Tag Archives: Home IT Security

Week 1 – Working and schooling from home

It’s Wednesday, we’re all maxed out on almost everything, and so I’m going to keep this simple. Two separate top three lists.

The top three things you can do to make your home internet access more secure.

  1. Change the default password on your home router.
  2. Update the router firmware/software on your home router
  3. Install ad filtering/blocking

The top three things you can do to improve your home internet access performance.

  1. Plug in – utilize a physical (non WiFi) connection as often as possible
  2. Tune up – call your internet service provider and tell them you need more bandwidth. If cost is an issue, ask them to help.
  3. Drop out – turn off and unplug devices you don’t need. Smart televisions, dishwashers, audio equipment, game consoles, smart home devices

Passwords

Topic number one – PASSWORDS

We all have them, we all use them, most of us don’t like them very much. Those of us who work in technology have even more complex relationships with them.

My opinion is that we’ve not handled passwords very well. And, that their value as security mechanism is continuing to diminish.

All sorts of “worst password” lists are compiled annually. Here’s a link to one that I do NOT vouch for or control the content on – https://www.teamsid.com/100-50-worst-passwords-2019/

Passwords I still see at least once a month being used for something technology related –

– password
– password123
– default
– letmein
– football
– 123456789

If you utilize any of these passwords for any of your devices, accounts, email addresses, etc. I implore you to stop. It’s not even a speck of security.

Without trying (and absolutely failing) to explain mathematical principles like entrophy, I can offer this MOST important piece of advise about passwords –

“The longer the password the better/more secure it is”

There are obviously exceptions to this. An 18 character password that is all the character x is NOT secure, for example. Common phrases or well know quotes will be easy to break.

But, if you choose 4 or 5 words that are not normally associated with each other AND are easy for you to remember then you have a MUCH more secure password. Here’s a visual aid from the excellent online comic xkcd –

https://xkcd.com/936/

Other suggestions are to include things like words from another language, portions of an old locker combination, etc. Avoid public data like SSN, date of birth, high school graduation year, and so on.

We could talk for days about passwords. Usage, theory, how often to change, how to store, etc. This article is meant to provide a basic starting point for people to understand how to choose good passwords to protect things, people, and resources.

Remember – Longer is better and something unique that you can remember!

Thanks!

Technology Times, They Are A Changin’

Phew!

Everybody doing ok? I know the answer. Not all of us are OK. Not all of us are going to be OK. The world and all of our lives is changing at an incomprehensible pace right now. I’m not sure what to do, or where to be, or how to act, or what to say.

Some of us have kids, all of us have people we love and who love us. I’m a 46 year old, bald, overweight husband and father of 4 boys. I’m lucky. I know others who are not as fortunate as I am. So, I’m going to do what I can to help.

I’ve been paid to deal with technology since 1997. Half my life officially. I know a VERY small slice of this world and some of it not very well. But I know people I can ask, and I’ve ALWAYS liked asking questions.

So, I’m going to start taking about basics in technology. Passwords, wifi, online shopping, security, etc. These are important topics to understand at a basic level in order to protect you, your money/assets, and your family. The current resources I am aware of are boring, outdated, and generally dis interesting to me.

I’m not sure how often I’ll post about things, but I’ll do as many topics as I can. And I promise to do the best job I can in explaining things.

I’m going to leave comments off for now on these posts, but may consider turning them on if I have time and energy to deal with them.

If you have suggestions for topics, questions about posts, or other information I may be able to provide, please contact me via email at the following address:

mpankratz@gmail.com

Thanks, stay safe, and be good to each other!