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Save Your Battery and Sanity By Modifying Your Android Notifications

Setting up a new Android phone means you’ll be spending more than a few minutes in the Google Play Store, downloading apps. It also means you’ll be dealing with more than a few annoying pop-ups in the form of notifications from all these new apps. It’s easy to deal with the overwhelming amount of vibrations, dings, and dots if you know what to turn on (and off).

To edit a notification you see in your menu bar, pull down the notification bar and swipe your finger across the message until you see a settings gear. Hit the settings gear, and toggle the notification off.


To get to the heart of the notification problem, select Apps & Notifications in the Settings app. You’ll see a list of recently used apps, a dropdown menu containing every other app on your Android phone, options to set system-wide notification rules, and a list of app permissions you can modify on a per-app basis.

Make Systemwide Notification Changes

You can edit every app’s notification settings by selecting “Notifications” under your list of recently opened apps. There, you can enable or disable notification dots on apps, LED blinking, and what content is shown on the lock screen. You can also configure the fingerprint reader to show and hide your notifications by swiping down and up on the reader with your finger.

Pick Which Sensitive Info You See

Depending on the app, you might be receiving information for your eyes only, like messages from family, or your boss. You can choose to obscure the contents of notifications with sensitive information on your lock screen by choosing “Hide sensitive notification content” in the Notifications section. You’ll still receive the alerts, but they’ll be lacking the important bits of information until you unlock them yourself.

Disable Apps Completely

You can prevent apps from bothering you at all by simply disabling their notifications access. Select the app you’d like to silence, then select “App Notifications” and toggle its notifications off. Changing the notification status will ensure you’ll never see its tiny icon in the top of your window, but your app will still be able to update in the background.

Bypass Do Not Disturb

Using Do Not Disturb can keep unimportant notifications or unwanted messages away while you strive to get something done. Of course, if you absolutely need a notification from some app (looking at you, Subterfuge), you can specify which apps are allowed to break through your wall of radio silence.

Spare Your Battery Life

Disabling an app’s notifications probably means you’ve got no desire to hear from it until you’d like to use it. If that’s the case, you should turn off its background data access to prevent it from using your mobile data behind the scenes. Select the app in question, tap “data usage”, and toggle off background data, which should help you save a few megabytes and allow your battery to last a little bit longer.

Austin, Patrick Lucas. “Save Your Battery and Sanity By Modifying Your Android Notifications.”Lifehacker, Lifehacker.com, 4 Dec. 2017

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9 Cool Tips and Tricks for Multiple Monitors on Windows 10

Not too long ago, having a dual monitor setup was considered to be a huge deal. It gave everyone the expression of heavy computing in progress. However, things have changed for the better with the price of monitors going down over time.

The advantages of having a multi-monitor setup on Windows 10 are many, depending on your creative hunger. For one, a bigger display area means more chances space for multitasking and the added excitement of playing games.

With the prices of quality monitors hovering around the $90-$170 and keeping the temptation of using a multi-monitor setup in mind, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of it on Windows 10.

1. Play Around with the Display

On Windows 10, playing around with multiple displays is even easier than before. Whether it’s color management or the extended mode – where you can set the screen resolution according to the monitor – the customization options are immense.

Besides, if you’d like the Taskbar to be visible only on the primary displays, that too can be done quickly by accessing the Taskbar settings.

You just have to head over to Settings > Display and toggle the button for Show taskbar on all displays off.

2. Rotate the Display

I agree that not all of us sees the world in the same way. So, for those who have a different take on the world and their monitors, Windows 10 has an option to rotate the screen to use the monitor in portrait mode.

This vertical orientation of the display is helpful for coders and graphic designers.

All you have to do is head over to the Settings > Display, choose the display and change the Orientation to Portrait, select Keep Changes, and voila!


3. Infinite Wallpapers

Imagine a super cool 4K wallpaper spread beautifully over your two monitors. With Windows 10, setting up an infinite wallpaper isn’t so hard. Thankfully, Windows 10 lets you have this feature in a matter of few clicks.

The only limitation to these infinite or panoramic wallpapers is that the monitors need to be at the same level, for the effect to set in.

4. Add a Dash of Beauty

Few tools can compare to the likes of Rainmeter. In fact, our video editor swears by it when it comes to personalizing his dual-monitor setup.

The interesting thing about Rainmeter is that you can have an array of information displayed on your desktop or you can also opt for a minimalist look.

5. Set Out to Conquer the Gaming World

This feature is dependent more on your dedicated graphics card rather than your system settings. What it essentially does is, it spans the game screen across both the monitors.

6. Different Wallpapers

With Windows 10, it’s also very easy to rope in different wallpapers for your multi-monitor setup.

All you have to do is go to the Display Settings, select a wallpaper and a right click on it to set.

7. Better Management with Keyboard Shortcuts

We know that you love to navigate around the big space that comes with multiple monitors. However, at the end of the day, knowing a few handy shortcuts never hurts and saves a lot of time.

The interesting thing about Windows keyboard shortcuts is that they work seamlessly even on single screens.

  • Win+Left/Right Keys: Snaps the window to the edge of the monitor on the first go and pushes it to the next monitor’s edge when pressed consecutively.
  • Shift+Win+Left/Right Keys: Moves the active window to the next monitor.
  • Win+UpKey: Maximize current window.
  • Win+Down Key: Minimize current window.
  • Win+PKey: Switch between display modes.

8. Browse Like a Boss

If you’re someone like me, odds are that your Google Chrome always has at least 15+ tabs open. I’m not at all organized when it comes to browsing.

9. Multi-monitor Displays with Laptops

The upgrades in Windows 10 also lets one attach a couple of displays to a laptop as well.

In case you’d want the laptop lid to be closed when you work, that can also be arranged pretty easily by tweaking the power settings.

Head over to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound and select Change What the Power Buttons Do. Here, choose to Do Nothing under the When I close the lidoption.

Now, the computer won’t go to sleep when you close the lid. However, make sure that your laptop is not the only source driving the display of the external monitors.

 

Gogoi, Namrata. “9 Cool Tips and Tricks for Dual Monitor Setups on Windows 10.” Guiding Tech, 24 Nov. 2017, www.guidingtech.com/dual-monitor-tricks-windows/.

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These Gmail searches will dig up stuff you never knew you missed

Find lost messages, unearth attachments, clear your inbox, and more.

Gmail dominates the email landscape. It provides gigabytes of storage, works at super-fast speeds in any browser, and automatically sorts messages into specialized sections depending on their content and importance. But perhaps its greatest strength—as you might expect from a Google product—is its search abilities. You’re probably comfortable typing a few words or contact names into the search box at the top of the page, but some less obvious terms can open up whole new inbox-sifting possibilities. We’ve collected nine invaluable search tools to help you organize your inbox, find lost emails, dig up oversize attachments, unsubscribe from spam, and more.

1. Find important emails that you haven’t read

Search query: “is:important is:unread”

Based on the emails you’ve opened and responded to in the past, Google determines which messages are most important to you and flags them with a little yellow arrow just to the left of the sender’s name. To find these messages, add “is:important” to your search terms. If you also include “is:unread” in the query, then Gmail will display all of the important messages you haven’t got around to reading yet.

2. Delete space wasters

Search query: “has:attachment larger_than:10mb”

If you’re running out of Gmail storage, you can clear out some room in your account by identifying, and deleting, the messages that take up the most space. Including “has:attachment” in a query will find any emails with attachments, and the “larger_than:10mb” term specifies the message size—in this case, 10MB or over. You can increase or decrease this size to pick out larger or smaller messages as needed.

3. Winnow out really old messages

Search query: “before:2016/12/31” or “before:2017”

For those who like to keep their Gmail inboxes clean and tidy, this search picks out all of the emails sent or received before a certain date. You can change the date after the “before:” handle to any date as long as you give it either a yyyy or a yyyy/mm/dd format. Then you can erase them in bulk: Check the select-all box in the web interface’s top-left corner and then click the trash can icon to delete the selected messages. Combine this search with the attachment-finding search above to easily find and remove old and oversize messages.

4. Pinpoint messages on which you were copied

Search query: “cc:me OR bcc:me”

Some of the bulk in your inbox comes from filler messages that coworkers decided to copy or blind-copy you on. But they might not be vital to your own record-keeping. So use this search query to root them out. Like the other terms in this list, you can adapt the copy and blind-copy search to suit yourself—for example, add “from:AnnoyingBob@company.com” to the query to limit it to CCs or BCCs from a particular contact.

5. Destroy disorganization

Search query: “has:nouserlabels”

If you scrupulously organize your Gmail inbox with a series of labels, then use this search query to find and take care of all the messages you haven’t yet corralled. To create, edit, delete, and view your email labels, hit on the cog icon on the top right of the Gmail web interface, choose Settings, then click Labels.

6. Take an unsubscribe shortcut

Search query: “label:^unsub”

For years, Google has used its smart scanning technology to pick out the “Unsubscribe” links from newsletter or mailing list emails and copy them to the tops of these messages. If you search for the hidden “^unsub” label, you can see all of these messages in one place. You can call on this useful shortcut to unsubscribe from or delete a lot of automated messages at once.

7. View all photos

Search query: “filename:jpg” (or replace jpg with jpeg, gif, or png)”

You can adapt the filename search query to look up specific types of attachments, such as Word documents or PDFs. It’s particularly helpful when you’re looking for photos that friends and family members have sent to you. If your first attempt turns up nothing, change around the file type in your search: To find animated GIFs, try “filename:gif,” and for screenshots, you might search for “filename:png.”

8. Watch all YouTube videos

Search query: “has:youtube”

People may not send you full video files over email, but your contacts probably share a regular stream of funny or interesting YouTube links. This search query brings them all up at once. If you’re looking for one in particular, you can always modify the query by adding a sender (“from:friendo@email.com”) or a date modifier (“before:2016/12/31”).

9. Recall past chats

Search query: “in:chats”

By default, Google logs your Hangouts chats in your Gmail account. This query brings them all up in reverse chronological order so you can view them all in one place. You can also look for something specific within your chat history by adding a search term or two after “in:chats.” For example, if you know someone’s mentioned an address or a phone number you need to check, typing “address in:chats” or “phone in:chats” will let you narrow down your search.

Nield, David. “These Gmail Searches Will Dig up Stuff You Never Knew You Missed.” Popular Science, 30 Nov. 2017, www.popsci.com/advanced-gmail-searches.

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Windows 10 Secrets Only the Pros Know

For the power Windows 10 user, juggling multiple tasks and apps is unavoidable and often a must. A web browser here, a spreadsheet there, a chat program over yonder, and in time, your desktop turns into a cluttered mess of tabs and windows. And we all know, digging through this gridlock of open applications just to get back to a specific document you have been working on is a chore that no one has to go through.

But we’re here to help. Here are some Windows 10 tips to help you organize and tidy up your computer work space to maximize your productivity to get you back into the (work)-flow of things.

1. SNAPPING AND SNAP ASSIST

Introduced way back in Windows 7, snapping is a cool feature that lets you automatically resize and position your open applications into nifty little side-by-side windows. Just mouse-click and drag a window title bar to the edge of your screen and it will automatically fill specific areas of your desktop. Grab another window and snap it on the other corner of the screen and you’ll see how this could be extra useful. If you’re working, say, on a word document while researching with a web browser, snapping will quickly let you view tasks simultaneously.

Even better, in Windows 10, the Snap feature has been improved with 2 x 2 (four corners) quadrant snapping and Snap Assist. With quadrant snapping, you could display four windows simultaneously (instead of just two halves in Windows 7 and 8) and with Snap Assist, small preview cards of your open applications are displayed and you could swiftly select which one to snap on the other side. This definitely saves a step or two when powering your way through different apps.

Pro Tip: If drag and drop is not your style, you could use keyboard shortcuts instead. Just press the Windows key + a directional arrow to snap, maximize or minimize. Try out a few combos and see what they do.

2. TASK VIEW AND VIRTUAL DESKTOPS

Now we know snapping is extra useful but most of the time, screen real estate is still sparse especially if you only have one monitor. This is where Virtual Desktops come in handy. New in Windows 10, virtual desktops have always been a staple to OSX and Linux power users. Virtual Desktops will free you from the tyranny of one screen by virtually giving you extra desktops to work with.

Start by pressing the Windows Key + Tab. This will show you the Task View with small previews of your open applications in your current desktop. Now, on the lower right corner of your screen, notice the little + sign labeled “New desktop”. Click that and a new lower bar with “Desktop 1” and “Desktop 2” magically appears. “Desktop 2” is your new, fresh and clean virtual works pace! Click on that and fire up applications as you normally would and they will stay on that particular desktop, away from your initial one. This is useful for organizing a group of applications for specific tasks if your Office applications are on one Virtual Desktop and your five-minute break games are on another.

With this, you could essentially have as many desktops as you want and better yet, under Task View, you could drag specific application windows from one Virtual Desktop to another (you could also right-click on the application card then select Move). This, combined with Snapping, will definitely clean up your work spaces. To close a Virtual Desktop, go to Task View, then X out of it (or press Windows Key + Ctrl + F4). Don’t worry, this will not close the applications on that desktop. They will be moved to a Virtual Desktop beside it.

Pro Tip: Quickly switch from one desktop to another by clicking Ctrl + Windows Key + Directional Arrow. Also, you could use Ctrl + Windows Key + D to automatically create a new desktop without going into Task View. You could pin Task View on your Task Bar for easy access.

3. ALT + TAB (APPLICATION SWITCHER)

All power users probably remember the old Alt-Tab Application Switcher from Windows of old. It’s still in Windows 10, but instead of small thumbnails of your open applications, the cards are larger and more proportional to the open applications they represent. This is a welcome change since you could see more detail about what’s going on in any particular application. To quickly cycle through open applications on a particular desktop, just hold Alt then press Tab repeatedly until the desired application is highlighted. This will bring the application up front, ready for use. Also, on Windows 10, you have the option to view either the open applications on your current Virtual desktop or on all of your Virtual desktops.


To toggle this, just open Settings >> System >> Multitasking and drop down the option under “Press Alt + Tab shows windows that are open on.” This is really convenient if you are keeping track of multiple applications spanning across Virtual desktops.

Pro Tip:  Alt + Tab will get you from left to right of the application grid. To go back (right to left) press Alt + Shift + Tab.

4. CORTANA, THE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

New in Windows 10 is Cortana, an always-on, always-listening virtual assistant (akin to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri). Cortana incorporates and essentially replaces the Search function in the Start menu.  One of Cortana’s multiple talents that is extra convenient is her ability to launch applications. If you have a mic and is Cortana enabled, just say her wake up phrase “Hey Cortana” then “Open (name of application).” In practice, you could just say “Hey Cortana, open (or launch) Google Chrome” and “she” will auto-magically open it for you.

Other Cortana skills that are extra useful for power users are searching for files locally or on the web, setting alarms, reminders or calendar events, doing math calculations and unit conversions, and composing and sending emails. Better yet, play around with her by saying “Hey Cortana” then experiment with different spoken commands, you’ll be surprised with what else she could do. The “Hey Cortana” wake up phrase is not on by default, though. To turn it on, click on the Cortana search bar on Task Bar, then click on the Notebook icon then Settings. Locate the “Hey Cortana” toggle and switch it on or off as desired.

Pro Tip: You will need an active Microsoft Account to activate and use Cortana.

5. PINNING APPS

Continuing on from Windows 8 are the Start Menu Live Tiles. In Windows 10, Microsoft has given us the option to either display a full Start Screen (a la Windows 8) or something that resembles the legacy Start Menu (a la Windows 7). One great way to organize your often-used applications is to pin them either to the Start Menu as a Live Tile or to the Task Bar as a shortcut. Pinning them is easy. Just locate the desired application (either by Cortana, Search or clicking “All Apps” on the Start Menu), then highlight and right click on it. This brings up options to Pin to Start or by clicking “More” >> Pin to Taskbar. To unpin, just locate the Live Tile on the Start Menu or the app icon on the Task Bar and right click >> Unpin from its respective location.


Pro Tip: Resize the Start Menu by hovering on its edges then dragging them to the desired size (similar to resizing application windows). You could resize the Live Tiles by right clicking, then “Resize”.

Navarro, Francis. “Windows 10 Secrets Only the Pros Know” The Kim Komando Show, June 2016, www.komando.com/tips/360013/windows-10-secrets-only-the-pros-know/5.

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FBI warns holiday shoppers of dangers of public Wi-Fi

WASHINGTON — If you’re shopping online for hot deals on holiday presents, you should evaluate your surroundings before jumping on Wi-Fi.

The IRS, BBB, FBI and other agencies and organizations are warning gift givers about scams that might compromise tax data and identities of victims.

In a message to the public, a spokesman for Intuit Tax and Financial sounded the alarm about using shared Wi-Fi.

“When you’re at the mall or the airport or Starbucks and you turn on your phone, you’ll see free Wi-Fi. Be very careful of what you decide to use or access when you’re using free Wi-Fi. As you’re taking advantage of free Wi-Fi, a hacker can take advantage of you,” said David Williams of Intuit Tax and Financial.

Officials also say early birds beginning their taxes should also be aware of the same scams.

“We at the FBI have seen people who’ve had tax documents like 1040s and W2s sitting in email accounts that are unencrypted [and then someone’s] hacked the computer and stolen documents and it enables identity theft,” an FBI spokesman said.

The skeleton of the scams is similar to others that circulate from time to time, including posing as officials and trying to exert false legal power.

“The IRS will never call and demand. We will not threaten to arrest you over the phone. We will not do any of that,” added Maura Krajewski from IRS Investigations.

Lauricello, Ann. “FBI Warns Holiday Shoppers of Dangers of Public Wi-Fi”, 12/1/17

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4 steps all Mac users should take to secure their data

Computer information and services are under attack like never before. The frequency with which laptops are stolen, social media accounts are hacked, cloud services platforms are compromised, and data falls into the wrong hands is only increasing. While no computer information or service protections are foolproof, Mac users can take steps to secure their accounts and data and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to theft and compromise.

1: Enable FileVault encryption

Encrypting a Mac’s hard drive protects against unauthorized data access should the Mac be lost or stolen. Apple’s FileVault encryption technology basically scrambles data on the hard drive, making the files, photos, messages, videos, and other information useless garbage to others. Unless one possesses the decryption key or system password, the data is, essentially, irrecoverable.

Mac users can enable FileVault by opening System Preferences, selecting Security & Privacy, choosing the FileVault tab, and clicking the Turn On FileVault button. FileVault may require hours to completely encrypt the Mac’s hard drive; once encrypted, Macs perform just as they did before the drive was unencrypted. Users should encrypt laptops and desktops.

Upon encrypting your Mac, you need to take special care to record your passwords. Safely store the recovery key macOS generates somewhere other than on and with the Mac; in other words, don’t write the recovery key down in a notebook that’s also packed within the same messenger bag or backpack. And, storing the encryption key on the Mac is no help if you lose your password.

2: Encrypt all backups

Encrypting a Mac is one thing—encrypting a Mac’s backups is another. All backups, whether stored in the cloud, on a network drive, or using Time Machine on an external disk, should be encrypted. Apple maintains documentation for setting Time Machine backup encryption options and converting an existing Time Machine disk from unencrypted to encrypted.

3: Enable multi-factor authentication for all accounts

Social media, Office 365, iCloud, and similar accounts are increasingly targeted, often by robotic programs. You should enable multi-factor authentication (sometimes referred to as two-step or two-factor authentication or verification) for all your accounts. By requiring two forms of authentication, you make it more difficult for an unauthorized user to gain access to your accounts.

4: Avoid password application cloud service features

Online accounts, regardless of source, are at risk of compromise. This past summer, the OneLogin password manager provider was hacked, subsequently placing sensitive customer data at risk. All customers supported by the firm’s US data center were affected, ZDNet reported.

Imagine all your passwords being stolen. We’re not just talking about someone posting inane messages to Twitter as you—we’re talking about unauthorized users potentially accessing your cloud storage accounts, files, email messages and bank, credit card, and investment accounts.

Avoid that risk by not entrusting an online password management or password cloud service to store your sensitive passwords. When I explored the cloud storage strategy adopted by mSeven for its mSecure 5 password manager this spring, I noted the app’s data can still be backed up and stored locally on a Mac. I continue to recommend Mac users store such information only locally; there’s too much at stake to permit storing password information in the cloud.

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What To Do When Your Email Gets Hacked

This month, it was confirmed that every single Yahoo account was compromised in the 2013 data breach. That’s 3 billion accounts. Data stolen included names, email addresses, phone numbers and birth dates, among other information. And, of course, that’s just one in a series of recent massive security breaches. The odds are that if you haven’t already been hacked, you will be.

If your email account has been hacked, would you know what to do? Changing your password isn’t good enough. You’ll also want to make sure the hacker hasn’t set up your account to let him get back in or to keep spamming, even after he’s locked out. Here’s what you need to do to get everything back in order and keep hackers out of your account for good.

Step #1: Change your password

The very first thing you should do is keep the hacker from getting back into your email account. Change your password to a strong password that is not related to your prior password; if your last password was billyjoe1, don’t pick billyjoe2—and if your name is actually BillyJoe, you shouldn’t have been using your name as your password in the first place.

Try using a meaningful sentence as the basis of your new password. For example, “I go to the gym in the morning” turns into “Ig2tGYMitm” using the first letter of each word in the sentence, mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and replacing the word “to” with “2.”

Step #2: Reclaim your account

If you’re lucky, the hacker only logged into your account to send a mass email to all of your contacts.

If you’re not so lucky, the hacker changed your password too, locking you out of your account. If that’s the case, you’ll need to reclaim your account, which is usually a matter of using the “forgot your password” link and answering your security questions or using your backup email address.

Check out the specific recommendations for reclaiming possession of your account for Gmail, Outlook.com and Hotmail, and AOL.

Step #3: Enable two-factor authentication

Set your email account to require a second form of authentication in addition to your password whenever you log into your email account from a new device. When you log in, you’ll also need to enter a special one-time use code the site will text to your phone or generated via an app.

Check out two-step authentication setup instructions for Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com and Hotmail, and AOL.

Step #4: Check your email settings

Sometimes hackers might change your settings to forward a copy of every email you receive to themselves so that they can watch for any emails containing login information for other sites. Check your mail forwarding settings to ensure no unexpected email addresses have been added.

Next, check your email signature to see if the hacker added a spammy signature that will continue to peddle their dubious wares even after they’ve been locked out.

Check your “reply to” email address. Sometimes hackers will change your “reply to” email address to one they’ve created that looks similar to yours. So when someone replies to your email, it goes to the hacker’s account, not yours.

Last, check to make sure the hackers haven’t turned on an auto-responder, turning your out-of-office notification into a spam machine.

Step #5: Scan your computer for malware

Run a full scan with your anti-malware program. You do have an anti-malware program on your computer, right? If not, download the free version of Malwarebytes and run a full scan with it. I recommend running Malwarebytes even if you already have another anti-malware program; if the problem is malware, your original program obviously didn’t stop it, and Malwarebytes has resolved problems for me that other anti-malware software wasn’t able to resolve. Scan other computers you log in from, such as your work computer, as well.

If any of your scans detect malware, fix it and then go back and change your email password again (because when you changed it in step #1, the malware was still on your computer).

Step #6: Find out what else has been compromised

My mother-in-law once followed the ill-advised practice of storing usernames and passwords for her various accounts in an email folder called “Sign-ups.” Once the hacker was into her email, he easily discovered numerous other logins.

Most of us have emails buried somewhere that contain this type of information. Search for the word “password” in your mailbox to figure out what other accounts might have been compromised. Change these passwords immediately; if they include critical accounts such as bank or credit card accounts, check your statements to make sure there are no suspicious transactions.

It’s also a good idea to change any other accounts that use the same username and password as your compromised email. Spammers are savvy enough to know that most people reuse passwords for multiple accounts, so they may try your login info in other email applications and on PayPal and other common sites.

Step #7: Humbly beg for forgiveness from your friends

Let the folks in your contacts list know that your email was hacked and that they should not open any suspicious emails or click on any links in any email(s) that recently received from you. Most people will probably have already figured out that you were not the one recommending they buy Viagra from an online pharmacy in India—but you know, everyone has one or two friends who are a little slower to pick up on these things.

Step #8: Prevent it from happening again

While large-scale breaches are one way your login information could be stolen, many cases are due to careless creation or protection of login information.

A look at Splash Data’s worst passwords reveals people still choose common passwords and passwords based on readily available information, making their accounts hackable with a few educated guesses. Easy passwords make for easy hacking, and spammers use programs that can cycle through thousands of logins a second to identify weak accounts.

Picking a strong password is your best protection from this type of hacking. It also is prudent to use a different password for each site or account, or, at the very least, use a unique password for your email account, your bank account, and any other sensitive accounts. If you’re concerned about keeping track of your passwords, find a password management program to do the work for you.

Limit the amount of personal information you share publicly on social media. Hackers use this publicly available personal information to help answer security questions that protect your accounts.

Bookmark websites that you frequently use to access personal information or input credit card information. This will prevent you from accidentally landing on a site that hackers set up to catch people mistyping the site address.

In a friend’s case, her passwords were pretty good and there was no malware on her computer. But she was careless about where she was logging in. On a recent trip overseas, she used the computer in her hotel lobby to check her email. That was a bad idea.

Computers in hotel lobbies, libraries, and other public places are perfect locations for hackers to install key-logging programs. The computers are often poorly secured and get used by dozens of people every day who don’t think twice about logging into their email or bank accounts or entering credit card information to make a purchase. The best practice is to assume that any public computer is compromised and proceed accordingly.

Kantra, Suzanne. “What To Do When Your Email Gets Hacked,” Techlicious, Computers & Software, 10/23/2017

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How to Maintain a Calendar in Microsoft Outlook

Here’s how you can set up and work with one or more calendars in Outlook.

You use Microsoft Outlook for your email. But do you also use it for its calendar? Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t. Either way, you can take full advantage of the calendar feature in Outlook to manage your scheduled appointments and events. You can add an event to the calendar and share it with other people. You can invite people to meetings and other events. You can juggle more than one calendar. You can share your calendar with others. And you can tweak your Calendar settings. Let’s look at the process for creating and maintaining calendars in Outlook.

For this article, I’m using Outlook 2016 via my Office 365 subscription, but the process works virtually the same in the prior few versions of Outlook.

Launch Outlook. Click on the calendar icon at the bottom of the pane to switch to calendar view. You can now manually add an event.

Double-click on the date for your event. In the Event window, enter the details for the event, including the subject, location, date and time, and any notes you wish to record. When done, click on the Save & Close button.

Back in calendar view, your event shows up on the date you chose. Now you want to share that event with another person. Double-click the event to open it. In the Event window, click on the Forward button to open an email with the event as an attachment. Address and send the email. Your recipient can open the attached event to view it. With the right email software, that person can also click on the button to Copy to My Calendar to add the event to his or her own calendar.

Now you want to create an event for which you’re inviting another person or multiple people. In calendar view, double-click the date for the event. Enter the appropriate details. Click on the button to Invite Attendees. An email window pops up. In the To field, type the names or email addresses of the people you want to invite to the event. If the other people have shared their Outlook calendars with you, you can click on the Scheduling button to see if they’re free for the event. Click on the Response Options buttons. By default, your invitation requires a response from the other people and allows them to suggest a different time if they’re busy during the date and time you proposed. You can keep these options or turn off either one.

Click on the Appointment button and then click on the Send button to send the invitation. In return, you should receive emails from the other people either confirming their participation in the event or suggesting an alternative date or time.

Need more than one calendar? Perhaps you want to maintain one calendar for your personal events and another calendar for your professional or work-related events. For example, I have one calendar for personal use and another calendar for meetings with a business client. To create another calendar in calendar view, click on the Open Calendarbutton and then click on the option to Create New Blank Calendar. In the Create New Folder field, make sure Calendar is the selected folder. Type a name for the new calendar and then click OK. You should see your original calendar and the new calendar listed in the left pane under My Calendars. To view your new calendar, click on its checkmark. Both calendars now appear side-by-side. You can manage either calendar by right-clicking its entry in the left pane. From the popup menu for the original, you can hide it, change its color, or copy it. For the new calendar, you can also rename it or delete it.

Next, you can work with shared calendars. You can share a calendar with another person or several people via email. Click on the E-Mail Calendar button. Select the calendar you wish to share if you have more than one. Select the date range, anywhere from today to the whole calendar. Set any other options and then click OK.

Your calendar is attached to your email as an iCalendar file with an extension of ICS. Address and send the email to the other person or people. Your calendar appears in the body of the email for your recipients to view. They can also click on the ICS file or click on the Open this Calendar button in the email to add your calendar to their own calendar view.

If you use an Office 365 or Exchange account on the backend, you can send a sharing invitation to other people using the same server so they can view your calendar. To do this, click on the calendar you wish to share in the My Calendars list. Click on the Share Calendar button. In the Sharing Invitation email, add the names or email addresses of the recipients and then send your message. Click Yes when asked if you want to share this calendar. Your recipients can access your calendar by clicking on the Open this Calendar button in the email. The calendar then shows up in their calendar view under Shared Calendars.

You can also publish a calendar online, though that option requires WebDAV, something you would to access on a computer with Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS). Click on the Publish Online button and choose the option to Publish to WebDAV server. Type the address for the server in the Location field and then click OK.

Finally, you can tweak your calendar through the Outlook Options menu. Click on the File menu and then click on Options. In the Outlook Options menu, click on the setting for Calendar.

In the first section for Work time, you can set the hours and days of the week that you want to appear in your calendar. In the second section for Calendar options, you can establish the time for reminders, add holidays to your calendar, and tweak other options. In the third section for Display options, you can select the colors and layout for your calendar.

In the fourth section for Time zones, you can choose your primary and secondary time zones. In the fifth section for Scheduling assistant, you can decide where to see calendar details. In the sixth section for Automatically accept or decline, you can choose to automatically accept or decline meeting invitations. And in the seventh section for Weather, you can opt to show or not show weather on your calendar.

Whitney, Lance. “How to Maintain a Calendar in Microsoft Outlook.” Windows Secrets, Office, October 10, 2017 

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How to Use Public Wi-Fi and Not Get Hacked

Follow these tips to keep your accounts safe and secure while using public Wi-Fi.

When traveling, using Wi-Fi connections instead of data and calling plans can save travelers hundreds of dollars. Relying on public Wi-Fi is sometimes a security risk but there are ways to make sure your personal information is safe.

VPN: HOW TO USE VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORKS

“Public Wi-Fi is crazy dangerous,” said Tài Doick, Fort Gordon Army base and U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence webmaster and social media manager. “Twenty-five percent of all public Wi-Fi isn’t protected. That means that any data you send over these networks can be seen by everyone. You should never connect to one of these networks.”

And while it may seem helpful when businesses post passwords in public view, it means that anyone who logs onto the network can decrypt information being transferred over it, including banking login credentials, social security numbers, phone numbers and more.

Dr. John Krautheim, assistant professor of computer science at Augusta University, said your best defense is to use a Virtual Private Network or VPN.

“A VPN encrypts all information that leaves your computer,” said Krautheim. “The VPN assures that no one within the Wi-Fi network can see your data.”

To set up a VPN service you can use a private service that you set up at home or your office like OpenVPN. Some companies provide VPNs for their employees and there are commercial VPN providers that sell a VPN service for a small fee like NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and PureVPN. If you’re attempting to access Wi-Fi in a hotel room, HotSpotVPN is a good option.

Doick also recommends the following when using a VPN on public Wi-Fi is the only available option:

  • enable your built-in firewall to protect yourself from everyone who’s on the same router that you are
  • use “https,” which means the connection is encrypted
  • secure your email with an SSL connection; if your email provider supports this, it will add an extra layer of security
  • don’t use Wi-Fi hotspots without passwords
  • don’t use hotspots to perform any online banking or to transfer confidential, personal information

PROTECT PASSWORDS AND PINS

We all should know better: storing passwords on your device is a no-no.

“Do not let your apps remember passwords,” Krautheim said, “especially important passwords like banking, financial and other private data. If someone does break into your phone, they will not have access to your private accounts.”

Another note about apps: In protecting your device from malware, use only the app store approved for your device.

“These stores regularly validate their apps to ensure they do not have malware and meet the requirements for the store,” Krautheim said. “Do not ‘sideload’ apps or ‘jailbreak’ your phone, as this opens your device to being compromised by malicious software and hackers. Be wary of ‘free’ apps and check user reviews for reports of suspicious activity.”

PROTECT YOUR CAMERA FROM STALKERS

Doick said to always be on the lookout for cyberstalkers on public Wi-Fi.

“Close to 80 percent of all stalking today is via the internet,” Doick said. “Individuals can easily obtain personal and financial information via social media.”

Doick recommends securing your webcam or IP camera, as hackers can identify your IP camera’s address with a few basic tools. The most often-used is a remote access tool (RAT) like those support technicians use to assist you remotely when fixing a problem.

“To get a RAT on your IP camera, hackers will use phishing, malicious links, Trojan viruses and phony tech-support calls,” Doick said. “Once you are tricked into running an executable file, they have access and can do whatever they want. So, use up-to-date security software and be suspicious of random phone calls or emails.”

KNOW HOW TO IDENTIFY SCAMS

It sounds so easy, but a little common sense goes a long way. In short, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

“Scams are always changing and there are always new scams,” Krautheim said. “Always be vigilant and suspicious of the internet and social media postings and unsolicited emails and phone calls. No one is going to send you an email asking for your password or bank account information.”

Krautheim also recommends being cautious on all devices including laptops, phones, and tablets.

“Do not click on suspicious links in messages, social media, and email,” he said. “Do not download and install anything [if] you are unsure what it does.”

GET SMART ABOUT SMARTPHONES

Strides in smartphone technology have made them just as powerful as laptops, but with these advances comes additional pitfalls.

They’re just as susceptible—if not more so—to security issues.

“Your phone might have years of text messages and emails with personal information, saved voicemails, pictures of your family, GPS location data, browsing history, notes and more,” Doick said. “Every new tablet or smartphone has at least one camera and real-time audio recording capability.”

Mobile spying malware has recently targeted both iOS and Android tech by accessing historic data like those years of texts and emails.

IF POSSIBLE, DON’T TAKE YOUR PHONE AT ALL

If you have the option, Krautheim said, use a “burner” phone with a minimal number of apps as a travel phone overseas as a way to avoid a lost, stolen or confiscated phone during travel.

These pay-as-you-go cell phones, called “burner phones,” can be purchased domestically or internationally. With the appropriate SIM card, these phones can be used for data connections and calls.

If you are using your regular phone, you should always keep it backed up to the cloud. In addition to keeping your data safe, it allows you to “wipe” the phone before border crossing, to prevent customs agents from examining your phone’s contents.

In addition to being backed up, mobile phones should always stay locked when not being used.

“This should be with a six-digit PIN,” Krautheim said. “Fingerprint readers are convenient, but it is easier to force you to use your fingerprint than put in a PIN. Laws in some countries provide more protections for PIN-based locks than the fingerprint.”

McKee, Jennifer. “How to Use Public Wi-Fi and Not Get Hacked” WhereTraveler.com August 23, 2017

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Eight ways Word’s built-in styles can save you a ton of time

Word’s built-in styles are integrated into many useful features, like footnotes, numbered lists, and header and footer text. Here’s a quick look at how to use these styles to save time.

Word installs nearly 300 styles that are built in and ready to use, but there’s nothing wrong with creating your own custom styles—especially for paragraph and character formatting. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that many of Word’s features rely on its built-in styles. Knowing when to use built-ins and when it’s okay to customize will make your work a lot easier. Even if you never use a custom style, knowing how to manipulate the built-ins will help.

1: They’re easy to use

Every Word document makes use of styles, whether you recognize them or not. Just typing text uses Word’s built-in Normal style. A style is a set of formats. By applying styles, you can quickly and consistently format your documents. You can build your own styles or use the built-in styles. Because the built-in styles already exist, of course, they’re easier to use. Most organizations don’t have specific conventions for ordinary word processing needs, so make things easy on yourself and use the built-in styles, unless you have a specific reason not to—and I can think of lots of reasons not to make more work for myself.

If the built-in styles don’t suit your needs but you want to take advantage of their feature-linking behaviors, create a template and modify the built-ins. It’s the best of both worlds.

2: You gain stability and consistency

You can’t delete Word’s built-in heading styles. That means you can’t accidentally destroy your document’s style hierarchy by deleting a style that’s in use—even though you didn’t realize it. In addition, your documents are consistent from one file to another. That means more professional documents and easier sharing.

3: Building a table of contents is a snap

You can use any style to generate a TOC, but using Word’s built-in styles reduces the work because it’s automatic. The heading styles are the defaults; use them for chapter and heading titles and your TOC will literally write itself. Once the document is complete, with built-in heading styles applied, you can generate your TOC as follows:

  1. Position the cursor where you want to insert the TOC.
  2. Click the References tab.
  3. Click Table Of Contents in the Table Of Contents group and choose an option from the gallery (Figure A).
Figure A

Word’s built-in TOC options are adequate for most uses

4: Navigation is more efficient

Most documents comprise a single page or only a few pages, and navigating is as easy as clicking, using the scroll bar, or using PageUp and PageDown. However, these tools aren’t adequate for browsing large documents. For that, Word provides the Navigation Pane (Document Map in older Ribbon versions). To view the pane, click the View tab and then check Navigation Pane in the Show group. Figure B shows this pane with a simple document, but you can easily imagine its worth in a long document. Simply click the headers in the pane to quickly access that section of your document. This feature works only with built-in heading styles.

Figure B

Use the Navigation Pane to access sections in large documents.

5: You can work in Outline View

Outline View also relies on built-in heading styles. It’s similar to the Navigation Pane, but it displays and supports a true outline format, as shown in Figure C. Whereas the Navigation Pane is a useful tool for accessing areas of your document, Outline View allows you to promote and demote headings to specific levels, so evaluating and even restructuring your document is easier.

Figure C

Use Outline View to organize a document.

6: Print Layout is more flexible

As with the Navigation Pane and Outline View, you can collapse entire sections in Print Layout view. After applying a built-in heading style, Word displays a small arrow in the left margin. Hover the mouse to the left of the formatted heading to display it (Figure D). Then, click it to make that entire section disappear (and reappear).

Figure D
Use collapsible headers in Print Layout.

7: Cross-references are easy to set up

Cross-references are simple to generate in Word if you use built-in heading styles. Once you apply a heading style, that heading is immediately available for cross-referencing, as you can see in Figure E. Word doesn’t include text styles with custom styles. When using custom styles, you must bookmark the headings—and if you’ve worked with bookmarks before, you know they can be messy and frustrating. (Word’s hyperlinking feature behaves similarly.)

Figure E

Built-in heading styles mark headings for inclusion in cross-referencing.

8: Updating page numbers and captions is automatic

Word offers numerous ways to insert page numbers and captions. When you use these features, Word applies built-in styles: Page Number and Caption, accordingly. To quickly update all page numbers or captions, simply change the built-in style.

Bottom line

Many features use built-ins styles, and you won’t always realize they’re in use. Anytime you need to modify all instances of a feature-based element, such as footnotes, endnotes, bulleted and numbered lists, and header and footer text, look for a built-in style to modify. Their names are descriptive, so they’re easy to find.

Harkins, Susan. “Eight ways Word’s built-in styles can save you a ton of time” Tech Republic, Microsoft October 30, 2017

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