Is it time to take a Pass on Passwords?

Passwords are a pain! Way too often we find them on sticky notes, on the bottom of keyboards, or so simple, there's no hacking required! We hate them as much as you do and struggle with managing them properly. But as this article indicates, they are not going anywhere soon. 

You be the judge

Nearly 15 years ago, Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates predicted the demise of passwords. They were too unreliable, he said, noting there were other more secure ways of granting access to computers.

Gates clearly wasn’t correct about the death of the one-time login, but he certainly had it right when it came to calling-out the need for companies to move onto something else.

By now, passwords should have become passé because they are easily one of the worst security tools ever invented. The main problem is that most of us tend to choose passwords we can remember, such as 123456 – the most common password in the world. Others plug in the names of their kids, spouses or friends and add a few numbers, thinking themselves oh-so-clever and secure.

[More]

A Thank You Letter to Our Repair Department

For over forty years, The Computing Center has been providing computer and repair services to our clients. In the early days, we repaired terminals and dot matrix printers.  Later on we repaired desktop PCs and the early laser printers.  Today, we repair and maintain all sorts of laptops, desktops, printers, and servers. Although we can work on most computer equipment, we specialize on Hewlett Packard, Apple, and Dell equipment.

 

As important as the technical training, skills, an experience needed to properly repair computer equipment, so is understanding how clients feel about having their equipment being out of their procession while the repair takes place.

 

By mid-August each year, we see an influx of new people joining our community, typically to attend or be employed by Cornell, Ithaca College and TC3.  So our repair departments gets quite busy with new people and regulars.  However, in every situation, we work hard to have all clients feel important and special. 

 

One of those repairs was for a lovely person, Roberta Moudry, who had a couple of Apple MacBook Pro laptops with screen problems. Sara Herman and Rose Christofferson walked through the issues with her and got the equipment quickly scheduled for repair. And one of our certified Apple Technicians, Emily Vannoy did her masterful repair work to get the equipment operating properly.

 

All, in a day’s work. Well, not quite…

 

Here’s the email we received from Roberta along with her permission for us to reprint it here.

 

To all the staff at the Computing Center that helped us:

 

My son and I had a problem with our MacBook Pro screens. I have a difficult schedule due to elder care responsibilities out of state. You helped us so much, were so kind, professional and efficient….and during a really busy week for you (first week of Cornell classes). We are so grateful to you — you are an oasis of professionalism and respect.

 

I can write this email and see it through my beautifully clear screen. My 93-year-old dad was amazed — I had to tell him several times this is not a new laptop!

 

Thanks again for your help. We appreciate you!

 

Best,

Roberta Moudry and Reade Otto-Moudry

Keys to creating a successful website

We've been designing, programming and managing websites since the beginning of the world-wide-web. So have many others. Like a lot of things about the Internet, there are basics. Here are some of the ingredients contained in all successful websites.

A website is an essential element for running a successful business. A business without a website can potentially lose out on great opportunities since potential customers can’t reach you, find you and learn about you online.

Creating a small business website can lead to many different ways to market your business and help it grow much faster than relying on traditional marketing methods alone. If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers, or people to influence, the internet is where your business needs to be.

With over 78% of adult Americans using the Internet and a remarkable 2.2 billion people online worldwide, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites experience an average of 39% greater revenue per year than those without websites, according to the Small Business Administration.

[More]

Watch Out for Tech Support Scams

Every month or two, we get a call from someone who describes what turns out to be some kind of tech support scam. And once we get a look at the machine involved, there's usually some kind of nefarious software installed and there's quite a lot of work to be done to clean-up the mess.  These scams almost always start with an unsolicisted phone call or email. We don't make those kinds of calls. To the best of our knowledge neither do the other local service shops. If someone from any tech support organization contacts you that you don't know or work with regularly, don't respond. Call us or other service organization you trust.

Tech support scams, which get people to pay for fake computer help or steal their personal information, are convincing. You might already know the signs of a tech support scam, but do your friends and family? Here’s what they need to know now:

  • Companies like Microsoft don’t call and ask for access to your computer. If you get a call like that, it’s a scam.
  • Real companies also won’t ask for your account passwords. Only scammers do.
  • Tech support scammers try to convince you they’re legitimate. They’ll pretend to know about a problem on your computer. They’ll ask you to open normal files that look alarming to make you think you need help.
  • If you do need computer help, go directly to a person, business, or website you know you can trust. General online searches are risky because they might pull up another scam.

    [More]

Watch out for Card Skimmers at Gas Stations

Credit card skimming at gas stations is happening all over the country including here. With lots of travellers on the road, here are some tips to avoid this common technology hazard.

With the summer travel season in high gear, the FTC is warning drivers about skimming scams at the pump.

Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals.  These card readers grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up:

  • Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read "void."

    skimmer-01.png

    Photo credit: National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Conexxus
     
  • Look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station? For example, the card reader on the left has a skimmer attached; the reader on the right doesn’t.|
     

    skimmer-02.jpg

    Photo credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Kamloops, Canada
     
  • Try to wiggle the card reader before you put in your card. If it moves, report it to the attendant. Then use a different pump.
  • If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
  • If you’re really concerned about skimmers, pay inside rather than at the pump.
  • Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.

If your credit card has been compromised, report it to your bank or card issuer. Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft. For more information, read Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.

 

Previous Entries / More Entries