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Travel with Your Tech: What You Need to Know

by Lou Horton on April 17, 2019

Taking a business trip can be stressful at the best of times.  Whether you’re off for an overnight conference, a week’s partnership or a longer project, you essentially pick up your entire business and take it on the road. Besides showing up in the appropriate clothing (which you absolutely packed, right?), keeping your tech up and running becomes your number 1 priority. Take a look at our tech tips for business travelers:

Be careful with free WiFi

Most hotels have free WiFi, as do libraries, cafes, and bookstores. It’s now easy for any business to open their WiFi to the public, with or without a catchy password. Unfortunately, that convenience can come at a huge cost. The wireless network you use to check your email while relaxing with a latte could be operated by a hacker. Most of the time, even the wait staff at the café wouldn’t be able to tell the difference either.

Even if you connect to the proper free network, someone could easily capture your information as it travels through the air. Using a VPN can help, as will making sure you connect only to wireless networks that require a password. Once connected, make sure the sites you visit have the little HTTPS lock.

Connect via your cell phone

Hotel WiFi is notorious for being slow or insanely expensive. You may find that your mobile phone allows you to tether or hotspot a connection. That means you connect your laptop to your phone via WiFi or cable and piggy back on its mobile internet connection. Many carriers and phones allow this, but not all. Importantly, if you’re in a foreign country it can also be worthwhile getting a local sim card rather than pay expensive roaming charges.

Don’t forget power adapters

You’ve seen it before…people scrounging around for a charger or cable, huddling around in groups until their device has enough juice to get them through a few more hours. Of course, it’s only funny when it happens to other people. Be sure to pack your correct power adapters and cables, along with any plug/voltage converters required to match your destination. It’s worth carrying your USB charging cables on your person, as many planes and airport shops now offer a place for you to plug in for a quick boost.

Have plans for being offline

Sometimes you simply can’t get online, which will do you no good when you’re checking into a hotel and your booking details are tucked safely away in your cloud email. You can print out essential travel and business details on paper, but if you have a lot or don’t want to carry them, you can also save them to a document.  Emails can be copied and pasted into a Word document, or you can print to PDF by pressing Print > Save to PDF (or similar). Many apps also have an offline mode that allows you to store the information on your computer, including Evernote and Netflix.

If you need any assistance with preparing for your trip, feel free to give us a call at 630-444-7220 or visit us at https://computer-repair-now.com

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Time for a password refresh

by Lou Horton on March 1, 2019

We often tend to be creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to technology and passwords are a prime example. Many people use the same password for multiple websites and applications because we don’t have a photographic memory. Most users though aren’t aware that this is one of the most significant security dangers they can face online and one with an easy fix.

There are regular news stories about major companies being hacked along with their customer data stolen. Hackers then use the data stolen from one site to access other sites where login credentials have been reused between accounts. In some cases, bank account access has been gained simply by using a compromised email account.Businesses and individuals can face significant losses simply because a password has been reused across accounts and one of those accounts has been hacked.

The Danger Of Old Passwords

MySpace is a key example of why old and possibly forgotten services pose a security danger when passwords haven’t been regularly changed. Once a thriving popular network, the use of MySpace services declined drastically from around 2007. While many people moved to a new social network, old accounts typically remained abandoned on their servers – hundreds of millions of accounts remained on the MySpace servers many years past the firm’s peak.

In 2016, MySpace suffered a data leak which exposed all the usernames, emails and passwords of the 360 million user accounts. Shortly after the hack, these details were all published online for anyone to see and others used these details to access email, servers and other accounts that shared the same usernames and passwords.

Shared Responsibility

Even if you have never had a MySpace or social media account personally, how many of your employees or coworkers have one or more? Many have had more social media, forums and game accounts than they care to remember. Do they use the same passwords across all these accounts and have their passwords been updated in the last 12 months?

Your business network protects your systems, work and intellectual property. For many firms it is the single most critical component to business operations. Keeping it secure regardless of the number of people, staff or clients using it is a crucial task.

Consider how many people currently have access and how many of those may reuse their password on another website or service. Just the single reuse of one password can expose your business to unauthorised access.

Password Management

A good security policy is to use a unique and strong password for every login you use. A strong password should include, where possible, capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers and character symbols. Many consider this impractical or even impossible, but it is entirely achievable for every user.

Yes, it may be impossible to manually remember a strong password for each account but the use of a password manager makes using unique passwords very easy.

When using a password manager, a user is required to remember only one single strong password to access a database which contains a different login password for each account. This database can be synced between multiple devices, saved and backed up to the cloud and even used to create the strong passwords for you.

Strong Protection

Password managers can be used to implement security policies that demand zero password reuse between services and can set strict limits over the duration a password can last. With the right policies in place, both users and your business are protected against attacks from hackers that have compromised third-party sites.

The maximum recommended lifetime of a password for any service is a single year. Make the start of the calendar year the time which you refresh your passwords and start new.

Which Password Manager Should I Use?

We recommend the LastPass password manager.  It integrates with all popular Internet browsers and also has a mobile applications so that you can look up your passwords when you are not on your primary computer.

To help keep on top of your security and make sure your systems are safe, contact us on 630-444-7220.

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How to extend the life of your laptop battery

by Lou Horton on February 11, 2019

For the last several years most laptops have been built using Lithium-Ion batteries. While these batteries are lighter and have a greater life than their predecessors, the way that you use the battery can greatly impact the useful life. These modern batteries do not have “memory” like some older batteries but there are several things that you can do to make your battery last longer.  Lets dive in to what you can do to make your battery last longer.

There are two primary factors that will greatly impact the life of a Lithium-Ion battery: operating temperature and average charge level. You want to keep these batteries as cool as possible. Besides the obvious things like not leaving your laptop in a hot car, you can also minimize the operating temperature by not keeping the battery plugged into the charger unless it is actively being charged. When these batteries are plugged into the charger and fully charged, the internal temperature is typically about 45°C (113°F). A laptop that is run always plugged into the charger will lose about 35% of the total capacity in the first year and even more as the battery ages. If you need to always have your system plugged in (using a docking station for example) it is best to remove the battery. If you have the battery charged up to about 40% capacity and then remove it, the battery will remain viable for a long time.

It is not a good practice to fully discharge your battery on a regular basis before recharging it. Lithium-Ion batteries do best when they are recharged for short periods of time on a regular basis. An ideal usage pattern would be to run the laptop on the battery until the remaining charge is about 30-40% of the total capacity and then charging the battery to full capacity. Once the system is charged you should once again unplug it if possible.

We hope that you found this information useful. Please contact us at (630) 444-7220 or https://computer-repair-now.com if you need any assistance with your computer.

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Laptop still works after liquid spill! … for now.

February 7, 2019

Sooner or later most frequent computer users have some sort of accident which involves a little bit of liquid splashing on their laptop computer.  While drying the computer off, placing it in a bin of rice etc. may allow the computer to still run.  This is not a permanent fix.  Any sort of moisture left […]

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Five New Year’s Resolutions for Your Computer

January 17, 2019

Running the Best Security Software Most computers today run at least some form of basic antivirus. In the modern day however, threats have evolved to be more sophisticated, more damaging, and much more common. Ransomware, malware, phishing, and zero-day attacks all work to attack unpatched systems without strong security. Today, to keep up with increasing […]

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What’s Best for Your Computer: Shut Down or Sleep?

January 7, 2019

Most homes are trying to reduce power costs by turning off lights and appliances, but do the same rules apply to computers? After all, it requires more than flicking a switch on your way out the door. Some people believe you should shut down after every use to save wear and tear, others believe you […]

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How to Stay Safe from Scams and Malware on Facebook

November 30, 2018

How to Stay Safe from Scams and Malware on Facebook At last count, Facebook has grown to over 2.2 billion users, which makes the platform more attractive than ever for scammers and hackers. While you may be logging in to share your latest family photos or catch up with friends, the chances of accidentally triggering […]

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 21, 2018

The opportunity to serve customers like you gives us joy and thankfulness every day of the year. We would like to wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday and the time to truly enjoy it with your friends and family.  Computer-Repair-Now.Com   

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How to deal with spooky email messages

October 25, 2018

It is almost Halloween and most of us have grown accustomed to gruesome home decorations or being scared at your local haunted house.  How would you feel though if you received an email message containing your password threatening to contact all of your business and personal contacts through social media with your “dirty secrets”?  Spam and […]

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We still do computer hardware repair

July 3, 2018

In today’s disposable society it is becoming increasingly difficult to find local companies which still perform “on premise” component level hardware repair of desktops, laptops and all in one computers.  If you take your system into one of the “geeks” at a big box store they won’t be able to fix it there.  They always […]

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