Tech Tip Tuesday – March 12th 2019 Edition
1. Be Careful With Unfamiliar WiFi Networks
Be wary of unsecured WiFi networks in coffee shops, airports, hotel lobbies, and other public places. Without basic network security, your computer is a sitting duck – out there in the open for any hacker or cyber criminal who feels like sending a malware package your way. When in doubt, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your connection and repel attacks.
2. Get a Phone Case and Screen Protector
Despite phone makes claims of different types of glass, remember… Phones are resilient, but not indestructible. Drop them the wrong way and you’ll be living with the consequences.
The choice between purchasing a brand new phone or buying a protective enclosure to deflect kinetic energy is no choice at all. Quality cases cost as little as $20 and as much as $100+-
The same goes for screen protectors. They’re even cheaper – as little as $3 to $10 apiece, depending on screen size and width. While they won’t protect against violent impacts, they’ll resist scratching indefinitely under normal circumstances.
Overall… No matter how careful you are and what type insurance you have on your phone its better to add another physical layer of protection than not have it at all.
3. Shut It Down Properly Every Night
It only takes a minute each day to shutdown your machine., and it could prolong your devices’ life for months or years. It’s especially important for Windows machines since Microsoft only patches systems in shutdown mode.
Also, how you shut down matters. Avoid “cold booting” your machine: holding down the power button until the system shuts itself off. That’s for emergencies only – otherwise, it just stresses your hardware and software. Take the extra minute or two to shut down the machine properly, using your operating system’s shutdown button.
It’s your call whether you want to apply this tip to your mobile devices. I personally only shut down my smartphone for updates, since I like to be available for emergency calls and alerts through the night.
4. Always Have Your Firewall Running
Your operating system’s firewall is your device’s first line of defense against malware. With rare exceptions, it should always be up and running.
This is especially important when you’re installing new programs, and doubly so when you’ve downloaded the program files from a source other than the developer or manufacturer. (Generally, you should avoid downloading any files from an unverified source.)
Turning on your firewall is easy. If you have a PC desktop or laptop, read Microsoft’s primer here. Mac OSX v10.5.1 and later have application firewalls that provide protection for specific apps; you can read more about those here.
Under some circumstances, your operating system’s firewall can interfere with specific programs. This is an issue with certain multiplayer games and older versions of Apple iTunes, for instance. If you suspect your firewall is fouling up your computing experience, check with the applicable program’s developer for troubleshooting tips.
Till next time….
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Brendon Bean is the owner of Bean Data a Computer, Network, Web and Information Technology related services company in Gray Maine. For inquiries related to this article, technology-related issues and or topics that may be used in future articles feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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