Computer News & Safety tips  – Harry Waldron MVP Rotating Header Image

January 19th, 2013:

Passwords – Lookout Security shares best practices

Informative mobile and website password techniques are shared:

QUOTE: Here are a few tips we pulled together to help. Keep in mind, this alone won’t keep you secure — but its a step in the right direction. Specific to mobile phones: 1.Make sure your phone has a password-protected lock-screen. Password (alphanumeric) is the strongest on Android, but numeric PINs are better than nothing. 2.Say yes to two-step authentication if its offered. Many mobile banking websites or apps will send a code to your mobile phone that is then entered when you access the account or app. 3.Set your phone to automatically lock on sleep mode if it is idle for a few minutes. 4.Encrypt the data on your phone so that its protected from snooping when powered off. iOS devices automatically encrypt and Android users can configure it in “Settings.” 5.Turning off “Make passwords visible” is a good idea so that potential snoopers can’t easily read your password as you type it.

For Internet passwords (which are now often accessed on your phone): 1.As much as possible, the passwords that you use on the Internet should be different from all the other ones you use. Reusing passwords across multiple accounts creates a single point of failure. 2.Use different email addresses for different accounts. Have a separate “junk” email address for spam or free sites that that require login. 3.Don’t use dictionary terms unless you are stringing them together in some sort of unlikely phrase. JennaSurfsHamBoatsForChristmas > jenna123. (Neither of these are my passwords BTW). This XKCD comic offers a witty take on why this is the case. 4.The longer and more uncertain/uncommon the combination of letters, numbers and symbols, the more computational power needed to crack the password. Therefore, the most secure passwords are random but don’t have to be unmemorable. Thieves already account for simple letter / number substitutions, like using 3 instead of E, or $ instead of S. So P@$$w0rd is really just as safe as the normal way.

Windows 7 – Internet Explorer 10 status as of JAN 2013

Neowin shares latest status for the upcoming IE 10 release for Windows 7

QUOTE: In November, Microsoft released a “preview version” of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 to the general public. However, Microsoft has also allowed select users to test updated builds of the web browser via their Connect program. Now, it appears that Microsoft has given those testers their final pre-release builds. reports that Microsoft has informed them the current build of IE10 for Windows 7 they can download and test is supposed to be the final one before the official version is released to the public. Microsoft reportedly told the testers: While there is still no RTW (release to web) date to announce at this time, please make sure you are filing prompt feedback if any issues are found.”

Windows 8 – Neowin article notes UI Advantages

Neowin blog article notes UI Advantages in Windows 8 and Why I Love it article”

QUOTE: While I’m not against change for the most part, I can understand why people get very passionate when something so ingrained in their lives is taken away from them. By this I am talking about the decision to remove the Start Button from Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. I can also understand that the alternative the same people are then presented with just doesn’t do it for them. I am talking about the Start Screen and the Modern UI that Microsoft has brought to their Windows OS.

And what of the UI on the traditional desktop? Aero has been semi-retired in favour of, the Modern UI. Obviously, the first thing you see is a clear lack of Start Button. But the Taskbar remains the same as Windows 7. What we get is the last remnants of Aero Glass transparency on the Taskbar, square corners to windows and square flat edges to tabs in the Ribbon interface of the desktop apps. Curves are pretty much ignored. While the desktop and Start Screen are different experiences, it’s all been done to blend the look of both that little bit more. Personalization remains the same as Windows 7, being able to change the theme, wallpaper, font & icon size, it’s all there. Microsoft has even bundled in a panoramic theme, Nightfall and Starlight, to show off the desktop across multiple monitors.

Facebook – Timeline Change coming in early 2013

The new Collections Manager will allow improved user tailoring of desired categories.

QUOTE: Remember the Facebook Timeline changes some users started to notice in December? The ones that include a row of fresh options at the top of the page, below your picture, and the banishment of “Maps” and thumbnail images?  Well, the changes appear to be rolling out for all Facebook users in New Zealand, where it’s already Wednesday. And they include a surprising new “Collections Manager” feature that lets you customize all that content at the top of your Timeline, as well as the ability to rearrange the right-hand column.    According to the Kiwis contacted by Mashable, there’s another feature we didn’t know about previously. The Timeline change also offers the ability to “rearrange” the boxes in the right-hand column (Likes, Photos, Map and so on). Previously, you could only choose to hide them altogether. The order of the boxes at the top of the page is now determined by a “Collections Manager”:

Please note potential for new scams:

Facebook – Online scammers use family information to target Grandparents

Scammers are using family relationship data and location information to target grandparents.

QUOTE: Online scammers and con men aren’t known for their tact, but a recent scam in the New York tri-state area that’s targeting grandparents is more malicious than most. Con artists are reportedly using Facebook to find out location info about both grandparents and their grandchildren, and then exploiting that information to get money out of concerned grandparents.  One popular scam, for instance, has con artists contacting grandparents and telling them that their beloved grandchildren are in some kind of trouble that, of course, requires a little money to get out of, like jail.  “I got a telephone call, and a man was on, and he said that my grandson was in jail, and that I should pay money to get him out on bail or he was going to stay there,” said Ruth Winter, a recent victim of such a scam. “And instead of thinking, my grandma emotion overcame me.”