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Secure Password Guide August 15, 2016

Posted by twiznc in Security.
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At a minimum, Tech Wizards strongly urge you to utilize passphrases of at least 16 characters and change passwords at least every 3-6 months. The below information can make creating relatively easy-to-remember passphrases and changing them regularly fairly easy. At a minimum, create a passphrase of at least 16 letters such as lyrics from a song (allyouneedislove), a line from a nursery rhyme (hey diddle diddle), a line from a poem (andmilestogobeforeisleep), etc. Capitalizing one or more letters and adding special characters (even spaces) will improve the strength of any passphrase. There are also several free online tools that can generate long, secure passwords for you (see links below). Although it is preferable to come up with an entirely new password every time you change your password, adding the month and year as a four-digit addition at the end of your phrase (Allyouneedislove!0316) takes some of the pain out of changing your password (just update the month and year code at the end of your passphrase); if you do this every calendar quarter then the number becomes very easy to remember.

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Email Encryption Solutions March 7, 2016

Posted by twiznc in Email, Security, Services & Software Recommendations.
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Email encryption can be very confusing and difficult to sort out.  Basically, there is “endpoint-to-server” encryption (which is what Gmail does) and there is “endpoint-to-endpoint” encryption (where messages are encrypted from the sender’s inbox to the recipient’s inbox).  Regulatory compliance requires “true” endpoint-to-endpoint encryption, which is only available from third parties that provide such a service, usually via a “hosted” encryption mail server.

Tech Wizards recommends two “point-to-point” encryption products that satisfy regulatory compliance requirements (including HIPAA): Virtru offers a free version (marginally compliant), plus a paid version (fully compliant) with extra features and functionality – $60.00/user/year. Tech Wizards has tested this app and it seems easy to use at both ends (sender and recipient).  It provides an Outlook Plug-In which allows sending an encrypted message just by clicking a button in Outlook (although Outlook is not required to send encrypted messages; it works fine with Gmail, other email systems).  Recipients receive an email notification with a link to a website where they confirm their identity and then view (or download) the encrypted email message; there are no “keys” to exchange.  DataMotionSecureMail Desktop is priced at $99/user/year but they do offer a 14 day free trial for up to five users.  I have not tested this app but it appears to have similar features as the paid version of Virtru, plus some added-value features and options.

Data Backup Solutions May 9, 2009

Posted by twiznc in Security, Services & Software Recommendations.
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Updated March 6, 2016

Data backup is critical for both businesses and home users.  Unless you would be okay with your computer disappearing from the face of the earth as you read this sentence (never to return), and not miss anything stored on its’ hard drive, then you need to have a backup solution in place and backing up your data on a regular basis.  This article covers the importance of backing up critical/valuable data on your hard drive, discusses both “on-site” and online backup options, and recommends some good backup solutions (some of which are FREE).

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Web Surfing Monitors & Controls May 4, 2009

Posted by twiznc in Security, Services & Software Recommendations.
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Updated March 6, 2016

Particularly useful for businesses and parents, web browsing monitors and controls allow the monitoring of web browsing activity, filtering of web sites that can be browsed, or limiting of when the Internet can be browsed.  In this article we describe and provide links to several recommended monitoring and control programs.  We invite any suggestions of programs to include in these listings. (more…)

Four Solid Methods for Getting Back Your Lost Thumb Drive March 24, 2009

Posted by twiznc in Security.
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Updated March 6, 2016

USB thumb drives are extremely handy. However, being so small it is also easy to accidently leave it in a computer that is not your own, especially if the only USB ports on the computer are in the back of the computer.

LifeHacker.com offers four nice ideas for getting your lost USB drive back.  Click here to view the article.

Track Your Lost/Stolen Computer’s Whereabouts (or erase all data from it remotely) March 21, 2009

Posted by twiznc in Security.
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Updated March 6, 2016

What if your laptop or netbook computer physically disappeared overnight?  What would you do? What would happen to your data? How much business would you loose? Could someone steal your identity?  All kinds of bad things can happen if your laptop, netbook, or even your desktop PC was lost or stolen.  Good news!  There are tools that can at best get your computer back, or at least allow you to remotely delete all of the data on the hard drive.  Here are two tools that can help (one is FREE!).

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