The Tech Guy Blog

Generate and Store Secure Passwords with LastPass

The 'Heartbleed' bug that has affected most of the internet's popular websites has exposed usernames and passwords along with other secure certificate data. Even after a site has fixed this bug, it's still essential for everyone to change their passwords because the data could have been intercepted before the site was patched. This is a great opportunity to create more secure passwords, and to start using a password vault like LastPass.

Get Offline Maps on Your Device

When using GPS with a phone or tablet, many of the popular map apps download the map data as you go. This means it’s necessary to have a data connection while traveling. If you’re going to be traveling through an area without data coverage, or if you want to use a device that doesn’t have a data plan, you will need to make sure your maps are stored locally on that device first.

Install More Secure and Reliable Firmware On Your Router

The default firmware that comes pre-installed in a lot of new routers can be insecure and problematic. For instance, a lot of new routers use something called "WPS" (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) which is enabled by default and is supposed to allow users to easily secure their network. Unfortunately, this is flawed and can give a remote attacker access to the network. In some cases, it's not even possible to disable this insecure feature.

Transfer Files More Reliably in Windows

When it comes to transferring multiple files in Windows, the built-in file copying function often can be slow or stop entirely. Microsoft has actually developed a more reliable alternative that runs from the command line called "Robocopy," which is short for "robust copy." Since not many users are comfortable working with the command line, here are alternative programs that are better for transferring large files:

Secure Your Wi-Fi Router

When it comes to securing a Wi-Fi router, there are a lot of things people often do that aren't actually effective. For instance, hiding the name of the router (the SSID), won't help. Another scheme that's particularly onerous is MAC address filtering. Every computer has a unique MAC address, and the router can be set up to only allow computers with known MAC addresses to access the network. This technique is used by businesses and schools, but it overlooks MAC address spoofing.

Use OpenDNS Parental Controls to Protect Your Kids Online

You may have seen programs that are meant to block websites and protect your kids online, but these can cost a lot of money and aren't the most effective solutions. For instance, if that software is just on the home PC, kids could use a different device to still access undesirable websites. Kids are also very good at finding ways to bypass this software altogether. There is a free and more effective way to do this, though, and that's through the DNS.

Hide the Pre-Installed Bloatware on Your Android Phone

Unless you get an Android phone that's advertised as a "pure Google experience," chances are your Android phone has some pre-installed software that often is referred to as "bloatware." This means it has extra programs or features that are installed over top of Android, and in many cases cannot be removed. Samsung's recent phones have particularly suffered from this. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to at least hide these unwanted extras.

How to Protect Yourself After Target Credit Card Breach

Between November 27 and December 12 of 2013, Target stores company-wide were hacked, compromising up to 40 million credit cards. The breach does not include purchases made online with Target, only in its retail stores. If you've ever used your credit or debit card at Target in the United States, it's highly recommended that you get a new card and close your current account. Canada Target stores have not been breached, however, because of their requirements for a digital chip in the card itself and a PIN. Without these two factors, a transaction can't be made.