New Tech Habits For 2016

happytechnewyearIt’s no secret that 2015 was the year that cyber crime really came into the forefront of the public eye.  With big, big stories revolving around hacking, government spying, and terrorist activity, it is clear that the internet is the new frontier when it comes to a new place to do battle.  Although big governments and terrorists are at it, there are still small crimes that target the public – including phishing, hacking, and data theft.  In 2016 you can do a lot in order to protect yourself and your data from hacking.  Here are a few tips that you can easily implement in order to be safer in the new year.

1.) Enable Two Factor Authentication.  If you can, enable two factor authentication on your accounts, especially your banking accounts and email.  These are the most important and sensitive accounts that you probably have.  In order to figure out how to enable two factor authentication, you can check out for good tutorials and to see whether or not you can do it on each particular account that you have.

2.)  Stop Using The Same Passwords.  I know, I know.  I’m an offender as well, and I know that 99% of the people I talk to have this bad habit as well.  It’s definitely hard to keep track of all your passwords for all your accounts.  However having the same password can be a huge security risk.  If you want an easier way to keep track of all the different passwords that you can use as well as the ability to create very strong passwords, use a password program such as LastPass. This makes it VERY easy to create unique, difficult to crack passwords that can be different on all of your accounts.  LastPass uses very strong security and encryption.  If you’re worried about storing all your passwords with LastPass, consider that it’s probably MORE risky to use the same password for all accounts.

3.)  Stop Downloading.  Stop using torrents, stop downloading “free” software.  Although it’s nice to get “free” stuff, you’re opening yourself up to a huge risk of getting a virus or malware on your computer by downloading from these internet bad neighborhoods.  I’m a huge proponent of NOT doing this, although I caved in one time because I needed a program to open .rar files.  Unfortunately this stupid program came backed with adware piggybacking alongside – I got overtaken by the Conduit search malware and needed to use a program to get rid of it.

4.)  Start using Spyware removal software.  These programs are different than antivirus software.  Spyware is essentially very different from viruses.  For example – I use Norton 360, however it did not detect, block, or remove Conduit.  Norton probably thought I wanted Conduit on my computer because it masquerades as a legitimate program.  Perhaps by now Norton has blacklisted it, however at the time nothing except Spyhunter would remove the offending software.  Some people are wary of these software tools as some programs in the past have been nothing more than scareware.  However Spyhunter is safe and effective and I used it myself to remove Conduit.

5.)  Embrace biometrics.  Some people are wary that their fingerprints or faces will be entered into some weird database.  I have a friend who is senselessly paranoid about it.  However biometrics are one of the most secure forms of security, and also the most fun to use.

How to choose cloud backups

cloudbackup2This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  I recently had a hard drive break on me (a power supply unit blew and took the drive with it) and the only thing that saved me was that I installed a test version of Backblaze up on that computer as a backup backup.  Well, since I’m horrible at keeping my backups up to date, I had to rely on that Backblaze backup to get me back on track.

The only problems I had was download reliability.  I’m now testing out Crash Plan on a new computer.

Since computers were invented, backing up data securely has been treated as one of the most important needs in computing. And regardless of whether the loss occurs as a result of hard disk failure, computer theft or any other cause, it’s still very easy to lose data without proper back up.

The technology community currently argues about the best backup to stick to. However, storing data online or offline can still be a good option.

Although at some point offline data storage was popular and expensive, cloud backups have since taken charge because they are efficient and inexpensive. Cloud backups are also fuss-free, meaning the moment you pay for the service, you will not have to undergo the hassles associated with traditional backup systems.

However, the big question is, how do you go for the best backup service amid competition by companies offering these services?

Realize that there are two categories of cloud backups. These are cloud sync services and dedicated backup services. Cloud sync services add a magic drive or folder to your PC, and the content therein is automatically and invisibly synced on the cloud. A good example of this service would be the famous Dropbox platform.

Other cloud backup options provide client software that watch files and folders situated in the PC hard disk so they can be automatically backed up. A good example is the SugarSync platform.

Cloud sync is considered an immediate form of data backup. So when you create or even edit files within the magic folder, they will automatically be backed up in the cloud.

On the other hand, a dedicated backup service is a client system that will watch files and folders and back them up in case there’s a change. A good example is the Mozy platform. But the flipside of using a backup service like Mozy is that restoring files can be quite involving. Because of this, it is not expected that PC users will restore, unless it’s something very necessary.

The question of which computing platforms are supported by the cloud backup service

If you are a user of Mac computers, then being able to access your data from a PC client when your Mac dies is something important. You see, PCs are common place. But on the other hand, Macs are rare. Nevertheless, look for a platform that not only supports Macs and PCs, but supports mobile platforms like Android and iOS.

The issue of security

Data will be stored encrypted. However, if the sign-on information is weak, then it means anybody can access that information. Some cloud backup providers will need you to use your email address when signing in. So what this means is that someone who wants to hack into your account will only need to guess your password (if they already have your email address). But of course when you choose a strong password, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Cost of the backup program

A cross-platform program will be ideal for you when you want to restore files remotely and access them from any device. Furthermore, if you’re using a platform like S3, then you will need to pay for data transfer and the storage space your data consumes. The individual fees should be very low. For example, 50GB of data transfer will only cost you $5. They will charge you 9.3 cents per gigabyte transferred, and this is very affordable compared to facing the aftermath of losing data.


There are many businesses offering cloud backups for consumers who would want to keep their valuable data safe. If you’re one of them, consider the above tips to get the best backup service you will find.