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How to Backup your computer online for free

Protect Yourself Online

Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself online is to create great passwords.  Almost every website of significant importance to us requires you to log on.  Our human nature makes lazy when creating passwords.  Too often we pick something too simple or known by others.  Having a good password is probably one of the most important measures you can take to secure yourself. 

The best passwords are those that are long and completely random.  In general, at least 8 to 9 characters and again, completely random.  This is essential because many hackers use programs that try a brute force to hack your password.  All is a brute force attack is an attempt to hack your password by entering as many possible character combinations as possible.  Most computer programs that do this start with basic combinations that we would probably use to make a password.  They typically start with every word in the dictionary, then typically by adding numbers to those words.  So if your password is spider22, it will probably be hacked by a professional, if they chose to go after you.  What is a good password?  Well the best are probably not attractive to you to use on a regular basis.  Check out this site that pretty much assures you that creating passwords their way will secure you.  The passwords are 64 random characters.  The problem with this kind of password is that it is almost impractical to use it without assistance.  It is simply too long for the human brain to remember on a daily basis.

This leads us back to the 8-9 character password.  Anything over 8 characters typically is secure and around 9 characters is about the limit of what the human brain can remember on a daily basis.  Now what about the randomness?  How do you pick randomly?  One suggestion is to come up with a 9 word sentence and use the first letter in each word, if the sentence contains a number use the number instead of the word.  Additionally, you should add a special character into your password, such as %, $, * and the like.   This video also will aid you in creating secure passwords.

Check How Secure Your Password Is

There are two great sites that you can check your password with.  These sites will tell you how difficult your password is to hack.  Again, the longer the password, the more difficult it is to hack.  The two sites are:

Microsoft Password Checker

Each do not require any identifiable information about you, simple type in any password and it will tell you how secure it is.  By secure, I am talking about how long it would take a professional hacker to figure it out.

If you Log in, then Log out

This mistake is one of the more popular mistakes people make.  Simply, if you do log out, the computer still has you logged in, even if you close your web browser.  Closing your web browser does not secure you. Anybody who opens up that browser can then go back into your account.  Luckily, most financial institutions will automatically log you out after 5-10 minutes of inactivity, so you are safe to some degree, but you are not for those initial minutes after you closed the browser.  Many hackers will hang out at the library, just waiting for you to make this mistake.  This will answer the question, "so how likely is it that somebody will get on the computer that soon and go to the same page?"  Quite likely, hackers love public computers, they sit back watch you, wait till you leave and jump on your mistake.

Avoid Public computers

This is critical.  Do not conduct any personal or financial activities on a computer you do not know.  Do not check your bank account at the library.  Do not check your email at the computer kiosk at the mall.  You have no idea what spy software may be on that computer.  You do not know who may be watching your internet traffic on those computers

Never give out personal information from an email request

If you get an email telling you that there is a problem  with your bank account or credit card.......SCAM.  The IRS does not conduct business in email.  Get it?  Do not respond to any attempt to solicit personal information from you from an email.  Also, do not click on any links telling you to go to a website to correct information.   This is called Phishing, when hackers attempt you to log on to a fake website to steal your information.  This video from CNET can help in explaining Phishing.

Buy from reputable online sources

Research all online vendors before purchasing anything.  Many are reputable, but a lot are crooks.  Best research tips are to visit Consumerist or Rip Off Report.  Those two sites have an excellent database of trouble online sites.  Also, when all else fails, go to Google and Google the name of the site and add the term scam or rip off to the end of it.  If that site is bad, there will almost certainly be some web sites dedicated to exposing them, or at a minimum lead you to a page where you can find out more about them.


Look for this secure connection before you enter sensitive data - a web address should start with https(s for secure) and a closed padlock besides it.  This should be present on any site in which you must log in.  If you do not see https in the address bar when you log in, don't.  With HTTPS:, anyone trying to access your system, will not be able to gain access to your logging on to a website.  It secures it.  Note that not every website utilizes HTTPS: to log on.  For Firefox users there is a extension available that you can install that will make most major web sites log you on securely with HTTPS:.  The extension is called HTTPS Everywhere and can be found here.  Senator Charles Shumer recently called upon many of the most popular web sites to start using HTTPS: as a matter of consumer protection.  You can read the article here.

Think before you click

Do not open attachments in email from unknown parties.  Do not click on links from unknown parties.  Do not click on buttons in pop-up windows, especially if they are alerting you to virus' and sudden problems with your computer