Some important computer DON’Ts

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Want to avoid getting into trouble with your computer? Here are some things you DON’T want to do.

don't do these things

 

Don’t have Chrome (or any browser) store your passwords. Yes, it makes it really easy to access all your website accounts. But it’s also really dangerous, because if your computer ever got hacked into, or lost, or stolen, all of your passwords are right there in plain text.

Don’t use the backup software that came with your portable or external hard drive. Every company that makes hard drives also offers backup software – Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, etc. None of those programs are as reliable as Macrium Reflect, the one I use and recommend (I’ve installed and configured it on hundreds of computers).

Don’t talk to scammers when they call you. If someone calls and says they’re with Microsoft, just hang up immediately. It might be tempting to explain that you know it’s a scam, but these guys are clever. They know that the longer you stay on the phone, the more likely they are to actually convince you that they ARE Microsoft tech support. Just hang up.

Don’t call a tech support number that pops up on your screen along with some kind of error message or alert. Especially if that pop-up is accompanied by a robotic voice telling you about this terrible problem with your computer. And the message always includes the warning to NOT TURN OFF OR RESTART THE COMPUTER. If that happens, don’t call the phone number. Just restart the computer.

Don’t open email attachments. That’s my policy. The only exception is when I get an email with an attachment, and I’m already expecting that email, and I already know what the attachment is. Otherwise, it just gets deleted. It’s kind of amazing, but one of the primary ways to deliver a virus to a computer these is still by sending an email with an attached file that contains a virus.

Don’t search Google for a tech support phone number. The scammers have made LOTS of websites that are designed to look like “Dell Tech Support” or “HP Printer Tech Support”, and they design those websites to come up in the search results in Google. When you call them, they are of course happy to “help” you – but you’re talking to a scammer, not Dell or HP.

Don’t do your online banking while connected to a public wifi. This is pretty much common sense, but people still do it. In fact, don’t connect to anything that involves personal or private information when you’re at Starbucks or McDonalds or any other public wifi provider. It’s not secure.

Don’t re-use the same password (or a slight variation of it) on multiple accounts. The hackers know that most people do this, and they know that it makes their job much easier. All they have to do is get into ONE of your accounts – and now they have the password for ALL of your accounts. Yes, it’s inconvenient to have a different password for every account, but only if you’re trying to remember all of them. You don’t have to though – just use LastPass. That’s what I use. I can set it up for you remotely if you want.

What other computer “don’ts” do you follow?

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