Category: Computing Tips

Reveal passwords stored in your browser – and check for the ones exposed in data breaches

Filed under: Computing Tips,Security - May 25 2021
Password security

All major web browsers have the option to save the login and password for the websites that you visit so it’s easier to login the next time you visit a site. If you don’t already have a password system to create secure and memorable passwords, or a password manager to store your logins and other secure information – your browser’s password manager can securely store logins for you and will suggest a strong and unique password for new websites that don’t have a saved password yet.

If you don’t want your logins visible to anyone looking at your computer, make sure your computer is password protected. Here’s where you’ll find the password manager for the most popular web browsers:

Google Chrome: In Settings > Passwords, you will find your Saved Passwords, and the ability to view, edit or remove passwords individually. There’s also an option to use Google’s Password Checkup to “Check Passwords” to keep your passwords safe from data breaches and other security issues.

Microsoft Edge: In Settings > Passwords, you will find your Saved Passwords, and the ability to view, edit or remove passwords individually. There’s also an option to “Show alerts when passwords are found in an online leak”.

Mozilla Firefox: In Settings > Logins and Passwords, Firefox Lockwise will display your logins with the ability to view, edit or remove passwords individually. There’s an also a default option to “Show alerts about passwords for breached websites”.

Safari: In Preferences > Passwords, you will find your Saved Passwords, and the ability to view, edit or remove passwords individually. There’s also a default option to “Detect passwords compromised by known data leaks.”

iOS/iPadOS: In Settings > Passwords you will find your saved passwords that are used in conjunction with the Safari browser. Also check out the “Security Recommendations” to “Detect Compromised Passwords”.

Android: Open the Chrome App > More > Settings > Passwords.

You can also find out more about information leaked in data breaches and check to see if your email address has been exposed at Have I Been Pwned and Firefox Monitor.

If you need help with logins/passwords, contact Mark at Computer Techs.

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10-digit dialing required by October 2021

Filed under: Computing Tips - May 11 2021

If you’re used to calling your neighbor or doctor by just dialing their 7-digit phone number – things are about to change. Beginning October 24, 2021 you must dial 10-digits to reach any number in the 775 area code – and most area codes in the United States.

The change is so that callers may reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing the 3-digit number “988” – similar to dialing “911” for local emergencies.

Beginning October 24, 2021 if you dial only 7-digits you will be instructed to hang-up and re-dial using the 10-digit phone number.

Now is the time to start updating the phone numbers stored in your cell phone to the full 10-digit number.

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Here’s how to make it easier to read articles in your web browser – use Reader Mode

Filed under: Computing Tips,Internet Tips - Mar 31 2021

Some web pages – particularly articles on news and informational websites – have become nearly unreadable and full of distractions over the years with flashing and inline ads, videos, and unreadable fonts. Reader Mode can make many web pages easier to read – and it’s as easy as toggling it on or off. In this article I give instructions on how to enable reader mode (if necessary) in today’s most popular web browsers – and how to toggle it on or off for many web pages.

Google Chrome

To use Reader Mode on Chrome it must first be enabled in a special settings area:

1. Type this into the address bar: chrome://flags/

2. Search for “Reader Mode” to show the Enable Reader Mode settings shown below. Click on the dropdown box and click on Enable.

3. After you relaunch your browser, Reader Mode will be available to toggle on/off on many websites via an icon near the right-end of the address bar – as highlighted above by the magenta circle.

Firefox

Reader view is built into the Firefox browser. If the page has a Reader View, you will see an icon near the right-end of the address bar.

Click on the icon, and the browser will reload the page in Reader View.

Firefox offers some options for its reader mode that allow you to change font, size, and background color.

Microsoft Edge

Reader View on Edge can be toggled on/off on available websites by clicking on the greyed-out book icon next to the favorites star.

When you click it, it will turn blue, and the Reader View of the page will load.

Safari

In Safari on macOS and iOS, “Show Reader View” can be accessed by clicking the left-side of the address bar, then “Show Reader View”.

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Yahoo stops forwarding email for free email accounts

Filed under: Computing Tips,Uncategorized - Jan 15 2021

If you have a free Yahoo or AT&T/Yahoo email account and use the forwarding feature to send your email to another email address (i.e. username@gmail.com), you may have noticed that forwarding stopped in January 2021.

As Yahoo’s help article explains, you can upgrade and pay for the ability to forward your email again. Alternatively you can use a feature in Gmail and other email services to check emails from Yahoo (or other) accounts and bring them into your favorite email service automatically.

Also see: Why you should ditch your internet service provider’s email service.

Have an old cell phone? It may stop working soon.

Filed under: Computing Tips - Dec 25 2020

Cell phones operating on the T-Mobile and AT&T networks will stop working soon (as early as January 2021) if they don’t support the 4G/LTE calling standard VoLTE (Voice over LTE). Cell phones without VoLTE support on the Verizon network stopped working in 2020.

If you have an older non-compatible phone hopefully you’ve already been contacted by your carrier to arrange for a replacement. But if you only turn on your cell phone occasionally for emergency use, chances are that you may not know about the impending inability to make phone calls. If the last sentence describes your phone usage, now is the time to check with your wireless phone service provider.

Need help with your mobile device? We can help – just contact us. Also read How to improve wireless cell coverage at home.

Massive government and business computer hack will likely effect home users too – What you need to do

Filed under: Computing Tips,Security - Dec 24 2020

A massive government and business computer hack was discovered early this month (December 2020), but the long term effects likely won’t be known for months or years as more knowledge is obtained about what companies were affected and what data may have been (or will be) breached.

Early details of the hack are explained in these comprehensive articles from CNN and CNET. The hack was spread to thousands of computer systems, altogether likely containing the private data of a majority of US citizens. That data may be compromised and leaked to miscreants if the data on those computer systems was not securely stored or encrypted. Hackers may be holding onto such data for months or years to come.

So what should the home computer user do?

  • Change your passwords ASAP: Data breaches usually contain email addresses and sometimes passwords. If you use the same password for different websites, you are more vulnerable to having your other accounts hacked. Click here to read the top 5 password tips that you need to know.
  • Make sure all of your devices are up to date: By default Windows and MacOS computers update automatically. But other internet connected software and hardware usually require manual updates – such as iOS, iPadOS, Android, internet routers, video doorbells and cameras, streaming media players, etc. If you need help making sure all of your internet connected devices have the latest security patches, please contact us.
  • Be suspicious of every email, phone call, SMS or browser pop-up: Initially do not trust any unsolicited email, phone call, SMS or pop-up in your web browser – particularly if it’s asking you to do something. Treat everything as “guilty until proven innocent”. See how to recognize scams and phishing attempts, and for more information review all of our security articles.

How to troubleshoot printing problems

Filed under: Computing Tips,Tech Support - Sep 02 2020

When you are trying to print something from your computer and the printer doesn’t respond or the pages come out half-printed or blank, below are some troubleshooting tips to help you figure out what the problem could be and how to fix it.

  • Are pages blank, have streaks or not printing some colors? It’s likely that one or more of your ink cartridge colors are out-of-ink or ink has dried out in the printing mechanisms. Print this test page, then compare the printed output vs. what you see on your screen. If all colors don’t look good on paper, try cleaning the print heads via the printer’s maintenance menu or replacing the ink cartridges. If this is a common occurance you may also want to consider getting a laser printer – or moving to a more humid climate. đŸ˜€
  • Is there no response from your printer when trying to print? Make sure that you are printing to the correct printer before clicking “Print”. Often there will be several copies of your printer – usually a wired/USB, and a wireless connection. You will also likely have a PDF printing option, and may have other printers on your network display in your list of printers.
  • Is your wireless printer working sporadically? Wireless printing problems are one of our most frequent calls for service. Often Wi-Fi interference will cause the printer to no longer be reachable on the network. Sometimes simply powering off/on your printer and computer will fix the problem. In some cases you may need to turn off and unplug the power to printer for about a minute. After plugging it back in and turning it on, try printing again.

If you’re still having printing problems, contact us for an on-site printer and/or Wi-Fi diagnostic.

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How to send a message from your phone – you may not be doing it correctly

Filed under: Computing Tips - Jul 28 2020

This may happen to you: A few times each month I get an email delivered to my junk/spam folder from an address such as 7755551212@txt.att.net. If I happen to recognize the 10-digit phone number before the “@” symbol I can recognize who it’s from, and respond accordingly. But often times it goes unnoticed or unopened.

When sending messages from a smartphone you typically have 2 options – a “Messages” app and an “Email” app.

The Messages app is meant for sending short messages – usually 160 characters or less – to the recipient’s phone number. The message can be accompanied by one or more photos. If you incorrectly send a message to an email address, it goes through your wireless carrier’s SMS-to-email gateway which converts the message and appears to the recipient as an email coming from “your-mobile-number”@”your-carriers-gateway” – as described in the beginning paragraph of this article. Messages typically cannot be read on a computer – they are meant for mobile-to-mobile communications.

The Email app is meant for sending an email to the recipient’s email address. Emails can contain lots of text, photos, short videos or other attachments, and can be recognized by the recipient in their as originating from your display name and/or email address.

The next time you originate a message or email from your mobile device, make sure you are addressing the recipient in the correct app and correct format – using their 10-digit phone number or email address appropriately.

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Can you spot a scam? Take the quiz.

Filed under: Computing Tips,Security - Jun 24 2020

How well can you spot a scam? Take the following quizzes to help protect yourself the next time you get an email, text message, website pop-up or phone call.

The 3 golden rules to thwart scammers

Can you spot when you’re being phished?

Zoom and other online meeting methods explained

Filed under: Computing Tips - Apr 25 2020
Zoom logo

In mid-March after people were encouraged to stay at home, Zoom became a popular platform to hold online meetings. But shortly thereafter, security researchers and pranksters found flaws in the platform. Fortunately Zoom acted quickly to fix security and privacy vulnerabilities, and change default settings to help prevent ” Zoombombing ” from unwanted participants. Therefore, Zoom is now safe while remaining easy to use.

To participate in a Zoom meeting, you’ll need a camera and microphone – which is included in all modern laptop computers and smartphones. If you don’t have a smartphone and only have a desktop computer, a separate webcam is needed to participate in the meeting so others can hear and see you (optionally). Unfortunately webcams are currently in short supply, and online sellers have been charging 2-5 times the normal ~$50 average price of a webcam.

If you only want to view and listen to the meeting (and not participate), you can use Zoom on a desktop computer without a webcam.

You don’t need to have or create a Zoom account in order to participate in a meeting. Therefore there’s no login or password information to remember, or have the chance of it being discovered due to a data breach . Accounts are only required for people that host a meeting and invite participants.

Do you need help connecting with others at a distance? We can help with most online meeting platforms like Zoom, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Google Duo and Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, etc…

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