Passwords are About to get Easier

If I do things right in this blog, by the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a better understanding of creating a great password and the process won’t seem as daunting. We’re all told we need strong passwords.  But why? What is strong enough? And why must I change my passwords so often? After all, everyone seems to have a zillion passwords nowadays changing them is a PITA.  While certain technologies are starting to appear to replace passwords, passwords themselves aren’t going anywhere for a while. Password Strength Having a secure password means creating a strong password. Password strength is measured by entropy.  This is a calculation of how unpredictable a password is.  Different systems have criteria for what they consider a strong password.  Some older systems only allow for 8 character password, which limits the strength the password can be.  With such limitations in length, complexity was entered into our password creation.  Complexity refers to adding special characters, lowercase and uppercase letters, and numbers.  You can check out password strength calculators on the internet to see the difference in using various characters.  Another way to make the entropy greater in a password is to make it longer….very long. Creating a Great Password Creating a great password isn’t really that difficult.  You do need to do it in the confines of the system you need the password for.  Systems that require the complexity required above must contain certain types of characters. It doesn’t need to be difficult to adhere to these rules and still create a password you can remember. Make substitutions of regular letters with symbols, such as replacing...

Ransomware: What it is & How to Defeat it

By now most people have heard of ransomware.  You may not understand it, but you know enough to know that you don’t want it. The city of Atlanta is currently in crisis, because of being hit with ransomware. Various systems including payroll and transport in the city have been affected. While I can’t comment on how the attack on Atlanta happened as investigators are still on scene analyzing the issue, I’m certain more information will come in the following days.  Being only 4 hours away from ATL (in Mt. Pleasant, SC just outside of Charleston), this is hitting close to home. What is Ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malware.  It runs through a computer or network encrypting files as to make them inaccessible to others and then displays a message demanding a ransom in order to decrypt those files so they may be used again.  Once the payment is made, the key to unlocking those files may or may not be given to the victim.  Statistics show only 20% of businesses that pay the ransom to get the key to unlocking their documents.  Incidents of ransomware can typically take 2-5 days to remediate.1  How long could your business be down?  How much would it cost you? What You Can Do Now Patching Many threats can be mitigated by patching systems.  Make sure you patch all of your systems as your entire network is only as strong as your weakest link.  Hackers and Cyber Criminals aren’t looking for the hardest way in; they’re looking for the easiest.  Patching systems isn’t fun or sexy for IT, but it’s something that can be managed...

Web Hosting by SiteGround

SiteGround, speed and support? There are so many web hosting options it will make your head spin.  Finding the right one for you can be a seemingly endless task of reading articles and reviews.  I’ve done my share of reading, tried many hosts and there are only a few I recommend.  SiteGround is one of those.  You can start with SiteGround’s inexpensive hosting options or jump right into a dedicated server.  They are known for reliability and speed, but what sets them apart?  SUPPORT!  I signed up with their GoGeek plan for $15/mo and had to contact support a few times while migrating my site.  Their support is available 24/7 by phone, chat or ticketing system.  I used two out of three there, only missing the phone (I’m just not a phone guy).  Both the ticketing system and chat were extremely responsive and got down to the issue quickly. The only thing I didn’t care for with SiteGround is that they don’t offer a truly monthly plan.  Their prices reflect $X/mo, but you have to pay upfront for a year or more to get the lowest rate.  This isn’t atypical for hosting companies, but I don’t care for it too much.  More common is that if you go month to month, you may pay a slightly higher fee.  SiteGround will let you try it out for a one month fee (plus setup fee) and then the recurring charge kicks in for multiple months at once.  They also try to tag on some optional fees for Hacker monitoring and depending on your plan, backups.  Those aren’t bad options by any...

CryptoLocker Ransomware!!!

There is a new threat to your computer files and it goes by the name of CryptoLocker.  This is a nasty little piece of Ransomware.  Most randsomware programs say if you pay $ they’ll remove the bad software for you…..but it’s always a scheme to get money.  CryptoLocker differs from most of these programs because it actually encrypts your personal files…..Word, Excel, Outlook, Pictures, etc.  Without the encryption key, you lose access to those files.  What’s the price to get your file back?  $300!!!  There is no way of getting your files decrypted without paying the fee.  CryptoLocker gives you 100 hours to pay up before completely locking you out of encrypted files for good.  Below is a screenshot of the message infected computers will recieve.       Make sure you have up to date AntiVirus and AntiMalware protection and current backups of important files.  While the cryptolocker program can be removed, your files can’t be decrypted so take precautions and be careful of what links you’re clicking on browsing the web and using social media like Facebook. Carbonite and SugarSync can help make file backups...

Need to Remote Access Your Computer?

Transfer files, print remotely, and much more from any computer or your mobile device! I’ve used Logmein for years and it’s been a life saver.  If I need to access a file or program and I’m on the road, I can easily remote into my computer and get exactly what I need.  How many times have you needed something on your computer but you had left the office?  Or maybe you’re at the office and you need something you worked on at home.  With LogMeIn PRO you can access all of your computer, files, programs, everything…all in HD quality!   Try it now for Free…..no credit card...
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