Protect your Online Persona

Identity theft has been a huge problem of our modern lives for quite some time now. But the increasing usage of smart-phones for our everyday tasks and transactions has turned those devices into a true goldmine for identity thieves.

The FTC estimates that about 9 MILLION Americans have their identities stolen every year, costing the victims an average of $4,841 and taking about 33 hours to resolve.

Before, we were only concerned about not giving anyone our private information. Today, it is a little more complicated. All our software, online accounts, banking… you name it! Anything we do online needs a password, and to protect those we create yet another password that locks our phones. At the end, we have everything locked up, all passwords are pumped up to avoid fraud, but, honestly, you should feel lucky if you manage to remember them.

That’s where password management tools come into the picture. And even-though most people don’t even know what they are, they have proved themselves to work and be worth a try.

Password managers provide tools to encrypt text files that can store all your passwords that are not web based. The fact that these passwords are encrypted when stored, basically means that even when the software gets hacked, it will be a headache to reveal and read the passwords.

One great option for this protection method is “LastPass” (https://lastpass.com/)

But even when you think you have protected everything, criminals can easily get a web host and set up a fake online shop to trick us into submitting our personal information and credit account numbers. This means you need to always be careful of what retailer you are trusting online.
One good way to prevent this from happening is using one-time-use card numbers. Those only work for a single transaction and prevent your permanent number from being stolen.
If your credit company does not support this kind of system, you can always use gift cards (Visa and Mastercard have this option) to purchase online.

One last thought, take action!
Try to always be proactive in keeping an eye on your accounts activity. This way you will notice when something is suspicious and can stop it before your money and privacy are long gone.

Yes, We All Hate this Heat Wave…

(Prevent your Computer from Overheating)

Just the same way it happens to all of us, when a heat wave hits, it is very hard (if not impossible) for your computer to function properly.

Overheating will not only make a computer slower, but it could also damage the integral parts of what makes it work, possibly destroying or shortening the lifespan of the hardware. But this is not the worse part. When this happens you are in danger or losing all your data!

It is recommended that a computer’s temperature is never over 154°F. And even if you can’t be that accurate, sticking your hand over the computer’s ventilation system or case will give you an idea.

To prevent overheating, the first thing you should do is to keep your computer clean (view our previews posting on the matter).
Also you should try to avoid hot neighbors, meaning that a computer should never be close to the heater or a fireplace. Keep it rather in a place where temperature is as low as possible and air flows.

Now, if it’s already too late and feeling it with your hand can’t seem to do it anymore, the real way to check the temperature is as follows.

You should first restart your computer, and on the boot screen, you should have an option to press a key (often Delete) to enter the BIOS. Once you enter Setup, navigate the BIOS menu using the on-screen instructions. You should be able to find a menu that deals with the computer’s hardware monitors and CPU. There should be a field that lists your CPU temperature.

There are too some tools that would allow you to do the same without restarting your computer. But unfortunately those can only read certain sensors, so you’ll have to make sure your hardware is supported. Some of those could be the cross-platform GKrellM (Windows/Mac/Linux), RealTemp, CoreTemp and SpeedFan.

If you don’t feel comfortable with any of these methods, or you find that the temperature is too high, it might be time to get professional help.

Give us a call! At PcMac Express we are pro’s and know what to do to keep you and your computer chilled and happy!