Categories
layered security passwords security technology

KeePass – Free & Easy Password Protection

KeePass Logo
KeePass Logo

If you have an online account, most likely you have to have a password to access that account. The trick is how do you create a password that is easy to remember, but not easy for someone else to guess?

Some of us have used important dates in our lives, maiden names, names of our kids, phone numbers, street addresses, or things like password123, letmein, or 1234. Unfortunately, in this age, it is easy for criminals find all this information, and they know to try to words like ‘password’ or ‘letmein.’ Thanks to social media, and public access to many records, it doesn’t take long to search out maiden names, birthdates, anniversaries, etc.

So we are then forced to come up with complicated passwords such as r9G3jc9vVnw23da3. Unfortunately, this random password is a challenge to remember. So we write it down and hide it under our keyboards or in a nearby desk drawer.

Unfortunately, criminals know about our inability to remember passwords and our need to write them down and have them handy. So they will take the time to look under keyboards and in desk drawers to find them.

While this is an aside from the purpose of this article, I want to share a true story with you. I had a coworker who kept her password list on her desk. She told me that because she had about 16 potential passwords written on list, someone wanting to get on her computer would have a hard time guessing her password. I looked and her list and then entered on of the passwords on her list. It immediately opened her computer and I had complete access to her files.

So what is a person to do? My recommendation is get yourself a password vault like KeePass. While you can buy a password vault from a commercial company, KeePass is a popularly recommended password vault that is absolutely free.

What a password vault does is it securely stores your passwords in an encrypted format. These means, unless you are the NSA or have access to sophisticated computer hardware, the passwords cannot be unencrypted unless you have the password for the vault.

To use the KeePass vault, you first create a data file that can be stored on your computer, a flash drive, or even on a cloud drive such a Dropbox. Then you assign a key password for that file. Without this password, you will not be able to access the vault file. So if you forget it, all your passwords will be lost to you. There is no reset option for the vault password.

There is another risk with using a password vault. If your vault password falls into the wrong hands, the will have access to all the passwords you have stored in the vault. So make sure if you write down your password, you keep it in a safe place far from your computer. You will also have to make the password that is hard to guess.

Once you pick a good password, can enter the information about the web account and have the have the program generate a random password for you. Then cut and password into the password entry field of the account when you create the web account or into the password field after you go through the steps to change your password for that account.

If you have a hard time remember complicated passwords, try KeePass. For more information visit  http://keepass.info/help/base/index.html and http://keepass.info/screenshots.html

Categories
Chrome technology

Lost Sound in YouTube…

youtube
This isn’t the video he was looking for…

Recently came across this strangeness. A coworker was trying to view a video posted on YouTube, but no matter what he did, he couldn’t get the sound to un-mute in Chrome. The volume slider would not move, nor would the sound icon respond to mouse clicks.

It took a little research on several forums to find that a recent flash update was the culprit. The solution was to go into Chrome’s settings and delete an hour worth of cookies. Once the cookies were cleared, we regained control of his audio.

Categories
antivirus layered security technology

Qualys Browser Check

Screenshot of Qualys Scan
Screenshot of Qualys Scan

Those who design malware, viruses, etc. know one of the best ways to infect a computer is through the web browser. After all, there are literally thousands if not millions of people surfing the web each day.

So what can you do to defend yourself? A: Stay away from questionable sites and B: Patch you browser and all your add-ons.

If you set you computer is set to “Automatically Update Windows” you get all the latest patches for Windows. But unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything for your add-ons and you non-Microsoft browsers such as Chrome or Firefox. Fortunately, there is an easy way to see if you have everything up-to-date.

Looks like I need to update
Looks like I need to update

I have been using Qualys Browser Checker and it has been great letting me know if there is a newer version of a browser out there as well letting me know there are updates to Apple Quicktime, Java Runtime, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash….and more.

In most cases, if you need a update, all you need to do is click on the blue “FIX IT” button and it will either take you to the site to download the update or it will run the update for you. There are times you are taken to a site, such as Chrome, and it will tell you that Chrome is set to update automatically and you just need to wait for the update to be pushed out to your computer.

While patching does not guarantee your computer will not be infected by a website, but it can prevent some infections and can limit the damage done by a virus.

 

Categories
technology website development wordpress

Building a WordPress Website: Domain Names- Part 1 (To Own or Not To Own)

So at this point, I have to assume (yes that is always a dangerous situation) that you want to do a shared hosted website using WordPress. So we {meaning you] need to make some decisions.

The first decision is do you want own domain name? What is a domain name? When you type a web address for places such as  Facebook (www.facebook.com), Twitter (twitter.com), or CatholicTechoGeek.com (catholictechnogeek.com), the name and the dot com is a registered domain name.

When you have a shared hosted website, may host providers are willing to register a domain for you. However, some hosting services don’t register the domain in your name. Instead, they register your domain name in their name.

In some cases, having the hosting service own the domain is not a bad thing. There are various ways of looking up who owns a website. If someone looks up who owns the domain, they get the company’s information and not your own.

In other cases, having ownership of your domain name is the better option. For example, for some reason you have an issue with your hosting service, and you want to move to another provider. If you own the domain, you can more easily move to another provider. If you don’t own the domain, you might lose you domain name when you change providers.

So take time to weigh the pro’s and con’s of owning a domain name….

 

Categories
technology website development wordpress

Building A WordPress Website: Self-Hosted versus Hosted Website

Wordpress Logo

In my last post on building a WordPress website, I referred to a self-hosted website and a hosted website. I am sure some of you asked yourself, “What is the difference?”

If you take the two words and painted in broad strokes, you get an answer something like this: A self-hosted website is where you have total control over the website. This means from how the webserver is set up to how the website appears. A hosted website means that someone else has control over your website. Again, these are very broad and generalized definitions.

Most websites you see, including this one, are actually a hybrid of the two hosting options. I own the domain name for this website (catholictechnogeek.com) and have a lot of control of how my website looks. However, I do not have a lot of control over the web server the website resides. This is because I rent space on web server owned by a company that provides web hosting services. Sometimes this is referred to shared-hosting.

WordPress.com allows you to use their webserver to create a blog/website free of charge. You have control of the content on your site and you have control of how your website’s appearance. However, you do not have any control the webserver. In the free version you are also forced to use WordPress domain name.

WordPress.org allows you to download the program necessary to run a WordPress website on any server that meets the system requirements. If you go with a true self-hosted website, you have total control over everything on your website.  Or you can go with a web hosting service and install the program on the webserver.

Obviously, there are pro’s and con’s with going with either option. If you go with a hosted or shared-hosted option, you don’t have total control over your website. However, at the same time, you don’t have to worry about maintaining everything either.

So where do I recommend you start? If you want to learn about WordPress or start a website or blog without a financial risk, I would recommend going to WordPress.com and starting a free site there. Since the WordPress.com website does a good job walking you through things, I am going to skip discussing WordPress.com in my future posts for now.

If you are ready to completely self-host, I will not cover how to set up a webserver. However, I will in future posts talk about what to look for in shared-hosting provider.