Computer safety…doing the two-step

So, after last month’s debacle with my emails and dealing with Google, I do have some advice to share regarding computer safety and protecting yourself from technical nightmares…and as I am an Apple person, I refer to Apple products and their associated apps, if you a PC, then use the equivalent products.

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1.  ALWAYS BACK UP.  Period.  End of story.  There is no excuse for not having back up on your computer.  Backing up comes in more than one form:  backing up onsite (your computer backing up to a little silver box on your desk, i.e., Time Machine) and backing up off-site (using a 3rd party back up, like Code 42 or Crashplan).  Technically, if you are doing anything more than playing solitaire on your computer, BOTH of these methods should be employed for safe backup.  If you are only backing up onsite, then your backup is a vulnerable to disaster as your computer is.  If you backup off site, no matter what happens at home, you’ve still got a copy of your computer contents.

2.  ALWAYS USE 2 STEP VERIFICATION.  Period.  End of story.  Google, Apple ID – ICloud and Keychains, Facebook, your bank, any app that offers you 2 step verification – USE IT.  What it means is that in order to enter your accounts, and more importantly to make any changes in your accounts, not only do you enter by your username/password, but your cell phone rings and a code is given to you so you are verified to be YOU making the changes or entering your account.  It’s a slight hassle vs the way bigger one coming your way when someone breaks into your account and steals all your stuff!

3.  Use a Password Manager.  1Password or Last Pass are just two of many, but once you get them set up they are worth their weight in gold for the peace of mind of knowing that your passwords can’t be easily guessed by the bad guys.  Not to mention that you only have to remember one password from that day forward. They have apps to put on your phone and iPad so that passwords are available to you wherever you go.

4. ALWAYS Passcode your phone.  Seems like a hassle to always have to punch in a 4 or 6 digit code to use your phone, but honestly you get so use to it, that it doesnt bother you, especially considering how valuable your phone is…not just in what you paid for it, but in its contents.

5.  Put the best spam filter on your email that you can get.  Whether through Google or a 3rd party.

6.  Have a tech person on the payroll.  I couldn’t function without know that Matt, East Bay Tech Service, was just a phone call away.

7.  Don’t open anything from anybody that you don’t really, really know.  That includes email or anything on Facebook that says:  Open this right away!  And beware that those cute kitty pictures can be infected.  Sad, but true.

8.  Install the updates that you are prompted to when they come out.  Most of them involve security and when new bugs are found, Apple issues security updates and I take them very seriously.

9.  Give your computer a yearly checkup…revisit your security, change some passwords, make sure you are up to date on all your computer updates.

10. Live happily ever after…

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