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4 Easy Tips to Using Public Computers Safely

Happy Thursday, Kansas City! We are back with another great Tech Thursday post with Burton Kelso. This week he’s giving us a few tips to keep us safe when we’re navigating a public computer. It’s so important to be mindful of how you handle yourself on computers – especially when others will be using the same one. Take a look at what to keep an eye out for.

4 Easy Tips to Using Public Computers Safely

 

4 Easy Tips to Using Public Computers Safely

 

We’ve all run into a situation when we have to use a public computer at an internet café, library, or school to check out Facebook, check banking information or to send an email. User beware! First, you have no guarantee that the computer is protected; it might be riddled with viruses, and, second, unless you’re careful the next user might learn a lot more than you’d like about your online session. Here are some steps I recommend taking before you use that public computer.

 

1. Don’t let the web browser store all of your secrets.

 

Every web browser on a computer keeps a history of sites you’ve visited and downloads the files and information from that web site for faster loading of sites you visited before. That’s fine at home, but when you’re using a public computer, you don’t want the browser storing your history. Fortunately, modern browsers can protect your privacy. You can right-click on the Firefox icon and choose “Enter private browsing.” For Firefox, pressing Ctrl+Shift+P during a normal browsing session switches to private browsing. In Chrome, the private browsing mode is called “Incognito mode.” Be sure to shut down the browser when you’re done. Private browsing doesn’t disable the Back button so you don’t want the next user backing into your Facebook session or email account.

 

2. Don’t forget to use private browsing.

 

There’s always the possibility that you forgot to go private and you’ve already checked your email or bank account. Erasing your activity is simple. In Chrome or Firefox, you simply press Ctrl+Shift+Del to call up the dialog for deleting your history. The details vary, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve selected all of the options for deletion. Chrome and Firefox lets you specify how far back to delete, so just clear out all the history just to be on the safe side.

 

3. Only Visit Financial Sites On Your Own Computer.

 

It’s possible that the computer you’re using might be seriously compromised security-wise. For example, a stealth keylogger application could capture all passwords typed on the system. A hardware keylogger could do the same, with no possibility of detection by security software.
Your best bet is to simply refrain from sensitive transactions on a public computer. If you absolutely must log in to an important secure site on a suspect computer, here’s one way to make password theft difficult: bring up a page with lots of text in the browser and copy/paste characters from that page into the password dialog. This “ransom note” style is decidedly tedious, but even a spy program that captures periodic screenshots can’t snap all parts of your password.

4. Keep Your Web Site Visits to a Minimum.

 

As you can see, there’s a whole range of precautions you can take to keep any public computer session from turning into an identity theft nightmare. If you’re forced to use public computers for sensitive communication, consider using ransom-note passwords and possibly a VPN. Don’t engage in any sensitive communication that you could just as well do from your home or office. But even if you’re doing nothing more than checking Facebook and e-mailing your dear auntie, do take the minimal precautions. Invoke the browser’s privacy mode, or clear browsing data if you forgot. Doing so just takes a second and can save hours of aggravation.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 


5 Reasons NOT to use Your Work Email as Your Personal Email

5 Reasons NOT to use Your Work Email as Your Personal Email

 

5 Reasons Not to Use Your Work E-mail as
Your Personal E-Mail

 

Most jobs come with an email address, but just because it has your name on it, that doesn’t mean it’s yours. It’s tempting to use your work email everywhere, but it’s not a good idea. Here are some reasons not to use your work email as a personal mail account:

 

#1 Your email address is the gateway into your personal life

You use your email address to sign into social media accounts, financial accounts and a host of other accounts that contain your personal information. Why would you sign up for online services for an account you don’t own? If your work email is tied to your social accounts and financial accounts and someone gains access to your company mail account, they could use that access to gain control of your personal accounts.

 

#2 Your boss can see your company emails

If your company has a reason to look through your company email, they probably can. You’d never even know. You don’t want your boss knowing where you shop or what you do on your free time.

#3 If you leave your job, it can be difficult to recover an account

You may eventually decide to leave your current job. When that happens, you will lose access to your work email account. If you’ve used it to sign up for a site like Amazon, you may find that if you forget your password, you might have a difficult time recovering. Many password reset requests go to your registered email account.

 

#4 Your emails may be subject to Freedom of Information Act Requests

Private individuals could have their email become part of a corporate lawsuit. If you work for the government, your emails are potentially public record. If a citizen files a FOIA request, they would possibly be able to see your private correspondence as well as what accounts you have set up online. The same goes for a private individual with a corporate email address. If the company gets sued, your email could become part of the discovery process in the lawsuit. That means that your private emails could be turned over to attorneys and become part of a public record. That could be pretty embarrassing.

 

#5 Corporate email accounts are easy targets for spam and viruses

Corporate email addresses are easy to find. They are usually listed right on the company website. Scammers and hackers gather these email addresses and try to exploit them. They try to hack your password or send phishing attempts that will expose your email account to the hacker. From there, they have access to your personal data.

Keeping a private, anonymous email address through Microsoft’s Outlook.com or Google’s Gmail is the best way to keep your work life and your personal life separate. Your boss can’t see your private emails, hackers are less likely to come across your address randomly, and you’ll keep ownership of the account.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


Weekly Tech Talk: How to Guard Your Kids in YouTube

Weekly Tech Talk: How to Guard Your Kids in YouTube

 

Weekly Tech Talk: How to Guard Your Kids in YouTube

 

My two boys love the power of YouTube. It allows them to to watch many of their favorite shows and movie clips which include popular superheros including Batman, Superman, the Hulk and let’s not forget Dan TDM providing hours of Minecraft videos. Ever since my wife and ‘cut the cord’ and got rid of our cable TV package, YouTube allows our children to keep up with their favorite shows whenever they want. They can just type the show’s name into the YouTube search bar and thousands of videos pop up. This great for them, but I also have to keep a watchful eye to make sure they don’t accidently find material that is not suitable for their young eyes.
I know many of you parents out there never thought watching videos on YouTube could put your kids at risk for looking at inappropriate content, but it can happen if you’re not careful. There are some YouTubers creating violent cartoon videos with children’s characters and small children are being tricked into watching videos their little minds aren’t ready for.
Problem is that there are thousands of fake cartoon videos all over YouTube and since they appear to be regular cartoons, the autoplay function built into YouTube will suggest them as the next video. For instance, there’s a video of Peppa Pig, star of a popular animated series screaming as a dentist yanks out her teeth. There’s another one where Peppa Pig and a friend set fire to a house with someone inside. Other popular characters that have appeared in these videos include, Elsa from “Frozen,” and Thomas the Tank Engine.
A couple of the YouTube channels to avoid are “Smile Kids TV” and”Toys and Funny Kids Surprise Eggs.” Now I know a lot of you will suggest that kids use the YouTube Kids app, which is supposed to only provide kid-friendly content, however, it’s difficult because these videos are tagged to show up in searches, the titles have characters’ names, and the thumbnails from the video look very similar to real videos.
YouTube is aware of this issue and fortunately they make it easy for you to tag inappropriate content. If you’re not familiar with this option it’s pretty easy to do. During the playback of a video, click the “More” to get the option to report a video. Videos that are reported are reviewed by the staff and will be removed from the YouTube Kids app within hours. YouTube also suggested that you set the app to “restricted mode.” To do this, scroll to the bottom of the page; this setting is in between “Content Location” and “History.” Another thing you can do is shut off “Autoplay.” To do that, click the gear symbol on a video and drag the Autoplay dial to the left.
If your kids enjoy watching videos for their popular television shows, your best bet, is to only let them watch videos that were posted by the network’s official YouTube channel. Alternatively, you should only allow them to watch videos for their shows from the official web site. PBS Kids, Disney Junior, and Nick Jr. all have specific parts of their website full of videos. There’s also a PBS Kids app for Apple and Android, a Disney Junior app for Apple and Android, and a Nick Jr. app for Apple and Android.
Remember, the Internet is still the wild, wild west. Just because a video looks like it’s appropriate, it’s best for you and your children that you take a closer look before allowing your children to view them.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral. They provide on-site and remote tech support for consumers and businesses in the Kansas City Metro Area and beyond. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, KC Live and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 


Weekly Tech Talk : Is Your Family Safe from Hackers?

Hello, Kansas City! It’s time for another weekly tech talk with our technology expert, Burton Kelso. Today, Burton’s giving us the low down on how to keep our kiddos safe when using smart devices. These “smart toys” can be a breeding ground for hackers, but with some know-how, you can allow your kids to have fun, while still being safe. Take a look…

Weekly Tech Talk : Is Your Family Safe from Hackers?

Weekly Tech Talk : Is Your Family Safe from Hackers?

 

There are two popular smart toys are causing quite a stir in recent weeks because of the potential security risk posed to children and families that own them. The toys in question are “Hello Barbie”,  “My Friend Cayla,” which is a talking doll that can understand and respond to kids in real-time, and the “i-QUE” robot, which is described as a “quick witted, smart talking know it all” talking doll. These smart toys ask children for very specific personal information such as parent names, favorite TV shows and meals, school name and the city in which they live. Both toys also take users’ IP addresses in order to collect location data, according to their privacy policies, something many parents out there aren’t aware of.

 

Most of you understand the dangers of letting your kids use social networks and having your kids locations and activities tracked. There is less care with the purchase of connected toys, because many of you don’t understand the risks. VTech, the company that makes the Kidzoom DX a children’s smartwatch was hacked in 2015, giving cybercriminals the data on thousands of kids who had used the firm’s toy laptops.

 

The opportunities for bullying, extortion, even abduction using the connected toys is endless. Parents, you need to understand your information is also at risk. The toys can be the entry point into your home network.

 

Parents, you need to exercise caution when setting up these smart toys for your children and take the necessary precautions to protect your family from a serious data breech. Follow these steps.

 

  1. The first thing that you can do to ensure the protection of yourself and the people you care about is before buying a new device for yourself or giving one to another person is searching the name of the device with the keywords ‘hack’, ‘glitch’ or ‘scam’ and seeing what results come up.

 

  1. Check the Terms and Conditions on these smart toys to see what the holding company can do with your data. In the wrong hands, it could lead to an intimate portrait of your family that you may not want to share. If the terms aren’t clear, then don’t purchase the item.

 

  1. When giving a new device to your children, make sure that you check what permissions the app wants access to as sometimes an app can request access to things such as your home address, phone number, bank account details and general information that about your private lives. As a rule of thumb it is not necessary to give away any information requested by an app that you wouldn’t want to give away to a stranger!

 

  1. If your children are using anything that connects to your WiFi then make sure they are not sharing personal information such as names, birthdays, home address, and school location.

 

  1. When not in use, turn the gadget off completely.

 

Let your kids enjoy these connected devices and the amazing benefits they provide. Also be aware of the information they are using. Have fun, stay safe.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 

 


Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It’s Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

Howdy, Kansas City! It’s time for our weekly tech talk with Burton Kelso of Integral Computer Consultants. This week, he’s giving all of us parents permission to snoop. More importantly, however, he’s giving us all ways to keep our kids safe when they’re surfing the web. Check it out!

Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It's Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

 

Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It’s Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

 

Parents, let’s face it. It’s your job to make sure your kids are safe from harm offline and online. Many of you struggle with how your kids will react when they find you are snooping on their digital habits and worry how that will affect their relationships with their children. How do I know this? We get calls every week from parents wanting to know what’s going on in their kids digital lives, but they don’t want the child to find out that they are keeping tabs on them. Well, I’m not that parent. When it comes to my kids, I’m like the Gestapo. In today’s digital world, there are too many dangers on the World Wide Web to let your kids use the Internet without some type of supervision. Consider theses facts:

1. 42% of kids admit they have seen online porn. One in 16 have been exposed to hardcore pornography.
2. One in 12 have exchanged messages with sexual content to other people, while one in 25 have sent graphic photos of themselves.
3. 25% of children get away with pretending to be older to get an account online.
4. One in 20 children admitted arranging a secret meeting with someone they met online.
5. Almost three in 10 parents let their kids use the Internet without any restrictions or supervision.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you need to keep up with your kids’ digital lives. So what can you do? There are several things you can do to snoop on your kids.

 

#1 Check Your Child’s Surfing Habits.

If your family still uses a desktop or laptop computer, or if your child has a Smartphone or tablet, the best way to see what your child has been up to is to check the browser history. All web browsers save a record of the sites that have been visited. However, a child could easily delete items from the history, so consider other ways of monitoring your child’s Internet usage.

#2 Put Your Hands On Their Devices on a Regular Basis.

It’s important to keep your hands on your child’s device so you area aware of their digital lifestyle. Keep the family computer in a common area. Take away computers, tablets and Smartphone at night and keep them in your room. Don’t allow your kids to put passwords on any of their devices. You should be able to see what’s going on at any time.

#3 Use Your Router to Snoop.

Depending on your model of router, you can setup it up to monitor your kids Internet habits. You can track what websites they visit, you can block web sites you don’t want them to visit and you shut down Internet access for them completely.

 

#4 Using Software to Monitor Your Child’s Internet Usage

There are several programs you can use to monitor your child digital lifestyle. Here are some of the best tools available to help you monitor and protect your child online.

YouKnowKids

This service provides comprehensive support for Apple and Android Devices. It tracks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as tracking calls and texts. It can also track your child’s location with GPS location services.

NetNanny

NetNanny offers the best content manager out there. It supports Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. It gives you email notifications so you can keep up with what your child is doing.

 

TeenSafe

This app and website also provides you comprehensive coverage of all your kids devices. Like YouKnowKids, it will track social media and calls and texts from smart devices and offers GPS location services.

 

Always remember to teach your kids (and yourself) that privacy is privilege, not a right. It’s important that you kids understand that trust isn’t something that can be taken lightly. In the end, it’s not snooping when you take extra steps to keep your kids safe from the dangers that lurk online, it’s you doing your job as a parent.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


4 Tips to Help Your Family Prepare for Smartphones and Tablets

Howdy, Kansas City! Our society has an abundance of ways to stay connected and entertained. As your kids age, they’re bound to want a smartphone, tablet, or use yours (sigh..). Burton Kelso, a local tech expert, has a few tips to help prepare your family when it comes to all those gadgets. Take a look…

4 Tips to Help Your Family Prepare for Smartphones and Tablets

 

4 Tips to Help Your Family Prepare for
Smartphones and Tablets

 

All children are curious and as my boys aged, they became curious about the smartphone and tablet I use to check e-mail and surf the web. It wasn’t long before I relented and gave them tablets of their own. As a parent, at some point you will be faced with the decision if you should give your child access to technology. While there are definite benefits, there are downsides. So is your kid ready? Are you ready? Here are some things to consider before you give your children access to technology.

 

#1 Do Your Homework.

 

The upside is technology brings big benefits. With access to technology, children gain access to educational apps, chat apps to connect with friends and family and the wealth of information that is on the web. The downside is technology can also give your child access to distracting games and social media apps where sexting and cyberbullying can occur. Take the time to find out what apps your child should use and which ones they need to avoid. Just because your child wants to play with a particular app, doesn’t mean they should. Of course child can still have access to the tools that a smartphone and tablet offer through a computer, but the difference is a mobile devices go with your child everywhere, which means it could put their technology use out of your supervision. If technology is confusing to you, don’t be ashamed. Reach out to someone who is familiar with children and technology to help you make the right choices.

 

#2 Is your child responsible? 

 

Is your child responsible with the technology you have in your home?  Do they turn off electronics when they are done?  Are they responsible enough to put away DVDs when they are dong watching them?  Is your child good about following rules you’ve set in other areas, like television use, homework, and bedtimes? Is your child well organized or absent-minded?  It’s easy to spot the signs once you start looking. If they aren’t, then you need to wait awhile to allow them their own tech devices. My opinion is this: No child under the age of 5 years old should be given access to technology. As far as a smartphone, no child under the age of 13 should have his own smartphone

 

#3 Take Baby steps with Tech. 

 

If you get tired of your children using your tech and you find yourself wanting to purchase a smartphone or tablet for your child, start with something small. Don’t rush out and purchase the most expensive tech out on the market. If the device is ruined, you will have to purchase another device as most companies design mobile technology devices to be replaced rather than to be repaired. We get calls daily from parents who are shocked to learn that the tech device damaged by a child is cheaper to replace than to repair. The average cost of repair for most mobile devices is $200.   I would recommend purchasing a Kurio Smartphone and Tablet. Both devices are modified Android products designed for school age kids. They both have built in parental controls which allows parents to limit access to non kid friendly apps.  The phone has GPS location services allowing you to keep track of your child. Both devices are durable and affordable starting at $99. I recommend staying away from iPad/iPhone devices and Samsung/LG Android devices until your kids are teenagers as they offer very little to no parental controls.

 

#4 Remember to Set Rules.

 

This is a big one. When you make the move to allow technology in the hands of your child, set rules. Make sure that the tablet or phone charges overnight in your bedroom, eliminating the possibility of late-night texting or gaming. Talk about what types of apps are okay to download and how to surf the Internet safely, make sure that they understand who it is OK to communicate with and more importantly, with whom it’s not OK, that they understand what is OK to share online and what is not OK, which pictures are OK to share and which are not.  Finally, if you find you’re struggling to get your child to follow the rules, take the device away until they can prove they are mature enough use it.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, KC Live and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com