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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month: 8 Tips To Keep You Safe

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month!  Burton, our resident tech expert here at iFamily KC, is here to help keep you safe with these 8 helpful tips!

cyber security

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

8 Tips To Keep You Safe

October is my birthday month.  It’s also Cyber Security Awareness Month.  This is time set aside by the National Cyber Security Alliance to encourage everyone to take steps to protect themselves from cyber-crime. From age 8 to 80, we are all at risk from some type of cyber-crime. From identity theft, malicious virus attacks on our smart devices, cyberbullying and online predators that lurk in cyberspace to cause us harm in the real world.  Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and, your business.  At Integral, we see people who are constantly taken advantage of because they don’t know what to do to protect themselves.  Please take a few moments and follow this list of tips to avoid being the next victim:

90% of cyber-attacks begin with emails. 

Hackers create emails that are socially engineered to get you to react and click to the information contained in them. Don’t click on links or attachments in emails and text messages that come from unknown sources. Avoid texting or emailing personal information.

Think you’ve been a victim of a cyber attack? 

Visit Have I Been Pwned. Have I been Pwned is a free web site that allows you to search and see if your email address was among millions leaked in data hacks. If this web site says your email address has been leaked, change your password immediately.

Don’t use the same password for any of your online accounts.  

Hackers count on you to use the same passwords for all of your online accounts.  That same weak password you use for Facebook is probably the same one you use for Amazon and you banking account. Hackers know this.  Once they get one password, they will use them (along with your email) on all of your accounts to steal your data. Need help keeping track of those passwords?  Download and use a password keeper like LastPass.  This app allows you to store all of those hard to remember passwords for all of your online accounts and automatically log onto your online accounts from your smart devices and computers using,  secure passwords that are hard to hack.

Remember to Keep your Kids Safe Online.  

Social media plays a major roll in most friendships with school age kids.  It also exposes them to risks in cyberspace such as cyber-bullying and online predators. Set ground rules for smart device usage and make sure you’re putting your hands on and monitoring your kids computers and smart devices on a regular basis to see what apps they are using and to see what interactions they are having online. 

Protect yourself against scams with Web of Trust. 

Web of Trust installs with your web browser to keep you safe from web site that could potentially harm your computer or smart device. Visit a harmful site, web of trust will block it for you automatically.

Beware of credit card skimmers. 

Hackers will do anything to get your information including using credit card skimmers which are designed to steal your information.  Spotting a credit card skimmer is as easy as turning on your Bluetooth on your smartphone. If you see a weird device trying to connect to your Bluetooth, it could be a skimmer.  Android smart-devices users can download Skimmer Scanner from the Google Play Store  to detect certain skimmers that use Bluetooth.

Check your financial statements and credit reports on a regular basis. 

Under federal law, you’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Space out your requests so you get a credit report every four months. Want a handy app to keep track of your credit report, consider using Credit Karma.

Don’t forget to protect your computers and smart devices with anti-virus software and automatic backup.

Anti-virus software like ESET’s NOD32  will help prevent cyber attacks on your computer. In the event that your computer files get ruined in a cyber attack, a good cloud based backup like Carbonite  will keep your information safe.

What things do you do to keep you and your family safe from cyber crime? Leave your comments below.  Let’s get the discussion started so we can help keep each other safe.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 


8 Tech Maintenance Tasks Everyone Forgets About, but Really Shouldn’t

Hello, Kansas City! We’re here with another Tech Thursday. Today, Burton Kelso gives some easy maintenance tasks (that are often overlooked) that we should all take a look at and follow up on. Take a look!

8 Tech Maintenance Tasks Everyone Forgets About,  But Really Shouldn't

 

8 Tech Maintenance Tasks Everyone Forgets About,
But Really Shouldn’t

 

Hey Everyone!

 

With so many tech devices in our lives these days, it’s important to stay on top of maintenance that needs to be done periodically on your computer, smarthphone and tablets to keep things running smoothly. Here’s a look at some tasks that are often put on the back burner, but should really be carried out regularly.

1. Update your Wi-Fi router.

If you’re experiencing slow Wi-Fi speeds, spotty connections, updating your router can help. Routers usually have a life of 5 years, so if your router is over 5 years old, it’s time to replace it. For best performance, use the router provided by your Internet provider.

2.Keep Your operating system and other software updated

Most computer and smart devices will automatically download updates, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re running the latest and greatest for security and functionality. If you’re not sure, you can give us a call and we can tell you what version of software your device should be running.

3. Clean up storage space.

Got old programs or files you no longer use? Uninstall them and delete those old files. Computers and laptops have unlimited storage, so it’s not as important to clean out old files on those as opposed to your tablet or smartphone which has limited storage. When you device fills up, it can slow down the performance.

4. Backup data regularly.

Backing up your data regularly is one of the most important tasks you need to do. All devices are vulnerable to failure, so it’s always a good idea to back up your stuff. I recommend taking a three step approach to backing things up; by having a local backup of your important files on an external drive; a backup of your most important files to a cloud service like OneDrive or Dropbox; and a full system off-site backup using a service like Carbonite.

5. Clean up your equipment.

If you have a desktop computer or a laptop, it ends up collecting a lot of dust internally, so it’s a good idea to blow it out with canned or compressed air. This will keep your computer from overheating.

6. Restart your computer:

Letting your computer hibernate or sleep is great, but once in a while you need to restart you computer. Shutting down or restarting your computer every once in a while will free up resources and keep your computer running smoothly.

 

7. Reset your modem

Every few months it’s a good idea to reset your Internet modem. To reset your modem, simply unplug the power cord for a few seconds and plug it back in. That will trigger any updates your cable provider has sent to your modem and you can enjoy the faster speeds.

 

8. Check for updates on game consoles

Usually game console will either update in the background or let you know that an update is available. But you might want to manually check for updates on occasion so you know you’re getting the best performance from your entertainment device(s).

 

Following these simple tips can help ensure your devices are running at optimal performance with fairly minimal effort. Keep in mind that you’ll need to carry out most of the tips listed above on a regular basis so it’s good to get into the habit of performing them.

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