401-575-0328 info@npjconsulting.com

NPJ Consulting  Inc. has been using computers since 1981 for small business and personal use.
These few pages are just some of the things we have learned in that time.

Cyber Security

Want to see what the global threats to our Cyber World are. Here is a good primer.

TechRadar.

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/top-cybersecurity-threats/

Browser

I have been using Chrome for the last several years. I recently got a new computer and started off with the built in Windows 11 browser called Edge. It turns out that Edge is built on the technology of Chrome. So far I have been pretty happy with Edge.

Here is a article from a reliable source on the two of them.

Edge vs Chrome in 2023: Here’s why there’s only one winner for productivity fans | TechRadar

Password Managers

What is a password manager and why should I use one?

They are an encrypted vault to keep all of your passwords safe behind one complex password. They will also try and fill in usernames and passwords.

There are many choices. Just Google Password Manager

I have been using LastPass and have stuck with them through some security breachs. My theory is that the attacks are a symptom of being the leader. They also make them stronger. I tried BitWarden recently. It was much harder to use across platforms (iPad,iPhone, PC) than LastPass.

https://www.lastpass.com/password-manager

A reviewer writes “that they are almost a match in their UI features, the security details of NordPass were more advanced than those of LastPass, and it could generate better password phrases. LastPass had smoother synchronization on auto-save and fill across platforms and operating systems compared to NordPass.”

LastPass has good sharing which makes it good for organizations. Here is the article

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/nordpass-vs-lastpass

Scrub your personal information from the web

Your information is all over the web. Here are some tips from Norton on how to remove it.

  • Use security features on websites, hardware, and apps
  • Delete unused apps from your phone, tablet, and computer
  • Remove personal information from Google
  • Erase old email accounts
  • Delete unused shopping accounts
  • Remove social media accounts you don’t use
  • Opt out of people search sites
  • Remove your information from data brokers
  • Clean up or delete old blogs and websites

https://us.norton.com/blog/how-to/how-to-remove-personal-information-from-internet

Remove Data from the web yourself or hire a service

Remove yourself from marketing lists: You can register with DMAchoice to remove yourself from marketing lists, OptOutPrescreen to opt out of pre-screened credit card and insurance offers, and the National Do Not Call Registry to opt out of telemarketing calls.

Remove Data from the web yourself or hire a service

https://us.norton.com/blog/privacy/data-brokers

Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring is an important part of being a consumer these days. Many people use a service for this. You can pay hundreds a year for credit monitoring.

If you think that this is paying to much you are not alone.
You can then do one or two things. Request an annual free credit report from one of the three companies that monitor credit. (that means you can request 3 reports a year for free).
The three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
or
sign up for their premium credit monitoring for $9.95 a month.

LastPass will do much of this for free and notify you for free when a change has been made to your credit..

You must upgrade to LastPass Premium credit monitoring to view further details for this alert.
Upgrading will allow you to receive more in-depth reports and assist you in resolving identity theft issues.

Would you like to learn more about LastPass Premium credit monitoring now?
https://lastpass.com/

 

Identity Theft

Credit monitoring is good to help alert you and hopefully minimize the extent of damages in some cases however you don’t want it to give you a false sense of security. It can’t be relied on solely for protection. There will be a myriad of financial issues created by a hack and you need to stop them before they happen. Services will only “help” out after the fact and sometimes all that they do is say “you should change your passwords. There are steps you can do yourself that you do not need a CR agency to do.

Most importantly: be proactive and freeze your credit file(s). Keep the logins handy (but secure) for each service in case you need to unfreeze your credit file(s) temporarily. Use a secure password manager to hold your passwords. Find out which credit reporting agency your creditor uses for a loan you’re applying for and only unfreeze that credit bureau temporarily (1 day, 7 days, etc). Do this from now. Don’t stop after you pick a credit monitoring service.

DON’T LOSE THE LOGINS TO THE THREE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES.

https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/

https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze

https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

A couple of obvious security tips:

While you’re at it, have your credit card issuer(s) open a second, smaller balance card you can use for those small dollar, higher-risk purchases like online shopping, fast food, gas, convenience stores, etc. Especially while you’re traveling (Gangs embed their members as store employees to steal credit card, and checking info). Yes, the Fair Credit Billing Act limits the liability to $50 (in some banks it’s even $0), but now your 5K-10K limit credit card is not usable until your replacement arrives. Also, watch your credit utilization for those accounts so as not to negatively impact your FICO score. Goes for all accounts, but small ones are easier to over-utilize. Pay them in full each month.

This will seem like counterintuitive advice but …. Do Not write checks. You’re giving someone everything they need to drain your account. But that’s not the worst part. They can easily make paper duplicates and start kiting checks at multiple stores and eventually, an arrest warrant will be issued. Not for them. For you! If you ever have a check stolen, notify the bank and file a police report immediately (in each jurisdiction a check was written in). Keep the report ON YOUR PERSON for the foreseeable future. A simple traffic stop can turn into a nightmare, with you in jail. I was the victim of someone copying one of my checks. Luckily it was only $400. I just happened to see it during a monthly balancing of my accounts. It took months to get the money back into my account. The bank (CHASE) was not helpful. I had to do all the heavy lifting of reporting, making a new bank account, closing accounts etc..