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Windows 7: What is Your Company’s Upgrade Strategy?

If your business is still running on Windows 7, it’s time to get serious about how you’re going to handle the January 14, 2020 end of support.

If this is the case, you have some important decisions to make, and not a lot of time remaining. Windows 7 support officially ends in less than a year, on January 14, 2020. After that date, Microsoft will stop delivering security updates automatically, and by then most third-party vendors will have dropped support as well.

Most businesses completed their planning for migration to Windows 10 long ago and are in the final stages of implementing that plan. If you’re still procrastinating, it’s time to get serious.​

You have a few options. Which one you choose depends on why your organization is still clinging to Windows 7. If the main reason is inertia, you’ll need to find something to motivate yourself. You could, for example, calculate the costs of cleaning up after a successful ransomware attack that spreads over your network, including the loss of business while you scramble to recover. If you’re in a regulated industry, you might want to find out whether running an unsupported operating system puts you at compliance risks, which can result in hefty fines and a loss of business when customers find out.

The other possible deployment blocker is a compatibility problem. For most Windows 7 apps, compatibility shouldn’t be an issue. If your business depends on specialized hardware or line-of-business software that absolutely will not run on Windows 10, you might be able to make a case for paying to extend the support deadline. But that just delays the inevitable by a year or two, or at most three. Your search for a replacement should be well under way by now.

So, what are your options?

BITE THE BULLET AND UPGRADE

If you don’t have any compatibility issues that need to be addressed first, the simplest and most straightforward route is to put together a deployment plan and begin executing it. But the details of tha plan matter, especially if you want to avoid the headaches of the “Windows as a service” model.

As always, of course, the easiest upgrade path is via hardware replacement. Any device that’s five years old or more is an obvious candidate for recycling. Devices that were designed for Windows 10 and then downgraded to Windows 7 should be excellent candidates for in-place upgrades, after first making sure that the systems have the most recent BIOS/UEFI firmware updates.

One not-so-obvious factor to consider is which Windows 10 edition to deploy. The obvious choice for most businesses is Windows 10 Pro, but I strongly suggest considering an additional upgrade to the Enterprise (or Education) edition.

Yes, machines running Windows 10 Pro allow your admins to defer feature updates, but the support schedule for Enterprise/Education is significantly longer: a full 30 months, as opposed to 18 months for Pro.

For most businesses, the Windows Enterprise E3 and E5 subscription options are probably the easiest and most cost-effective here.

DO NOTHING.

On January 25, 2020, Windows 7 won’t stop working. In fact, you’re unlikely to notice any changes. If you feel lucky, this is certainly an option. You might even consider the lack of monthly updates a welcome feature.

SPOILER ALERT: This s a very bad idea, one that exposes you to all manner of possible bad outcomes.

If you absolutely must keep one or more Windows 7 PCs in operation, perhaps because they’re running a critical app or controlling a piece of old but essential hardware, the best advice I can offer is to completely disconnect that machine from the network and lock it down so that it only runs that one irreplaceable app.

Bott, Ed. “Windows 7: What is your company’s exit strategy?” ZDNet, The Bott Report January 30, 2019


Time is very short!

Let us know if you are currently using Windows 7 and would like to know more about your options. We’ve developed a unique upgrade strategy for our clients and would be happy to share it with you.

If you are interested in knowing more about it, give us a call! 732.780.8615 or email us at support@trinityww.com

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This Password-Stealing Phishing Attack Comes Disguised as a Fake Meeting Request From the Boss

Called to a meeting with the CEO? Don’t be so sure.

A widespread phishing campaign is targeting executives across a number of industries with messages asking to reschedule a board meeting in an effort to steal logins and passwords.

The phishing messages spoof the name and email address of the CEO since users are more likely to fall for attacks they believe to come from their boss.

The contents of the phishing email is simple: it says a board meeting has been rescheduled and asks users to take part in a poll to choose a new date.

If users click the link, they’re taken to a webpage which appears to be a login page for Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, but this is in fact a phishing site — any information entered into it will go directly into the hands of the attackers.

The attack is slightly different if the email is viewed on a mobile device — the display name is changed to ‘Note to Self’ but the contents of the message stays the same.

With the phishing email targeting high-level executives like CFOs, CTOs and SVPs, a successful attack could provide attackers with access to highly sensitive data across the corporate network — and the compromised accounts could also be used to help conduct further malicious campaigns.

The fake meeting phishing attack appears to be prolific — GH Security firm researchers say it was found targeting one in seven of the firm’s customers. In each case, the attackers were eliminated before damage could be done.

It’s believed that the campaign is still active and that the phishing URL  claiming to be windows related — is still up.

Users are therefore warned to be aware of the campaign and to be suspicious of any emails containing a subject line following a pattern of: New message: [Company Name] February in-person Board Mtg scheduling (2/24/19 update)

Palmer, Danny. “This password-stealing phishing attack comes disguised as a fake meting request from the boss” ZDNet February 4, 2019


Phishing attacks are NOT to be taken lightly. For a limited time we are offering a complementary Dark Web Scan for your business’s email domain. This report will immediately reveal if you or any of your employees credentials have been compromised within the last 36 months.

If nothing turns up, you’ll have peace of mind and you can take preventative actions to make sure it stays that way. On the other hand, if the report reveals a compromise, you are in the best position to take the next logical step towards protecting your business!

You can always contact us at CyberSecurity@Trinityww.com or by calling (732) 780-8615 if you have any questions about what you can be doing to put your business in the best position to avoid a cyber security breach

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10 Word Defaults – Customize the way YOU Want to Work

Change a few key default settings in Word and you won’t have to make the same tweaks over and over.

Word does a good job of assuming how the average user works, but some of Word’s default settings can be annoying and inefficient. Some users don’t know they can permanently change these settings, so they continue to reset them for each new document or just struggle along. Users should consider resetting the following defaults to work more productively. Of course, there are more defaults to set; feel free to share your suggestions in the discussion below.

1: Line spacing

The default line spacing setting in Word 2007 and 2010 is 1.15, not 1, as it is in 2003. Microsoft believes 1.15 is more readable online. If you’re not generating Web content, adjust the style(s) you use in Word’s template (Normal.dotx), as follows:

  1. Click the Home tab.
  2. Right-click Normal in the Styles Quick gallery and choose Modify.
  3. Choose Paragraph from the Format list.
  4. In the Spacing section, change the At setting from 1.15 to 1, as shown in Figure A.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Check the New Documents Based On This Template option.
  7. Click OK.
Figure A: This change will adjust all Word styles based on Normal, so be careful.

2: Smart quotes

If you generate Web content or other published material, you probably have to undo Word’s smart quotes in favor of straight quotes. You can do so quickly enough by pressing [Ctrl]+Z, but that becomes tedious after a while and you might forget. If you use straight quotes more than smart quotes, disable smart quotes as follows:

  1. Click the File menu and choose Options under Help. In Word 2007, click the Office button and click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Auto Correct Options from the Tools menu and skip to step 4.
  2. Choose Proofing in the left pane.
  3. Click AutoCorrect Options in the AutoCorrect Options section.
  4. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  5. Deselect the Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes option in the Replace As You Type section, shown in Figure B.
  6. Click OK.
Figure B: Disable smart quotes for all new documents

3: Paste special

Word’s paste special feature retains the source formatting. If you’re pasting from foreign sources, you probably reformat it once it’s in your Word document. If you do this a lot, change the Paste Special default as follows:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options.
  2. Select Advanced in the left pane.
  3. In the Cut, Copy, and Paste section, choose Use Destination Styles from the Pasting Between Documents When Style Definitions Conflict drop-down.
  4. Choose Keep Text Only from the Pasting From Other Programs drop-down, as shown in Figure C.
  5. Click OK.
Figure C: Several paste setting make this a flexible feature.

This feature is significantly different in Word 2003. From the Tools menu, choose Options, and click the Edit tab. In the Cut And Paste section, click the Settings button to display the options shown in Figure D.

Figure D: Word 2003 is more specific, but allows some control

4: File location

Word saves your documents in My Documents. If you find yourself resetting the save location a lot, reset the default as follows:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click the Word Options button. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select Save in the left pane. In Word 2003, click the File Locations tab.
  3. Specify the new folder in the Default File Location field shown in Figure E. Or click Browse and locate it that way. In Word 2003, highlight the Documents item and click Modify. Use the Modify Location dialog to specify the new folder and click OK.
  4. Click OK.
Figure E: Word will save document to specified folder

5: Spacing between paragraphs

When you press [Enter], Word increases the line spacing to add a bit more white space between paragraphs. This extra space isn’t the same as a blank line, so you can’t delete it by pressing Backspace. To eliminate this extra spacing, do the following:

  1. Click the Home tab. In Word 2003, select Paragraph from the Format menu.
  2. Click the Paragraph group’s dialog launcher (the small arrow in the lower-right corner). In Word 2003, click the Indents And Spacing tab.
  3. Check the Don’t Add Space Between Paragraphs Of The Same Style option.
  4. Click Set As Default, as shown in Figure F. (Not available in Word 2003, but you can change this format for the current document.)
  5. Click OK.
Figure F: Eliminate the additional white space between paragraphs

6: Mini toolbar

When you select text, Word displays the mini toolbar, which hosts several formatting options. Even though it’s dimmed, it still annoys some users. You can press [Esc] to hide it or you can permanently disable it, as follows:

  1. Click the File menu and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options.
  2. Choose General in the left pane (if necessary).
  3. In the User Interface Options section, uncheck the Show Mini Toolbar On Selection option, shown in Figure G.
  4. Click OK.
Figure G: Uncheck this option to disable the mini toolbar

7: Drawing canvas

Word’s drawing canvas is a distinct layer for drawing. Objects placed in a canvas have an absolute position and remain together as a group. Most users find the canvas layer difficult to work with and frankly, most users don’t need it. If you’re still using Word 2003, disable the canvas layer as follows:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Uncheck Automatically Create Drawing Canvas When Inserting AutoShapes in the General Options section.
  4. Click OK.

Word 2007 and 2010 disables the canvas layer by default. If you happen to be working with the drawing canvas enabled, disable it as follows:

  1. Click the File menu and then choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options.
  2. In the left pane, choose Advanced.
  3. In the Editing section, uncheck the Automatically Create Drawing Canvas When Inserting AutoShapes option, shown in Figure H.
  4. Click OK.
Figure H

8: Normal.dotx

Word bases new documents on Normal.dotx, but the template’s settings might not fit your needs. If you have just a few changes, customize Normal.dotx. A common customization is to change the font and size. To make the change at the template level, do the following:

  1. Open a new document and click the Home tab.
  2. Click the Font group’s dialog launcher (the arrow in the bottom-right corner). In Word 2003, choose Font from the Format menu.
  3. Make the necessary font changes. For instance, you might choose Arial, 12.
  4. Before closing the dialog, click the Set As Default button. In Word 2003, click Default.
  5. In the resulting confirmation dialog, select the option to set the default for all documents based on the Normal template, as shown in Figure I.
  6. Click OK twice.
Figure 1: Make a font change at the template level

Other template customizations you might want to make include margins and styles. Use a custom template, rather than Normal.dotx, to meet requirements that are more complex.

9: Word selection

When you select part of a word and then part of the next, Word selects the whole word for you — whether you meant to or not. To disable this selection option, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Choose Advanced in the left pane. In Word 2003, click the Edit tab.
  3. In the Editing Options section, deselect the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word option, as shown in Figure J.
  4. Click OK.
Figure J: Ridding yourself of this annoying selection behavior is easy

10: Spelling, grammar, and formatting

Word identifies misspelled words, grammatical errors, and formatting inconsistencies, as you type:

  • A red line indicates a word not found in the dictionary (possibly misspelled).
  • A green line indicates a possible grammatical error.
  • A wavy blue line indicates an inconsistent format.

I recommend that you get used to the display and not disable these features — they’re a helpful indication that something might be wrong. On the other hand, if you find them distracting, you can disable them. To disable the red and green lines, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab and then choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select Proofing in the left pane. In Word 2003, click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  3. In the When Correcting Grammar and Spelling In Word section, uncheck the first three options: Check Spelling As You Type, Use Contextual Spelling, and Mark Grammar Errors As You Type, as shown in Figure K. (There’s no contextual spelling option in Word 2003.)
  4. Click OK.
Figure K: You can disable Word’s spelling and grammar indicators.

To rid documents of the wavy blue line, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab and then choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select Advanced in the left Pane. In Word 2003, click the Edit tab.
  3. In the Editing Options section, uncheck the Mark Formatting Inconsistencies option under Keep Track Of Formatting. In Word 2003, deselect the Mark Formatting Inconsistencies check box in the Editing Options section.
  4. Click OK.

Even the most competent users make an occasional error and these features identify potential problems. Adjusting to them will probably serve most users better than turning them off.

Harkins, Susan. “10 Word Defaults You Can Customize to Work the Way YOU want” TechRepublic

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How To Block, Stop Robocalls, Scams: ‘Nuclear Option’ On iPhone XS, iOS 12, Pixel 3, Android

While apps provide some level of protection against robocalls, spam, and scams, they’re not bulletproof.

The hard truth is that call screening apps that claim to block unwanted calls are not always effective at actually stopping the call from getting through.

That, after all, is the point: to block unwanted calls.

The nuclear option is simple, very effective

But there’s one way* to stop these calls cold. And it may save your sanity in the process: Do Not Disturb.

Here’s the starter kit for turning on Do Not Disturb on the iPhone and Android:

  • With the iPhone it’s a snap. Go to Settings, then tap on “Do Not Disturb” then select “Allow Calls From” then “All Contacts.”
  • On Android 9 “Pie,” Go to “Sound” then turn on “Do Not Disturb.” Like the iPhone, you can set exceptions for things like Contacts.

There are several ways to tweak how restrictive Do Not Disturb is, as shown in the images at the top and bottom of this article. Instead of explaining all of these different settings/tweaks in unreadable, prolix text, the images offer the most concise, clear guides.

Google also provides written how-to on its support page: here.

As does Apple: here.

The beauty of tweaking the settings is it turns Do Not Disturb into a very effective robocall/spam/scam blocking tool.

On caveat: this will stop all unwanted calls from ringing your phone. That includes unexpected calls that aren’t necessarily unwanted. And notifications will be blocked too.

But you won’t miss calls completely. You will typically see it as a missed call or a voicemail. Again, use trial and error to determine if this is the best option for you. And, again, you can toggle this on and off.

NOTES:

*I use Do Not Disturb on my iPhone, currently an iPhone XS Max running iOS 12, and on my Android phone, currently a Google Pixel 3 XL running Android 9 “Pie.”

Cruthers, Brooke. “How to Block, Stop Robocalls, Scams: ‘Nuclear Option’ on iPhone XS, iOS 12, Pixel 3, Android” Forbes.com January 27, 2019

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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10+ Do’s and Don’ts for Using Office Templates

If your attempts to use Office templates usually leave you feeling stumped and frustrated, read these expert tips to gain a better grasp on how to use them.

Templates are one of Office‘s least used and most misused features. Office templates aren’t particularly intuitive, and misunderstandings regarding their proper use hinder users. On the other hand, once users finally get it right and experience an increase in productivity, they’re hooked. These tips will help you generate and apply templates correctly.

This article focuses on user templates. If you’re developing, distributing, and administering templates for a large organization, you probably won’t learn anything new. However, you can share these tips with the users you support and perhaps thwart a few troubleshooting headaches down the road.

1: Do understand the concept

The term template is very old and originally referred to a pattern or model used to reproduce trade pieces. Within the context of business software, a template is a shell document — it’s a starting point for new documents. Some templates contain basic formatting, while others offer customized tools and content that help users work more productively. Templates get you started and sometimes even help you perform routine tasks.

2: Don’t customize the default template, at least not much

When you open a new document, you’re using the software’s default template; many users customize this template to meet their needs. You can change simple formats (see #3) at this level without issue. On the other hand, when your needs are more complex, you should create a custom template and apply it as needed.

Keep changes to the software’s default template to a minimum. When you upgrade, you might lose all customizations you made to the default template.

3: Do watch for interface shortcuts

If you change the same format or property for all (or most) new documents, watch for interface options that make the change to the default template. For instance, if you don’t like Word’s new line spacing default of 1.15 (instead of 1), you can change Word’s built-in Normal style for the current document. When you do, you can also make the change for all new documents by checking the New Documents Based On This Document option shown in Figure A.

Figure A

note: Some properties have interface options that update the default template

I’m not contradicting #2; I want you to take advantage of the interface default options, but complex changes should go into a custom template.

4: Do use built-in shortcuts for opening and saving templates

Most Office applications offer a shortcut for accessing and saving templates. For example, in Word 2010, you can access your templates as follows:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Choose Open.
  3. Click Trusted Templates in the left pane shown in Figure B.
Figure B

note: Interface access makes working with templates easy.

5: Don’t base new templates on blank documents — or do

If you’re using Office 2010 or earlier, you might open a new document as you normally would, make changes, and then save it as a template in the Save As dialog. This isn’t the preferred method; however, many users do this without issue. Office 2013 users will find this route is now the preferred method, so your route depends on your version.

6: Don’t base new templates on existing documents

If you have a formatted document that meets all of your custom needs, you might be tempted to remove the content and save the underlying styles and other tweaks as a template file. In fact, you’ll find the instructions online, even at Microsoft.com. Everything that’s in that document will be in your template and, consequently, all the documents based on the template. You’re probably thinking that’s what you meant; unfortunately, it can be the route to heartbreak. The source of problems and conflicts will be difficult to troubleshoot later.

Users often choose this route and never encounter problems. I think it’s a crapshoot, but I won’t argue with success. Just the same, I don’t recommend it.

7: Do use the software’s preferred method for creating a template

Your software works best when you use the tools as intended. For example, the correct way to create a template in Word 2010 and earlier follows:

  1. Click the File menu (or Office button). Choose New in the left pane. In Word 2003, choose New from the File menu.
  2. Word 2007 and 2010 users should click My Templates in the Available Templates section. In Word 2003, click On My Computer in the New Document task pane.
  3. In the resulting dialog, click Blank Document.
  4. Click Template in the Create New section (don’t skip this step).
  5. Click OK.

Other routes seem simpler. Often, those results are problematic, and those templates can be difficult to troubleshoot and fix. (I hope reading that a few times doesn’t desensitize you.) If you’re using Office 2013, see #5.

8: Don’t save a template as a working file

Don’t open a template file, add your content, and then use the software’s Save As to change the file’s format. Instead, apply a template when you create a new document. For example, the preferred method for applying a Word template follows:

  1. Click the File menu (or Office button). Choose New in the left pane. In Word 2003, choose New from the File menu.
  2. Word 2013 displays built-in templates; searching online is easy at this point. Click Personal to choose from templates you’ve created and saved. Or, click one of the many templates already listed for quick download and click Create. Skip to step 5. Earlier versions will offer many template folders. Open a folder and select a template.
  3. Click Document in the Create New section.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Give your new document a name and start adding content. All of the customizations you added to your template will be available to your new document file.

9: Do apply a template before you add content

It’s tempting to create a document and format it later rather than as you go. Many of us work that way, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, you might assume that applying a template after-the-fact should be just as easy. It might be, and it might not. The best approach is to apply a template to the new blank document before you start adding content.

The issue in this case is Word’s dependency on built-in styles. If the template you apply later doesn’t use Word’s built-in Normal hierarchy, you might have difficulty applying the template’s custom styles. It’s not a deal-breaker — it’s just something most users don’t fully understand; they end up frustrated when a template doesn’t apply the styles they wanted in the way they expected.

10: Do save time with generic templates

Users don’t have to create their own templates; there are hundreds of reliable and free templates available via a quick download. If you have a generic need, such as a resume, mortgage calculator, business card, and so on, search online. I recommend that you start your search at Microsoft.com. Office 2013 has built-in online template access.

11: Do use existing templates when you upgrade

When you upgrade to Office 2013, you can use templates you created in Office 2007 and 2010. You’ll want to move them to the Custom Office Templates. Fortunately, there’s a tool for that.

A case for template correctness

Working with templates requires planning and a little specialized knowledge, but it isn’t difficult. You create the templates that contain the custom formats and tools you use most often. When you need those formats and tools, you apply the template before you add content, when possible. You’ll find this route efficient and less problematic than any other method you’re currently using. It isn’t the only way, but it’s the best way.

I can trace many “I hate this #$*(@ software! Why won’t it work the way it’s supposed to?” complaints to bad templates. You might ignore these tips and never see a problem. Unfortunately, if you run into a template issue, you might not know what’s wrong and blaming the squirrelly software won’t help. If you support users, training them to generate and apply their own templates correctly will help them work more efficiently and that will help you as well.

Harkins, Susan. “10+ dos and don’ts for using Office templates” TechRepublic.com/Windows and Office January 2014

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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How to Customize Your Windows 10 Lock Screen

The Windows 10 lock screen may seem like an obstacle, but it offers helpful information and customization options, from photos and apps to Cortana.

You can do a lot of cool things in Windows 10, but the first item that greets you when you fire up the OS is the lock screen. Clicking or tapping on it brings you to the sign-in screen where you log in to Windows. It might seem unnecessary, but it carries with it some tidbits that can be useful before you even launch Windows.

From the lock screen, you can view information from certain apps, including your calendar, the weather, and other helpful features. Those who have the Windows 10 Anniversary update and above can also chat with Cortana. And you can customize the screen with your favorite background image or slideshow. Here’s how.

To access the settings for your lock screen, navigate to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen.

Windows 10 Lock Screen Background

The first thing you can change is the lock-screen image. Under Background, choose between Windows spotlight, a static picture, or a slideshow of multiple images.

If you select Windows spotlight, the lock screen will display different images periodically. You can vote on which images you prefer (hover over “Like what you see?” on the top right to vote yes or no), allowing Windows 10 to better understand your preferences and display images you will like.

If you prefer to make the decision yourself, selecting Picture will allow you to choose from a selection of thumbnails. You can also find a picture of your own by browsing your computer folders. The Slideshow option will let you choose multiple images to become part of a slideshow of rotating pictures.

If you’re happy with your lock-screen image, you can keep the same one for your sign-in screen. Just scroll down in the Lock screen settings page to turn on the option to “Show lock screen background picture on the sign-in screen.”

Windows 10 Lock Screen Apps

Windows 10 also allows you to add certain pieces of information to your lock screen. Click the plus sign under “Choose an app to show detailed status.”

Here, you can opt to see details from Xbox, Messaging, Mail, 3D Viewer, Weather, and Calendar, and more. For example, choosing Calendar might show you the day’s appointments, while choosing Weather will display the current temperature.

You can then also choose several apps to display a quick status, which simply means fewer details. Click on each icon under the phrase “Choose apps to show quick status.” Again, you can select such apps as Weather, Messaging, and Calendar as well as Alarms & Clock, Mail, and Windows Store. The next time the lock screen pops up, you should see information from the apps you chose.

Chat With Cortana on the lock Screen

The coolest option of all may be the ability to chat with Cortana at the lock screen without having to log in. On the Lock screen menu, scroll down to and click on “Cortana lock screen settings.” Scroll down to Lock Screen and make sure “Use Cortana even when my device is locked” is turned on.

As long as this option is activated you can say “Hey, Cortana,” and talk directly to the Microsoft’s voice assistant, even if you’re not signed into Windows 10. Again, you’ll need to have the Windows 10 Anniversary update or higher installed.

To enhance your interactions with Cortana at the lock screen, select the option to allow integration with your calendar, email, messages, and Power BI data even when your device is locked.

You’ll find that with a few simple tweaks and setting changes, there are lots of things you can do in Windows 10 before you even have a chance to sign into your account. And if you don’t want to remember a password, use a picture instead. You can also go without one entirely, though we don’t recommend it.

Whitney, Lance. “How to Customize Your Windows 10 Lock Screen” January 2019

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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24 Hidden Android Settings You Should Know About

Android phones come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes,

but within, they all run the same basic operating system. That Android code includes settings that let you tailor your smartphone to your needs. In this guide, we collected 24 lesser-known customization’s for you to toy with.

Before we start, a quick caveat: Although the same Android code runs all of these phones, manufacturers often modify the operating system by slapping a software skin on top. Our instructions specifically apply to the current stock version Android, 8.0 Oreo, which you’ll find on Google’s latest Pixel phones. However if you own a phone that runs a different version of Android, you can still apply these settings—you just have to rummage around a little more to find them.

1. Increase Font Size

You don’t have to squint and strain your eyes when viewing Android screens: Open the Settings app and choose Display, followed by Font size, to make adjustments. Drag the pointer along the slider to make changes, and check the preview window to see what the end result will look like. Once you set the Android font size, most apps will apply it.

2. Make Sure You Can Find Your Phone

Worried about losing your phone? To maximize your chances of recovering a missing device, make sure to activate Android’s built-in tracking system: Open Settings, go to Security & location, and tap Find My Device. After that, if you should misplace your phone, head to this page in any browser and log in to your Google account. You’ll be able to view your handset’s location on a map, among other options.

3. Tweak the Quick Settings Panel

Drag two fingers down from the top of the screen, and you’ll open Android’s Quick Settings panel, which provides immediate access to settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and flashlight mode. These shortcuts are useful, but you can make them even handier by customizing which ones show up and the order in which they appear. Open the panel, tap the pen icon on the lower left, and you’ll be able to add shortcuts and drag the icons into a new arrangement.

4. Reduce Data Usage

Android includes a built-in system to limit how much data background apps can gobble up (at least when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi). This mode will affect different apps in various ways—for example, in a browser, images might not show up unless you tap on them. To switch on this handy feature, open Settings and pick Network & internet, then Data usage, then Data Saver.

5. Stop New Apps From Creating Shortcuts

By default, when you install an app, it automatically appears as a shortcut on one of your phone’s home screens. This allows you to quickly launch a new app, but it can also clutter up your interface. To disable this default, perform a long press on any blank part of a home screen. When a menu pops up, choose Home Settings and turn off the Add icon to Home screen option. Note: This setting used to appear in the Play Store app, but in Android 8.0 Oreo, you can now access it from any home screen.

6. Rotate Home Screens

Within an app, you can turn your phone to switch the view from portrait to landscape or vice versa. But the home screen doesn’t come with the same default—you have to turn this option on. Return to the Home Settings screen discussed in the previous tip. Here, you can choose whether or not the home screens rotate with the phone by turning Allow Homescreen rotation on or off. Note: You won’t be able to access this option (it will appear grayed out) if you’ve locked the orientation of your phone. To restore this ability, you must unlock your screen orientation: Open Settings, go to Display, and change the Auto-rotate screen option.

7. Project Your Phone on a Bigger Screen

Android now comes with built-in casting, so you can mirror the screen on any monitor or television equipped with a Chromecast device. Although many apps have their own Chromecast buttons, you can also project any screen or app from the Settings. Just go to Connected devices and select Cast.

8. Change App Permissions

How much of your personal information can any individual app access? You can see exactly which permissions an app has been granted by going to Settings, tapping Apps & notifications, and picking an app (or hitting See all to view the full list). Then, to view and edit that app’s access, tap Permissions. For example, you might allow an app to access your contact list but not your location.

9. Control Battery Use

Android now optimizes apps so they won’t drain the battery as much. For example, your email app can still run in the background, checking for updates, but it does so less frequently. However, you can exempt certain apps if you want them to always run at full throttle. Open Settings and tap Battery, then the menu button on the top right, then Battery optimization. Next, hit the Not optimized link, then All apps. Finally, select an app and pick the Don’t optimize option.

10. Wake up Your Phone With Your Voice

You don’t have to touch your phone to gain access to Google Assistant. You just need to adjust your settings. Open the Google app, tap the menu button (three horizontal lines on the bottom right), and then hit Settings followed by Voice. Choose Voice Match, and then the phrase “OK Google” will work at any time, even when your device is locked. In fact, you can use voice recognition to unlock your phone this way.

11. Free Up More Memory

If you’re running Android 7.0 Nougat or later, you can take advantage of Smart Storage. If your device is struggling for free space, this feature will automatically delete local copies of photos and videos that have safely been transferred to Google Photos. To enable it, open Settings, tap Storage, and turn on the Smart Storagetoggle switch.

12. Adjust Lock Screen Timing

Why bother reducing the time your phone takes to automatically lock the screen? Less down time makes it less likely someone will swipe your handset before it locks itself. This will also reduce battery drain, because the screen will stay lit for a shorter period. From Settings, head to Display, tap Advanced, and choose Sleep. Then you can pick a time-out period that works for you.

13. Customize Notifications From Specific Contacts

To help you instantly identify who’s calling—and to decide whether or not to pick up—you can assign certain contacts unique ringtones. Your default ringtone will remain the same—change it in Settings, under Sound, via the Phone ringtone option. To change notification settings for individuals, launch the Contacts app, tap on a contact name, open the menu (three dots on the top right), and choose Set ringtone. Then you can select a specific sound from a list.

14. Change Volume Levels Separately

You might not want to play your podcasts at the same volume as your ringtone. To adjust those separately, launch Settings and open the Sound menu. Here, you’ll find volume sliders for media, alarms, and ringtones. You can also access individual volume settings by pressing the physical volume button, which will make one slider appear on screen, and then tapping the down-pointing arrow to the right. This will open a drop-down menu where you can see all three volume sliders.

15. Unlock Your Phone in Your Car

Once you’re securely seated in your car, you might want your phone to unlock itself. This would let you open a map without entering a code, and would allow any passengers to put on your favorite tunes. Android can do this by recognizing your car stereo as a “trusted” Bluetooth device, one that proves you’re in possession of your phone. From Settings, head to Security & location, then Smart Lock, then Trusted device. Finally, work through the simple setup process, and then your phone will unlock when it’s in the presence of your car stereo.

16. Turn on Wi-Fi Automatically

Keeping your Wi-Fi off while you’re out and about increases your phone’s security and preserves its battery. But in the presence of a strong, trusted Wi-Fi network, one that you’ve used in the past, Android 8.0 Oreo can automatically turn your phone’s Wi-Fi back on. From Settings, tap Network & Internet, then Wi-Fi, then Wi-Fi preferences. Finally, turn on the Turn on Wi-Fi automatically toggle switch.

17.  Change Notification Priorities

Oreo also lets you prioritize different types of notifications from a given app. In Gmail, for example, you might choose to receive a noisy alert for important emails and a less obtrusive one for regular updates. Open Settings, tap Apps & notifications, and pick a specific app or tap See all to view a full list. Different apps will offer different categories of alerts, so choose App notifications to view them and configure different sounds for each.

18. Quickly Switch Between Apps

Jumping immediately from app to app is not, strictly speaking, a setting—but it still makes a very useful shortcut. A single tap on the Overview button, which is the square icon in the navigation bar, brings up a view of all your open apps as tabs. However, if you double-tap on the button, you’ll immediately jump from your current app to the one you were previously using.

19. Change Emoji Mode

You can view emojis on the default Google keyboard for Android by tapping on the emoji button to the left of the space bar. But did you know you can pull up emojis with different skin colors or genders by pressing and holding on an individual icon? This works on most emojis depicting people or body parts, such as a thumbs up.

20. Show Emergency Information

 If someone should discover your phone after you’ve been in an accident, having your key medical information show up on the lock screen could save your life. To do this, open Settings, choose Users & accounts, then tap Emergency information. You can provide details like allergies and organ donor status, as well as emergency contacts.

21. Move the Cursor More Delicately

Using only your clumsy fingers, you probably have a hard time highlighting specific sections of text. If you’re using the default Google keyboard, then this neat trick will make it easier to move the text cursor just one or two characters at a time. Launch any app where you can write and edit text, such as your SMS program, and tap in a text box to pull up the keyboard on screen. Then, instead of moving the cursor within the text box itself, place your finger on the space bar. Tap and drag left or right on the spacebar to move the text-editing cursor in the same direction.

22. Tweak the color range

A phone’s “color gamut” controls the range of colors that you see on screen—a wider gamut means colors will appear more vibrant, but also less natural. You can adjust the gamut in Settings by going to Display, choosing Colors, and choosing Natural, Boosted, or Saturated. Depending on the make and model of your phone, you may see different options listed here. Play around with them to find the color scheme that works best for you.

23. Snooze notifications

To clear a cluttered notification menu, you can drag individual alerts to the left, and they’ll disappear. But what if you want to clear those distractions now, but revisit them later, when you have time to deal with them properly? Snoozing notifications is a fantastically useful feature only available on phones that run Android 8.0 Oreo. Drag any notification to the right, and a clock icon will appear. Tap the clock, and you can choose to snooze the alert for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. Once the time has expired, the notification reappears as if it’s come through for the first time.

24. Get help from Cortana

When it comes to various AI assistants, everyone has a favorite. If you prefer Microsoft’s digital helper to Google Assistant or Bixby, you can install Cortana for Android. You can even make it the default app that appears when you hold down the Home button: Open Settings, go to Apps & notifications, and then tap Advanced, Default apps, Assist & voice input, and Assist app.

Nield, David. “24 Hidden Android Settings You Should Know About” January 18, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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OneDrive vs Google Photos: What’s Best for Backing Up Photos

Losing Pictures and videos due to hardware failure hurts you the most.  Hence, it’s of paramount importance that your library of photos and videos is appropriately backed up, especially to decent cloud storage.  It’s easier said than done – high resolutions associated with smartphone cameras combined with miserly storage offerings mean that you are bound to run out of space sooner rather than later.

OneDrive and Google Photos are two cloud storage services that provide top-notch sync capabilities when it comes to backing up multimedia content.  Yet among certain aspects, they differ quite significantly in the functionality that they offer.  So, how do they stack against each other on the major mobile platforms?  Let’s find out.

Availability

OneDrive, while giving off the impression of being a cloud storage for all file types in general, also doubles up as a photo backup service. It’s available on both iOS and Android, and works quite well, thanks to Microsoft’s uncanny flair for developing high-quality mobile apps. You can grab it either from the App Store or the Play Store.

On the other hand, Google Photos focuses solely on images and videos, leaving other file types to Google Drive — this minimizes confusion over what the app actually does. Google Photos comes pre-installed by default on most Android devices, but you can download it from the Play Store in case you had it removed at some point. For iOS devices, the App Store is the place to get it.

Backing Up Images

Both OneDrive and Google Photos allow for seamless uploading of images and videos to the cloud. On iOS and Android, install the OneDrive app, enable Camera Upload from within the Settings panel, and you are good to go. Google Photos does the same once you provide it with the appropriate permissions required upon installation — the app automatically prompts you once you attempt to set it up.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of both apps. OneDrive’s upload management capabilities feel rather limited. On Android, you can manage certain preferences such as enabling video backups, specifying Wi-Fi-only uploads, and selecting individual media folders for taking a backup. The iOS version has a set of additional features such as background uploads, image organization by month or year, and automatic conversions of HEIC images to JPG. But that’s about it.

Google Photos, on the other hand, provides a greater range of options that include modifying upload preferences for both photos and videos, grouping images by face, customizing Assistant cards, etc. Also included are many settings that let you easily add contacts with whom to share your photo library with, as well as multiple ways to determine the items you want them to see or have access to.

But perhaps the most useful feature is the ability to free up massive amounts of space locally. To do that, tap the Free Up Space option, and any backed up photos and videos are automatically deleted. This feature is pretty useful for devices running low on storage.

Available Free Storage

Available free storage is where the seams really start to show in-between both services. OneDrive offers 5GB of storage for your photos, but since the quota is shared with any other files that you may upload, expect it to fill up pretty fast. Google Photos, however, gives a generous 15GB of free storage, which is three times that of OneDrive’s — it’s also shared with Google Drive, but that isn’t the end of the story.

Google Photos features two modes to take a backup of your photos with — High Quality and Original. They confusingly look quite similar at first glance. However, the mode you select can have a direct impact on how Google Photos consumes your storage. Original works just like one would expect — Google uploads the photos in their original resolution and thereby consumes a lot of storage.

High Quality, on the other hand, compresses your files, though not drastically — photos and videos are re-encoded to a maximum of 16MP and 1080p respectively, which is more than enough for normal usage. But what makes this mode a favorite is that it doesn’t require any storage at all. That’s right. Upload thousands of images and videos, and you’ll still have your 15GB of storage left for other purposes.

View Uploaded Photos

OneDrive and Google Photos, albeit for some minor differences, work quite similarly on both Android and iOS. On the OneDrive app, tapping Photos shifts the user interface into a photo-viewing mode. Tabs labeled All Photos, Albums, and Tags appear, letting you conveniently view uploaded photos from all of your devices regardless of platform.

The Albums tab on OneDrive, in particular, is quite useful — while you can create your own albums from scratch, also expect to find automatically generated albums that display freshly uploaded picture-sets or past images in the form of memories. Same goes for the Tags tab, which scans photos and categorizes them with tags — person, animal, city, etc.

Google Photos takes things a notch higher. Thanks to advanced machine learning algorithms at work, expect all of your images to be intelligently analyzed and grouped by person, geographical landmark, location, object type, etc. While OneDrive’s pre-set tags are meant to bring forward the same concept, Google Photos drills down to the most minute of aspects — for example, OneDrive categorizes all photos with people under the broad #person tag, while Google Photos uses facial recognition technologies to group people individually.

Expect all of your images to be intelligently analyzed and grouped by person, geographical landmark, location, object type, etc.

And then there’s the Assistant feature which provides you with the ability to easily create your own albums, movies, and animations from scratch. Want to splice together a few video clips to make a movie? Or do you want to drum up a cool collage using a mix of images? Not a problem!

Further, you also gain access to a range of one-tap touch-up options and basic editing tools. Any changes made can be re-uploaded to the cloud or shared with others immediately.

Compared with OneDrive, Google Photos is significantly better in terms of the image management tools available at your disposal.

Pricing Tiers

The 5GB of OneDrive cloud storage is bound to run out in no time. And even with Google Photos’ 15GB offering, you would fill up your quota pretty quick if you start uploading photos and videos at the Original quality. When it’s time to upgrade your storage, here’s how the paid plans work for both.

OneDrive’s immediate upgrade tier lies in at 50GB and costs $1.99 per month. Compare that to Google Photos, which provides twice the storage (100GB) at the same price, and you’ve got a clear winner.

The situation becomes a tad muddled with the upper tiers, with Google Photos providing 200GB and 2TB for $2.99 and $9.99 per month respectively in contrast to OneDrive’s monthly fee of $6.99 (or $69.99/year) for 1TB of storage. In the end, Google Photos still comes on top in terms of value per GB.

However, OneDrive provides a sort of middle-ground with its 1TB storage plan, not to mention that the tier also carries a free subscription to Office 365. There’s also another plan at 6TB, though that’s something shared equally among six users.

At the end of the day, you’d never have to consider paying for storage if you plan to use Google Photos’ High Quality mode. But with OneDrive, an upgrade is a nagging reality right from the get-go.

On Desktop

It’s always better to be able to check out your media library easily on a larger screen, but regardless of what cloud storage you opt for, that’s something that you don’t have to worry about. Both OneDrive and Google Photos feature support for PCs and Macs, with dedicated desktop apps that sync photos locally in real time. OneDrive uses the OneDrive sync client (pre-installed by default on Windows 10), while Google Photos require that you have the Backup and Sync client installed.

Once synced onto a desktop, OneDrive groups uploaded photos within the Camera Roll folder by year (or month), while Backup & Sync categorizes them under a folder labeled Google Photos.

The desktop versions of both OneDrive and Google Photos also offer the ability to automatically detect and take a backup of images and videos stored locally, as well as copy over images from connected SD cards, cameras, and USB devices to the cloud.

Aside from the fact that you can also upload images to Google Photos using High Quality mode, there are no other remarkable differences between the desktop versions of the two cloud storages.

So, What’s Best

Google Photos is most definitely the better pick out of the two — there’s simply no way that OneDrive can beat its High Quality offering with unlimited image and video backups. Even if you want to upgrade at some point, things are still skewed toward Google Photos with its cheaper tiers and better image management features.

Unless you’ve got a solid reason to stick to OneDrive (perhaps due to its tight integration with Windows 10 and Office 365), then there really is no reason why you shouldn’t use Google Photos as your primary multimedia storage medium.

Senevirathne, Dilum. “One Drive vs Google Photos: What’s Best for Backing Up Photos” Guiding Tech Dec 2018

Posted in: Cloud Computing, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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12 Simple Things You Can Do To Be More Secure Online

Follow these easy tips to protect the security of your devices, your data, your internet traffic, and your identity.

If a major shopping or financial site suffers a data breach, there’s not much you can do about it except change your password, get a new credit card, and possibly freeze your credit.  Protecting against that sort of attack is just out of your hands.  But there are many kinds of security problems that hit closer to home.

Ransomware could effectively brick your computer until you pay the ransom.  A data-stealing Trojan could lift all your secure logins.  Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to defend against these local problems.

Making your devices, online identity, and activities more secure really dosesn’t take much effort.  In fact, several of our tips about what you can do to be more secure online boil down to little more than common sense. These 12 tips for being more secure in your online life will help keep you safer.

1. Install an Antivirus and Keep it Updated

We call this type of software antivirus, but it actually protects against all kinds of malicious software.  Ransomware encrypts your files and demands payment to restore them.  Trojan horse programs seem like valid programs, but behind the scenes they steal your private information. Bots turn your computer into a soldier in a zombie army, ready to engage in a denial of service attack, or spew spam, or whatever the bot herder commands. An effective antivirus protects against these and many other kinds of malware.

You may be thinking, wait, isn’t antivirus built into Windows? Not only is Microsoft Defender Security baked into the operating system, it automatically takes over protection when it detects no other antivirus, and just as automatically steps aside when you install third-party protection. The thing is, this built-in antivirus just doesn’t compare with the best third-party solutions. Even the best free ones are way better than Windows Defender. Don’t rely on it; you can do better.

One more thing. If your antivirus or security suite doesn’t have ransomware protection, consider adding a separate layer of protection. Many ransomware-specific utilities are entirely free, so there’s no reason not to try a few of them and select the one that suits you best.

2. Explore the Security Tools You Install

Many excellent apps and settings help protect your devices and your identity, but they’re only valuable if you know how to use them properly. Understanding the tools that you assume will protect you will go a long way toward them actually protecting you. For example, your smartphone almost certainly includes an option to find it if lost, and you may have even turned it on. But did you actively try it out, so you’ll know how to use it if needed?

Your antivirus probably has the ability to fend off Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs), troublesome apps that aren’t exactly malware but don’t do anything beneficial. Check the detection settings and make sure it’s configured to block these annoyances. Likewise, your security suite may have components that aren’t active until you turn them on. When you install a new security product, flip through all the pages of the main window, and at least take a glance at the settings.

To be totally sure your antivirus is configured and working correctly, you can turn to the security features check page on the website of the AMTSO (Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization). Each feature-check page lists the antivirus tools that should pass. If yours shows up in the list but doesn’t pass, it’s time to contact tech support and find out why.

3. Use Unique Passwords for Every Login

One of the easiest ways hackers steal information is by getting a batch of username and password combinations from one source and trying those same combinations elsewhere. For example, let’s say hackers got your username and password by hacking an email provider. They might try to log into banking sites or major online stores using the same username and password combination. The single best way to prevent one data breach from having a domino effect is to use a strong, unique password for every single online account you have.

Creating a unique and strong password for every account is not a job for a human. That why you use a password manager. Several very good password managers are free, and it takes little time to start using one. The good thing is that when you use a password manager, the only password you need to remember is the master password that locks the password manager itself.

4. Get a VPN and Use It

Any time you connect to the Internet using a Wi-Fi network that you don’t know, you should use a virtual private network, or VPN. Say you go to a coffee shop and connect to a free Wi-Fi network. You don’t know anything about the security of that connection. It’s possible that someone else on that network, without you knowing, could start looking through or stealing the files and data sent from your laptop or mobile device. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, routing it though a server owned by the VPN company. That means nobody, not even the owner of the free Wi-Fi network, can snoop on your data.

5. Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication can be a pain, but it absolutely makes your accounts more secure. Two-factor authentication means you need to pass another layer of authentication, not just a username and password, to get into your accounts. If the data or personal information in an account is sensitive or valuable, and the account offers two-factor authentication, you should enable it.

Two-factor authentication verifies your identity using at least two different forms of authentication: something you are, something you have, or something you know. Something you know is the password, naturally. Something you are could mean authentication using a fingerprint, or facial recognition. Something you have could be your mobile phone. You might be asked to enter a code sent via text, or tap a confirmation button on a mobile app. Something you have could also be a physical Security Key; Google and Microsoft have announced a push toward this kind of authentication.

If you just use a password for authentication, anyone who learns that password owns your account. With two-factor authentication enabled, the password alone is useless. Most password managers support two-factor, though some only require it when they detect a connection from a new device. Enabling two-factor authentication for your password manager is a must.

6. Use Passcodes Even When They Are Optional

Apply a passcode lock wherever available, even if it’s optional. Think of all the personal data and connections on your smartphone. Going without a pass-code lock is unthinkable.

Many smartphones offer a four-digit PIN by default. Don’t settle for that. Use biometric authentication when available, and set a strong passcode, not a stupid four-digit PIN. Remember, even when you use Touch ID or equivalent, you can still authenticate with the passcode, so it needs to be strong.

Modern iOS devices offer a six-digit option; ignore it. Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and select Change Passcode (or Add Passcode if you don’t have one). Enter your old passcode, if needed. On the screen to enter the new code, choose Custom Alphanumeric Code. Enter a strong password, then record it as a secure note in your password manager.

Different Android devices offer different paths to setting a strong passcode. Find the Screen Lock settings on your device, enter your old PIN, and choose Password (if available). As with the iOS device, add a strong password and record it as a secure note.

7. Pay With Your Smartphone

The system of credit card use is outdated and not very secure at all.  That’s not your fault, but there is something you can do about it. Instead of whyipping out the old credit card, use Apple Pay or an Android equivalent everywhere you can. There are tons of choices when it comes to apps. In fact, we have an entire roundup of mobile payment apps.

Setting up your smartphone as a payment device is typically a simple process. It usually starts with snapping a picture of the credit card that you’ll use to back up your app-based payments. And setup pretty much ends there; you’re ready.

How is that better than using the credit card itself? The app generates a one-use authentication code, good for the current transaction only. Even if someone filched that code, it wouldn’t do them any good. And paying with a smartphone app completely eliminates the possibility of data theft by a credit card skimmer.

Some smartphone payment apps let you pay online with a similar one-time code. If yours doesn’t, check with your credit card provider. Bank of America, for example, has a program called ShopSafe that works like this: You log into your account, generate a 16-digit number as well as a security code and “on-card” expiry date, and then you set a time for when you want all those digits to expire. You use the new temporary numbers in place of your real credit card when you shop online, and the charges go to your regular account. The temporary card number will not work again after it expires. Other banks offer similar services. The next time your credit card company or bank calls you to try and sell you upgrades, ask about one-time use card numbers.

8. Use Different Email Addresses for Different Kinds of Accounts

People who are both highly organized and methodical about their security often use different email addresses for different purposes, to keep the online identities associated with them separate. If a phishing email claiming to be from your bank comes to the account you use only for social media, you know it’s fake.

Consider maintaining one email address dedicated to signing up for apps that you want to try, but which might have questionable security, or which might spam you with promotional messages. After you’ve vetted a service or app, sign up using one of your permanent email accounts. If the dedicated account starts to get spam, close it, and create a new one. This is a do-it-yourself version of the masked emails you get from Abine Blur and other disposable email account services.

Many sites equate your email address with your username, but some let you select your own username. Consider using a different username every time—hey, your password manager remembers it! Now anyone trying to get into your account must guess both the username and the password.

9. Clear Your Cache

Never underestimate how much your browser’s cache knows about you. Saved cookies, saved searches, and Web history could point to home address, family information, and other personal data.

10. Turn Off the ‘Save Password’ Feature in Browsers

Think about this. When you install a third-party password manager, it typically offers to import your password from the browser’s storage. If the password manager can do that, you can be sure some malicious software can do the same. In addition, keeping your passwords in a single, central password manager lets you use them across all browsers and devices.

11. Don’t Fall Prey to Click Bait

Part of securing your online life is being smart about what you click. Click bait doesn’t just refer to cat compilation videos and catchy headlines. It can also comprise links in email, messaging apps, and on Facebook. Phishing links masquerade as secure websites, hoping to trick you into giving them your credentials. Drive-by download pages can cause malware to automatically download and infect your device.

12. Protect Your Social Media Privacy

You can drastically reduce the amount of data going to Facebook by disabling the sharing platform entirely. Once you do, your friends can no longer leak your personal data. You can’t lose data to apps, because you can’t use apps. And you can’t use Facebook to log into other websites (which was always a bad idea).

Of course, other social media sites need attention too. Google probably knows more about you than Facebook, so take steps to manage your Google privacy, too. Make sure you’ve configured each social media site so that your posts aren’t public (well, all except Twitter). Think twice before revealing too much in a post, since your friends might share it with others. With care you can retain your privacy without losing the entertainment and connections of social media.


This article offers excellent cyber security measures that you should apply.  However, knowing, choosing, and implementing the right tools for your environment can take a lot of research and time.  We are here to offer our expertise, so that you can focus your time and energy on your business!

If you are in the market for a managed service provider that specializes in cyber security – CALL US!  We can assess your IT environment, identify areas that can be improved and implement inexpensive, effective cyber security measures to keep you safe.

Email us at support@trinityww.com or give us a call at 732.780.8615 to get more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our trained professionals.

Posted in: IoT, Mobile Computing, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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How to Delete a Gmail Account

Maybe you have one Gmail account too many, or tried it out and prefer the service you were using before, or maybe you’re ready to ditch email altogether. If so – Good luck with that one!

The process isn’t hard. You’ll just be asked to click numerous times, of course, and for your password, too. Still, closing your Gmail account and deleting the mail in it is a pretty straightforward a task.

Here’s what to do to cancel a Gmail account and delete the associated Gmail address:

2. Select Delete your account or services under Account preferences.

 

3. Click Delete Products.

 

TIP: You can also choose Delete Google Account and Data to remove your entire Google account (including your search history, Google Docs, AdWords and AdSense as well as other Google services.

4. Select the Gmail account you want to delete.

5. Type the password to the account over Enter your password.

6. Click Next.

7. Click the trashcan icon (🗑) next to Gmail.

NOTE: Follow the Download Data link for a chance to download a full copy of your Gmail messages via Google takeout.

TIP: You can also copy your email to another Gmail account, possibly a new Gmail address.

 

8. Enter an email address different from the address associated with the Gmail account you are closing under Enter an email address in the How you’ll sign in to Google dialog box.

NOTE: Gmail may already have entered the secondary address you used when creating the Gmail account. The alternative email address you enter here becomes your new Google account username.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you enter an email address to which you have access. You need the email address to complete deleting your Gmail account.

9. ClicSend Verification Email.

10. Open the email from Google (no-reply@accounts.google.com) with the subject “Security alert for your linked Google account” or “Gmail Deletion Confirmation”.

11. Follow the deletion link in the message.

12. If prompted, log in to the Gmail account you are deleting.

13. Under Confirm Gmail Deletion Select Yes, I want to delete example@gmail.com permanently from my Google Account.

14. Click Delete Gmail.

WARNING: YOU CANNOT UNDO THIS STEP! After you click this, your Gmail account and messages are gone.

15. Click Done.

What Happens to Emails in the Deleted Gmail Account?

The messages will be deleted permanently. You will no longer be able to access them in Gmail.

If you downloaded a copy, either using Google Takeout or using an email program, you can still use these messages, of course.

What Happens to Emails Sent to My Deleted Gmail Address?

People who mail your old Gmail address will receive back a delivery failure message. You might want to announce a new or alternate old address to the contacts you care most about.

Tschabitscher, Heinz. “How to Delete Your Gmail Account” Lifewire. November 2018

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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