did they know, the school officials were watching and taking action.

 You Are Being Watched: How Harvard Used Social Media Monitoring To Rescind 10 Student Admissions

This is not the only instance of colleges rejecting students based on their interactions on social media. If you aren’t careful with what you post, share, like, and follow, you just might end up in a similar situation.

Social media isn’t the only source that’s being monitored. Your entire online presence is vulnerable to judgment, from your book review blog to the heart rate statistics you uploaded from your Fitbit last week. Everything you do has the potential of landing in the public eye, so be mindful online no matter which digital platform you’re using.

 

To learn more about protecting your internet presence, read our related post:
4 Things That Can Affect Your Online Reputation.

4 Things That Can Affect Your Online Reputation

4 Things That Can Affect Your Online Reputation

 

For businesses and individuals alike, search results can reveal a lot. Just as you wouldn’t want someone saying negative things about you to the people in the neighborhood, you don’t want negative comments to be posted or ideas to be formed about you (or your company) based on information that is available to internet users worldwide. Protect yourself and ensure your digital exposure is a positive one by understanding what aspects make a difference.

 

Here are 4 things that can affect your online reputation:

 

1. Social media posts

Even if you, yourself, are careful with your privacy settings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, you have little to no control over what is posted about you by others. If you run a company, this can mean Facebook reviews by consumers. If you’re an individual, it means that video of you killing the beer pong competition at a frat party last weekend may have been posted by a party-goer for everyone to see. Look out for these posts so you can take action towards addressing any issues or having the offending items removed.

 

2. Published content

4 Things That Can Affect Your Online Reputation

For companies especially, publishing content such as blog posts or press releases can help stifle any negative search results. Using a software such as SEO Powersuite will help you to build links that positively affect your ranking, as bad links are also a major source of a negative internet presence. For the average Joe, anything that you publish to your blog or submit to other sites is recorded. Make sure the things you post are things that you will still be proud to have representing you years down the line.

 

3. Public record

Have a felony? Filed for bankruptcy? These details are public information that can be found by anyone with an inkling of solid googling skills. There is no real way to avoid these aside from not doing them in the first place. If they’re already out there for the world to see, you’ll want to work on managing your reputation to hide the results from immediate view.

 

4. Photos

4 Things That Can Affect Your Online Reputation

Search engines don’t only show written results for you or your organization. There’s also an images tab, which shows any photograph even remotely related to your name. Even if you aren’t the one that posted the image, it may still have a tag or keyword associated with it that links back to you or your company. Sometimes, these photos are even linked to spam that can erase data from your computer when you click on it, which is even worse since you are now associated with malware.

 

The first step in preventing this issue from arising is to make sure your devices are protected by reading reviews for data recovery software and choosing one that’s right for your system. The second step is contacting the domain hosts and getting them to remove the harmful content. If that doesn’t work, your best bet is always to do a little bit of SEO recon to bury the negative images with positive or neutral ones of your own.

 

Your online reputation has a lot more weight in these times than it ever did before. In fact, it may even be more important than your reputation amongst the small circle of people you know personally. Remember these ideas when you are doing anything online to ensure your search results are ones that you would be proud for your grandmother to see when you teach her all about “The Google.”

Related Post: How To Safely Browse The Internet

5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

Stalkers are not always simply hidden shadows in the night. The evolution of technology has made it easier for stalkers to achieve their menacing goals. It’s important to be informed about this issue in order to defend yourself against potential threats.

 

Here are 5 ways to protect yourself from cyberstalkers:

 

1. Hide your personal information

5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

Social media sites encourage you to share as much of your life as possible with your “friends.” It might be nice to be able to instantly look up someone’s birthday or check out where their new job is located, but just remember that everyone now has access to this information.

To best protect yourself, you should hide this information using your account’s privacy settings. The people that need to know that information can just ask you in person. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

2. Use security software

Security programs have a ton of features nowadays. Not only can they prevent your computer from getting a virus, but they can tell if a website is threatening, check your emails, and even monitor your children’s Internet usage to protect against malware, ransomware, and cyber bullying. Look at some antivirus software reviews to see the different options and decide which is appropriate for your needs.

 

3. Stay logged out

5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

It may be easiest to keep all your accounts logged in to your computer and cell phone for quick access. However, quick access for you also means quick access for attackers and cyber stalkers. Log out of your account when you’re done with it and always keep your passwords to yourself. Don’t share them with someone else or save them in a publicly accessible document.

 

4. Avoid catfishing scams

When you’re finally ready to meet up with the person of your dreams after talking for a few weeks on dating apps like Tinder or Sugardaddie.com, don’t throw all caution to the wind for love. Be smart. Don’t give out your personal contact and social media information unless the other person reciprocates. Also be sure to video chat with them via Skype or FaceTime before meeting in person to ensure they are who they claim to be and are not pulling a catfishing scam on you.

 

5. Never send sensitive information

5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

Your banking information and social security number are for your eyes only! If your bank needs access to your account or asks you to send them sensitive information, always confirm with their customer support service before giving it out. No matter how forgetful you are, no one else in your life (including your family members) should know what your debit card pin number is. Giving that information to anyone allows for it to be stolen by a cyberstalking third party who is spying on your every electronic move.

 

Cyberstalking is a real and serious crime that occurs every day to people around the world. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Stay vigilant, keep your personal information personal, and good luck out there.

 

 

Related post: 4 Safety Tips For Meeting People From An Online Dating Service