Don’t get hacked! Time to get serious about password safety

Top tips for locking down your online security

(BPT) – We all know hiding your house key under the doormat is a terrible idea, but we do it anyway because it’s a convenient backup. When it comes to safeguarding passwords, especially in a family setting, people often choose convenience over safety.

As families manage their digital information and online accounts, many end up opting for that less secure key-under-the-doormat solution. People are already sharing passwords, and their methods of sharing are not always the best. Some 41 percent of adults with online accounts admit to sharing passwords with friends and family, according to an Americans and Cybersecurity survey by Pew Research Center. Yet, 90.8 percent of respondents say they know that having strong passwords helps them better protect their families.

Consider the number of security breaches that continue to make national news:

* In 2016, we learned the Yahoo data breach compromised 1 billion accounts.

* In that same month, we learned 167 million email addresses and passwords were stolen from LinkedIn.

* In September 2017, a security breach at Equifax was reported, exposing Social Security numbers and other personal data of 143 million users, which is nearly half the U.S. population.

Now more than ever, it’s clear how important it is to protect our personal information online. According to a Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, 81 percent of data breaches involve weak, reused or stolen credentials. That’s significantly higher than the 63 percent it was in 2016.

“If you were to dig into the reasons behind these repeated, overly simple, shared passwords, it’s actually pretty understandable as to how this happens,” according to LastPass Senior Director of Product, Steve Schult. “The average person has some 200-plus logins. If you were to give each its own strong, unique password, that’s way too many for one person to keep track of and remember, let alone all the other family members that might also use some of those accounts.”

But there’s no need to trade security for the convenience of digital access. With a password manager designed for individual or family use, you can create those strong passwords for all the accounts you and your family use, and store them within a secure vault that’s accessed by a single master password only you know. These digital lockboxes protect your information under multiple layers of security, making it impossible for digital thieves to hack and access.

If you’re debating whether to make the switch to a digital password manager, here’s a few ways it can improve your family’s online security and help stop the struggle with passwords.

Create rock-solid passwords: Most password managers offer a secure password generator that allows you to set and create a long, strong and unique password for every online account. You can create a password up to 100 characters long, including numbers and symbols. Another way to do it is by using the “passphrase” approach, meaning string together words that create a phrase. Be sure to steer clear of birthdays, anniversaries, street names and other specific personal details that can be found through a simple social media search.

Secure more than just passwords: There’s an endless number of passwords and sensitive information you can store in your password manager, including banking logins, passport and license numbers, shopping accounts, email and social media passwords and more. By storing all of this information in your secure vault, you’ll always have access to the information whenever and wherever you may need it.

Safely share passwords with family members: One benefit of a password manager that’s designed for family use is that it lets you safely and conveniently store passwords and valuable documents in folders for flexible sharing with others in the family. LastPass Families includes unlimited shared folders, which means you can create multiple folders and store an endless number of passwords and share with those in your family. For example, you could put your banking account password into one folder and share access with your spouse, have another folder for your favorite streaming services and securely share access with the whole family. All the while, you can keep your personal accounts private.

Use it as a teaching moment: Have a talk with your kids about how passwords are the keys to our digital lives, and how good password habits help protect everything from personal details to finances. Show them how to build a good password, and how tools like a password manager can create a safe way to access and share accounts. It’s an important life skill that will help them protect themselves for years to come.

Plan for the digital afterlife: When there’s a death or serious emergency, it turns out that state and federal laws, along with service agreements, can block your family from getting access to your online accounts. With a password manager that allows emergency access, family members can get into your password vault and have access to whatever they need.

If you’re interested in learning more about LastPass or LastPass Families, visit LastPass.com.

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5 precise points to look for in the perfect PC

A lot of my clients always ask me what is the best PC, What do I need to look for?

(BPT) – What drives you in the search for the perfect PC? Is it premium design and the high-end components? Or are you a performance person where nothing but the best specs will do? And what about price? Do you worry that you’ll have to sacrifice some of the things you want simply because they are too expensive?

There are many things to consider when looking for the perfect PC but price and performance are not mutually exclusive. With today’s modern devices, you can have both. So start your search by focusing on the parameters below and you’ll find the perfect PC that fits your needs, and your budget, in no time.

Modern design

This is where your tech really shines, thanks to the latest advancements that separate the newest devices from their predecessors. Crafted from 100 percent aluminum, the Acer Swift 3 packs the power of a 7th Generation Intel Core processor into an ultra-slim .7” frame with full high-definition capabilities and 12 hours of battery life.

Meanwhile, the versatile Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series 2-in-1 can transition from a laptop to a tent to a tablet with ease, and has a full high-definition wide-viewing angle display to play media powered by its Intel Core processor.

Finally, the HP Pavilion x360 allows you to work, write and play naturally on the touchscreen. It’s a convertible 2-in-1 with an optional active pen, the enhanced experience of FHD IPS display and audio tuned by the experts at Bang & Olufsen. It also allows you to store millions of documents or hundreds of movies with up to 1 terabyte of HDD storage.

Powerful and portable

The size of your new device plays a huge role in how you use it. If you plan to travel with your device, then you’ll want a more compact model like the slim, lightweight, ultraportable 2-in-1 ASUS Transformer Mini. This powerful tablet features a comfortable, angled keyboard and a handy kickstand delivering 140-degree views no matter where you take it. Plus, channel your inner creator with Windows 10 Creators Update and Active Pen, which creates the feeling of writing with a pen on paper.

Whether you plan to carry your PC into that next business meeting or out with friends, appearance matters, and nothing tops sleek and stylish. The Samsung Galaxy Book 10 is a 2-in-1 with a gorgeous display and a brushed metal finish that’s sure to get noticed. And with the included Samsung S Pen, 10 hours of battery life and the ability to sync up with your Samsung phone, its functionality can’t be topped.

Safe and secure

The more time you invest in your PC, the more important it is to protect it. The Lenovo Yoga 510 (Flex 4) keeps your content uniquely yours with a simple, secure log-in fingerprint reader and Windows Hello. It’s the perfect gatekeeper for a device with plenty of storage for all your most cherished keepsakes.

Personalized for you

Each of the devices mentioned above is available at an affordable price allowing you to find the perfect PC to meet your needs and your budget. Once you narrow in on the features and functionalities that are a must have for you to help you tackle your personal and professional to-do’s, you’ll find that there is a PC out there to fit your needs.

So don’t delay. Start your search for your next device today, and put the power of state-of-the-art technology on your table, your lap or in the palm of your hand. Stop by your nearest Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com, or your local retailer to find the one that’s right for you.

Three DIY ways to improve your home WiFi

(BPT) – You don’t need an expert to tell you: America is hooked on the internet. Just try to think of the last day you didn’t use the web in some way.

But you probably don’t think much about the main way the internet is delivered: through WiFi. It powers your computer at work — as well as the Facebook feed you’re discreetly checking under your desk. At home, it’s the new electricity. Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora rely on it. It powers activities on your smartphone, unless you want to rack up a huge data bill from your carrier. WiFi runs the kids’ Xbox and maybe even your thermostat and security camera — these days, almost every device in the home is thirsty for WiFi.

When you do think about WiFi, it’s usually because it’s not working — and driving you nuts. Before investing in a more expensive internet package or living with buffering videos and router resets, here are three do-it-yourself ways to improve your home WiFi:

Move your router

If you have rooms that don’t have access to the internet — dead zones — first try moving your router to a more central location in the home. Because routers have a limited range, it’s important that your router is in a central area. If you can’t move the router to a different location, try elevating it on a table or shelf to spread the signal more efficiently.

Large metal appliances, like refrigerators, and electronics that emit radio waves, like microwaves, can interfere with your network’s signal. Keeping the router out of places like the kitchen can help bolster the range and speed of your WiFi.

Upgrade to a mesh network

Most households rely on a single router. But with the steep increase in home internet usage, one WiFi router may not be adequate to support all the devices connected to it.

A San Francisco company, eero, was the first to bring a mesh WiFi system into the home. eero — which is about as simple as anything gets in the tech world — works by swapping out your current router, plugging a single eero into your modem, then placing additional eeros throughout the house. The devices work together to create a wireless mesh network that delivers fast, reliable WiFi to every room. Their mesh technology ensures people are getting the same internet speeds they’re paying for throughout the entire home, instead of just near wherever their cable pipe comes in.

eero is quick to set up and makes it easy for people to manage their networks through a smartphone app. The app allows you to monitor your internet network from afar and invite guests to join the network via a text message. Parents can even assign schedules for when devices can access WiFi, making it easy to limit their kids’ internet usage.

Update your modem

An often-overlooked device that may be throttling your WiFi signal is the cable modem, the device that translates the data coming in through your cable pipe into a digital language your router can understand.

Households should update their modems every three to five years. If yours is outdated, it could be impacting the quality of your signal and speed. Many people rent their modem from their internet service provider for $5-10 a month. Purchasing a new, updated modem usually costs $50-100, but you’ll save money on a rental fee while seeing major improvements to your WiFi.

The way we use the internet today has changed and the old ways of WiFi are not keeping pace. Whether it’s moving your router, upgrading to an eero mesh network, or just swapping out your modem, you shouldn’t have to deal with buffering, dead zones, or router resets.

My Word Press Site Says Its un-trusted

You have installed a SSL on your domain, but yet when you look at the URL you see a yellow triangle next to the https extension.

ssl

Step 1: Check Your SSL

To check if your  SSL is installed correctly. Reports are available at https://www.whynopadlock.com

Step 2: Check Your Content

The SSL is installed and working, but you have unsecured items in your source code.
You will need to update this on your own.
You can use the following tool to see what items you need to update. https://www.whynopadlock.com

after running the 2 tests above you will a full report on what is causing the SSL to come up unsecured in your browser..

If you need assistance with the above issue, Please feel free to contact me. Usually if SSL is installed correctly it takes about 1 hour to fix all of the issues on your WordPress installation.

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Can’t wait?

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5 life hacks for a better cell signal

(BPT) – From calls to texting to browsing the Web, today’s smartphones and tablets have the potential to keep us in constant communication while on the go. But for mobile users who suffer through dropped calls, slow downloads or delayed voicemails, that potential isn’t always realized.

In fact, 20 percent of respondents experience dropped calls “very often” (15 times or more per week), while another 15 percent experience dropped calls “often” (10 to 15 times per week), according to a recent consumer survey conducted by weBoost. When poor cell reception occurs on a daily basis, even the most amazing piece of mobile technology can lose a lot of its value to the user.

While those who report these common mobile challenges may be quick to blame their device or carrier, the real culprit may be neither. The surprising truth is anything interrupting the line of sight from a cell tower to a device — such as uneven terrain, dust in the air and tall foliage — can reduce signal strength.

Perhaps the biggest misconception of all is that there’s nothing we can do. On the contrary, it’s much easier than many mobile users realize to improve signal strength. Here are some simple tips for better reception:

Track your tower. Knowing which tower your device is using can go a long way toward improving your signal. A downloadable app called “Open Signal,” available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, will show you all the cell towers in your area, as well as which tower you’re connected to. By knowing where the tower is, you’ll know which direction to face when using your mobile device, which reduces the chance of any obstructions blocking your signal. If you find you’re not connected to the closest tower, simply reboot your signal by turning your phone off and on again.

Keep your device charged. If you’ve ever picked up your phone and suddenly noticed several delayed texts or voicemails appear at once, try checking your battery. When you’re actively using your phone, it pings the towers more frequently, which uses more power. However, it conserves power when it’s on standby mode — which means if your battery is low, your phone could be receiving updates less frequently. The solution is simple: just charge your battery.

Roll down the windows. Energy-efficient building products, such as insulation and tinted windows, can block a cell signal in a home or office building. Similarly, most vehicles are built with large amounts of metal, often with a metallic tint covering the windows. If you notice you’re struggling for a good signal indoors, or while on the road, the solution could be as easy as rolling down the window. Your cell signal could double in strength.

Compare carriers. If none of the above solutions seem to improve your cell reception, your carrier could be the problem. Not all carriers serve the same locations, and it’s quite possible your carrier just doesn’t provide a strong signal in your area. To know for sure, simply look up coverage maps for each of the major carriers and compare their service areas. Switching to a different carrier could be the best option where you live.

Boost your signal. While there are many effective ways around the problem of poor cell reception, it’s also surprisingly easy to fix it permanently. A weBoost cell phone signal booster installed in a home or car can greatly amplify a weak signal — essentially creating your own personal cell tower. The result is faster download speeds, clearer conversations and better battery life (since your phone will no longer need to transmit over long distances). Just like a cell tower, a weBoost cell signal booster works with every network, and there’s no limit to how many people can use it at once.

5 tips that will help your small business make the most of 2016

(BPT) – Is there any time of year more important for a small business than right now? The business you do in these months will go a long way toward not only determining your day-to-day success, but the very outlook for the rest of 2016. So how do you make sure your small business is up to the task and makes the most of the here and now?

Small businesses everywhere are asking these same questions, and to help, Susan Solovic, The Small Business Expert, offers these helpful tips.

* Keep in touch. Connecting with someone is a good idea any time of year, so why not pick up the phone and see if you can schedule a coffee or lunch meeting for the New Year, especially if it’s an old colleague or a customer who has fallen off your radar. You may also consider sending holiday cards and greetings to everyone on your list to close out 2015 right. Staples Copy and Print has customizable stationary and cards you need to send the perfect message at the perfect time. They also have all of the marketing materials, product customization and graphic insertion options you could ever need, making it easy for you to make more happen.

* Tie up loose ends. Get out your “to-do” list, find the projects you never had time for, and jump on them when the New Year arrives. Mark them off your list and start 2016 with some momentum. And if your project list includes upgrading your business with some new tech, Staples Tech Services services can keep your small business running smoothly with the latest tech that will improve your productivity and save your company money in the long run.

* Review successes and failures. What worked well for you this past year? What didn’t work? What do you think you can do better? The New Year represents the chance for a clean slate. Fill that slate with the things that work!

* Read and learn. You’ll probably have some extra down time when the New Year rolls in. Spend a few minutes searching the Internet for lists of “must-read” business books. Find a couple that look like they’d be a good fit for your business and commit to reading them in the first part of 2016. In the same manner, learn a new skill. Experiment with social media or learn how to manage an online marketing campaign

* Start tax preparation. Review your bookkeeping system and make sure everything is up to date. Start organizing your files in anticipation of tax season. If you get organized now, the process will be much easier come tax time.

The New Year is the perfect time to say goodbye to a successful 2015 and prepare for the year ahead. Apply the tips from Solovic and you’ll be ready to make 2016 your business’s best year yet. To learn more about finding the right tech solutions and everything else your small business needs, visit Staples.com.

How are your Landing Pages Doing?

Hey there. We have a question for you:

Are you converting your website visits effectively?

If your landing page conversion rate is lower than the industry standard 4.8% then its time to revisit the copy and design of your landing page.

1. Keep important elements above the fold –

Make sure you keep your form above the fold of the page so that the visitor does not miss it. The form and the form’s submit button should be the first thing the person notices when they enter the landing page

2. Use trust signals – 

Use trust signals to reassure the visitor that your company is reputable and they are not filling out a form that will end up spamming them. Customer testimonials are a great way to show your company is great at what they do.

3. Remove Distractions –

You want to keep your landing page as short and clean as possible.  Kill the navigation and social media links out of the landing page. The main goal for the page should be the form conversion. Get those leads.

4. A/B Test Your Landing pages –

There is no magic bullet for all landing pages. The only way to know what works best is through experimentation. Set up A/B tests and see for yourself what works and what needs to do back to the drawing board.

Have more questions? or need a professional to look over your landing page? Contact me Today

Social Media Marketing: Listening to Your Market

Content marketing grew big last year, and is set to grow even further this 2016. After all, content remains to be one of the pillars upon which online communities are built. Various types of materials, including visuals such as images and infographics, as well as audio files such as podcasts, are just some of the things that can be released especially for social media marketing.

To reap the most benefits from content marketing, however, organizations should first and foremost understand how to evaluate the results of their efforts, and how to conduct prompt and thorough “social listening.”

Google provides an excellent tool in the form of Google Analytics, through which companies can observe the impact of their efforts based on a number of factors. Many of the features on its dashboard can also be found on the content management systems of blogs and social media platforms like Facebook, but at least via Google Analytics, online community managers can measure the exposure of the company content using the same tools, parameters, and sample.

Among the important factors to look at are: total traffic, time on site, bounce rate, and exit rate. Organizations should find out which of their materials garnered the most interest and engaged the viewers for a long time. They should note the demographic drawn by this material, as well as the themes that piqued people’s curiosity.

Relatedly, community managers looking to publish promotional materials for their brand on a paid platform should choose the site that offers these types of insights and metrics, answering such questions as “Who actually reads what I publish?”, “What type of content is the most appealing for my target market?” and “What keywords do users type to get linked to my company’s social media entries?”

By going through this admittedly messy and tedious step of social listening, more effective strategies can be developed, and company resources spent towards the production of content can then be maximized. Community managers can also find the best types of platforms for publishing, and learn how to improve their content to better cater to the needs and interests of their target market.

While many companies are lacking in this task, with this New Year comes the opportunities to promote our brands with precision. Get in touch with a full-service provider of digital marketing solutions today, to become better at social media marketing this 2016Free Articles, and for the years to come.

Out-of-office etiquette: The right way to set up automated email responses

Whether you’ll be taking a long vacation or will just be away from the office for a day or two, you should know people really do care about your OOO settings. In fact, 77 percent of Americans say they enjoy seeing others’ creative OOO emails, and that setting their own automated response makes it really feel as if vacation has started.

Not quite half of all people set up Out of Office responses, however, according to a recent survey by the Center for Out of Office Excellence. And among those who do, 59 percent said they were likely to use a fun, humorous OOO message to announce their absence. However, slightly more than that — 60 percent — said they wouldn’t be sharing personal information, like their vacation plans, in their message.

“In this age of constant connectedness and digital distractions, we have less time to make meaningful offline connections,” says Mister Manners, Thomas P. Farley, who has written for the New York Post, hosted a program on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Network and appeared on the Today show and Dr. Oz. “As human beings, taking the time to disconnect — going truly out of office and not halfheartedly out of office — is vital for all of us. It’s also important to practice good out-of-office etiquette giving everyone the break he or she deserves. That way, once everyone’s back in the office again, we’re refreshed, recharged and ready to reconnect.” Farley offers some tips for disconnecting with dignity:

When setting up your OOO

* Keep things short but sweet. Avoid rambling messages, but use a conversational — not clinical — tone.

* Be just informative enough. Include vital facts like whether you’ll be checking email while you’re away, if and how you can be reached in case of a work emergency, who’s covering for you while you’re out and when you will return.

* Turn on your OOO right before you walk out the door, and deactivate it once you’ve returned to your desk. Don’t use the OOO as a cheat to avoid work requests when you’re back; 2 percent of people wait until the end of their first day back to reactivate their mail, according to the Center of Out of Office Excellence’s survey.

* Just as you have an OOO for your work account, use a personal away message for your personal accounts, particularly if you’re planning to go on a complete email diet. Have fun with your personal away message, infusing it with some whimsy and even inviting friends and family to interact with you on social media rather than email.

* Stay the course — if your OOO indicates you won’t be checking email, then don’t check it at all. At the very least, don’t reply as doing so sets the expectation that you’re working while on vacation and will answer emails consistently while away.

When you get someone else’s OOO

* Don’t stress. Nearly 15 percent of those surveyed by the Center for Out of Office Excellence said getting an OOO response makes them anxious because they fear work won’t get done. Instead, remain calm and realize there is no such thing as an email emergency. If you need immediate assistance, simply follow the steps outlined in the sender’s message.

* If you’re not taking a holiday or vacation, try not to be jealous. Your turn will come eventually. Meanwhile, relish the fact you’ll be able to take nice, long lunches and get a lot more done with a reduced volume of email from your OOO co-workers.

* Don’t clog the inbox of a vacationing co-worker just to get something off your plate (or chest). If your matter can wait, compose your email to out-of-office colleagues, but save it in your drafts folder and send it when they’re back in the office.

* Avoid sneaky contact, such as interacting with the person on social media where work conversations wouldn’t usually take place.

* Stage your own exit. Are you the last person in the office? What are you waiting for? Set your own OOO, shut down your computer and begin your holiday, too.

Tip Acquire Local Citations An Local SEO Must

Gaining citations is a critical factor to local SEO. To help build authority, get your website listed on as many reputable directory or local citation sites like Yelp and Zagat as possible; here is a list of 50 to help save some time hunting these down. This list is only a sliver of such sites on the Web, so be sure to put in the leg work to gain additional listings. The more trustworthy citations you have pointing toward your site, the more authority you will gain. Additionally, tools like Synup, which is local-SEO focused, can help you accomplish this task in no time.