Jim’s Blog

Encryption – What is it? How to use It.

Encryption – What is it? How to use It.

laptop, smart phones and tablet pc
Encryption can protect any device.

Chris Crowley explains what encryption is, how it works and some key steps to using it properly.

Quite often, we tell people to encrypt everything to protect themselves, but fail to explain what encryption is or how to use it properly.

Read the newsletter to find out more about using encryption to protect your data.

OUCH Newsletter – 201408_en

Check the archives at http://www.securingthehuman.org/resources/newsletters/ouch/2014#ouch_archives


Email Do’s and Don’ts – Be smart. Stay safe!

Email Do’s and Don’ts

OverviewEmail Do's and Don'ts

“Email has become one of the primary ways we communicate in our personal and professional lives. However, we can often be our own worst enemy when using it. In this newsletter, we will explain the most common mistakes people make and how you can avoid them in your day-to-day lives.” -OUCH! newsletter July 2014


Read more about wise use of email tools. http://www.securingthehuman.org/newsletters/ouch/issues/OUCH-201407_en.pdf  


If you have other valuable tips for email, or anything else, fill in your comments below.

Be smart. Stay safe!

Another Browser Hijacker

Read this story about another, although poorly done, browser hijacker attempt that may appear in your browser.

There is a lesson here. Be sure you can trust a site before you click on it.

This site was apparently compromised and the malicious link added. You can receive the same sort of malware in an email.

As noted in the article, you may be able to clear the problem by rebooting, or repeatedly clicking “Leave this page”.

Be especially careful if there seems to be no real connection to the website and the information you are looking for. Be smart. Stay safe!


Browser Hijacker

This fake cyber crime warning may appear on your screen. Browser Hijacker

Cyber Crime – Actually You are a Target

 Are You Safe From Cyber Crime?

A common misconception many people have is that they are not a target for cyber crime: that Cyber Crimethey or their computers do not have any value. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you have a computer, mobile, device, an online account, email address, credit card or engage in other type of online activity, you are worth money to cyber criminals.

Read the April Newsletter from SANS Securing the Human for tips on protecting yourself.

Yes, You Actually Are A Target

Visit Sans Securing the Human

for monthly newsletters.


Hiring a Web Developer

Imagine going out to buy a vehicle. Before you arrive at the car lot you must have already made some decisions.

“I want a big truck with lots of room for camping gear.”

Or ” I have a long drive to the city by myself each day, so I need something economical.”

If the sales rep has his choice his only concern would be selling you the vehicle that offered him the best commission. He knows his best chance to sell to you is to be aware of your needs and wants.

So it’s up to you to set the boundaries before you get there. If he knows you only have a fixed amount of money to spend, he won’t waste his time trying to sell you something that isn’t in the budget. But you need to know what will serve your needs the best. Don’t let the sales rep try to guess.

A web developer can only build the best website for your business after you have answered a lot of questions for yourself.

It is important to look at all aspects of your business and see which ones would benefit from a website.

Question #1: How much can you spend?

How much money do you have available for the project? Frugal spending says that we don’t spend more than we need to, or try to spend more than we can afford. But a web developer who knows your budget can provide the best bang for the buck.

The website is an investment, a tool which you can use to promote your business and provide a return. You can overspend and waste money, but you don’t want to under spend and have a site that doesn’t do the job you intended.

Focus on your business, and let the web developer focus on building your website.

Question #2: What does your customer want from your website?

For example, what kind of interaction do you have with your customers? Many service businesses need to schedule appointments, so an online appointment calendar may save a lot of time for your staff, since customers may be able to book open spaces in your schedule, and even choose the services they require.

Question #3: What can your website do that will make your employees more productive?

How much time do you spend answering general inquiries about your products and services?

FAQs, tutorials, product information and warranty information can all be available for general viewing on your site.

If you have items to sell, you need to consider whether you site will actually sell those items online, or if you wish to motivate them to come to your store, or both.

People love free stuff!

Question #4: Can you provide information or other perks for free?

Is there something of value that you can offer them free from your site? If there is something that they likely won’t pay for anyways, can they get it Free!!from  you (for example, how-to information)? This will build a relationship with them and encourage them to return when they are ready to spend.

Contact methods are important as well. Aside from online booking, email addresses and phone numbers for various departments.

What about your suppliers? Their online catalogs can be linked from your site so they can see the variety of products you offer.

Question #5: Does your staff need to add content to the site?

The platform for the site is important. With a little bit of training your staff can add content to the site. WordPress is especially good for this. If you have frequent updates to products, customer information, or details about your store hours, etc, they can be updated and your customers can subscribe to receive updates.

These are just a few of the possibilities. A good web developer will work with you to make these happen. Don’t worry too much about the layout, colors and other details. Your web designer can make these work. Your main concern is to have it function according to your needs.

These are just a few of the things you need to consider when hiring a web developer.

An excellent website worksheet for this is available courtesy of Troy Dean of www.wpelevation.com 

Download it here: Website Worksheet Template

This information is based on this article by Chris Lema

International Travel


If you wish to travel abroad you will likely want to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Or you may be working and need to keep in touch with business associates or colleagues. How do you do that while staying safe with your laptop, tablet, or cell phone?

Check out these tips on international travel from Sans Securing the Human. Don’t be the weakest link in the chain of security.

 International Travel – Securing the Human



Multiple Gmail accounts on one computer

If you use Gmail or other Google accounts on a computer, you may notice that if you open a new tab in Chrome or Internet Explorer while logged in to your account, that the new tab will default to the open Google account. What if you have two Gmail accounts, or  someone else in the house wants to look at their account, while you are logged into yours? Can you open multiple Gmail accounts?

How to Log into Second Google Account

Multiple Gmail Accounts

This is not difficult to do. If you are logged into your account, click on your ID picture, in the upper right corner. Click on the “Add account” button.

The “choose account” screen will open. If you are doing this for the first time, you will see only your account.

Click Add Account. Fill in email and password of the account you would like to add. Sign in.

Google Sign in Screen


Google will open the account you just signed in with, but the previous account will still be open. Now you can just click on the account you wish to view, since they are both open.

Multiple Gmail Accounts

Gmail Account

When you click on your ID icon, the above drop down will show the active account first, with the avatar (photo). You can do the usual things here: View profile, check your account or privacy settings, or change your photo.

All other open accounts will appear below. You can have any number open at the same time.  Just click on the one you wish to view and it becomes the active account.


If privacy is important opening multiple Gmail accounts may not be for you. All accounts that are open at one time are accessible to all users. Signing out of one account signs out of all of them.

You will be returned to the sign on-screen to sign into your account.

On the other hand if you have multiple Gmail accounts, or share your computer with someone you trust, or don’t have confidential information, this will work well for you.

Try this and let me know how it works for you.

Comments are always welcome.

Wireless Router -Secure It Now!

Secure your Wireless RouterSecure your wireless router

Your router is part of your window to the world. At home everything you see and do on the internet goes through your router, and wireless routers are becoming the normal way of connecting. But if you can see out the window, there is a possibility someone may be looking in. And you don’t want that. Your wireless router should be set up so that information comes and goes only when you want it to, and is only used by those to whom you have given permission.

Why change the settings on your wireless router?

If you don’t someone else can connect to your WiFi and use your bandwidth. What difference does that make?

  • Slows down your connection. Your ISP only gives you a certain download/upload speed. The more it is being shared the slower it will get.
  • Security. If they can get on your wireless, they may be able to get inside your computer. They may get personal information from your computer.
  • Malware and viruses can be installed on your computer without your knowledge.
  • Illegal Activity. Your internet may be used to do file sharing, or send spam. Worst case, imagine that child pornography or some other terrible activity was originating from your connection. It may be difficult to prove that you were not involved.

Consider this scenario: “When setting up a wireless network at home, I was surprised to be able to connect to my neighbor’s unsecured wireless router. Not only could I have used his bandwidth for free, but had I been so inclined, I could have used the connection for illegal activities. If the police came looking, he may not have been able to prove the activity didn’t come from one of his computers.”

Properly securing a wireless router is not difficult.

There are a number of settings to look at.

    • SSID -Service Set IDentifier- This is the name of your wireless connection. You give it a unique name, preferably one that doesn’t directly relate to you. For example you may wish to avoid using your personal name, or other personal information that may identify you. It can be a random set of characters if you wish. Routers will often come from the factory with a default name, such as “dlink” or “linksys”. Be sure to change this.
    • Change the administrator name and password.
    • Use a passkey, or password. Turn on WPA (avoid WEP) for authentication and TKIP for encryption.wireless router



How to secure your wireless router.

There are lots of blogs detailing how to set up security for YOUR wireless router. Get the name and model and google it. If you like assistance with a specific router Contact Us with the name and model of your router and we’ll try to help. For an overview of changing settings follow this link: http://lifehacker.com/5553789/what-settings-should-i-change-on-my-wi+fi-router

Pay special attention these sections:

  • Change the SSID and Administrator Password

  • Change Your Security Settings

These few steps will result in a greater level of security with your wireless router, with no one looking in your window.

Internet connected appliances could be compromising your security

(From CNN) — It’s bad enough that we have to fear identity thieves who are trying to scam us with malicious messages sent from PCs.beautiful refrigerator

We now must worry about being targeted by our household appliances, as well.

An Internet-security firm has discovered what they are calling a global cyber attack launched from more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets such as home-networking routers, televisions and at least one “smart” refrigerator.

If you have internet connected appliances, do you like them? Have you had any problems? Any words of advice for others?

If you don’t have internet connected appliances, tell us why not in the comments section below.

Read the article here