What is a good password?
A good password is one that is sufficient to keep others out. Unfortunately what we’ve been doing in the past is no longer sufficient to combat the modern hacker. Our old password habits include:
- Short passwords can be hacked in seconds
- Passwords that are made up from guessable words like our kids names, etc.
- Even seemingly complex passwords made from special characters and numbers can be hacked in seconds or minutes now.
How would you know if your username and password have been hacked?
In recent times there have been a rash of email phishing scams that go something like this:
- They claim they have hacked you personally and have your username and password
- They show you the password to add validity to the claim and get your attention (which it certainly does)
- They say they have used your computer to record some form of bad behavior (adult or illegal websites, etc,)
- They threaten that they will make this behavior public if your don’t pay them
- They ask for some large amount of money in Bitcoins
Let me be clear – this is a scam. Don’t pay them or even bother to communicate with them. Throw out the emails.
But how did they get your username and password?
If you’ve attended the AAO Annual Session over the last 15 years or we’ve been invited to one of your Study Groups, you may be familiar with “The Brain” we hand out as promotional swag. We’ve been told that our catch phrase “Need an extra brain?” has been imprinted on more than a few doctor’s foreheads over the years – mostly as comic stress relief.
We’ve also handed out some technology-related items like branded microfiber cloths for cleaning LCD screens, slick mouse pads or 8 GB USB keys but this year in San Diego, we wanted to change it up a bit with a thoughtful way to say thank you to our customers.
After a little research, I stumbled across Co-branded Promotional Starbucks Cards and I could not believe how easy the process was. We did a small test run of fifteen $10 cards to see how they turned out. Continue reading
Microsoft has recently released the latest version of its operating system (OS) for PCs – Windows 10 (let’s call it WinX).
This is the first time Microsoft is offering the upgrade for free to existing users of Windows 7 and 8 (until July 2016). They are intending to make upgrades to their OS less of a big deal in the future, giving it away and moving to a more automatic update format. Apple and Android have been following this model for years. It’s a good idea for the most part – keeping your OS up to date means it has the latest security & features.
Many of you may have seen a little notifier popping up on your PCs prompting you to reserve your free copy of WinX now. With great joy and vigor many of you have done just so. But is this a good idea? Continue reading
Nine minutes – This is the time that passes before a discreet silent alarm goes off on Dr. Kathleen Tavarez‘ wrist during a patient consultation. It reminds her that her allocated time of ten minutes is nearly up. She politely sums up her thoughts with her patient and exits the consultation keeping her right on track for her next patient.
Rewind about a month. While onsite to help on some technical issues, Dr. Tavarez saw my smartwatch – a basic Pebble Watch. I gave her the quick 2 minute tour and demonstrated some of the cool things it could do. Read texts and emails, monitor who’s calling and even create simple alarm timers. She tried it on and although it’s a little plain on the style side and a little bulky, she’s decided to give it a try.
Every Microsoft Windows computer on the network has a number of Local User Accounts that can be used to login to the PC without needing to know a Username and Password on the overall Practice network security domain. These local accounts are often overlooked or forgotten. Often they may have blank passwords when the computer is shipped to you. Hackers and viruses can exploit these accounts, so it is important that they are secured or deleted. Continue reading
People are trying to break into your computers at the Practice. It sucks – it could be your Janitor, an Internet hacker or even a disgruntled employee looking to take advantage of you. Here is something simple you can do to make it much harder for them to hack in. Continue reading
When was the last time you checked the most important part of your Internet Defense? All that stands between you and the Evils of the Internet is a single device called the Internet Firewall (or sometimes called the Router). The firewall is a gatekeeper and controls what can get ‘out’ to the Internet from your Office network, and more importantly what can get ‘in’ to your network from the evil public side. Have no freaking idea what it’s currently configured to allow in (and should you really)? Then this article is for you, keep reading. Continue reading
If you are a dental specialist and have computers in your Practice and have an external IT person that looks after them, you need a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with them. I know you are squirming and wish this didn’t apply to you, but it’s pretty simple and clear that it does. Continue reading
Time to get started on a new Blog series I am geared up about. In an ongoing series of articles I want to give you the tools to start to build your own IT policy of reasonable best practices that will help protect your Practice data. Continue reading